Institute for the Humanities lecture at MSU to focus on WWI finances, alliances

Contact: Sarah Nicholas

Ohio State University Professor Jennifer Siegel will present an October 18 lecture at Mississippi State University. Her presentation is sponsored by the university’s Institute for the Humanities. (Photo submitted)

STARKVILLE, Miss.—An award-winning author and World War I expert will speak October 18 at Mississippi State University, exploring how the cost of the war shaped global alliances.  

Free to all, Jennifer Siegel’s 4 p.m. lecture, will take place in Ballroom M on the second floor of the Colvard Student Union. The event is sponsored by the university’s Institute for the Humanities.

Titled “The Sinews of Alliances: Perspectives on Financial Diplomacy in the First World War,” Siegel’s lecture will explore the international financing and critical role of inter-allied cooperation and coordination during WWI.  The financial powers of each alliance—Germany for the central powers, and Britain and the U.S. for the allied and associated powers—assisted their partners, strengthening their ties in the process.

Siegel said one of the central questions in the diplomacy of the war was how to meet the financial challenges of a war being fought on a scale “unprecedented in the history of warfare.”

“While each belligerent state struggled to finance their war efforts from within the resources of their own economies,” Siegel said, “there was a parallel effort to draw upon the resources of alliance groups and neutral powers.” 

Siegel said WWI was a war in which those who could mobilize foreign wealth “fared best.”

“Jennifer Siegel’s work on how loans shaped alliances presents a familiar story about World War I in a new and valuable way as that conflict’s centenary prompts attention,” said William Anthony Hay, director of MSU’s Institute for the Humanities.

“Her focus on the connection of finance with diplomacy and military strategy follows a path that has enriched the history of international relations and has policy-relevant implications for today,” Hay said.

Siegel has worked for The Ohio State University since 2003. She received her bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees from Yale University. Siegel is a recipient of the Olin Postdoctoral, Mellon Foundation Dissertation and Smith Richardson Foundation Junior Faculty fellowships. She specializes in modern European diplomatic and military history, focusing on the British and Russian empires.

She authored “Endgame: Britain, Russia and the Final Struggle for Central Asia” (I.B. Tauris, 2002), which won the 2003 AAASS Barbara Jelavich Prize, and has published “For Peace and Money: French and British Finance in the Service of Tsars and Commissars” (Oxford University Press, 2014), as well as numerous articles.

At OSU, Siegel teaches European diplomatic and military history in the 19th and 20th centuries, international relations, comparative empires, modern intelligence history, the origins of wars and the history of oil. She also has taught at the University of Pennsylvania, Boston University, Yale and Bennington College.

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