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Aspects of neutrality: two Dutch ambulances at the eastern front in the First World War

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The paper looks at two First World War ambulance teams which distinctly differed from each other, both in the way they perceived the war and the places at the front where they worked. The first was working on the Serbian side and the second on the Austrian-Hungarian. The questions raised are: how was medical neutrality defined (was it defined at all)? Was neutrality maintained, and if so how? The writings of several protagonists are closely examined, and placed in context, to show that total neutrality was not adhered to by the physicians and nurses of these ambulances. Apparently neutrality in wartime is difficult, even for men and women coming from a neutral country with an occupation seen as essentially neutral.

Keywords: Eastern Front; First World War; ambulance teams; medical neutrality

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Medical Historian, VU University Medical Centre, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Publication date: 2010-10-01

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