Trieste and Danzig after the Great War: Imperial Collapse, Narratives of Loss, Reconfigured Globalization

Marco Bresciani, Klaus Richter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article reconstructs the consequences of the loss of hinterlands for the port cities of Trieste and Danzig after the Great War, as well as the consequences of the (often conflict-ridden) integration of those hinterlands into new territories. How did these changes reconfigure the relationship of port cities and hinterlands, of port cities and the state, and of ports vis-à-vis each other? Against the background of the instability of the postwar years, the article examines how different political and commercial actors conceived of these reconfigurations and how they both shaped and responded to their sudden and unpredictable local manifestations. Subsequently, it investigates political and economic efforts to mitigate the loss of economic hinterlands through internationalization, especially of infrastructure. Furthermore, it sheds new light on the relationship between the disintegration of the continental empires, on the one hand, and the dynamics of interwar globalization and deglobalization, on the other. The post-1918 transformation of imperial port cities and their respective hinterlands are ideal case studies to understand how changes in political sovereignty affect commercial agency within the port cities, and how this change produces pessimistic narratives of decline that do not always correlate with economic developments.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)557-595
Number of pages39
JournalThe Journal of Modern History
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2023


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