Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT, Karlsruhe, Germany), 14.-15. June 2018
Times of war drive enhanced resource exploitation. Salvage is thus one essential and yet underexplored characteristic of industry, business, and society in warring nations. It challenges historiography in several ways. For one, waste and recycling often represent grey areas of economic activity, including the black market or informal work such as volunteer or forced labor. For another, waste handling pervades industrial production as well as everyday life, and under conditions of war and shortage, it became both a political means to mobilize the ‘home front’ and a way for individuals to survive constant shortages.
The international workshop “Waste Recycling, War and Occupation: A Transnational Perspective on World War II,” organized by Heike Weber (KIT) and Chad Denton (Yonsei University) thus aims to bring together the different historical sub-fields that have carried out research on wartime recycling so far, in particular, business history, the history of war and society, the history of technology, and environmental history. The workshop will analyze the scope and impact that recycling had during World War II, both for several regions and for different industrial branches. Additionally, it will ask what impact wartime recycling had on later patterns of resource use.