Connections and circulations are not just worthy of study for themselves. They also create relations between different entities and participants brought together by flows and ties. Relations are the effect or relevance these entities have on and for one another, but they are not an automatic consequence of connections and circulations. It may also happen that connections and circulations come to nothing, in the sense that no change seems to take place in the behaviour of participants. One famous example is the lack of adaptation in military strategy following the Russo-Japanese War of 1905. Despite numerous reports and recommendations by European officers who observed the conflict, there were no major responses in strategic thinking and military equipment in the British, US, French or Austro-Hungarian armies. When the First World War began, they were not ready to cope with hand grenades, trench mortars, barbed wire, field artillery and machine guns.1 The history of ‘lessons unlearned’ and of rejections is still mostly waiting in the aisles for the attention of transnational historians: this chapter will instead concentrate on situations where parties involved in ties and flows across polities and societies had their behaviour affected by that participation.
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