The First World War | Newberry

The First World War

The Significance of the "Great War" Then and 100 Years Later (second session)
Thursday, December 4, 2014

9:30 am to 12:30 pm

Dr. Gene Beiriger, DePaul University
Newberry Teachers' Consortium

“The war to make the world safe for democracy,” “the war to end all wars,” and “the great war.” All these phrases were used to describe the First World War until Europe experienced the rise of dictatorships of the right and the left, and a second world war occurred which was greater in magnitude and destruction. In the US, the Second World War and the Cold War have long been seen as the most important in the trilogy of twentieth century conflicts. Historians, however, have focused on the First World War as perhaps the most significant event of the twentieth century. To them, the First World War (1914-1918) remains one of the most bloody, transitional and significant conflicts in human history. The war was the ultimate “cataclysm,” the “apocalypse,” and “Armageddon” itself. It ushered in the “age of extremes” and the “century of violence.” As we commemorate the centenary of the beginning of this epochal conflict, this seminar will address the following questions: How was the war understood by those who lived through it (or died as a result of it)? How was the violence among nations comprehended in human, social, and individual terms? Was this war the culmination of long-term forces at work in Europe and the world? Or, was it the birth of the modern age-the unavoidable and necessary condition for creating a “new world order”? This seminar coincides with two Newberry exhibits on the war, which participants may wish to visit after the session ends.

Cost and Registration Information 

Registration for all Newberry Teachers’ Consortium seminars opens September 4, 2014.

For NTC registration information, please contact Charlotte Ross at