Legacies of the Great War: Historical Questions and Controversies

The war and its aftermath created legacies that are still with us. While we will not cover specifics of the conflict, we will examine the historical impact of the war on the the rest of the twentieth century, as well as its lingering aftershocks to the present. Some of the topics will include: the idea that military leaders (not politicians) should determine a state's war policies; the view that the Treaty of Versailles was a failure and made the Second World War inevitable; the belief that democracy and nationalism are always constructive forces; the notion that communism had to be opposed at all costs; etc This seminar will examine the ways in which historians have questioned and revised many long- and widely-held views, as well as discuss the reasons why such views persist. This seminar marks the centenary of the end of the First World War on November 11, 1918, and raises important questions about memory and commemoration.