Category Archives: War Studies

Week 2 Seminar: Prof. Robert Gerwarth (UCD) – The Vanquished: Europe & the Aftermath of the Great War

Our speaker next week is Prof. Robert Gerwarth (UCD). Please note that on the same day we are also co-hosting this event, in which Prof. Gerwarth is also participating.


When the First World War formally ended in November 1918 with an Allied victory, three vast and centuries-old land empires – the Ottoman, Habsburg and Romanov empires – vanished from the map. A fourth, the Hohenzollern Empire, which had become a major land empire in the last year of the war when it occupied enormous territories in East-Central Europe, was significantly reduced in size, stripped of its overseas colonies, and transformed into a parliamentary democracy with what Germans across the political spectrum referred to as a “bleeding frontier” towards the East.

As a consequence of imperial collapse and the rise and clash of nationalist as well as Bolshevik and anti-Bolshevik movements, an extensive arc of postwar violence stretched from Finland and the Baltic States through Russia and Ukraine, Poland, the borderlands of Austria, Hungary, and Germany, all the way through the Balkans into Anatolia, the Caucasus, and the Middle East. This lecture will explore the effects of “1918” on the defeated states of Europe, drawing on comparisons between Germany, Austria-Hungary, and the Ottoman Empire.  It will also seek to argue that the political agenda of the following three decades was very much set in the years between 1917 (Russian Revolutions) and 1923 (Lausanne Treaty). It was in this period, rather than in the Great War itself, that the ground was laid for the even more terrible conflict that began in 1939 / 41.

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Spring 2015 Week 5 Seminar: Richard Dunley: The Royal Navy and Offensive Planning, 1914-15

The Week 5 Modern and Contemporary History Research Seminar is on Wednesday 11 February 2015, at 16:15 in the Rodney Hilton Library. It will be delivered by:

 Richard Dunley (The National Archives)

The Royal Navy and Offensive Planning, 1914-15

Abstract: Early twentieth century Britain was a maritime and imperial power ill prepared to fight a large continental conflict. Throughout the pre-war period there were a number of discussions of grand strategy in the event of war with Germany. However, no decisions were reached. Even after the British Expeditionary Force was committed to France in 1914 there was still a serious debate as to the type of war Britain should fight. This paper will look at the plans drawn up by the Royal Navy to follow a “British Way in Warfare” in executing the conflict against Germany. In particular it will explore the differing and at times contradictory plans to engage in littoral warfare against the German North Sea coast and those seeking to break into the Baltic. In doing so it will shed light on the difficult relations between the Admiralty and the rest of the government and the tensions within the Admiralty in particular those between Lord Fisher and Winston Churchill.

All are welcome, and there will be drinks.


Spring 2015 Week 3 Seminar: Hans van de Ven: D-Day in Asia: Japan’s Operation Ichigo in China, 1944.

The Week 3 Modern and Contemporary History Research Seminar is by:

Hans van de Ven (Cambridge)

Van de Ven.M&C.PosterAbstract: If D-Day was the defining event of 1944 in the European Theater of the War, Operation Ichigo, the largest ground operation of Japan during WWII, was so in East Asia. Unlike D-Day, Ichigo was a disaster for the Allies and a triumph for Japan. During this presentation, Hans van de Ven will analyze the reasons for the poor performance of Chinese Nationalist troops, its consequences for the rise of the Chinese Communists, and the long term impact on the history of East Asia. He will also discuss how individuals experienced the war and how intellectuals responded to it.

All are welcome, and there will be drinks.

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Rivers of War and Recreation: Round Table on Global Environmental History.

Micah Muscolino (Oxford) and Marianna Dudley (Bristol) will be our guests at this term’s closing Round Table on Global Environmental History this Friday, December 5th, 14:30 in Arts Building G-20.

All are welcome. Tea will be served, and the event will be followed by drinks.

Round Table Poster War JPEG

Round Table Poster British JPEGMuscolino abstract:

‘Over the past decade, research on the relationship between war and environment has emerged as a vibrant sub-field of environmental history. Based on my forthcoming book on war-induced disasters that in China’s Henan province during World War II, this talk proposes a model for conceptualizing the ecology of war in terms of energy flows through and between militaries, societies, and environments. This framework highlights how efforts to procure and exploit nature’s energy in various forms has shaped the choices of generals, the fates of communities, and the trajectory of environmental change.’

Dudley abstract:

This paper will explore how different recreational groups have developed distinctive understandings of water and watery environments. By exploring a conflict of use that has emerged through the twentieth century (and continues in to the twenty-first) between canoeists and anglers, it will suggest that recreational engagement with place has produced meaningful, and very different, ways of knowing water that speak to broader academic discussions of water, waters, and the notion of a hydrocommons.

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Week 9 Seminar: Aimée Fox-Godden – ‘A case of goats mingling with sheep? The identification and employment of civilian experts in the British Army of the First World War’

Our Week 9 Modern & Contemporary Research Seminar is by our own:

Aimée Fox-Godden

‘A case of goats mingling with sheep? The identification and employment of civilian experts in the British Army of the First World War’

Aperçu de « Microsoft Word - Fox-Godden.M&C.Poster.docx »

See you at 16:15 in the Rodney Hilton Library, on Wednesday 26 November.

All are welcome, and there will be drinks.

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