Remembering the First World War one hundred years on

150 150 Time To Talk


At 19:00 EET (18:00 CET/17:00 GMT) on Friday the 17th April 2015, Memorial hosted Professor Winter, as they sought to look at how new, transnational histories of key historical events are changing the ways we identify with our societies and the events which have formed them. This event took place in Memorial’s premises at 5/10 Karetny Ryad Street, Moscow 127006 and a live stream was made available on Time to Talk for those unable to be in the Russian capital. Related reading can be found at the bottom of this page.

About the lecture:

This evening looked at transnational history and the impact that it is having upon our understanding of our societies and the key events that helped form them, but what is transnational history? Transnational history is quite simply history written by those transnational historians which emerged from the global expansion of higher education between 1960 and 1990. These historians were often born in one country, trained in a second and now teach in a third, leading to their being described as transnational historians. In essence this is of course a simple concept, yet in practice it is something which has led to the formation of publications and exhibitions, which present historical events from a variety of national perspectives, allowing the creation of histories as well-rounded events, rather than as nationally informed narratives.

With the knowledge acquired outwith restrictive national boundaries, transnational historians have been challenging historiographies and gradually changing the way we perceive the world our ancestors left behind. In particular, this fourth, transnational post World War One generation recently released a new history of the global war of 1914-1918 to coincide with the hundredth anniversary of its outbreak. 2014’s three volume Cambridge History of the First World War – which Friday’s speaker, Professor Winter, edited – takes a new, international look at the First World War, focusing on global war, the state and civil society. With authors from all of the competing powers, this new history of the First World War allows monolingual French and English readers to access sources which formerly were only accessible to linguists. Furthermore, the book’s first volume looks to deal with some much neglected theatres of the conflict, observing the war’s impact in Africa, the Ottoman Empire, Asia, North and Latin America.

However, it is not just through such works that transnational historians have been able to present their perspectives. Indeed, they have arguably been able to reach larger audiences through their work on diverse public history projects, where they have done much to contribute to the recent boom in the reassessment of social historical memories. During his presentation, Professor Winter discussed one such project, looking at the creation of the Historial de la Grande Guerre, a museum of the war of 1914-1918, which opened in 1992 in Péronne in France’s Somme region. In this transnationally poised museum, visual evidence dominates, while the Historial’s museology seeks to focus on the human impact of the war and, adopting a comparative approach, displays the culture of the First World War and its reception amongst, and impact upon, the populations of the participating nations.

The evening’s speaker:

Jay Winter is a professor of history at Yale University, where he specialises in the First World War and its impact upon the 20th century. Much published, he has edited and authored a number of academic works, including Rene Cassin et les droits de l’homme (Paris: Fayard), which he wrote with Antoine Prost and for which the two authors received the Blois history festival prize in 2011. Similarly, his work on the PBS television series The Great War and the Shaping of the 20th Century, led to it receiving several awards, including an Emmy.

He started his academic career at Columbia University, where he gained a B.A. before completing Ph.D. and D.Litt. degrees at the University of Cambridge. Following his doctoral qualifications, he taught at the University of Cambridge, the University of Columbia, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the University of Warwick, before then joining Yale in 2001. At Yale, his focus tends to be on Europe in the age of total war, modern British history and the interplay of history, memory and European identities.



«Память о Первой мировой войне 100 лет спустя: Транснациональный подход»

От 19:00 в пятницу 17. апреля 2015. Россия, 127006, г. Москва, ул. Каретный ряд, д. 5/10, Мемориал.

Транснациональая история – история, написанная «транснациональными» историками, той группой ученых, которой достались блага распространения высшего образования в мире в период 1960-1990 годов, тех, кто родился в одной стране, получил образование в другой, и преподает в третьей.

Эти историки создали новую историю Мировой войны 1914-1918 годов, не привязанную к национальным границам. Этот принцип лег в основу трехтомника Кембриджской Истории Первой Мировой Войны, который редактировал профессор Уинтер.

Ученые, придерживающиеся принципа «транснациональной истории», внесли свой вклад в популяризацию memory studies, представляя свою исследовательскую перспективу в проектах публичной истории.  Профессор Уинтер рассказывает об одном из таких проектов – создании Historial de la grande guerre, музея Первой Мировой войны 1914-1918 годов во французской Перонне. В этом транснациональном музее визуальные свидетельства – объекты, фильмы и фотографии – являются доминирующими элементами, выстроенными вдоль двух осей: горизонтальных «осей скорби» и вертикальных «осей надежды».


Джей Уинтер – профессор Йельского университета, специализируется на истории Первой Мировой войны и ее влиянии на историю двадцатого века.

Related reading:

1) Reflections on 1914/2014. A year of commemoration by Aleida Assmann (in English)

2) “Beyond good and evil for once!”. “Authorised transgressions” and women in wartime by Gaby Zipfel (in German and English)

3) The forgotten roots of World War One by Kenan Malik (in English)

4) Die geplante Erinnerung. Der Historikerboom um den Ersten Weltkrieg by Jost Dülffer (in German)