Great War Seminars in Paris

For those living in or visiting Paris at the moment, two research seminars on the Great War are particularly indicated.

Both have been running for several years and both are public and free.  I have had the chance to attend to both and each environment provides a valuable framework in which to study various aspects of the Great War. Up-to-date academic works are presented and discussed for history is in the making in these seminars.

The first one is placed under the aegis of the EHESS (Paris).

See: http://www.ehess.fr/fr/enseignement/enseignements/2012/ue/828/

The second one is organised by the DMPA (ministry for defence, Paris):

http://www.defense.gouv.fr/actualites/memoire-et-culture/seminaire-la-grande-guerre-aujourd-hui-troisieme-saison

For your convenience, I have attached both programs.

prog2012-2013 EHESS

programme- grande guerre aujourd’hui

The Great War archive online (“Europeana collections 1914-1918”)

The “Europeana Collections 1914-1918” program  is an online corpus dedicated to the Great War. Europeana Collections 1914-1918 will create by 2014 – the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War – a substantial digital collection of material from national library collections of ten libraries and other partners in eight countries that found themselves on different sides of the historic conflict.

Here is an article (in French) by Sylvie Lisiecki  about this new archive tool by the French National Library magazine (Chroniques de la BNF, n°64).

The website can be consulted here: http://www.europeana-collections-1914-1918.eu

 

UK Government and Charity Fund Auschwitz School Trips

The UK government in conjunction with the Holocaust Educational Trust is currently funding visits to Auschwitz by two pupils from each school in the UK.  This mirrors the position adopted by David Cameron in regard to war cemeteries when announcing Britain’s Great War Centenary funding earlier this month.

These two BBC reports give you a sense of what the intension of the funding is to be and how the experience will be transmitted throughout the other pupils of each school in the UK.  In times of public sector cut-backs, this initiative must be deemed important.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-20001037

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-dorset-17307528

I include these here as in thinking about the Great War one hundred years after the event it is almost impossible to do so without reference to the Second World War and in particular the Holocaust. This must be particularly true in Germany, but elsewhere throughout the (western?) world too.

It would be interesting to see if these two episodes in history (the Great War and the Holocaust) become part of a broader understanding of the twentieth century at the end of the Centenary period and what that understanding might be.

Ben Wellings

Ben Wellings is Lecturer of European Studies at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia.

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Reflections on the ‘National Commission on the Commemoration of the Anzac Centenary’

Since the 1990s, the Australian Government has had a considerable impact on the way the Great War has been (and will be) remembered and commemorated in Australia.  It has accompanied, and to some extent anticipated, public demand from a segment of civil society by shaping the conflict as a key feature of Australian identity. This is why the reflection on the commemoration of the centenary of the Great War has begun particularly early in Australia.

The Government has set up a ‘National Commission on the Commemoration of the Anzac Centenary’ endowed with its own official website: http://www.anzaccentenary.gov.au/. I recommend it as a source of primary material for researchers in the social sciences,  especially the ‘publications’ section.

Needless to say, the commission and its composition are controversial. Peter Dean from the University of Notre Dame provides insight on the issue in an article accessible at : http://www.aph.org.au/files/articles/assessingReassessing.htm .