BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Indiana University has planned a series of events to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I, one of the deadliest conflicts in history and one that fundamentally changed the world.
“World War I: The End and the Aftermath” will feature prominent researchers, experts and artists from multiple schools throughout the Bloomington campus as well as renowned scholars from Europe.
Among the series of activities in the 2018-19 academic year are “War Requiem” by Benjamin Britten, an IU Jacobs School of Music symphonic opera marking the centenary of the Nov. 11, 1918, end of the war; “A Literary Legacy of the Great War,” poetry readings that will be shared in several different languages; and numerous lectures and discussions that will examine the historical and geopolitical influence of the war on contemporary issues.
“Hundreds of years of history were changed in a matter of months when the Treaty of Versailles ratified the end of World War I,” said Andrea Ciccarelli, provost professor of Italian studies and dean of the Hutton Honors College. “The Great War ended the Austrian and Ottoman empire, and it reshaped, dissolved and created nations, setting in motion an avalanche of geopolitical shifts that we are still dealing with today.”
World War I, which began in 1914 and ended in 1918, has been called The Great War because it is the first modern European conflict that saw the intervention of countries geographically removed from its territory, including Australia, Canada and the U.S. The war also set in motion a series of historical events that led to World War II, which began in 1939 and is the deadliest military conflict in human history.
But the appellation also stands, perhaps above all, for the conflict’s historical legacy and impact on global affairs. The Cold War, the failures of the European colonial powers, the crisis in the Middle East, and the collapse of the Soviet Union and its consequences are all long-term indirect effects of the conflict.
This series of events marking the centenary of the war’s end is a bookend to the World War I commemoration events held in 2014 that focused mainly on the war’s beginning.
“In 2014, we discovered that IU Bloomington has so many people with such an outstanding collective knowledge of World War I and its effects that we wanted to highlight the resources on this campus with the current commemoration,” Ciccarelli said. “We will also examine perspectives outside the Western Hemisphere, making our approach to this year’s commemoration a little bit different.”
Throughout the fall and spring, departments, schools and other units across campus will offer a variety of World War I-related events, many of which are free and open to the public, including:
- Oct. 29: “Ordeal and Opportunity: Ending the First World War in Africa 1914-1925,” presented by Michelle Moyd, the Ruth N. Halls Associate Professor in the Department of History and associate director of the Center for Research on Race and Ethnicity in Society; 4 p.m. at Distinguished Alumni Room, Indiana Memorial Union.
- Nov. 11: “War Requiem” by Benjamin Britten, Oratorio Chorus and Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Betsy Burleigh, the Thomas R Kasdorf Professor of Choral Conducting and chair of the Department of Choral Conducting at the IU Jacobs School of Music; 3 p.m. at the Musical Arts Center. Tickets are $10 for general admission and $5 for IU Jacobs School of Music students, faculty and staff.
- Nov. 12: “A Literary Legacy of the Great War: Poetry Readings,” 4 p.m. in Presidents Hall at Franklin Hall.
- Nov. 30: “The Vanquished: Why the First World War Failed to End,” presented by Robert Gerwarth, professor of modern history at University College Dublin and director of the Centre for War Studies; 3 p.m. in the Oak Room at the IMU.
- Jan. 14: “Nationalism, Race and the Opposition to Versailles: 1920s German Propaganda Against Colonial French Occupation Troops,” presented by Julia Roos, associate professor in the Department of History; 4 p.m. in the University Club at the IMU.
- Feb. 4: “From the Trenches to Treblinka? Reflecting on the Links Between WWI and the Holocaust,” presented by Mark Roseman, director of the Borns Jewish Studies Program and professor of Jewish studies and history; 4 p.m. in the Dogwood Room at the IMU.
- March 5: “After Versailles: Sovereignty and Authenticity in Fascist Italy,” presented by Roberta Pergher, associate professor in the Department of History; 4 p.m. in the Dogwood Room at the IMU.
- March 26: “The Elusive Quest for Security: The Treaty of Versailles and Central Europe,” presented by Laszlo Borhi, associate professor of Central Eurasian studies; 4 p.m. in the Oak Room at the IMU.
- April 2: “Versailles Today: U.S. Foreign Policy and the Geo-Political Legacy of the Great War.” This roundtable discussion will feature Lee Feinstein, founding dean of the Hamilton Lugar School of Global and International Studies and former ambassador to Poland; Lee Hamilton, former U.S. representative, distinguished scholar in the Hamilton Lugar School and professor of practice in the School of Public and Environmental Affairs; Feisal Amin Raisoul al-Istrabadi, former ambassador of Iraq and founding director of the Center for the Study of the Middle East at the Hamilton Lugar School; and Rajendra Madhukar Abhyankar, professor of practice of diplomacy and public affairs in the School of Public and Environmental Affairs and former ambassador of India; 4 p.m. at the IMU University Club.
- April 3: “Beyond Versailles: Sovereignty, Legitimacy and the Formation of New Polities after the Great War,” presented by Pergher and Marcus Payk, assistant professor of history at Humboldt University of Berlin; 12:30 p.m. in the Oak Room at the IMU.