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International conference examines Great War impact on Eastern Europe

Published: 
11 September 2007

The social and cultural impact of the First World War across Eastern Europe is explored for the first time this week, at an international conference hosted by the University of Southampton.

The social and cultural impact of the First World War across Eastern Europe is explored for the first time this week, at an international conference hosted by the University of Southampton.

‘Sacrifice and Regeneration: The Legacy of the Great War in Interwar Eastern Europe’ takes place from Thursday 13 to Saturday 15 September at the University’s Avenue campus.

There has been substantial research into how Western Europe remembers and commemorates the Great War, on how war veterans coped with the transition to peacetime and how far demobilization really occurred. However, no comparable research has been undertaken into the eastern half of Europe, the so-called ‘successor states’ - Austria, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, Romania and Poland - which were exploited by Nazi Germany in the 1930s.

Historians and academics from across Europe and the USA will seek to understand how the war sacrifice could be interpreted there, and how ‘renewal’ could come out of defeat or victory in the form of nationalist and fascist ideologies.

The event is the final part of a three-year Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) funded project led by Professor Mark Cornwall. He says: "This conference will be a significant contribution to how we interpret the role of the Great War in the twentieth century. It especially seeks to highlight how the war experience was handled by male war veterans, nationalist groups, and society as a whole across East-Central Europe. It brings together the leading historians in this field and will result in a major publication."

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