The Long End of the First World War: Ruptures, Continuities and Memories

8.-10. Mai 2017, Symposium, Hannover

The Herrenhausen Symposium "The Long End of the First World War: Ruptures, continuities and memories" takes place in Hanover from May 8-10, 2017. It focuses on the relation between global history and social history, highlighting actors and regions, and it systematically engages with the issue of diverse periodizations. In discussing linkages between experience, historiography, and commemoration, the symposium aims at unsettling the notion of a static and clearly defined "end" of the First World War, a construct mainly based on European developments.

While the armistice of November 11, 1918 marked the end of fighting on the Western Front, the case was different in other parts of the world, particularly in the former Russian and Ottoman Empires as well as in East Africa, where armed conflicts related to the destruction and re-formation of political orders persisted, in some parts even for several years. These struggles affected daily life and biographical trajectories as well as local perceptions, representations and interpretations of the War. Which events or developments marked the "end" of the war? How did the processes which marked the end of the War differ regionally, and how did prisoners of war, demobilized soldiers, women, or children from and in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East perceive and experience the "end"? How did this "end" influence new networks, social movements, society, economic processes, or ecological developments? And how were these questions discussed by contemporary intellectuals in Asia, Africa or the Middle East?

With the centennial of the outbreak of the War in 1914 and the increasing temporal distance it conveys, the nature of remembrance, too, is changing. The centennial in 2014 was marked by extensive commemoration activities in many parts of the world, not only on various political levels but also in the media, in the fields of literature and in the arts. The symposium asks whether and how they shaped contemporary dialogues on commemoration, not only in Asia, Africa, or Latin America but also in Europe. Can the loss of "Zeitzeugen" be compensated by the use of electronic and other media? And: does this make transnational commemoration easier (or more difficult)? We are particularly interested in issues and questions of what could be called "non-memory", forgotten or submerged memories. What is written out of historical narratives and what is being rediscovered? In this respect, the symposium will also discuss questions of changing memories and contested commemorations.


The program for the Symposium "The Long End of the First World War: Ruptures, continuities and memories" can be found here.

Session 1: Post-War Political Frameworks, Networks and Movements

Session 2: New Fault Lines, New Wars

Session 3: The Shaping of Cultural Memories

Session 4: Humanitarianism

Session 5: Ecological Impacts of the War

Session 6: Reversed Attitudes

Session 7: Remembrance without "Zeitzeugen"?

Session 8: Sharing History: Museums and Exhibitions

Session 9: New Historiographies

Session 10: Towards a New Chronology

Travel Grants

The Volkswagen Foundation offers travel grants for PhD students researching on the First World War in an outer-European perspective. Applicants can win one of six travel grants to take part in the Herrenhausen Symposium "The Long End of the First World War" in Hanover, Germany. The deadline for applications is November 1, 2016. Successful applicants will get the chance to discuss their research with senior scholars in a special PhD session on May 8, 2017 and shortly present their main argument in the plenum. Their posters on the PhD project will be displayed during the symposium. The grants include travel expenses to and from Hanover, visa fees (if applicable), as well as accommodation in Hanover.


If you would like to attend the conference, please register by clicking here. There are no fees for attendance but registration is essential.


The conference language is English.

Venue and public transport

The conference is held at Herrenhausen Palace in Hanover, Germany. You can reach the venue by tram: Take line 4 or 5 and get off at "Herrenhäuser Gärten".