Call for Papers: War and experiences of European-ness: Convergences, transfers and circulations, 1900–1950

International Conference of the Deutsches Historisches Institut Paris and the Research Centre of Excellence
»Écrire une histoire nouvelle de l’Europe« (EHNE)
November 12–13, 2015
Deadline: March 23, 2015

National societies do not function in closed space. The spread of new communication and transport means during the second half of the 19th century has brought together formerly distant regions of the European continent and created new spaces for economic and information exchanges. This process of convergence provided a basis for a larger »community of Europeans«. At the same time, a somewhat contradictory development took place through the strengthening of nationalist ideas and movements leading to the foundation of so-called »nation-states« in Central, Eastern and South-Eastern Europe and the intensification of tensions between different ethnic groups and minorities. European societies therefore experienced contradictory changes, both rapprochement on a transnational level and withdrawal to the national space.

No region in Europe escaped the wars – civil or international – of the first half of the 20th century, which set off massive population displacements. In individual states divisions between linguistic-ethnic groups, between »indigenous peoples« and »immigrants«, or between supporters of different political orientations became increasingly important. Those circles traditionally cultivating ties beyond frontiers and nations – such as journalists, expatriates, refugees, migrants, politicians, economic operators, diplomats, or artists – nevertheless continued to cultivate their contacts and exchange of information and ideas beyond dividing lines, frontiers and battle lines. The academic gathering focuses on European processes of convergence during war time, on the information flow, on transfers of ideas and opinions between different theatres of war, on their agents and vectors inside and outside of conflict zones, as well as on their influence on politics and society. What effects does information from elsewhere have on the attitude and behaviour of populations in war? In World War II press coverage of incidents in Poland from September 1939 onwards undoubtedly influenced the mass exodus of the Belgian and (Northern) French population during the German invasion of May and June 1940. In the same way, the continuous success of the Yugoslavian insurrection in September 1941 encouraged support for resistance movements throughout occupied Europe. By which means does information circulate, and how can restrictions and censorship be bypassed? Other examples, from World War I, might be the immigrants in Western Europe: how are they considered during war time, occupying as they often do a space between exile, military engagement, forced labour or internment? Are they »bridges« to the other camp, to their country or region of origin? Further possible agents are the women’s movements, assembling in spring 1915 for the International Congress of Women in The Hague or the socialist circles meeting in Zimmerwald and Kiental in the same year. And finally, what is the importance of neutral states regarding the flow of news and opinions?

The question concerns not only the effect of transnational interplay on the course of war, but also on features of political regimes, as regimes of occupation, when ideas on strategies and practices concerning the »pacification« of a territory, collaboration, propaganda, as well as exploitation or the repression of resistance, circulate within the occupying elites of different regions.

These observations are not limited to world war, but are relevant also to other wars of the European continent from 1900 to 1950: the Balkan Wars, the post-1918 conflicts in Central Europe, or the Spanish Civil War. The purpose of this conference is to broaden the representation of societies in war, relying traditionally on national parameters, by pointing out transnational – European – connections and perspectives.

The conference represents the continuation of the conference on »War and population movements. A crossexamination of Europe in the 19th and 20th century« organised in April 2015 at the German Historical Institute Paris in cooperation with LabEx EHNE.

The panels of the conference will be the following:
– The flow of information and intelligence (press, supranational organisations such as the Red Cross, the
Churches, etc.)
– Populations movements (reception, rejection, schema of friend-enemy)
– Economic and financial cooperation
– Resistance and exile
– Military presence and occupation (collaboration, repression, exploitation, intimate relations, etc.)
– Networks (politicians, intellectuals, artists, etc.)

Paper proposals on any aspect of the conference theme should comprise an abstract of one page and a short CV
(in a single PDF file). Please send it to blambauer(at) before March 23, 2015.

Organisation: Barbara Lambauer and Christian Wenkel
Scientific Advisory Board: Alya Aglan, Bettina Barboutie-Severin, Robert Frank, Jean-Michel Guieu, Barbara
Lambauer, Stefan Martens, Christian Wenkel and Arndt Weinrich.

Cite this blog post
dhiparis (2015, February 19). Call for Papers: War and experiences of European-ness: Convergences, transfers and circulations, 1900–1950. La Grande Guerre. Retrieved June 25, 2024, from

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