The War That Never Ended: Postwar Continuity and New Challenges in the Aftermath of the Habsburg and Ottoman Empires, 1918–1923
In 1914, imploding European powers committed murder and mayhem on an unforeseen scale around the world with enormous and irreversible global consequences. This bloody, sometimes even fratricidal, struggle wrought unprecedented destruction and death; by the time this disaster was “over,” a new world emerged beyond the imaginations of the perpetrators, participants and witnesses of this era. Post-armistice humanity around the globe was changed and was left heavily scarred, anxious, and full of economic, political, and cultural uncertainty. Many reflected about the recent catastrophe and sought to engage entire societies in the formation of a new order. This re-building and re-imagining could be seen from the local to the national to international levels and included the process of constructing a lasting memory of 1914–1918 and of creating narratives about the conflict. Undoubtedly, the years of the Great War are an important caesura in the historiography of the new world.
The centuries-old empires of Europe collapsed following the 1918 truce, but the agile colonial powers insisted on clinging to their overseas territories and their colonial clashes continued. For some historians there were not two world wars, but a twenty-year-long intermission that festered with uncertainties and anxieties. What is more, despite the fact that the Great War was over in the West, warfare continued for months and even years in Central, Eastern, and Southern Europe, including the territories of the former Ottoman Empire.
The War That Never Ended Conference invites papers engaging with the multilayered complexities, lasting and prolonged global contributions of this period, including the cultural, political, and social history of the immediate and prolonged aftermath of the First World War, its revolutions and birth of nations and states. We invite:
- a particular focus on the responses of the politicians, intellectuals, artists, as well as ordinary citizens with the expectation that social history profoundly informs political and economic history;
- papers focusing on and revealing the ensuing violence, mayhem and destruction in the aftermath of the war;
- papers considering the creation of new cultural and political trends in the hothouse of the period;
- a consideration of whether the term “Lost Generation” coined by Ernest Hemingway can be used in reference to East-Central Europe and the Ottoman Empire.
- papers on post-imperial settlements, adjustments and consolidations within the geographies of the Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman Empires to further our comparative understanding of post-imperial national projects and Comparisons may consider areas and issues such the rule of law, the role of religion, minorities, (de)democratization, governance, as well as cultural, economic and political clashes in the Middle East and Eastern Europe.
- explorations of the post-Great War formation of new states and their relationships with cultural diversity, de/colonization, democracy, and how they all interfaced with the impending clashes of World War II.