Now all roads lead to France and heavy is the tread
Of the living; but the dead returning lightly dance.
Edward Thomas, Roads

Thursday, February 12, 2015

What Are Today's Historians Studying About World War I?

I have been provided a copy of the tentative program for the 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for Military History. It will be hosted 9–12 April 2015 by the U.S. Air Force's Air University at Montgomery, Alabama.  The four-day conference has a long, long program, but I would estimate that about 20 percent of the presentations are related to the First World War.  

U.S. Marines Begin Arriving in France, 1917

If past trends are any indication, a number of these talks will be expanded into full books in the future.  I've listed the WWI talks below. There seems, to me, to be some trends discernible, but I'll let you make up your own minds without my comments. I think you will also find the names and affiliations of the speakers interesting as well. An alternative title for this article is "Who Is Doing Cutting-Edge Research on the Great War."  

"The Impact of Irregular Warfare upon the Great War: The American Experience"
Steven Masternak, United States Air Force

"The Problems of Air-to-Ground Communication/Cooperation in the AEF"
Lawrence Mitchell Burke, II, Carnegie Mellon University

"Assessing Chemical Weapons in the Aftermath of World War I"
Thomas Faith, U.S. Department of State

"Victory in Mourning: How Five Million French Veterans Returned from World War I"
Bruno Cabanes, Ohio State University

"Transformation Arrives: The National Defense Act and Mexican Border Service, 1916–17"
William Boehm, National Guard Bureau

"A Cold Start: Reexamining the U.S. Army’s Stumble into War in 1917"
Rory M. McGovern, U.S. Military Academy

"Intoxicating Memories: Representations of Drinking on the Western Front"
Adam Zientek, Stanford University

"Conchies and Yellowbellies: Conscription and Conscience in the United States during World War I"
Jeffrey Copeland, U.S. Air Force Academy

"The Sinking of the Lusitania, Wilson’s Response, and Paths Not Taken: Historical Revisionism and the Ghost of William Jennings Bryan"
Douglas Peifer, Air War College

"Auf See Ubesiegt: German Naval Representations in the Decades Following the First World War"
Keith W. Bird, Corporation for a Skilled Workforce

"Sites of Memory and Mourning in Print"
Andrew Keitt, University of Alabama at Birmingham

"Conflict and Commemoration: World War I and the American War of Movement"
Nimrod Frazer, Independent Scholar

"Victory: British Soldiers and the Meaning of the Armistice"
Alex Nordlund, University of Georgia

"Seeing the World Anew: World War I Memory’s Impact on Nazi Historical Interpretation"
Derrick Angermeier, University of Georgia

"Leipzig Did Not Fail: How the Memory of Atrocities in World War I Provided a Foundation for Human Rights"
Alison Vick, University of Tennessee

"War Winners: Allied Reframing of the Salonika Campaign in Postwar Memoirs"
Robert L. Nelson and Justin Fantauzzo, University of Windsor

Recent Commemorative Event on the Salonika Front

"'We Too Should Lay Down Our Lives for Our Brothers": The Material Culture of Memory in WWI Germany"
Brian Feltman, Georgia Southern University

"Brothers in Arms: Republican Paramilitary Groups in Germany and Austria, 1918–1934"
Erin Hochman, Southern Methodist University

"Memory and Masculinity: Contested Images of Manliness in German Soldiers’ Writing on the Great War"
Jason Crouthamel, Grand Valley State University

"Rise and Fall of the Austro-Hungarian Navy, 1900–1918"
Stanley D. M. Carpenter, Naval War College

"War and the Unravelling of the State in the Ottoman Empire, 1912–1919"
James M. Tallon, Lewis University


  1. An interesting collection of topics. There has been a dearth of an overall examination of the German experience of the Great War. Disappointed not enough research being done on the French experience of the war and its aftermath.

  2. Nothing on the literature the War produced--and is still producing in the form of novels. Gasp!
    David Beer