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1918, the Unfinished War. Europe, a hundred years afterwards

Robert Gerwarth and Victor Demiaux in dialogue

Debate

The end of the First World War represented a change of paradigm in the history and the very idea of Europe. On the centenary of the 1918 Armistice, the historians Robert Gerwarth and Victor Demiaux—presented by the journalist Carme Colomina—will discuss this extraordinarily important historical period, now against a background in which the European project is once again being questioned.

The armistice signed on the 11 November 1918 between the Allied Powers and Imperial Germany was an attempt to put an end to one of humanity’s greatest tragedies, the First World War. However, while it did put an end to the armed conflict, the armistice did not bring peace or détente since, for example, it shifted borders, thus bringing about an unprecedented exodus of populations, and imposed extraordinarily harsh conditions on the defeated powers. Meanwhile, with the extravagant victory celebrations, feelings of revenge and hostility began to grow and would last for years, paving the way for the incipient fascist movements. Eventually, with the additional factors of threat of revolution, economic crises, and internal conflicts inside Europe, this post-war world was to become the prelude to a new, even bigger war. The only way to escape from this nightmare was by way of the dream of a united plural Europe, a project which, despite its successes, is now confronting a powerful antidemocratic change of direction. Looking back at the past is an essential step to take at this turning point presently confronting Europe.

Moderators: Carme Colomina

Participants: Robert Gerwarth, Victor Demiaux

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