HomeFrom One War to the Next: What Was Left of 1870-1871 in 1914?

From One War to the Next: What Was Left of 1870-1871 in 1914?

D'une guerre à l'autre : que reste-t-il de 1870-1871 en 1914 ?

Von einem Krieg zum nächsten: Was wirkt 1914 von 1870/71 fort?

International Relations, Armies and Societies

Relations internationales, armées et sociétés

Internationale Beziehungen, Armeen, Gesellschaften

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Published on Wednesday, June 05, 2013 by Élodie Faath

Summary

In Yesterday’s World: a European Memory, Stefan Zweig considered he could speak of the Austro-Hungarian Empire before 1914 as a “golden age of security” when “nobody believed in wars”, which were widely thought to belong to “bygones eras”. Indeed, one of the first questions that comes to mind on the eve of the commemorative events of 2014 is what did Europeans make out of the war and what did it mean to them: what memories and forms of knowledge fed their understanding of the new reality that faced them in the summer of 1914?

Announcement

First historical meeting of the museum of the war of 1870 and the annexation, international symposium, 27-29 mars 2014, Gravelotte 11, rue de Metz, f- 57130

Argument

In Yesterday’s World: a European Memory, Stefan Zweig considered he could speak of the Austro-Hungarian Empire before 1914 as a “golden age of security” when “nobody believed in wars”, which were widely thought to belong to “bygones eras”. Indeed, one of the first questions that comes to mind on the eve of the commemorative events of 2014 is what did Europeans make out of the war and what did it mean to them: what memories and forms of knowledge fed their understanding of the new reality that faced them in the summer of 1914?

In the case of France, it is no longer possible to argue that, 43 years on, the war was understood and wished for as a long-awaited chance for revenge. This is obviously not to say that memories of the war were entirely buried. It is widely known that in the wake of the crises of Tangiers in 1905 and, even more so, Agadir in 1911, the resurgence of nationalist feeling put the question of the “lost provinces” back on the agenda. What is less well-known, however, is how exactly people perceived the relationship between the new war and the previous one, whether spontaneously or as a result of propaganda. The collective, but flickering and sometimes repackaged, memory of the war presumably set the regions which had been struck by war in 1870-1871 ― particularly those which remained occupied until 1873 ― apart from Southern France. This rift, which probably fuelled prejudices against Southern France, was lessened in a number of ways: through commemorative events, the narratives of veterans unified teaching programmes, etc. But to what extent were these successful?

Similar questions arise on the German side. John Horne’s and Alan Kramer’s demonstration that enduring memories of the francs-tireurs of 1870 underlay the “atrocities” of 1914 begs the question of what was left ― in society as a whole rather than merely the Army ― of the military victory and founding event the Sedanstag commemorated each year. Within the Reich, this matter provoked different reactions in different Länder just as it did in different regions of the French Republic.

More generally, it would be good to compare the processes which led these conflicts to become international on both sides. Particular attention should be paid to the states which were situated on the border of these bellicose nations ―Belgium, Luxembourg, Switzerland ― and to the ways in, and varying extents to, which they found themselves implicated in both conflicts. To what extent were those living in the two main nations of the Western front able to gauge, from their everyday lives, that the war of 1914 was not simply another Franco-German war, but a world war? Conversely, while there may have been an immediate perception in 1914 that this was a European war, to what extent were those who had lived through the war of 1870 able to understand that as it became more drawn out, the war might spread to other nations? European historical considerations meant that countries which France had expected to have on side opted for neutrality: it is worth reexamining these factors at a time when, in France, the Bicentenary of the Revolution constitutes the organizational model for the commemoration of the Centenary of the Great War.

It seems particularly apt to raise these issues on the occasion of the first scientific conference to be held at the Museum of Gravelotte, which is entirely dedicated to the war of 1870 and the annexation of part of Lorraine and Alsace. The Museum of Gravelotte, which will be the only cultural institution of national importance dedicated to the war of 1870, wishes to show right from its opening that high-level research is an intrinsic part of its mission. In this spirit, this conference is being organized by the Scientific Advisory Board of the Museum of Gravelotte in partnership with two other institutions which have just joined forces to create an international research group on the war of 1870 and its consequences: Sciences Po Paris and the Albert-Ludwigs-Universität in Freiburg.

Proposals may examine issues at a “macro” level ― for instance, by analyzing the considerations and debates that stirred international law and shaped diplomatic practices bore the mark of the war of 1870-1871 ― or at a “micro” level ― in particular at the level of the reactivation of occupation practices or of modes of resistance by the occupied. It is well- know that the canton d’Arracourt (Meurthe-et-Moselle) mistakenly began to mobilise its troops in November 1912, but it would be interesting to know how this was perceived.

Proposals may explore, among other issues,

  • the influence of the war of 1870 on military education: in particular, on the training of officers;
  • on strategic and tactical doctrines (not only in France and Germany, of course);
  • on the forms that combat and violence took both in 1870-1871 and in the first campaigns of 1914;
  • on the heritage of commemorations, especially on monuments and the events which they could be the focus of in 1914;
  • on the resurgence from one war to the next of particular patriotic motifs and symbols, on the ability of various categories of social and political actors to draw on the supposed lessons of the previous war in order to convince themselves that the war would not last.

Submission guidelines

Proposals should be one or two pages long and state the first and last name of their authors, as well as their institutional affiliation and the title of the paper.

They should also provide an abstract of the paper and list the sources which will be used as supporting evidence.

Proposals will be submitted to the Scientific Committee of the conference, and their authors will be informed of the outcome within a month of receipt.

All proposals must be sent to the following address:

Département de la Moselle DCT/DAC
à l’attention de Monsieur Eric Necker
1 rue du pont Moreau BP 11096 57096 Metz cedex 1

Eric.necker@cg57.fr

Tél. 0033 (0)3 87 65 86 54

All proposals must be submitted by 21 June 2013.

Scientific Committee of the Conference

Jean-François Chanet, Christopher Clark, François Cochet, Olivier Dard, Étienne François, Christine Krüger, Jörn Leonhard, Jakob Vogel.

Places

  • 11 rue de Metz
    Gravelotte, France (57)

Date(s)

  • Friday, June 21, 2013

Keywords

  • guerre, 1870, armées, 1914, 1871, War, Armies, International Relations, Krieg, Armeen

Contact(s)

  • Éric Necker
    courriel : Eric [dot] necker [at] cg57 [dot] fr
  • Jean-François Chanet
    courriel : jeanfrancois [dot] chanet [at] sciences-po [dot] fr

Information source

  • Carole Gautier
    courriel : carole [dot] gautier [at] sciencespo [dot] fr

To cite this announcement

« From One War to the Next: What Was Left of 1870-1871 in 1914? », Call for papers, Calenda, Published on Wednesday, June 05, 2013, https://calenda.org/251926

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