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To end all wars?

Geopolitical aftermath and commemorative legacies of the first world war

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Published on Friday, June 22, 2018


Taking worldwide perspectives, this unique and prestigious conference brings together international specialists including Jay Winter, Nicolas Offenstadt, Carole Fink, Stefan Berger, Bruce Scates, Pieter Lagrou, Piet Chielens and many others. They will discuss and reflect upon the consequences of the new geopolitical order that came into being after the First World War, and how that war and its legacy have been remembered up to the present day.



At the end of 1914 H. G. Wells published The War That Will End War, a collection of patriotic essays justifying Britain’s participation in the war. The title sounds familiar as it was taken up later on in other contexts, particularly by the British prime minister David Lloyd George and the American president Woodrow Wilson (‘the war to end (all) wars’).

With To End All Wars? the In Flanders Fields Museum (Ypres) and CEGESOMA (Brussels) once again return to this historic title for a multi-day conference, to tackle two questions: what were the consequences of the new geopolitical order installed after this so-called ‘last war’, and how is the legacy of both war and post-war order remembered up to the present day?

In 1918 the Armistice should have ended the war. But weapons did not fall silent. The war had shattered four ancient empires. Their collapse created power vacuums, exposed old wounds and created new ones. The Paris peace conference in 1919 and a series of subsequent treaties modelled a new world order that offered hardly any solutions. Geopolitically speaking it sometimes seems as if the consequences of the First World War are not yet fully over.

And don’t we seem to find the reverberations of this in the (almost finished) centenary? How remarkable is it that some of the speeches during the centenary celebration between 2014 and 2018 hardly differed from the antagonistic language of the allied side in 1919? And why, for example, do many voices from the Islamic world still criticize the negative results of a certain First World War treaty for the Middle-East?

To End All Wars? wants to take stock of various forms of legacy and meaning of the First World War as they have revealed themselves in the course of the past one hundred years. From the unique perspective of remembrance carried by Ypres, we will critically reflect on the past four year centenary, also asking the question which meaning the First World War will or should still have in the future.


22 august 

15.40 Start registration

16.00 Welcome

  • Stefan Berger (RUB):History as politics by other means. Historians And The Debate Surrounding The War Guilt Question, 1914 To The Present
  • Pieter Lagrou (ULB):A failed precedent? Attempts At International Justice In The Wake Of The First World War And Their Legacy

Fringe program

  • 18.00 reception

23 August

9.00 Registration

  • 9.30 Carole Fink (Ohio State University): A league of nations. The Wilsonian Conception Facing Postwar Realities
  • 10.20 Peter Gatrell (University of Manchester): Population displacement and refugees in the aftermath of war. Some Centenary Reflections

11.10 Coffee – tea - break

  • 11.30 Rae Frances (ANU): Australia, the league of the nations and the post-war racial settelement in the Asia-pacific region

12.30 : Lunch

14.00 : 

  • Jan Schmidt (KU Louvain): High expectations - Deep disenchantment. Reactions To The Paris Peace Conference In East Asia 
  • Dominiek Dendooven (IFFM):The great war for civilisation? Asian Memories Of The First World War 

16.00 Isa Blumi (Stockholm  University):UNSETTLED HISTORYRecovering The Ottoman Context In World War I Migration Patterns


24 August

  • 9.00 Registration
  • 9.30 Jay Winter (Yale University):The geometry of memory. Commemorations Of The Great War 1914-2018
  • 10.20 Laurence Van Ypersele (UCL) & Chantal Kesteloot (CEGESOMA):The grat war one hundred years on. From Exultation To Indifference (Belgium, 2014 - 2018)?
  • 11.10 Bruno De Wever (UGent)Tthe First world war as mythomoteur of anti-belgian flemish nationalism

12.30 Lunch

14.00 Mark Connelly & Stefan Goebel (Kent University)The new battle of Ypres, 1919-1944

14.50  Paul Gough (RMIT University)Best we forget? Some Provocations About Monument Frenzy And Recreational Grief

15.40 Coffee – tea - break

16.00  Artists

  • Val Carman (Assembly – Memorial Chairs)
  • Koen Vanmechelen (CWxRM)
  • Wim Opbrouck (Peace to the World)

Fringe program


  • Coming World Remember Me (CWxRM)
  • Landart installation in the Palingbeek


25 August

9.00 registration

9.30 Piet Chielens (IFFM):Tje centenary of the first world war in West Flanders. Official And Cultural Commemorations

10.20 Nicolas Offenstadt (Université Paris 1 – Pantéon Sorbonne):What did the centenary to memories of the war in France?

11.10 Coffee – tea - break

11.30 lunch

14.00 Edward Madigan (RH University of London):Between the poppy and the Lillya. Century Of Conflicted Irish Commemoration

14.50 Bruce Scates (ANU): Anzac Amnesia. Politics, Forgetting And The First World War

15.40 Coffee – tea - break

16.00 Debate

Final event by gone West

18.00  Peace to the world 

Market Square Ieper



  • CC Het Perron - Fochlaan 1, 8900 Ieper
    Ypres, Belgium (8900)


  • Wednesday, August 22, 2018
  • Thursday, August 23, 2018
  • Friday, August 24, 2018
  • Monday, June 25, 2018


  • war, aftermath, geopolitic,cCommemoration, world history


  • Trogh Pieter
    courriel : pieter [dot] trogh [at] ieper [dot] be

Reference Urls

Information source

  • Dendooven Dominiek
    courriel : dominiek [dot] dendooven [at] telenet [dot] be


CC0-1.0 This announcement is licensed under the terms of Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal.

To cite this announcement

« To end all wars? », Conference, symposium, Calenda, Published on Friday, June 22, 2018, https://doi.org/10.58079/10jh

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