These fall 2014 courses at Indiana University examine the 100-year influence of World War I.
World War I from the Margins
Michelle Moyd, IU Associate Professor of History
World War I was a global catastrophe that claimed the lives of millions and forever changed international political and economic arrangements. But why is the war called a “world war”? In this course, students will learn about the perspectives of people who were drawn into the war through European imperialism—for example, the experiences of African, Middle Eastern, and Asian soldiers and laborers who fought and worked in lesser-known campaigns around the world, compared to Europe. The course also considers the extent to which the war shaped relationships between colonized parts of the world and the colonizing nations of Europe.
After the Cataclysm: Legacies of WWI in Europe
Julia Roos, IU Associate Professor of History
In important ways, World War I made the horrific crimes and destructions of the Second World War possible. Rather than focusing on military history, though, this class focuses on the social, economic, cultural, and political legacies of World War I for 1920s and 1930s Europe. Discussions will center on major upheavals in established class relations and gender roles and important democratic advances, such as the number of European countries that granted women the vote in the war's aftermath. The period also witnessed the growth of extreme nationalism and the emergence of radically antidemocratic movements. Culturally, the 1920s were marked by stark contrasts between avant-garde experimentation and the yearning for a return to traditionalist forms.
1914–2014: World War I. Issues and Legacies for the Global World. (Honors seminar)
Andrea Ciccarelli, IU Professor and Chair, Department of French and Italian
World War I was called the Great War because it saw the intervention of countries far removed from Europe, but also because it was supposed to be a war that many hoped would redress old problems and put an end to any further conflict. This was a grand illusion. The war caused the collapse of the Austrian empire (1918), which, together with the downfall of the Russian empire (1917) and the Ottoman rule (1923), triggered a series of geographical and political decisions that, in good measure, were responsible for the clashes that brought to the Second World War and its long-term consequences: the Cold War, the anticolonial struggles, the fall of the Soviet Union, and the 1990s ethnic wars in the former Yugoslavia. The Great War was also a remarkable turning point for the modern development of drama, figurative arts, cinema, literature, and music, and was the first moment in modern history that brought public attention to issues that are still very much in the current debates. Scientific and ethical concerns related to weapons of mass destruction, the ethical treatment of prisoners, the effect of humankind on the environment, the psychological health of the veterans, gender and race equality, are all themes that originate from the cultural aftermath of World War I. In this class, we will examine the historical aspects that surrounded World War I, as well as the myriad topics still relevant today that were motivated by its magnitude in the arts.
Logic and Legacies of the Great War
Tim Waters, IU Professor of Law, IU Maurer School of Law
Only after the second global cataclysm in the 20th century did the events between 1914 and 1918 become known as the First World War—before that, that time period was referred to as the Great War. It was the first true war of the modern era: industrialized, mass-mobilized, drawing on all of the resources of the bureaucratic state, and altering the construction of the societies they fought. This seminar will recover the overshadowed memory of this, the most disruptive and decisive event of our era, with special attention to the way law was shaped by the shock of a violent modernity: its profound influences on the nature and regulation of war, international law, international institutions, democracy, and popular sovereignty. Through the prism of World War I, students will consider issues such as the ability of law to respond to changing technology, the first failed efforts at international criminal law and the quest to assign legal and moral responsibility for the war, the difficulties of dismantling empires and creating national states, and the challenges of crafting a general peace and a global system of security.