‘The War to End All Wars: U.S. National World War I Centennial Symposium, 1916-2016’
Held at Ohio State University October 27 & 28, 2016
December 12, 2016
The Redefinition of Battle: Verdun and the Somme, 1916
by Sir Hew Strachan
Sir Hew Strachan, FRSE, Hon D. Univ (Paisley)
was Chichele Professor of the History of War at the University of Oxford until 2015, and is now Professor of International Relations at the University of St Andrews. He is an Emeritus Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford and a Life Fellow of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge. His recent books include The First World War: Volume 1: To Arms (2001), The First World War: An Illustrated History (2003; related to a multi-part television series and translated into many languages), Clausewitz’s On War: A Biography (2007), and The Direction of War (2013). He is the editor of The Oxford Illustrated History of the First World War (revised edition, 2014), and a clutch of volumes arising from his Directorship of the Oxford Changing Character of War Programme. He is a member of the Chief of Defence Staff’s Strategic Advisory Panel, the Defence Academy Advisory Board, and the Council of the International Institute for Strategic Studies, and has been a specialist advisor to the Joint Parliamentary Committee on the National Security Strategy in the recently dissolved Parliament. He is a Trustee of the Imperial War Museum and a Commonwealth War Graves Commissioner, and serves on the both the United Kingdom’s and Scotland’s national advisory panels for the centenary of the First World War.
About The ‘The War to End All Wars: U.S. National World War I Centennial Symposium, 1916-2016’Ohio State to Hosted ‘The War to End All Wars: U.S. National World War I Centennial Symposium, 1916-2016’ on October 27 & 28, 2016
The Department of History, in partnership with the U.S. World War One Centennial Commission, whosted a symposium marking the 100th anniversary of the war. “The War to End All Wars: U.S. National World War I Centennial Symposium, 1916-2016” was presented on the Ohio State campus on Thursday, Oct. 27, and Friday, Oct. 28.
Ohio State was chosen by the commission to host the event “because of the strength of our military history program, which is among the best if not the best in the United States,” explained Peter Mansoor, colonel, U.S. Army (retired), who is the General Raymond E. Mason, Jr. Chair of Military History. “The symposium is a wonderful opportunity to showcase our program to the local community and through webcasting to the general public and school audiences.”
The event included a keynote address Thursday evening by Sir Hew Strachan, the world’s leading historian of the First World War. Sir Strachan discussed the killing fields of 1916, the year that witnessed horrendous fighting at Verdun and on the Somme.
Each presentation section of the all day Friday symposium was preceded by a very special moment brought by Ohio State students in theatre and the arts departments. Prior to the historic informational perspectives, these students recited selections of World War I poetry and even shared a period song. It offered a poignant and powerful combination of "cleansing the mental palate" and preparation for diving into an hour-long perspective on various aspects of the war.
These presentations included:
- The Military History of World War I, 1914-1918
- Financing the First World War
- War, Death, and Remembrance in 1914-1918
- WWI and the Emerging Laws of War
- Shell Shock: Core Insights of the Recent Historiography
- KEYNOTE: The Redefinition of Battle: Verdun and the Somme, 1916
The symposium title “The War to End All Wars" reflects what the conflict was optimistically called, at the time. Of course it was not the last global conflict to devastate human civilization, but it was traumatic — the end of an era that witnessed the collapse of unbridled optimism and faith in Western civilization.
The event organizer and host, Professor Peter Mansoor concluded with, “It’s important on this 100th anniversary to recall the horrors of the war and to revisit how World War I reshaped the world as we know it.”