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First World War at LSE

War does not decide who is right but who is left. - George Bernard Shaw 

Chateau_Wood_Ypres_1917When the opening salvos of the First World War were fired, the London School of Economics and Political Science had been established as a metropolitan centre for  research and teaching in the social sciences with a tradition of public engagement for nearly two decades. The School was characteristically divided over the rights and wrongs of the conflict, but hundreds of alumni joined the Forces, alongside academics such as Clement Attlee, Hugh Dalton and R.H Tawney - 46 students and staff were killed. Many more helped the war effort both from behind the lines and back on the home front.

As we commemorate the centenary of the First World War over the next four years, these pages will be updated with the work taking place at LSE looking at all aspects of the conflict which was referred to with hope as the ‘war to end all wars’.  

Trails of the Great War 1914-2014

LSE will host a one-day conference on Friday 3 October, Trails of the Great War 1914-2014, moving the centenary focus beyond the parochial and broadening the British debate to analyse the long-term global consequences of the Great War and its impact on politics today. John F. Jungclaussen, German historian and London correspondent for Die Zeit, provides the background to the conference in this opinion piece.

LSE Director Professor Craig Calhoun discusses the legacy of WW1 in this video, outlining the conference theme which explores not only how the Great War changed the world, but also the broader meaning of politics, suffering, struggle and the human dimension of nationalist conflicts.

Highlights of LSE academics in the media 

davidstevenson2Professor David Stevenson of the Department of International History
Professor Stevenson's main fields of interests lie in international relations in Europe during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries; origins, course, and impact of the First World War.
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heatherjones2Dr Heather Jones of the Department of International History
Dr Heather Jones is a specialist in First World War Studies with a particular interest in the evolution of wartime violence and the cultural impact of the conflict in Britain, France, Germany and Italy. Her other main research areas are: the history of prisoner of war treatment in twentieth-century Europe; Weimar Germany; Irish politics, conflict and culture, 1913-1923.
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BBC Magazine
World War One: 10 interpretations of who started WW1
Professor David Stevenson and Dr Heather Jones contribute to a BBC Magazine piece
As nations gear up to mark 100 years since the start of World War One, academic argument still rages over which country was to blame for the conflict.

Wall Street Journal
World War One Centenary: decline of the UK
In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Professor Stevenson looks at how the First World War accelerated a chain of events which ultimately led to the decline of the British Empire.

BBC Radio 3
Minds at War: Le Feu
Dr Heather Jones reflects on Henri Barbusse's novel Le Feu. Completed in 1916 and the work of a French soldier at the front, Le Feu was the first explicit account of conditions there. It proved a revelation to a French public sold a sentimental line by the press of the time.

Financial Times
Lest we forget: testimonies from soldiers of the first world war
Professor Stevenson reviews memoirs of the Great War written by individuals who served at the Front.

Sky News Sunrise
World War One: 100 Years On
Dr Heather Jones gives a brief history of World War One and describes the horrors it engendered.

The Irish Times
First World War violence 'breached norms'
Dr Heather Jones examines how the First World War was seen as a complete break with the past in terms of the violence used.

LSE Library blog

LSE Library’s collections and the First World War 
When the First World War began, LSE had been established for two decades as a metropolitan centre for research and teaching in the social sciences, with a tradition of public engagement...

LSE Library’s archives on women, the war, and the vote
By the time Britain declared war with Germany in 1914, women had been campaigning unsuccessfully for the vote for nearly 50 years...

Researching the Great War using LSE Library's collections
On 4 August 1914 at 11pm, Britain declared war on Germany, responding to their violation of Belgium neutrality. How had Europe got to this point? What impact would the conflict have on the belligerent and neutral nations? The answers to these questions can be researched using LSE Library’s collections...

Opposition to the First World War - research resources at LSE Library
Active opposition to World War One took place in the form of protests, public meetings and conscientious objection to conscription. The organisations involved include Christian pacifists, socialists and intellectuals...



WWI @ LSE: a common cause