March 15, 2018

Approaches to Peace After 1918: Historians Discuss Roots of Contemporary Conflicts at the GHI Washington

One hundred years after the end of World War I, 40 historians from 10 countries are meeting to discuss its long-term consequences at the German Historical Institute Washington. The conference "Settlement and Unsettlement: The Ends of World War I and Their Legacies" addresses an acutely relevant question: How could it be that the long effort to negotiate a lasting peace in Europe and around the world resulted in conflicts that in many cases—such as the Middle East—have yet to be resolved? "Settlement and Unsettlement," the fourth in a series of major international conferences sponsored by the Max Weber Foundation, has been organized by the GHI Washington in collaboration with the leading German and American historians' organizations and the National History Center.

The armistice of November 11, 1918, is generally taken as the end of World War I. That event was, however, merely signaled the start of a protracted process to create a new international order and to secure a lasting peace. One of the principles guiding the would-be architects of the new order was the revolutionary concept of national self-determination. Pursuing the vision of ethnically homogenous nation states inspired by the principle of national self-determination, the diplomats and political leaders who negotiated the post-1918 peace agreements redrew borders, created new states, and gave sanction to large-scale transfers of population. They thereby also unintentionally opened the way for territorial disputes, revanchist agitation, forced mass migration of "national minorities," and genocide. "Settlement and Unsettlement" will reexamine the post-1918 peace-making process and reassess its successes and failures. The conference will give particular attention to the issues and conflicts arising from the World War I settlements that continue to resonate a century later.

"Settlement and Unsettlement" is the fourth annual "Foundation Conference" of the Bonn-based Max Weber Foundation. The foundation operates ten humanities and social sciences research institutes outside of Germany, including the GHI Washington, along with several regional offices and research groups. With this infrastructure, the Max Weber Foundation is a leading sponsor of international research collaboration in the humanities and social sciences. The annual Foundation Conferences bring together scholars from all the Max Weber Foundation institutes and colleagues from around the world to explore pivotal historical questions from comparative and interdisciplinary perspectives. The importance of the Foundation Conferences is reflected in stature of the institutional partners that have participated as sponsors. The American Historical Association, the National History Center, and the German Historical Association (Verband der Historiker und Historikerinnen Deutschlands) have joined with the GHI Washington in organizing "Settlement and Unsettlement."

For further information please contact: 

Dr. Sarah Beringer 
Head of Section, Research Strategy and Communications
German Historical Institute Washington 
1607 New Hampshire Ave NW
Washington, DC 20009
Phone +1 202 387-3355
Mailto: beringer@ghi-dc.org