The upcoming centenary of the First World War has already sparked great debate and public comment about how we should remember and commemorate the conflict. Whereas the popular television show Blackadder and the poetry of Wilfred Owen conjure notions of a horrific and futile tragedy, it has also been argued that the First World War was a necessary and worthwhile struggle for freedom. Following interventions by politicians and journalists, the Library and History Today are pleased to provide a forum for an important discussion of the myths, meaning and origins of the First World War by leading historians.
Professor Gary Sheffield (WFA Vice President) is one of the foremost authorities on the First World War. He held the inaugural Chair in War Studies at the University of Birmingham, positions at King's College, London and the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, and is currently Professor of War Studies at the University of Wolverhampton. His publications include The Chief: Douglas Haig and the British Army (2011), The Somme (2003) and Forgotten Victory: The First World War -- Myths and Realities (2001).
Dr Annika Mombauer is Senior Lecturer in Modern European History at the Open University and has published widely on German military planning in the years before the First World War. She is author of The Origins of the First World War: Controversies and Consensus (2002).
Dr Dan Todman is Senior Lecturer at Queen Mary, University of London, and works on the social, military and cultural history of Britain during the world wars. His publications include The Great War: Myth and Memory (2005).
Dr Neil Faulkner is a Research Fellow at Bristol University, a leading First World War archaeologist, a high-profile Marxist historian, and the author of the Stop the War Coalition pamphlet 'No Glory: the real history of the First World War'.
Paul Lay is editor of History Today.
Published February 2014