Starting from the next year events, research projects and commemorative ceremonies will take place everywhere to mark the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War and we may run the risk of overdose if we do not wonder from time to time, why and how we are going to celebrate the centenary. Indeed everyone is free to shape a personal sense of the commemoration; yet it is a common wish to avoid at least all misconceptions or standardized judgment, especially regarding the historical examination of the causes of World War I, which represents even today a contentious subject and deserves therefore a new critical approach. The conflict emerged in fact from both a complex conjunction of concrete circumstances, each of which can be judged nor inevitable neither predominant, and a particular cultural climate of the prewar period. The compelling task of the modern historiography is therefore to link appropriately all these factors in a coherent canvas.
This desideratum is at the center of an upcoming symposium hosted by the National World Museum of Kansas City on 8th and 9th November 2013, with the title "The Coming of the Great War". Organized by the World War One Historical Association, the conference considers the political, social, economical, cultural and military changes in the time-span 1870-1913. Esteemed scholars - including Gary Armstrong (William Jewell College), Ross Collins (University of North Dakota), Richard Hamilton (Ohio State University), Martha Hanna (University of Colorado), Holger Herwig (University of Calgary), John Kuehn and Nicholas Murray (Command and General Staff College), Michael Neiberg (U.S. War College), Pierre Purseigle (Yale University) and Michael Reynolds (Princeton University) - will come together to discuss the social unrest, the rising nationalism, the colonial rivalries and the rapid technological-industrial advances, which gave rise to an increasing international tension in the prewar environment and contributed then to unleash the conflict in 1914.
A detailed description of the conference and practical information can be found on the homepage of the symposium here.