THE GREAT WAR: EXPERTS AVAILABLE TO COMMENT ON 100TH ANNIVERSARY OF WORLD WAR I
Florida State University’s noted authorities on World War I, European history and American history are available to answer media questions and provide analysis of the 100th anniversary of the Great War that began July 28, 1914.
Sparked by the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria in June 1914, World War I began a month later when Austria-Hungary officially declared war on Serbia. In 1917, American troops joined the Allies to help defeat the Central Forces. Germany signed the final armistice in November 1918, which marked the end of a devastating war that killed more than 9 million soldiers and left another 21 million wounded.
Piehler is the director of the Institute on World War II and the Human Experience at Florida State. His expertise is U.S. history with an emphasis on the 20th century, war and society, and history and memory. He is the author of “Remembering the War the American Way” and a consulting editor for the “Oxford Companion to American Military History.”
“World War I changed everything,” Piehler said. “It completely reordered the global economy, fractured countless societies and led to an unprecedented shift of power to the United States. Despite the best efforts of the World War I generation to preserve the memory of this conflict with thousands of memorials, Americans know little about this cataclysmic event.”
Williamson’s expertise is on modern Europe, particularly German cultural and intellectual history. His research interests also include religious history and other aspects of European history from 1750 to present. He is an award-winning author with work published in the Journal of Modern History and the “Oxford Handbook of Modern German History.”
“One hundred years after the outbreak of World War I, debates concerning the causes of the war and the broader issue of “war guilt” still have the potential to inflame passions among scholars and politicians in Europe and elsewhere,” Williamson said. “While some commentators focus on the aggressive posture of Kaiser Wilhelm II and the German Empire, others highlight the willingness of Austria-Hungary to go to war. Still others point a finger at Serbia, whose government knew of the plan to assassinate the Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand, and Russia, whose military support for Serbia ensured that the conflict would spread beyond the Balkans. Meanwhile, other historians focus on such systemic issues as imperialism, the pre-war arms race and the rise of militarism and navalism, all of which ensured that the major powers of Europe embraced war in 1914 as a necessary and even salutary development.”