1914-2014 : "The Great War and the Origins of Humanitarianism"

With Bruno Cabanes, French Historian and Professor at Ohio State University

Thursday, December 04, 2014
6:30 p.m.
54 W. Chicago Avenue
Free Admission / In English


"The Great War and the Origins of Humanitarianism"

With Bruno Cabanes, French Historian and Professor at Ohio State University

The aftermath of the Great War brought the most troubled peacetime the world had ever seen. Survivors of the war were not only the soldiers who fought, the wounded in mind and body. They were also the stateless, the children who suffered war's consequences, and later the victims of the great Russian famine of 1921 to 1923. Before the phrases 'universal human rights' and 'non-governmental organization' even existed, five remarkable men and women - René Cassin and Albert Thomas from France, Fridtjof Nansen from Norway, Herbert Hoover from the US and Eglantyne Jebb from Britain - understood that a new type of transnational organization was needed to face problems that respected no national boundaries or rivalries.

Bruno Cabanes, a pioneer in the study of the aftermath of war, shows, through his vivid and revelatory history of individuals, organizations, and nations in crisis, how and when the right to human dignity first became inalienable.

Bruno Cabanes received his Ph.D. from the Université Paris-I Panthéon Sorbonne in 2002. He is particularly interested in the period of transition that followed World War I. He has analyzed this topic from a variety of angles : the demobilization of combat troops, the traumatic impact of war on soldiers and civilians, a comparative study of the different post-war periods in the twentieth century, and, more recently, the environmental history of war and its aftermath.

His research on post-war transitions began with his doctoral dissertation, La Victoire endeuillée. La sortie de guerre des soldats français, 1918-1920 (Victory in Mourning: French Soldiers and the Transition to Civilian Life). La Victoire endeuillée was awarded the Gustave Chaix d'Est Ange Prize by the Academie des Sciences Morales et Politiques in Paris, and short-listed for the Augustin-Thierry Prize for the Best Book of the Year in Modern History.

His second book, The Great War and the Origins of Humanitarianism, 1918-1924 revisits the same period from a transnational perspective.


Click here for more information about the author

This program is made possible thanks to the Newberry Library


And don't miss our partners events :

"American Women Rebuilding France : 1917-1924" at the Newberry Library

Photos from the Anne Morgan Archives of the Franco-American Museum, Château de Blérancourt - September 16 - January 6th


"En Guerre, French Illustrations and World War I" at the University of Chicago Regenstein Library - October 14, 2014 - January 2, 2015.


"The Love of the Homeland, a Controversial Notion” at Pritzker Museum and Library

A conference with Marc Crépon, philosopher and author -  Thursday October 30th


For reservation information call: (312) 337-1070
Please note that registrations for cultural programs are non-refundable.

Return to event calendar