October 2014


Remembering World War I


In 1914, one man’s assassination set off a series of events that would draw forth mounting tensions throughout Europe and the greater world. In a world in which everyday existence had already been revolutionized by the fast emergence of new technology and industry, aging institutions and power structures were the next to go as the world exploded in what would become one of the deadliest conflicts in history. When the Great War ended more than four years later, Europe and participating nations found themselves depleted of population, as 9 million soldiers and 7 million civilians had perished, and the traditional pre-war order had been decimated. 

A century later, we commemorate the loss and influence of the Great War, now remembered as the first of two World Wars that would redefine the human race through the 20th century. Across the globe, memorials and ceremonies honor this year the fallen and those who survived and re-examine the causes to and consequences of exposing the entire globe to violent conflict. 

The French-American Foundation recognizes the significance of the Great War as a key moment in the historic alliance between France and the United States, a late but decisive addition to the allied war effort joining in 1917. 

In recognition of the centennial, the French-American Foundation, in partnership with the Mémorial de Verdun, will welcome Dr. Jay M. Winter, the Charles J. Stille Professor of History at Yale University, to discuss the lasting impact of World War I on France, Europe, and transatlantic relations, as well as the effort to memorialize World War I.

Joseph Zimet, Managing Director of La Mission du Centenaire 14-18 (The First Word War Centennial Commission ) a permanent interministerial team of the Mission Centenaire 14-18 of the first World War will introduce the conference. Professor Winter is a member of the historical advisory committee of the Mémorial de Verdun, commemorative site of the emblematic battle that over the course of more than nine months in 1916 and which saw more than 306,000 dead or missing and 406,000 wounded. Other representatives of the Memorial will be in attendance including Christian Namy, Senator and President of the Conseil général de la Meuse and Francis Lefort, President of the National Committee of the Remembrance of Verdun.

Admission to this luncheon is $25. Space is limited, and a reservation is required. Tickets can be purchased here. For more information, please contact [email protected].

Dr. Jay M. Winter

Dr. Jay M. Winter, Charles J. Stille Professor of History at Yale University, is a specialist on World War I and its impact on the 20th century.

His other interests include remembrance of war in the 20th century, such as memorial and mourning sites, European population decline, the causes and institutions of war, British popular culture in the era of the Great War and the Armenian genocide of 1915.

Winter is the author or co-author of a dozen books, including Rene Cassin et les droits de l’homme (Paris: Fayard), co-authored with Antoine Prost, which won the prize for best book of the year at the Blois History festival in 2011; Socialism and the Challenge of War, Ideas and Politics in Britain, 1912-18, The Great War and the British People, The Fear of Population Decline, The Experience of World War I, Sites of Memory, Sites of Mourning: The Great War in European Cultural History, 1914-1918: The Great War and the Shaping of the 20th Century, Remembering War: The Great War between History and Memory in the 20th Century, and Dreams of Peace and Freedom: Utopian Moments in the 20th Century.

He has edited or co-edited 13 books and contributed more than 40 book chapters to edited volumes.  He is co-director of the project on Capital Cities at War: Paris, London, Berlin 1914-1919, which has produced two volumes, the first on social and economic history, published by Cambridge University in 1997, and the second published by Cambridge in 2007.  A Cultural History (with Jean-Louis Robert). Work in preparation includes ‘The Degeneration of War,’ ‘The Social Construction of Silence,’ and ‘Anxious futures: population politics in the 21st century.’

Jay Winter was co-producer, co-writer and chief historian for the PBS series “The Great War and the Shaping of the 20th Century,” which won an Emmy Award, a Peabody Award and a Producers Guild of America Award for best television documentary in 1997.

Winter earned BA from Columbia University and his PhD and DLitt degrees from Cambridge University. He taught at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the University of Warwick and the University of Cambridge before joining the faculty of Columbia University in 2000 and then the Yale faculty one year later. At Yale, his courses include lectures on Europe in the age of total war, and on modern British history, as well as seminars on history and memory and European identities.

Winter has presented named lectures at Dartmouth College, Union University, Indiana University and the Leo Baeck Institute in New York. He is a fellow of the Royal Historical Society and received an honorary doctorate from the University of Graz in 2010.

This event made possible with the support of Air France, exclusive airline sponsor of the Foundation's speaker series.

Air France


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