Research Project: ‘The Limits of Demobilization’

Paramilitary Violence in Europe and the Wider World, 1917-23

Map of the World highlighting research project regions
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This ERC-funded project investigates the often violent (and sometimes peaceful) global paths of transition from war to ‘peace’ during one of the most formative, yet surprisingly understudied, periods in modern history: the years between 1917 and 1923. Originally seed-funded by the Irish Research Council for the Humanities and Social Sciences (IRCHSS) the purpose of the project is to think afresh about the immediate aftermath of the Great War and its legacies. This will be achieved by adopting a genuinely global perspective on the violent conflicts that erupted in many of the former combatant states after 1917/18 and on the ways in which these conflicts were avoided in other areas.

With a team of five postdoctoral fellows working on different zones of post-war conflict, the project aims to challenge both nation-centric explanations for the eruption of violence and the conventional assumption that the Great War ended in November 1918. The project aims to contribute to a better, more empirically grounded explanation of why some formerly combatant countries managed the transition from war to peace more successfully than others and why other regions and countries experienced major waves of violence.

Five postdoctoral researchers and Prof Robert Gerwarth, the principle investigator, are working on the project, covering different regional areas of the project:

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