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Robert Gerwarth awarded prestigious ERC Grant

Robert Gerwarth awarded prestigious ERC Grant

Professor Robert Gerwarth awarded prestigious ERC Grant for ‘The Age of Civil Wars in Europe, 1914-1949’

The European Research Council (ERC)  has awarded an Advanced Grant, valued at €2.5 millon, to (opens in a new window)Professor Robert Gerwarth, Professor of Modern History in the UCD School of History, for  his project on ‘The Age of Civil Wars in Europe, 1914-1949’.

Professor Robert Gerwarth said: “The ERC Advanced Grant provides a wonderful opportunity to carry out a major comparative project on the history of civil wars in Europe’s twentieth century. The project will ultimately lead to a better understanding of why that century became the most violent in human history and why civilians outnumbered soldiers among the dead in most of these conflicts.

“I am very grateful to the ERC, and for the support I have received from within UCD – notably from the School of History, the College of Arts and Humanities, and UCD Research – as well as from outside UCD. In particular, I’d like to thank the Leverhulme Trust which generously funded a Visiting Professorship at Oxford in 2021-22. During my time in the UK, I had the opportunity to advance some of my ideas through close collaboration with colleagues at Oxford, Queen’s University Belfast and the University of Edinburgh. Their input and feedback has been of tremendous help.”

Principal of UCD College of Arts and Humanities,(opens in a new window) Professor Sarah Prescott said: ​"I would like to extend my congratulations to Professor Robert Gerwarth on this exceptional award. This highly significant and timely comparative research project will greatly enhance our understanding of European civil wars and their legacy in a pan-European context and is testament to Professor Gerwarth’s world-leading scholarship.’

 About Robert Gerwarth’s Research

Robert is an acclaimed German historian and author who specialises the history of German and Central European political culture in the period 1871 - 1945. He is Director of the UCD Centre for War Studies, and a Leverhulme Trust Visiting Professor at Oxford University who has also held fellowships at Princeton, Harvard and the NIOD, Amsterdam.

In the first half of the twentieth century, Europe experienced an unparalleled number of civil wars resulting in millions of deaths. Remarkably little comparative work has been undertaken on civil wars in this period and even fewer studies have explored the connections between them – be it transfers of people, ideas, or practices – beyond their ideological tropes. This has resulted in a tacit assumption of exceptionalism, whereby each civil war is assumed to have been unique and self-perpetuating without any serious attempt to explain how and why that might be so.

Robert’s ERC-funded research challenges exceptionalist approaches to civil war. While it recognises that significant differences in causes, forms, and/or aftermaths existed between individual civil wars, it argues that those civil wars can only be fully understood as a phenomenon within a pan-European context. His project will investigate the origins, courses, and legacies of several European civil wars through a fully integrated team of scholars with complementary expertise on the Russian, Finnish, Irish, Spanish and Greek cases.