The purpose of this paper is to: introduce the topic of the relationship between universities and the First World War historiographically; put university expertise and knowledge at the centre of studies of the First World War; and explain how an examination of university expertise and war reveals a continuity of intellectual and scientific activity from war to peace.
Placing the papers in the special issue of HER on universities and war in the context of a broader historiography of the First World War and its aftermath.
The interconnections between university expertise and the First World War is a neglected field, yet its examination enriches the current historiography and prompts us to see the war not simply in terms of guns and battles but also how the battlefield extended university expertise with long-lasting implications into the 1920s and 1930s.
The paper explores how universities and their expertise – e.g. medical, artistic, philosophical – were mobilised in the First World War and the following peace.
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