The purpose of this paper is to restore the history of internationalism to our understanding of the legacy of the First World War, and the role of universities in that past. It begins by emphasising the war’s twin legacy, namely, the twin principles of the peace: national self-determination and the League of Nations.
It focuses on the intersecting significance and meaning attributed to the related terms patriotism and humanity, nationalism and internationalism, during the war and after. A key focus is the memorialization of Edith Cavell, and the role of men and women in supporting a League of Nations.
The author finds that contrary to conventional historical opinion, internationalism was as significant as nationalism during the war and after, thanks to the influence and ideas of men and women connected through university networks.
The author’s argument is based on an examination of British imperial sources in particular.
The implications of this argument are that historians need to recover the international past in histories of nationalism.
This paper was originally presented as a keynote at the Brave New World: Universities, war and the 1920s workshop held 18 August 2015 at the University of Sydney and funded by a School of Philosophical and Historical Inquiry Conference grant.
CitationDownload as .RIS
Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2016, Emerald Group Publishing Limited