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Image courtesy of the estate of Charles C. Krawczyk, from Remembrance: As Long as We Live (Bloomington, Ind.: Author House, 2006).

An Interdisciplinary Conference

Thursday, October 17, 2013 - Friday, October 18, 2013

Harriman Institute, Columbia University
420 W 118th St, New York, NY

As the centennial of the outbreak of the First World War approaches, the Polish Cultural Institute is proud to participate in an international conference on "The Origins and Impact of World War I" at the Harriman Institute at Columbia University in New York. Poland did not exist as a political state in 1914, but Poles fought as citizens of the German, Russian, and Austro-Hungarian empires. Bolsheviks, Tsarists, and Germans attempted to win the hearts and minds of the Polish population, while Jozef Pilsudski and other Polish leaders saw the war as a means to an independent Poland. Lines were drawn that would dictate the geography of World War II, and ideologies were articulated that formed the basis of Nazi and Soviet totalitarianism. In this manifestation of violence on a scale unprecedented in Europe, Poles suffered over one million civilian and military casualties, out of a total of approximately 20 million deaths on both sides.

With panels on the experience and consequences of violence in the war, speakers will devote particular attention to the Eastern Front, where much of the violence took place. There will be additional discussion of the origins of the war and the war's legacy in the realm of international law. Prof. Dominic Lieven (Cambridge Univ.), author of Russia and the Origins of the First World War (Harvard 1983) and Russia Against Napoleon: The Battle for Europe, 1807-1814 (Viking 2009), will deliver the keynote address.

The Polish Cultural Institute New York presents two scholars from Poland. Dr. Jan Szkudlinski completed his doctorate in history at the University of Gdansk on German Maneuvers in the Vistula Curve in 1914 and currently works as Chief Specialist at the new Museum of World War II in Gdansk. Prof. Kazimierz Lankosz is Chair of International Public Law at the Jagiellonian University and Professor at the University of Economics in Krakow, and has been named Doctor Honoris Causa at Gutenberg University in Mainz. He serves as Director of the Human Rights and Humanitarian Law Center at the Jagiellonian University and as a member of the Permanent Court of Arbitration, The Hague.

Conference Program

This conference is organized by the Harriman Institute, Columbia University, in collaboration with the Austrian Cultural Forum, the Balassi Institute: Hungarian Cultural Center New York, Flanders House New York, French Cultural Services in New York, Goethe Institute New York, and the Polish Cultural Institute New York within the framework of the European National Institutes of Culture in New York (EUNIC).

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