The French Commission for the Centenary of the Great War, 1914-1918 (Mission du Centenaire 14-18) and its Scientific Council are organizing an international conference in Paris, 22, 23 and 24 of June 2016 on the subject of “The Major Battles of 1916.”
The commemoration of the battles of 1916 runs the risk of treating the latter as if they are self-evident and thus of reducing them to their purely military aspects, whereas the very use of the term “battle” is anything but self-evident. What Maurice Agulhon described as: “a combined series of assaults, of attempts to break through the front or at least to ‘gnaw away’ at the enemy’s defensive lines and so push back the front” stands in sharp contrast to previous meanings of the term “battle.” Indeed, we might ask what a “battle” is in relation to operations covered by the terms: “war”, “campaign”, “offensive”, “combat” or “front”?
The conference will therefore take the “battles” of 1916 in their international dimensions as its problematic. Its object is two-fold: first, to advance knowledge by broadening perspectives and introducing international comparison; second, to introduce a broad audience to the approaches that have renewed the history of the battles of 1916 in recent years, notably on fronts other than the western front.
Papers will not be read out by their authors but will be summarized in a report presented by a rapporteur in order to facilitate a broad discussion, during which the authors will be able to express their ideas.
The working languages of the conference will be French, English and German, with simultaneous translation. Papers in Russian will be accepted.
Proposals for papers must reach the scientific secretariat of the Mission du Centenaire 14-18, 109 Boulevard Malesherbes, 75008 PARIS, (email@example.com) before 1st December 2015. They should consist of an outline of not more than 1,000 words.