Di 16 Sep 2014 | 14:00–18:15

Narrating the First World War – Experiences and Reports from Transregional Perspectives

Forum Transregionale Studien/Max Weber Stiftung

Deutsches Historisches Museum, Unter den Linden 2, 10117 Berlin


The second WeberWorldCafé, “Narrating the First World War – Experiences and Reports from Transregional Perspectives”, was held on September 16, 2014 in cooperation with the Deutsches Historisches Museum in Berlin. On its centennial, experts and participants discussed the effect of the First World War on civilians from a global perspective and different disciplines, from literature to culture and aspects of gender.



As a total war, the First World War directly or indirectly affected people in countless regions of the world. The WeberWorldCafé “Narrating the First World War – Experiences and Reports from Transregional Perspectives” looked at the war from the perspectives of different countries/regions, cultures, and academic disciplines gaining a deeper understanding of how people experienced the war.

The WeberWorldCafé (WWC) is an innovative and interactive event format. Distinguished experts provided insights into the issue of how the war was experienced and understood. In the course of several rounds of talks, the participants were given the chance to talk to these experts in a relaxed, coffeehouse-like atmosphere. By visiting different tables throughout the event, the participants looked at the First World War from various angles, considering different sources and approaches. Eight regional tables were planned for this WeberWorldCafé: 1. Western Europe, 2. Central Europe, 3. Eastern Europe, 4. North America/Oceania, 5. Western Asia, 6. Near and Middle East, 7. East Asia/South Asia, 8. Africa. Two experts hosted each table, enabling them to discuss conflicting approaches and different perspectives of the warring parties. The table hosts came from various disciplines (inter alia history, area studies, literature, art history) and explored different (trans)regional and (inter)disciplinary views on comprehensive questions addressing the First World War.

The goal of the WeberWorldCafé “Narrating the First World War” was to connect different approaches on an international level, thereby addressing the direct and indirect effects of the war on regions and nations. The intention was not to give a comprehensive, global explanation of the First World War, but to enable a lively exchange between different regional and thematic perspectives.

The renowned historian Prof. Dr. Sebastian Conrad chaired the event and drew a conclusion after the table talks. He was accompanied by the organizer Gesche Schifferdecker. Federal Minister of Education and Research, Prof. Dr. Johanna Wanka, completed the WeberWorldCafé and led over to the panel discussion “Im Gedenkjahr nichts Neues? Der Erste Weltkrieg und die Zukunft Europas” hosted by “Geisteswissenschaft im Dialog” in the evening of September 16, 2014 at the Schlüterhof of the DHM. Selected participants of the WeberWorldCafé participated in the panel discussion and reported on their experiences with the event.

The event opened with a 45-minute guided tour through the exhibition of the Deutsches Historisces Museum on the First World War.

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