Western Front 100 Seminar - 1917: Becoming the Senior Partner?
10 Jun

The Suffolk Branch of the Western Front Association are proud to present a six-year-long centenary event comprising six inter-connected annual seminars with excellent guest speakers.


For 1917: Becoming the Senior Partner?, the fourth in the series, we are proud to present:

Professor Alexander Watson 'Turning Point: The War Beyond the Western Front, 1917'

Rob Thompson 'Messines and the Third Battle of Ypres'

Dr Elizabeth Greenhalgh 'The French Army in 1917'

The talks will be followed by a Q&A session with the guest speakers, plus Professor Peter Simkins.

Tickets £25, and include morning coffee, a buffet lunch, and afternoon tea.

These events are extremely popular - please book in advance to avoid disappointment!


Venue: University of Suffolk, Waterfront Building, 19 Neptune Quay, Ipswich IP4 1QJ

Dr Elizabeth Greenhalgh:

A graduate of the University of Manchester, Elizabeth Greenhalgh gained her MA and PhD from the University of New South Wales at the Australian Defence Force Academy in Canberra, Australia. She is the author of Victory Through Coalition: Britain and France during the First World War (Cambridge, 2005), Foch in Command: The Forging of a First World War General (Cambridge, 2011) and The French Army and the First World War(Cambridge, 2014). She has also published many articles in such journals as the Journal of Military History, War in History, Historical Journal and the International Historical Review. Currently she is working on a study of 1918: How the Allies Won the First World War.

Elizabeth's talk analyses three themes: first the ‘collective indiscipline’ following the French Army’s failed offensive of April–May 1917, its causes and repression; second, the military events of 1917, the failed offensive (Nivelle offensive) and the fighting in the latter half of 1917; finally, the weak excuse for failure at Ypres, namely that the French Commander-in-Chief had begged Field Marshal Sir Douglas Haig to continue the Ypres campaign in order to spare the French Army. In this way is corrected the popular misconception that the French mutinied in 1917 and did nothing thereafter.


Professor Alexander Watson:

Alexander Watson is Professor of History at Goldsmiths, University of London. He has published widely on East-Central Europe and Britain during the First World War. His first monograph, Enduring the Great War. Combat, Morale and Collapse in the German and British Armies, 1914-1918 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008), was awarded the Institute of Contemporary History and Wiener Library’s Fraenkel Prize. His second book, Ring of Steel. Germany and Austria-Hungary at War, 1914-1918 (London: Penguin / Allen Lane, 2014) is a broad history of the First World War written from the perspectives of its instigators and losers. This book was winner of the 2014 Wolfson History Prize, the 2014 Guggenheim-Lehrman Prize in Military History, the Society for Military History’s 2015 Distinguished Book Award and the 2015 British Army Military Book of the Year. The Sunday Times named it 'History Book of the Year' for 2014.

The year 1917 was a crossroads of the First World War. Thanks to revolutionary upheaval in the east and a ‘sea change’ in the Atlantic, this was the year in which Germany nearly won, and then decisively lost the war. This talk will outline the dramatic strategic situation in early 1917, when revolution in Russia and the western Allies’ strategic bankruptcy offered the Central Powers their best ever chance at total victory. It will then explore how Germany squandered the opportunity and sealed its own defeat with the launch of a catastrophically ill-judged and ruthless submarine blockade against Britain. The war beyond the Western Front was all-important in 1917, the talk argues, resulting in the emergence of new superpowers in east and west, and impacting decisively on both the First World War’s outcome and the wider twentieth century.

University of Suffolk, Waterfront Building, 19 Neptune Quay, Ipswich IP4 1QJ
10 Jun 2017 09:00