The seventh European Remembrance Symposium will take place in the centennial year marking the end of the First World War. As citizens of contemporary Europe, we do not wish to be driven by anniversaries or jubilees. Yet, we also cannot ignore the seminal year 1918 as it offers a good opportunity to evaluate the past and seek a better common future in Europe.
The year 1918 and subsequent turbulent years marked a period of empire breakups, wars, revolutions and new border delineations through implementation of the principle of self-determination of nations, armed struggle or political decisions. They shaped Europe as we know it. Consequently, it is worth summarising historians’ latest findings on the subject period as well debating the memory of past events. We are aware that the perspective on the past ranges from a sense of satisfaction and fulfilment to that of pain and defeat. Our goal is to discuss this past with a full understanding of different views.
The century in question makes us not just contemplate the past. It is a fitting platform for reflection or for forecasts of the future. In this context, two issues seem of particular importance: peace keeping and national sovereignty.
Interesting and pertinent is the issue of tracking the evolution of ways in which peace has been reached over the last one hundred years. In today’s Europe and world, we have been enriched by the experience of the 1919-1920 Paris peace conference as well the transition from war to peace in 1945-1947. At the same time, we live in times when international armed conflicts remain steadily present. Yet, wars are rarely declared and peace is hardly ever established through a single legal act. It is rather forged through a tedious negotiation process. Some important questions therefore arise: How is better peace attained? Can peace be bad or defective and, if so, how can we deal with it? How do we ensure the viability of peace?
The Symposium organisers wish to open a discussion on the above issues and invite experts in various areas of public life and academia. In looking back at such intense, tragic and sublime, joyful and depressing experiences of the 1918-2018 century they will try to diagnose the situation of contemporary Europe and strive to offer insight into its future.