When did the First World War really end? How many new countries appeared on the map then? What was the daily life of Europeans like in the post-war years? Can the parallels in the events of hundred years ago to the contemporary situation in the world be drawn? These are some of the questions, which the exhibition ‘After the Great War. A New Europe 1918–1923’ gives answers to.
The outdoor travelling exhibition, prepared by the European Network Remembrance and Solidarity in cooperation with renowned historians, makes an attempt to synthesize the turbulent beginnings of the interwar period, with a particular focus on the history of Central and Eastern Europe. Over 200 archive and multimedia materials – pictures, maps and films together with individual stories of people who lived back in these times – present a complex yet coherent picture of New Europe and raise awareness of the unprecedented scale of the changes that took place in Europe between 1918 and 1923.
The First World War completely changed East-Central Europe. Upon the ruins of four old empires, a dozen or so new countries appeared and almost all borders were redrawn, often in course of ongoing military conflicts, which lasted even until 1923. After having suffered very high losses, the region started rebuilding and modernising efforts. A New Europe was established.
Some nations remember the war’s outcome as a monumental tragedy, whereas for others it meant the culmination of efforts to gain independence. All of them, however, were united by the desire to rebuild from the devastation of war, as well as by the modernising efforts taking place in the shadow of not only political, but also social, economic and cultural changes.
The substantive shape of the exhibition was decided by a group of historians from 20 countries around the world: Prof. Andrzej Chwalba, Prof. Robert Gerwath, Prof. Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett, Prof. Jan Rydel, Prof. Jay M. Winter, Prof. Piotr Juszkiewicz, among others. The curators of the exhibition are Dr. Bartosz Dziewanowski-Stefańczyk (ENRS) and Dr. Robert Żurek.
The exhibition ‘After the Great War. New Europe 1918-1923’ has been presented for the past five years as part of an international tour. It has so far visited twenty one cities in thirteen countries: Prague (Czech Republic), Sarajevo (Bosnia and Herzegovina), Bratislava (Slovakia), Verdun (France), Berlin and Weimar (Germany), Wroclaw, Krakow, Warsaw, Rijeka (Croatia), Poznan, Lublin, Vienna (Austria), Kaunas and Vilnius (Lithuania), Tallinn (Estonia), Darmstadt (Germany), Dublin (Ireland), Sibiu (Romania) Trieste (Italy) and Szczecin.