Past eventMartin Wight Memorial LectureMembers

Goodbye to All That (Again)? The Fischer Thesis, the New Revisionism and the Meaning of the First World War

6 November 2014 - 18:00 to 19:00

Chowen Lecture Theatre, Brighton and Sussex Medical School (BSMS), University of Sussex


Emeritus Professor John Rohl, School of History, Art History and Philosophy, University of Sussex



What is the truth about the nature of the First World War and why have historians been unable to agree on its origins? The interpretation that no one country was to blame prevailed until the 1960s when a bitter international controversy, sparked by the work of the Hamburg historian Fritz Fischer, arrived at the consensus that the Great War had been a ‘bid for world power’ by Imperial Germany and therefore a conflict in which Britain had necessarily and justly engaged. But in this centennial year Fischer’s conclusions have in turn been challenged by historians claiming that Europe’s leaders all ‘sleepwalked’ into the catastrophe. This lecture will explore the arguments surrounding the Fischer thesis and the New Revisionism.

Please note this lecture will take place at the University of Sussex. Please register at the University of Sussex website.