The Limits of Modern Warfare: Stalemate, Technology, and the Isonzo Front in the First World War

Technology & Society

COLLOQUIA SERIES

The series, honoring Daniel J. Doyle, a professor emeritus and the College’s 1984 Master Teacher, features presentations by noted authors and academics and will challenge audiences to consider the impact of technology on our society.

ThursdayNovember8
Free & open to the public

Presentation Description

In partnership with the University of Notre Dame’s Hesburgh Lecture Series and the Notre Dame Club of Greater Williamsport, Dr. John Deak, Notre Dame associate professor of history, will be our speaker for fall 2018.

The First World War saw the increased use of modern technologies of warfare as its belligerents sought to break the great stalemate that set in at the end of 1914. Airplanes, chemical agents, tanks, submarines, all saw extensive deployment, and together they represented a sea change in how we think about modern, industrial wars.

This talk will examine these larger developments during the First World War, but in a setting that you probably have not yet encountered: the Isonzo Front, fought between the armies of Austria-Hungary and the Kingdom of Italy. There, over mountainous terrain and brutal winters, the stalemate of war claimed nearly 1.5 million casualties and saw the limits of modern war stretched and broken in the name of claiming victory.

Presenter Biography

Dr. John Deak

Dr. John Deak

Dr. John Deak, associate professor of history at the University of Notre Dame, and Fellow at Nanovic Institute for European Studies, grew up in North Carolina. After he received his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in 2009, he landed his dream job at the home of the Fighting Irish. Broadly interested in European history since the Enlightenment, he teaches courses on German History, the Revolutions of 1848, the First World War, and his specialty, the History of the Habsburg Empire.

Bibliography/Reading List

Science, Warfare, and Technology

  • Cappellano, Filippo: Warfare 1914-1918 (Italy), in: 1914-1918-online. Issued by Freie Universität Berlin, Berlin 2014-10-08. DOI: 10.15463/ie1418.10484.
  • Faith, Thomas I.: Gas Warfare, in: 1914-1918-online. Issued by Freie Universität Berlin, Berlin 2016-01-25. DOI: 10.15463/ie1418.10813.
  • Guelton, F. (2014). Technology and armaments. In J. Winter (Ed.), The Cambridge History of the First World War (The Cambridge History of the First World War, pp. 240-265). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. doi:10.1017/CHO9780511675676.013
  • Johnson, Jeffrey: Science and Technology, in: 1914-1918-online. Issued by Freie Universität Berlin, Berlin 2016-09-01. DOI: 10.15463/ie1418.10956.
  • Philpott, William: Warfare 1914-1918, in: 1914-1918-online. Issued by Freie Universität Berlin, Berlin 2014-10-08. DOI: 10.15463/ie1418.10172.
  • Pöhlmann, Markus: Close Combat Weapons, in: 1914-1918-online. Issued by Freie Universität Berlin, Berlin 2017-01-12. DOI: 10.15463/ie1418.11032.
  • Storz, Dieter: Artillery, in: 1914-1918-online. Issued by Freie Universität Berlin, Berlin 2014-12-16. DOI: 10.15463/ie1418.10510. Translated by: Reid, Christopher

Diplomatic Relations and the Start of the War

  • Clark, Christopher. The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914. London: Allen Lane, 2012.
  • MacMillan, Margaret. The War That Ended Peace: The Road to 1914. New York: Random House, 2013.

Isonzo Front

  • Gooch, John. The Italian Army and the First World War. Armies of the Great War. Cambridge ; New York: Cambridge University Press, 2014.
  • Koren, Tadej, and Petra Testen. The Walk of Peace from the Alps to the Adriatic: A Guide along the Isonzo Front. Second edition.. Kobarid: Ustanova Fundacija Poti miru v Posočju, 2015.
  • Macdonald, John, and Željko Cimprič. Caporetto and the Isonzo Campaign: The Italian Front 1915-1918. Barnsley: Pen & Sword Military, 2015.
  • Schindler, John R. Isonzo: The Forgotten Sacrifice of the Great War. Westport, Conn.: Praeger, 2001.
  • Thompson, Mark. The White War Life and Death on the Italian Front, 1915-1919. New York: Basic Books, 2009.
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