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Chair: Dr Mark Condos, Lecturer, War Studies Department

Speaker: Dr Tom Menger, Postdoctoral Research Associate at Ludwig Maximilians University Munich

About the event

By the final decades of the nineteenth and the first decade of the twentieth century, a considerable number of European countries were engaged in colonial wars overseas – wars that were generally marked by extreme violence. While the similarities between these wars have regularly been noted, few historians have attempted to write a transimperial history of this violence, a history that incorporates several empires in the same analysis.

Dr Tom Menger suggests in his paper that if we want to write such a transimperial history, we should move away from the tendency to focus on doctrines of national armies to find a shared European body of knowledge concerning colonial war, and that we should also pay attention to transimperial connections in the field of colonial warfare.

This event will explore how we can come to understand colonial war and violence around 1900 as a transimperial phenomenon, drawing on a number of case studies as well as contemporary literature from three different empires: the British, German, and Dutch Empire.

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Speaker biography

Dr Tom Menger is a Postdoctoral Research Associate at Ludwig Maximilians University Munich. His recently-completed doctoral dissertation, ‘Colonial Violence in European Comparative Perspective, 1890-1914’, examines the process of knowledge-sharing when it came to theories of practices of colonial warfare across the German, British, and Dutch colonial empires during the fin-de-siècle and demonstrates how colonial violence was rooted in a common body of knowledge rather than shaped by individual national cultures.

2022 marks the 60th anniversary of the founding of the Department of War Studies by Sir Michael Howard, and provides an important opportunity to both reflect and build upon his remarkable achievements and legacy. Sir Michael Howard’s greatest contribution to the history of war was his insistence on moving beyond the battlefield in order to examine the wider political and social contexts in which wars were fought. He also wrote about the legal, moral, and philosophical implications of war, and throughout his distinguished career sought to develop new approaches to understanding the impact of war on society.

At this event

Mark Condos

Senior Lecturer in Imperial and Global History