In the early hours of the morning on 11 November 1918, an agreement was signed that would bring to an end four and a half years of bloodshed across the globe. The First World War was over, but the battle for its legacy was only just beginning. We have now reached the centenary of the armistice, and in this month’s issue we are marking the occasion with a supplement exploring many facets of the conflict.
Our cover feature is a debate between Professors Gary Sheffield and Richard J Evans over whether the outcome of the war justified the tremendous cost in lives. Elsewhere, a panel of experts assess the longer-term impact of the conflict, from the psychological scars to the environmental devastation. But the end of the war brought joy as well as trauma, and, as Guy Cuthbertson reveals in his article, news of the armistice prompted celebrations across Britain. Finally, Maggie Andrews considers whether, over the past four years, the goals of the First World War commemorative activities have been met.
It’s not all about the First World War this month, though. In the regular magazine you’ll get to read Lucy Worsley on Abraham Lincoln, Michael Wood on the Anglo-Saxons, Andrew Roberts on Churchill, Diarmaid MacCulloch on Thomas Cromwell, and a whole lot more besides.
All four of these historians will also be appearing at our History Weekends this month, and there is still time to book tickets at historyweekend.com. I look forward to seeing many of you there. Rob Attar Editor