This week’s research guide World War I

World War I - Research Guide International Law

World War I, or the Great War, was a global war, centred in Europe, that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918. It involved all of the world’s great powers, which were assembled in two opposing alliances, the Allies (Great Britain, France and Russia) and the Central Powers (Germany and Austria-Hungary). These alliances were both reorganised and expanded as more nations entered the war: Italy, Japan and the United States joined the Allies, and the Ottoman Empire and Bulgaria the Central Powers. Ultimately, more than 70 million military personnel, including 60 million Europeans, were mobilised in one of the largest wars in history.

Check our Research Guide on World War I

Library Blog

The Destruction of the Cathedral of Reims

The Destruction of the Cathedral of Reims, 1914

On 20 September 1914, German shellfire burned, damaged and destroyed important parts of the magnificent Cathedral of Reims. The destruction of the Cathedral was generally regarded as an act of sheer vandalism. At the time, it was generally admitted by writers on international law that if the military commander of a besieged place used a church or other building whose immunity had been established, as a stronghold, a storehouse, or an observatory, the besieger might bombard the site without being held responsible for damages caused in consequence of their proximity to other buildings which are liable to bombardment. Even the French war manual itself admitted this.

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Special collections

  • Grotius collection

    • Neff, S.C. (ed.), Hugo Grotius on the Law of War and Peace, New York, NY, Cambridge University Press, 2012.
      Neff, S.C. (ed.), Hugo Grotius on the Law of War and Peace, New York, NY, Cambridge University Press, 2012.

      Neff, S.C. (ed.), Hugo Grotius on the Law of War and Peace, New York, NY, Cambridge University Press, 2012. [English translation De jure belli ac pacis, Parisiis, apud Nicolaum Buon, 1625]

    • Feenstra, R. and J.B. Vervliet (eds.), Hugo Grotius Mare Liberum: 1609-2009, Leiden, Brill, 2009. [Original Latin text, facsimile of the first edition, 1609 and modern English translation]
      Feenstra, R. and J.B. Vervliet (eds.), Hugo Grotius Mare Liberum: 1609-2009, Leiden, Brill, 2009. [Original Latin text, facsimile of the first edition, 1609 and modern English translation]

      Feenstra, R. and J.B. Vervliet (eds.), Hugo Grotius Mare Liberum: 1609-2009, Leiden, Brill, 2009. [Original Latin text, facsimile of the first edition, 1609 and modern English translation]

    • De iure belli ac pacis (3rd state)
      De iure belli ac pacis (3rd state)

      De ivre belli ac pacis libri tres (3rd state) / Hugo Grotius, 1625

    The Peace Palace Library in The Hague holds one of the greatest collections in the world of the works of Hugo Grotius. More about this collection »
  • Postcards

    • Postcard Peace Palace 1961
      Postcard Peace Palace 1961

      Peace Palace 1961

    • Postcard Peace Palace 1965
      Postcard Peace Palace 1965

      Peace Palace 1965

    • Postcard Peace Palace 1989
      Postcard Peace Palace 1989

      Peace Palace 1989

    Over the past century numerous postcards depicting the Peace Palace have been sent home. More about this collection ».