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First World War Centenary

The Peace Palace Library will commemorate the First World War Centenary with a series of blogs and items on the website. The Library’s collection on the Great War is focused on aspects of international law: the laws of war, the Paris Peace Conference, the peace treaties of 1919-1920, the war reparations and the politics of its memory. For that purpose, an extensive Research Guide on the topic has been prepared as a starting point for research in the Library. Please, check our Research Guides menu.

  • The Destruction of the Cathedral of Reims

    The Destruction of the Cathedral of Reims, 1914

    July 23, 2014

    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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  • Chronology of Events, June-July 1914

    Chronology of Events, June-July 1914

    July 4, 2014

    The Peace Palace Library will commemorate the First World War Centenary with a series of blogs and items on the website. Please, check our second series on July 28!

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  • McMeekin, S., July 1914: Countdown to War, New York, NY, Basic Books, 2013.

    McMeekin, S., July 1914: Countdown to War, New York, NY, Basic Books, 2013.

    July 3, 2014

    ‘July 1914’ tells the story of Europe’s countdown to war, between the bloody opening act on 28 June 1914 and Britain’s final plunge on 4 August, which turned a European conflict into a world war.

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  • Vredespaleis WO I 1914 Verstoorde Vredes-Illusie (01)

    Postcard Peace Palace 1914 ‘Verstoorde Vredes-Illusie’

    July 2, 2014

    Postcard from the days of the First World War. Translated from Dutch: ‘Disturbed Peace-Illusion’. On the back: ‘Disturbed Peace-Illusion. The Angel of Peace expelled from the Peace Palace by the War Demon’. Weenenk & Snel, The Hague. 14 67695. Dated 1914.

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  • Phillipson, C., International Law and the Great War, London, Fisher Unwin; Sweet and Maxwell, 1915.

    Phillipson, C., International Law and the Great War, London, Fisher Unwin; Sweet and Maxwell, 1915

    July 1, 2014

    In this contemporary work, Coleman Phillipson, gives a systematic account, from the point of view of international law, of most of the questions and incidents that had risen in the Great War so far. Despite the numerous breaches of international law indicated, the author states that we need not despair of its future.

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  • European Revue: Kill that Eagle, 1914

    European Revue: Kill that Eagle, 1914

    June 30, 2014

    Cartoon map of Europe at the beginning of World War I. The map is showing Austria-Hungary at the centre, depicted as the tragic and buffoonish Pierrot character of European pantomime, who eternally pines for an unrequited love. Is it Germany’s love that Austria pines for? Read more.

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  • Assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria

    Assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria

    June 27, 2014

    A 100 years ago, on 28 June 1914, Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, heir presumptive to the Austro-Hungarian throne, and his wife, Sophie, Duchess of Hohenberg, were shot dead in Sarajevo. The assassination led to the outbreak of the First World War. The Peace Palace Library will commemorate the First World War with a series of blogs and Centenary items on the website.

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  • Kaiser Wilhelm II

    A Supreme Offence against International Morality and the Sanctity of Treaties: William II of Hohenzollern and the Treaty of Versailles

    June 27, 2014

    Early during World War I, jurists and statesmen in both France and Great-Britain, such as Larnaude and Lapradelle, had advocated the German Emperor William II to be arrested and brought to trial. The principle that military officers should be held personally responsible for orders in violation of the laws and customs of war, if pushed to its logical limits, would render commanders-in-chief, that is heads of State, liable for illegal acts for which they are responsible, directly or indirectly. And in Germany, there was one commander-in-chief: the Emperor William II.

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  • First World War Centenary

    First World War Centenary

    June 27, 2014

    The Peace Palace Library will commemorate the First World War Centenary with a series of blogs and items on the website. The Library’s collection on the Great War is focused on aspects of international law: the laws of war, the Paris Peace Conference, the peace treaties of 1919-1920, the war reparations and the politics of its memory. For that purpose, an extensive Research Guide on the topic has been prepared as a starting point for research in the Library. On display right now in our Reading Room showcase the most recent publications on the topic.

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  • Article 247 of the Treaty of Versailles and the “Mystic Lamb”

    Article 247 of the Treaty of Versailles and the “Mystic Lamb”

    February 27, 2014

    The ‘biography’ of the Ghent Altarpiece, also called the Adoration of the Mystic Lamb, reads like a thriller. From the beginning this fascinating work was the object of passionate desire to either possess or destroy it. During the centuries of its existence, the altarpiece witnessed religious upheavals in the Southern Netherlands, came close to being destroyed during these outbreaks of iconoclasm and was damaged when moved to save guard it or when stolen. It endured fires, Napoleon’s looting army and two world wars. Parts of it were stolen, burned, recovered and stolen again and again.

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