Focus 5 : The Europe of Wars and the Traces of War

Into the Jaws of Death. U.S. Troops wading through water and Nazi gunfire” was taken on the morning of June 6, 1944 in front of Omaha Beach in Normandy.
Source: National Archives catalog

Research Area 5 examines the central role that war and its aftermath have played in the history of modern Europe. The researchers it brings together study wars—and their material, mental, and memorial traces, both individual and collective—within a European framework that goes beyond national histories or narrow chronologies, which are overrepresented in research on war. They also seek to understand war in all of its dimensions. Their work aims to redefine certain key terms—such as guerilla warfare, small war, civil war, world war, or Cold War—and to raise central questions, such as “What is war?” and “What are the relations between war and peace?”, in approaches that are simultaneously political, legal, anthropological, and cultural. As a result, the entry into and aftermath of conflict are also included in the field of research. These approaches rethink the notions of victors and vanquished, of defeats and victories during wartime and the postwar longue durée, as well as the different forms of mobilization and demobilization, whether they involve “war after the war,” or post-conflict processes of rapprochement and reconciliation. Research Area 5 seeks to consider war together with its traces, memory, and representations.


Research Area Director: 

  • Corine Defrance: Research Director at the CNRS, and member of UMR SIRICE. She works on the processes of rapprochement and reconciliation in Europe; French-German relations during the 20th and 21st centuries, postwar German society/societies; Berlin and the Cold War; the history of universities and research in France and Germany during the 20th century.
  • François-Xavier Nérard: Assistant Professor at l’Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, member of l’Institut Pierre Renouvin and le Centre de recherche sur l’histoire des Slaves. He studies interwar Soviet social history, with a particular focus on denunciation, violence, as well as their traces, commemoration, and memory.

Postdoctoral fellow in charge of research: 

  • Simon Perego: Research Associate at UMR SIRICE.

Steering Committee: 

  • Isabelle Davion: Assistant Professor of Modern History at l’Université Paris-Sorbonne, Research Associate at the Service Historique de la Défense, and member of UMR SIRICE. She focuses on the history of international relations, diplomatic and strategic history, the two world wars, the Cold War, as well as political and social history.
  • Robert Frank: Professor Emeritus of the History of International Relations at l’Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, and former director of UMR SIRICE. His research concentrates on the construction of Europe, European societies, international relations, and wars.
  • Catherine Horel: Research Director at the CNRS, member of UMR SIRICE. She is a specialist of modern Central Europe (19th – 20th centuries), with a particular focus on the socio-political organizations of the Hapsburg Empire (army, Jewish communities) and urban history. For Research Area 5, she is in charge of subjects connected to memorial culture.
  • Antoine Marès: Professor of Central European History at l’université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, and member of the advisory committee of UMR SIRICE. He directs the “Connaissance de l’Europe médiane” GDR (research group) at the CNRS, as well as the journal Relations internationales.


Contact : labexguerres[at]

Blog :