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A Cultural History of Peace and Conflict

Discover the complex history of peace and conflict with this carefully curated collection of content which brings together key research tools and learning resources from across the Bloomsbury Cultural History platform; from eBook chapters on medical pacifism and peace politics in postwar West Germany, to a new Lesson Plan and a chapter from the digitally exclusive Cultural History of Peace reference work, as well as digitised images from the Wellcome Collection, this Featured Content is your gateway into the cultural history of peace and conflict through the ages.

Image showning the Dalai Lama speaking in Tokyio, October 31, 2009.
The Dalai Lama speaking in Tokyo, October 31, 2009 (Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert / Alamy Stock Photo)

A Cultural History of Peace

The brand new and digitally exclusive multi-volume reference work A Cultural History of Peace explores how different cultures and societies have thought about and developed the concept of peace over the past 2500 years. This chapter from A Cultural History of Peace in the Modern Age delves into the complex history of the term ‘Peace’. Until the mid-twentieth century, the dominant discourse on the topic of peace was a virtual monopoly of two groups: Western male policy makers, and Western philosophers and legal theorists. Over the past century however, previously ignored peace advocates and peacemakers have made their voices heard, and this chapter provide a more globalised view of the definition of peace.

This image shows two women standing under a tree exchanging an olive branch and music.
England and Ireland (© Wellcome Collection)

War and Peace in the Early Modern Period

Bloomsbury Cultural History offers an exclusive Lesson Plan on the history of War and Peace during the Early Modern Period. It provides thorough and comprehensive coverage of this important topic, and questions one’s understanding of the term ‘peace’. Each week-by-week section examines important areas of war and peace within a historical context and offers selective key reading, thought provoking discussion questions, and suggested homework tasks. Click here to explore the full Lesson Plan, a helpful research tool for students conducting independent study, as well as tutors creating their own academic programme.

This image shows the negotiations for the Pacification of Amboise in 1563.
The Pacification of Amboise (© Wellcome Collection)

The Pacification of Amboise

The etching of Jean Perrissin’s The Pacification of Amboise depicts the negotiations between the Queen Mother, regent for Charles IX, and the Huguenots, which bought peace - albeit temporarily - to the two factions. The Pacification of Amboise in 1563 allowed Huguenot nobles to worship freely, though it limited the worship of the common people to just one town in each district. Created in 1563 in Île aux Bœufs, Loire in France, Perrissin’s etching is now part of the Wellcome Collection. Click here to explore a high resolution digitised image of the original 1563 etching in exquisite detail.

Image showing World War I ambulance Pittsburgh 20th Century Club.
World War One Ambulance (Wikimedia Commons)

Medical Pacifism and War

In this chapter from Medicine in First World War in Europe, Fiona Reid explores the relationship between peace and medicine following the First World War. Pacifism, although far from widespread, had become more organized and influential. During the First World War, medical services were harnessed and organized in the service of the military to an unprecedented degree, but there were also those who saw medicine and war as quite incompatible. Indeed, the medical profession had a particular role to play in the war, in part because many pacifists sought a medical role once war became established.

This image shows a bombarded Berlin street.
Destruction on a Berlin Street (Wikimedia Commons)

Peace Politics in Postwar West Germany

A chapter on Cold War Communities by Irene Stoehr explores the peace politics of women’s groups in Germany following the Second World War. The individuals who organized women’s committees and other political groups at a local level in Germany between 1945 and 1947 had one point in common that united them beyond their political differences: they felt responsible for maintaining peace. These organisations desired an independent status not tied to a political party, and they placed a high priority on securing peace. Click here to find out more about the phenomenon of ‘women’s pacifism’, and its role in the postwar period.