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He obtained his A. Winter is also affiliated with the Historial de la Grande Guerre in Peronne , France , a research center and museum of the First World War in European cultural history.

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Winter is an influential scholar in the study of the First World War and its place in twentieth-century European history and culture. His earlier work was largely that of social history, including The Great War and the British People focuses on the war's demographic impact on the British population. In more recent works he has taken the approach of a cultural historian, most notably in Sites of Memory, Sites of Mourning where he advocates a more transnational focus for studying the war and European culture.

In this book, he analyzes the various ways the people of Germany, France and Great Britain mourned their losses during and after the war.

“Dreams of Peace and Freedom,” Jay Winter

He is co-director of the project on Capital Cities at War: Paris, London, Berlin , which has produced two volumes. He also worked with American demographer Michael S. Teitelbaum on high levels of migration toward countries experiencing fairly low fertility rates The Fear of Population Decline , and A Question of Numbers , He is a member of the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters.

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In this sense our whole program is rehabilitation. It is designed to help those disabled in past wars and to prevent future millions from being disabled.

At the same time that the World Veterans were highlighting shortcomings in all parts of the world, to them the postwar period also signified an era of optimism and opportunity on a global scale. The possibilities of travel, of overcoming huge distances, geographically and culturally, and of meeting with likeminded people from all over the world, gave their community a cosmopolitan air.

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And yet they created a utopian vision of a peaceful world in which conflicts are solved through negotiation and not through force; a world in which ultimately every human being would be able to live a happy life. This remark reveals that the veterans of the WVF although they were speaking of one world, were dreaming their unlimited dream in a world of division. They were standing on one side of what has become an image of the time: the Iron Curtain.

Contrary to its aspirations as a global organisation, the WVF was a rallying point solely for veterans from the Western side of this curtain. The only exception and founding member of the WVF was socialist Yugoslavia, a country firmly established between the two blocks of the East and the West.

Dreaming an Unlimited Dream in a World of Division: A Veterans’ Utopia?

The partisans from Yugoslavia became valued members not only for their commitment to the goals of the WVF but also because they functioned as a bridge to the other side. However, this also meant that within the organization combatants from the East could establish connections with procommunist and communist ex-combatants from countries such as Austria, France and Germany. Even though veterans on both sides gradually became aware that they were essentially dreaming the same dream, it was to take many years for any kind of open cooperation between the veterans of the WVF and the FIR.

Only in , more than 25 years after the end of the Second World War, the international organisations of world veterans and former resistance fighters would sit together at the same conference table. In creating their utopia the veterans could not think outside the box in which they were sitting: the context of the Cold War. The Veterans of East and West were facing the dilemma that while trying to overcome the ideological division by dreaming of a world of boundless international cooperation, they were at the same time part of this very division.


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The FIR as an organisation was clearly closer to communist than to Western political ideals. The WVF, albeit always trying to remain as nonpolitical as possible, could not help being rooted in the West and therefore also in its ideology.

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Both organisations had the aspiration of becoming universal but their dependence on circumstances out of their reach explains why there were so many drawbacks on the way to east-west cooperation among former allies. This does not mean that the achievements of both WVF and FIR in the immediate postwar decades should be underestimated. Every veteran in any part of the world who could walk thanks to improved prosthetic equipment and every communication between former enemies or allies was a step towards this shared vision of a better world.

Moreover, ideological and political differences never prevented the mutual effort of individuals on both sides to understand each other and to find topics where cooperation seemed possible.