Foreign Fields: Perspectives on the Great War explores the cultural and political frontiers of World War I from a variety of national and transnational viewpoints. Because its modern warfare had such a visibly catastrophic effect on the landscape and exacted such devastating human costs, after 100 years we tend to remember World War I primarily through images of its nightmarish, trench-scored battlefields. This exhibition considers other aspects of the war—its far flung conflicts, displacements and migrations, civilian engagements, and abrupt cultural transpositions. It asks us to consider the transformative effects of warfare: were the “fields” of World War I foreign—literally or emotionally—to the people who experienced them?
Bringing together historic cartographic materials, new maps created using GIS technology, posters, photographs, drawings, and letters, this exhibition examines the extent of the war’s geographical and cultural reach. Cornell University Library holds a robust collection of materials to support research on the “Great War,” including primary sources, from archival correspondence and artwork to maps published during the war years, and provides access to data and published scholarship charting the consequences of the war.