Notre Dame history professor to share WWI technology insights

With the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I observed in November, a guest lecturer with the University of Notre Dame’s Hesburgh Lecture Series will share his expertise on the topic on Nov. 8 in Pennsylvania College of Technology’s Klump Academic Center Auditorium.

John Deak, associate professor of European history at Notre Dame, will present “The Limits of Modern Warfare: Stalemate, Technology and the Isonzo Front in the First World War.” The talk begins at 7 p.m. and is free and open to the public.

World War I saw the increased use of modern technologies of warfare as its belligerents sought to break the great stalemate that set in at the end of 1914. Airplanes, chemical agents, tanks and submarines saw extensive deployment and, together, represented a sea change in how we think about modern, industrial wars.

Deak will examine these developments with a focus on the Isonzo Front, fought between the armies of Austria-Hungary and the Kingdom of Italy. Within this mountainous terrain and brutal winters, the stalemate of war claimed nearly 1.5 million casualties and saw the limits of modern war stretched and broken in the name of victory.

Deak teaches courses on German history, the Revolutions of 1848, World War I and, his specialty, the history of the Habsburg Empire. Deak trains graduate students who work on a variety of topics, including theories of nationalism and modern capitalism spanning the last three centuries.

“The Limits of Modern Warfare” opens the fourth season of Penn College’s Technology & Society Colloquia Series, which aims to challenge audiences to consider the impact of technology on society. The Colloquia Series features presentations by authors and academics.

A question-and-answer session will follow the lecture.