In this lecture, Peter Gatrell considers the relationship between the European refugee crisis that erupted during the First World War and the actions of European armies – men in uniform, but also the ‘armies of volunteers’ who came to the aid of civilian refugees.

The lecture will examine the actions of armies in forcing civilians from their homes on the Western and Eastern Fronts, as well as instances such as in Serbia where armies retreated together with civilians. Peter will conclude with a discussion on the motives of humanitarian aid workers, and what they achieved in difficult and dangerous circumstances.

Peter Gatrell teaches history at the University of Manchester, where he is co-director of the Centre for the Cultural History of Modern War and affiliated to the Humanitarian and Conflict Response Institute. He is also the author of a trilogy of books on refugee history.

This event is part of the National Army Museum’s regular Daytime Talks series.


Standard tickets:

Entry to Daytime Talks is free. However, places must be reserved in advance by contacting our customer services team on 020 7730 0717.

Events are subject to change. Please check the website closer to the date.

Venue details


Royal Marsden Education and Conference Centre
Stewart’s Grove

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Refugees, Armies and Volunteering During the First World War - Royal Marsden, London