The Continuation of Politics with Other Means: War and Protest, 1914−2011 (COPWOM)

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement N°748012


This project is sponsored by a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellowship and hosted by the Institute for Social Movements, Ruhr-Universität Bochum. The project extends from 2017-2019 and details of the public and scholarly events linked to COPWOM are to be found on this site as the funded period unfolds. Please feel free to contact me with any enquiries relating to the project at:

Project team

Press release

Project description

This project looks at the political means employed by those who, for various reasons, resorted to protest during times of war in the period from the First World War to the Iraq War. In most cases, the challengers embraced alternative means of political articulation due to the established channels of political decision making being controlled by the supporters of the war in question. Case studies illuminate the manifestations of war-time protest in different wars including both the well-known and some of the “forgotten wars”: First World War, Spanish Civil War, Second World War, Korean War, Vietnam War, Soviet War in Afghanistan, Falklands War, Kosovo War and Iraq War. The project pursues the objective to articulate the relationship between war and protest and to develop further the debate surrounding war as a channel of cultural, social and political change. It will advance research into the comparative dimension of war-time protest by embedding this investigation in an analytical framework focused on the methods and questions of historical enquiry into social movements, and to give further specificity to the debate on processes of politicisation and depoliticisation with particular focus on the variety of motivations that drove war-time protest beyond just pacifism. This analysis combines methods from the history of protest and social movements, the history of war, the history of political thought as well as film and visual studies. The project provides conceptual tools and evidence on the pre-history of present-day protests, e.g. against U.S. unilateralism in Iraq. Via a number of publications and engagement events, especially in conjunction with public film screenings, it will create impact by intervening in current debates about the repercussions of global warfare and by furthering public awareness of the crucial historical role of war-time protest in the European political heritage.


Project-linked events:

March 2019

  • 14 March 2019, 6.30 pm: "Revolutionary Protest in the Vietnam War Era", Social Histories of Revolution: the long 1960s, Basil Jellicoe community hall, St Joseph’s Flats, Drummond Crescent, London NW1 1LE
  • 12 March 2019, “Revolutionary Protest in the Era of the Indochina Wars”, seminar series, School of History, Philosophy and Social Sciences, Bangor University

February 2019

  • archival research at International Institute of Social History, Amsterdam

January 2019

  • archival research at Schweizerisches Sozialarchiv, Zürich

December 2018

  • film series “Krieg und Protest”, Endstation Kino im Bahnhof Langendreer, Bochum: 5 December 2018, Cuba und Vietnam, short films by Santiago Álvarez

November 2018

  • film series “Krieg und Protest”, Endstation Kino im Bahnhof Langendreer, Bochum: 7 November 2018, U.S. documentary protest, short films by the Newsreel Collective

October 2018:

  • 26 October 2018, “Die Fortsetzung der Politik mit anderen Mitteln: Krieg, Protest, Kalter Krieg”, research series 19th and 20th century history, Universität Bielefeld
  • film series “Krieg und Protest”, Endstation Kino im Bahnhof Langendreer, Bochum: 24 October 2018, Vietnam auf Schauplätzen Westberlins [Vietnam in West Berlin settings], short films by Harun Farocki
  • 19/20 October 2018, retrospective “Krieg und Protest: Eingreifende Filme im Zeitalter des Vietnamkriegs”, Unabhängiges Filmfest Osnabrück, films by     Peter Ulbrich, Harun Farocki, and Chris Marker

June 2018:

  • Co-organisation of Bochumer Dispute 5 – Globalisierungskonflikte vor Ort

This annual symposium brings together scholars and representatives from politics, business, trade unions and civil society to debate the local implications of current globalisation conflicts

“Ohnmacht - humanitäre Hilfe - Protest: Globale Kriege, lokale Konsequenzen”

[Powerlessness – humanitarian aid – protest: global wars, local consequences]

Organisation: Alexander Sedlmaier and Sabrina Zajak

Discussants: Klaus Beck (Secretary of the National Executive Board of the German Trade Union Federation, former member of the advisory board “Innere Führung” of the Bundeswehr), Jan Hansen (historian, HU Berlin), Axel Schäfer (member of the Bundestag, SPD, election district Bochum I), Kathrin Vogler (peace activist and politician, Member of the Bundestag, Die Linke, North-Rhine Westphalia, member of the German Peace Society)

May 2018:

  • 28 May 2018: Alexander Sedlmaier, “The Continuation of Politics with Other Means: War and Protest”, presentation in research seminar series “Sozialgeschichte und Soziale Bewegungen“, Institute for Social Movements, Ruhr-Universität Bochum

April 2018:

  • 9/10 April 2018, “War and protest during the Cold War”, international workshop at ISB

evening lecture: Judy Tzu-Chun Wu (UC Irvine), “Two, three or many Vietnams: International Radicalism and Antiwar Protest”

convener: Alexander Sedlmaier

participants: Freia Anders (Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz), Stefan Berger (Ruhr University Bochum), Kim Christiaens (KU Leuven), Alex Macartney (Georgetown University), Wilfried Mausbach (Heidelberg University), Alex Vazansky (University of Nebraska)

  • 6 April 2018, panel “’Two, Three, Many Vietnams’: Protest against the Vietnam War as Part of Other Emancipatory and Revolutionary Struggles”, European Social Science History Conference, Queen’s University Belfast

organiser, chair, and discussant: Alexander Sedlmaier

panelists: Freia Anders (Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz), Fabian Hilfrich (University of Edinburgh), Judy Tzu-Chun Wu (UC Irvine)

March 2018:

  • 24 March 2018: Alexander Sedlmaier participates in workshop “’1968’ The Global and the Local”, Georgetown University, Washington, D.C.
  • 22 March 2018: lecture at Georgetown University, BMW Center for German and European Studies
  • Library/archival visit: Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.



nach oben