The Great War
This year marks 100 years since the outbreak of the First World War – also known as the Great War. An exploration of Zurich’s communal chronicles offers a rare insight into perceptions of the conflict and everyday life during the war.
01. October 2014 - 07. January 2015
Montag bis Freitag 8-20 Uhr*
Samstag bis Sonntag 9-17 Uhr*
* Vom 2.12.19 bis 19.1.20 erweiterte Öffnungszeiten:
Montag bis Freitag 8-22 Uhr
Samstag bis Sonntag 9-19 Uhr
A browse through Zurich’s communal chronicles
This exploration of Zurich’s communal chronicles offers a rare insight into perceptions of the conflict and everyday life during the war.
This year marks 100 years since the outbreak of the First World War – also known as the Great War. In all, 9 million soldiers and 6 million men, women and children lost their lives in history’s first “industrialised conflict”. This catastrophic event brought an abrupt end to the long 19th century and led to profound economic, social and cultural transformations including urbanisation, mass unemployment, large-scale migration, the emergence of organised labour, and changes to the role of women and family structures. Neutral Switzerland was spared the destructive machinery of war, but was equally affected by its direct impact and consequences.
While the national and international dimension of the war continues to dominate the discourse of memory, its direct impact and consequences at the local level are all too often neglected.
An exploration of Zurich’s communal chronicles offers a rare insight into perceptions of the conflict and everyday life during the war. A century on, selected fragments of text from the handwritten chronicles on topics such as agriculture, local government, church and social affairs and the natural environment offer a hint of what life was like in the communes back then. Advertisements, event notices and ration coupons, together with a selection of postcards from the Department of Prints and Drawings and Photo Archive of the Zentralbibliothek Zürich, illustrate the effects of the Great War and how it was seen in the communes.
On the shelves to the right and left of the exhibition display is a small selection of accompanying literature on the topic. The exhibition is complemented by a virtual space devoted to the First World War with a range of press coverage from Zurich and a selection of visual materials, audiobooks and films that also relate to national and international events.
- Anita Gresele, lic. phil.
Head of the Turicensia Department
- Roberto Alliegro, lic. phil.
Deputy Head of the Turicensia Department
- You can find Zurich’s communal chronicles in the Rechercheportal and order them for consultation in the Manuscript Department reading room.