PREWArAs – The Dark side of the Belle Epoque. Political Violence and Armed Associations in Europe before the First World War – is a comparative historical study which examines the role played by militias, paramilitary movements, armed organisations, and vigilante groups before the First  World  War  (from  the  late  19th   century  to  1914).  It  investigates  how  and  to  what  extent  organized political violence permeated European societies even before the outbreak of the Great War…


Although political violence and the First World War are topics currently high in historians’ agenda, the study of organised political violence and armed associations before the Great War has been largely understudied. This is mainly the result of an underestimation of the role played by organised violence in pre-war Europe…

The PREWArAs overall objectives

The PREWArAs Project aims at understanding how and to what extent organised political violence became a legitimate course of action already before WWI; how armed militancy was able to forge political cultures and outlooks which had an enduring influence on narratives, fears, projections and interests; how armed associations acted as agents…

Research Diary

Countries and Cases



Unknown author, "The Road To War". Sir Edward Carson inspecting members of the Ulster Volunteer Force. Courtesy of the Imperial War Museums [http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205184076] digital ID Q 81759, © IWM (Q 81759)


Transversal issues


transversal issues

This project has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (grant agreement No 677199).

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