Alexander Watson wins Wolfson History Prize


Dr Alexander Watson’s Ring of Steel: Germany and Austria-Hungary at War, 1914-1918 was recognised at a ceremony on Thursday 14 May. The work is a history of the conflict from the perspectives of Germany and Austria-Hungary which judges praised for giving ground-breaking insight into an extensively-covered historical period.

Goldsmiths Lecturer in History Dr Watson said: “I wrote the book because I felt that while much has been written about the actions of the Central Powers’ leaders and their peoples, their reasons and motivations were still not well understood.

“I wanted to tell the story of the war from their perspectives, in order to explain both why they committed awful crimes and also how Central Europeans themselves endured horrendous suffering. These experiences led just a quarter of a century later to the even greater horrors of totalitarian dictatorship, a second world war and genocide.”

Dr Watson’s first book Enduring the Great War won the Fraenkel Prize. Ring of Steel has also been awarded the 2014 Guggenheim-Lehrman Prize in Military History and the Society for Military History’s 2015 Distinguished Book Award.

Read more at the Goldsmiths University website here.

Listen to an exclusive BBC History Extra interview with the winners of the Wolfson Prize here.