What topic are you working on for your masters degree or doctorate?
For my doctoral thesis I work on the history of horses during the First World War. Though animal studies are quite common in the anglophone world only a few German historians look(ed) on the military and economic importance of animals in warfare at all. My focus is less on the use of horses in the cavalry or mounted infantry but more on other aspects of their deployment in the German army and effects on the home front.
Why did you decide to work on the First World War?
I first really encountered First World War studies when I was at Péronne for an internship at the Historial de la Grande Guerre during my Bachelor programme. Since then I was more or less every year at the Somme as the co-operation between my university and the museum continued. The more I learned about the Great War the more I was interested. While the war ended almost one hundred years ago, it is still a highly topical issue. Directors, comic authors and curators still deal with or re-discovered aspects of it.
Which is your favourite book on the First World War and why?
War Horse by Michael Morpurgo (the illustrated edition by Rae Smith): this children’s book as well as the adaption of the National Theatre in London both made me wonder about horses in service in general and horses being used by the German troops in particular. Of course, I knew that millions of horse were deployed at every front and home front, but I thought then due to mechanization that their importance had already diminished.