It has become commonplace among beleaguered leaders seeking to rally popular support to say that the COVID-19 pandemic is a “war,” albeit against an “invisible enemy.” For a number of obvious reasons, a pandemic is very different from a war, of course. We think of a pandemic as a natural disaster, whereas a war as man-made. Nevertheless, the two kinds of disaster have much in common. This paper considers one particular point of resemblance, namely the way the pandemic came as a surprise to most people, despite numerous warnings of the likelihood of such a disaster. The paper then explores the economic, social, political and geopolitical consequences of World War I and shows what they can teach us about the possible consequences of the pandemic.

Niall Ferguson, MA, D.Phil., is the Milbank Family Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, and a senior fellow of the Center for European Studies, Harvard. He is the author of fifteen books, most recently The Square and the Tower, and an award-making filmmaker, having won an international Emmy for his PBS series The Ascent of Money.


WATCH THE INTERVIEW WITH NIALL FERGUSON


ABOUT THE PROGRAM

This talk is part of the History Working Group Seminar Series. A central piece of the History Working Group is the seminar series, which is hosted in partnership with the Hoover Library & Archives. The seminar series was launched in the fall of 2019, and thus far has included six talks from Hoover research fellows, visiting scholars, and Stanford faculty. The seminars provide outside experts with an opportunity to present their research and receive feedback on their work. While the lunch seminars have grown in reputation, they have been purposefully kept small in order to ensure that the discussion retains a good seminar atmosphere.

historyworkinggroup_footer.jpg

Upcoming Events

Thursday, October 6, 2022 4:00 PM
ChinaUSGettyImages-1015465116.jpg
The Avoidable US-China War – A Conversation With Dr. Condoleezza Rice And Kevin Rudd
The Hoover Institution hosts The Avoidable US-China War – A Conversation with Dr. Condoleezza Rice and Kevin Rudd on Thursday, October 6, 2022 from 4…
Friday, October 7, 2022 12:00 PM
Danger Zone: The Coming Conflict With China
The Hoover Project on China’s Global Sharp Power and the Stanford Center for International Security and Cooperation invite you to Danger Zone: The…
Thursday, November 3, 2022 5:00 PM
Line of Japanese soldiers holding a flag, illustration kamishibai
Through a Transnational Lens: Embedding Japan in Global History—Japanese Diaspora Public Lecture
This is a Japanese Diaspora Public Lecture featuring Sheldon Garon, Princeton University. Annenberg Conference Room, Hoover Institution, Stanford University
overlay image