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Alternative Armies: Questioning National Narratives about the Second World War

We are delighted to announce the third event in our new online seminar series which takes place on 28 January from 1730 to 1830 UK time. Dr Chandar S. Sundaram, Dr Jadwiga Biskupska, Dr Steven O’Connor and Dr Nicolò Da Lio will discuss how service in alternative armies can be used to question national narratives about the Second World War.

The nation state remains the ‘standard unit’ of analysis around which much of the history of the Second World War is constructed. Nations began crafting these narratives even during the war itself; they continue to enjoy a prominent place in both current historiography and popular memory. However, the boundaries of nation and national affiliation could also be contingent and ambiguous. This raises important questions about the limits of nationally configured narratives in a global war. Our four contributors reflect on what national narratives mean in the contexts of the British Empire, the Indian National Army, Poland, Italy and Co-Belligerency, and Irish participation in the British armed forces. The core challenge is to reconcile how one might accommodate the nuance and complexity needed to produce international or global history while still recognising that nationalism and national identity meant much to many combatants.

The panelists will speak for about 40 minutes in total allowing plenty of time for discussion and questions. The session will be held on Zoom and will be recorded. The event is free but booking is essential. Please book using this link.

If you aren't able to attend live, but have a question you would like the panellists to address, or for further information, please email Dr Alex Wilson (

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