Presentation at St Andrews University

2018 Year of the Woman

To celebrate the 2018 Year of the Woman, the Open Assocation presents a series of eight fascinating talks.

These talks will also celebrate the centenary of WWI, along with the suffragette movement. They will also look at the lives and work of (primarily) Scottish women of the past, whose names are virtually unknown, but who made a significant contribution to scientific knowledge. Some of these talks will be accompanied by an academic within the relevant subject area.

2 November 2018

Presenters: Alan Cumming and Ailsa Clarke

Lecture information

Dr Elsie Inglis qualified as a doctor in 1892. It was an unconventional career path at that time for women, who were very much discouraged and discriminated against. Elsie studied medicine in both Edinburgh and Glasgow and it was during this period in Edinburgh that she founded a medical college for women. After qualifying, she choose to work among the poor and was a pioneer in maternity services in Edinburgh. A mover and shaker in Scotland’s suffrage movement, Elsie was not averse to picking her battles.

When WW1 broke out in 1914 Elsie inquired at the war office if women doctors and surgeons would be permitted to serve in front line hospitals, she was dismissed with the words, “My good lady, go home and sit still”. Dr Elsie Inglis was clearly not the type to accept the words of some puerile official. If Britain did not want the services of these highly gifted women then perhaps Britain’s allies did.

In 1914 Elsie founded the Scottish Women’s Hospitals. These hospital units served in France, Serbia, Greece, Romania and elsewhere. Staffed almost entirely by women, nearly 1500 women from all over the UK and beyond joined the units as Doctors, nurses, orderlies, ambulance drivers, cooks etc. These brave, stoic women, not only endured the horrors on the battlefields but faced typhus epidemics, outbreaks of malaria, starvation, bitter cold winters and entire nations on the move. Elsie herself became a POW in Serbia and witnessed the throes of the Russian revolution. Sadly, Elsie who had been suffering from cancer throughout the war died on 26 November 1917, the day after returning home from the Russian front.

There will be a 40 minute film which follows Alan Cumming as he researches the work of the Scottish Women’s Hospitals in Scotland, France and Serbia during WW1.

“The Years That Changed the World – World War I in History and History”


A history-based review that is not based on scientific knowledge is detrimental and leads to the repetition of historical errors, the participants of the two-day International Scientific Conference dedicated to the First World War, which is being held at the Andrić Institute in Andrićgrad.
Member of the organizing committee of the conference entitled “The Years That Changed the World – World War I in History and History” Svetozar Rajak said that this conference is important not only by the number of participants, but also by the topics it deals with.
“Today’s day has demonstrated to what extent this conference is important, not only by the number of participants, but by the fact that issues that are often not triggered by the First World War are raised,” said Rajak, a professor of economics at London’s school.
He emphasized that many aspects of these issues are not present in the history of the First World War in our country, but also in the world.
Rajak says that the panel on the beginning of the war spoke about some new knowledge, and to what extent Serbia could be considered the guilty for the beginning of the First World War.
“In the panel dealing with the war in the Balkans, we had the opportunity to listen to analyzes that were the result of research in the Hungarian archives, which historians from Europe did not specifically deal with. In the panel on civilian victims of war, prisoners, and sufferings, we heard terrible data on the position of civilians during the occupation, a topic that is almost not present in the history of the First World War, “Rajak noted.
He said that “living history” was presented through the panel on Versailles, the end of the war and the consequences of the First World War.
Historian Velibor Vidić from Valjevo spoke about the Valjevo hospital and its importance in the First World War.
“The twentieth century was not only a century of starvation, but also migration, and these large migrations began with the persecution of Serbs in BiH and Srem. According to official data from the Ministry of Finance of the Kingdom of Serbia, over 200,000 people have been expelled to Serbia, of which 33,000 have been expelled to the territory of the region of Uzice, while the rest has all gone to the vicinity of Valjevo, Vidic added.
He pointed out that this was a tragic event because it was a great emigration of the people, who did not want to go far to the interior of Serbia, because he thought that the war would end soon and that it should be as close to home as possible.
“The war has extended, and Valjevo has received a large number of inhabitants, regardless of the people who have moved away. In the first attack by the Austro-Hungarian army, great and terrible crimes against Serb civilians were committed, such as hanging out, murdering children and the like, “Vidic emphasized.
He added that the Serbian people were killed on both sides of the Drina River, and pointed out that, after the fall of Valjevo, the Austro-Hungarian forces placed their sick and wounded in that town.
Historian Borivoje Milošević spoke about the situation in BiH after the end of the First World War.
“At the beginning of November 1918, the Serbian army crossed the Drina River and gradually began to liberate one city in BiH. Wherever she came, the Serbian army was solemnly welcomed by Serbs, Croats and Muslims. There was a three-state mood among the majority of the population, “said Milosevic.
He added that the time that was coming brought new disappointments to both the Serbs and other nations.
The international scientific conference dealing with the issues of the First World War gathered 26 renowned historians from Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Russia, Great Britain, USA, Scotland and Ireland.
The conference was attended by historians from abroad, Dr. Oleg Ajrapetov (Moscow State University of Lomonosov), Dr. Sean Brady (Trinity College, Dublin), Marko Gasic (London), Dr. Fjodor Gajda (Moscow State University of Lomonosov), Dr. Jovan Zametica (Great Britain) , Dr. Gordana Ilić Marković (Vienna University), Alan Cumming (Scotland), prof. Bruce Mening (University of Kansas), Dr. Svetozar Rajak (LSE London), Dr. Dmitar Tasic (University of FedericoII, Napoli), Dr. Marvin Benjamin Frid (LSE London), Dr. Aleksej Timofeyev (Faculty of Philosophy, University of Belgrade), Mile Bjelajac Institute for Recent History of Serbia), Velibor Vidić (Historical Archives of Valjevo), prof. Dr. Aleksandra Vraneš (Faculty of Philology, University of Belgrade), prof. Dr. Jovan Delić (Faculty of Philology, University of Belgrade), Dr. Dalibor Denda (Institute for Strategic Research, Belgrade), prof. Dr. Ljubodrag Dimic (correspondent member of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts), Dr Bojan Jovic (Director of the Institute of Literature and Art), prof. Dr. Miloš Ković (Faculty of Philosophy, University of Belgrade), Predrag Lazetic (Aeronautical Museum, Belgrade), Goran Miloradović (Institute for Recent History, Belgrade), doc. Dr. Borivoje Milošević (Faculty of Philosophy, University of Banja Luka), Dr. Vojislav Pavlović (Director of the Balkan Institute, Belgrade), Dr. Radoslav Raspopović (Director of the History Museum of Montenegro, Montenegro) and Dr. Miroslav Perišić (Director of the Archives of Serbia and Manager of the Department of History of Andrić Institute).
This scientific conference gave a new contribution to the knowledge of the First World War. Within it, the issues of the beginning of the war, the First World War in the Balkans and in Southeast Europe, the occupation, the civilian victims and the prisoners of war were discussed, the end of the war and the consequences of the Versailles Conference, as well as the lessons that could have come from such a history, is how and to what extent the First World War left a trace in history, cinema and literature.
The Proceedings from the Conference itself will be published by the end of the year.
The conference organized by Andrić Institute ends today.

“I sing out the fact that Serbian doctors, together with prisoners of Austro-Hungarian physicians, treated Austro-Hungarian soldiers with their command, and Serb soldiers and wounded people, while only 10 kilometers further Austro-Hungarian soldiers committed horrific crimes against Serbian life”
Miroslav Perisic

Tel: +387 58 620 912
Address: Trg Nikole Tesle bb, Andrićgrad