23 March 2022


IWM London


War: How Conflict Shaped Us

The Second World War was without question the most devastating conflict in human history. Nevertheless, the conflict was followed by profound social, technological, political and economic change which enhanced the lives of millions around the world.

And while the years that followed the Second World War have been perceived by many as the longest period of harmony experienced by humanity the so-called ‘long peace’ the world has also seen military conflict ongoing every year since 1945, from Korea to Afghanistan and from Syria to Vietnam.

So how has conflict during and since the Second World War shaped our society? Is war a permanent part of human existence, or something we can overcome? And can war destructive, cruel and wasteful also enable much-needed social progress, becoming a force for good?

For the IWM Institute’s 2022 Annual Lecture, we will be joined by Professor Margaret MacMillan, one of the world’s most eminent war historians. Following the launch of IWM’s new Second World War galleries, Professor MacMillan will examine the complex relationship between war and society during and since the conflict, asking important questions about what it means to be human. 

Join us for a fascinating evening of discussion and pose your questions to Professor MacMillan in the Q&A session of the evening, moderated by the BBC’s Reeta Chakrabarti. 

Booking closes 5.30pm on Wednesday 23 March 2022. 


"To understand ourselves and our world, we need to reflect on the role that war has played in human affairs and, sadly, is still playing today.”
Professor Margaret MacMillan


  • © Ander McIntyre. Professor Margaret MacMillan.
    © Ander McIntyre. Professor Margaret MacMillan.


    MacMillan is a professor at the University of Oxford, best known for her book Peacemakers: The Paris Peace Conference of 1919 and Its Attempt to End War.



    Chakrabarti is a journalist, newsreader and correspondent for BBC News.


Visitors exploring the Second World War exhibition
Permanent Display

Second World War Galleries

IWM London

Now Open
Holocaust exhibition with two visitors
Permanent Display

The Holocaust Galleries

IWM London

Now Open
Text says Reimagining Victory  - photograph of a hand making the V sign
Contemporary conflict


A digital series of talks & debates questioning the concept of 'victory' in conflict today.