Latest Issue
Special Reports
Latest Special Report

Covid-19: Why the true historical comparator is not the Second World War but the First

The Great War and its aftermath hold lessons for the post-coronavirus age

By Norma Cohen  

Crowds in London celebrate the end of the First World War. But . Photo: PA/PA Archive/PA Images

Comparing Britain’s current battle to stamp out the spread of Covid-19 to that of the nation at war is becoming a common trope; people are dying by the thousands, there is no clear path to victory nor any clear consensus on what “victory” might be.

And, like wartime, this battle is about survival, not just of people but of the state. History teaches that…

Register today to continue reading

You’ve hit your limit of three articles in the last 30 days. To get seven more, simply enter your email address below.

You’ll also receive our free e-book Prospect’s Top Thinkers 2020 and our newsletter with the best new writing on politics, economics, literature and the arts.

Prospect may process your personal information for our legitimate business purposes, to provide you with our newsletter, subscription offers and other relevant information.

Click here to learn more about these purposes and how we use your data. You will be able to opt-out of further contact on the next page and in all our communications.

More From Prospect