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Archives in Wartime: From WWII to the Invasion of Iraq

  • 24 Feb 2012
  • 3:00 PM - 5:00 PM
  • 5th Floor Conference Room Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars (in the Ronald Reagan Building right on top of Federal Triangle)


Archives in Wartime:

From WWII to the Invasion of Iraq

Organized by the History and Public Policy Program


24 February 2012, 3:00 – 5:00 p.m.

(Coffee Provided)

5th Floor Conference Room

Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars

Visit www.wilsoncenter.org/event/archives-wartime for more information and to RSVP.


From the first days of the 2003 invasion of Iraq, United States forces seized official government records created by Saddam Hussein’s regime and exploited them for valuable military intelligence. Millions of pages of these Iraqi state records were then transferred to the United States for further research. Digital copies were even made available to scholars, providing a wealth of new insights into the recent history of Iraq and Saddam Hussein’s regime.

Yet their continued storage and use in the United States remains controversial. The Iraq National Library and Archive has repeatedly demanded the immediate return of all archival material captured during the war, arguing that these records are an inalienable part of Iraq’s national heritage. Negotiations have dragged on as it remains unclear if Iraq is truly ready for these records, which document decades of suppression and abuse, and contain the names of both informants and targets, perpetrators and victims alike.

The seizure of these Iraqi records is not without precedent, as archives are routinely captured by enemy forces during wartime. “Archives in Wartime” will feature a panel of expert archivists and historians who will discuss the current dispute over the Iraqi records within this larger historical context, examining the complex political questions at stake, as well as the tangled legal, historical, and archival issues which arise when state records are captured by invading forces.

Event Speakers:

  • Trudy H. Peterson // Former Wilson Center Public Policy Scholar and Consulting Archivist
  • Douglas Cox // International Law Librarian and Associate Professor, City University of New York School of Law
  • Bruce P. Montgomery // Faculty Director of Archives at University of Colorado at Boulder
  • Tim Mulligan // Former archivist with the U.S. National Archives, Foreign Records Seized
  • Konrad Lawson // Ph.D. Candidate in History at Harvard University

Directions to the Wilson Center: www.wilsoncenter.org/directions

Visit www.wilsoncenter.org/event/archives-wartime for more information and to RSVP.

Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars

1300 Pennsylvania Ave., NW Washington, D.C. 20004

t. 202.691.4000, f. 202.691.4001




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