Author: George L. Mosse
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Release Date: 1991-12-12
At the outbreak of the First World War, an entire generation of young men charged into battle for what they believed was a glorious cause. Over the next four years, that cause claimed the lives of some 13 million soldiers--more than twice the number killed in all the major wars from 1790 to 1914. But despite this devastating toll, the memory of the war was not, predominantly, of the grim reality of its trench warfare and battlefield carnage. What was most remembered by the war's participants was its sacredness and the martyrdom of those who had died for the greater glory of the fatherland. War, and the sanctification of it, is the subject of this pioneering work by well-known European historian George L. Mosse. Fallen Soldiers offers a profound analysis of what he calls the Myth of the War Experience--a vision of war that masks its horror, consecrates its memory, and ultimately justifies its purpose. Beginning with the Napoleonic wars, Mosse traces the origins of this myth and its symbols, and examines the role of war volunteers in creating and perpetuating it. But it was not until World War I, when Europeans confronted mass death on an unprecedented scale, that the myth gained its widest currency. Indeed, as Mosse makes clear, the need to find a higher meaning in the war became a national obsession. Focusing on Germany, with examples from England, France, and Italy, Mosse demonstrates how these nations--through memorials, monuments, and military cemeteries honoring the dead as martyrs--glorified the war and fostered a popular acceptance of it. He shows how the war was further promoted through a process of trivialization in which war toys and souvenirs, as well as postcards like those picturing the Easter Bunny on the Western Front, softened the war's image in the public mind. The Great War ended in 1918, but the Myth of the War Experience continued, achieving its most ruthless political effect in Germany in the interwar years. There the glorified notion of war played into the militant politics of the Nazi party, fueling the belligerent nationalism that led to World War II. But that cataclysm would ultimately shatter the myth, and in exploring the postwar years, Mosse reveals the extent to which the view of death in war, and war in general, was finally changed. In so doing, he completes what is likely to become one of the classic studies of modern war and the complex, often disturbing nature of human perception and memory.
Author: University of Wisconsin (Emeritus) George L. Mosse Bascom-Weinstein Professor of History, and Koebner Professor of History Hebrew University (Emeritus)
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
Release Date: 1990-03-15
At the outbreak of the First World War, an entire generation of young men charged into battle for what they believed was a glorious cause. Over the next four years, that cause claimed the lives of some 13 million soldiers--more than twice the number killed in all the major wars from 1790 to 1914. But despite this devastating toll, the memory fostered by the belligerents was not of the grim reality of its trench warfare and battlefield carnage. Instead, the nations that fought commemorated the war's sacredness and the martyrdom of those who had died for the greater glory of the fatherland. The sanctification of war is the subject of this pioneering work by well-known European historian George L. Mosse. Fallen Soldiers offers a profound analysis of what he calls the Myth of the War Experience--a vision of war that masks its horror, consecrates its memory, and ultimately justifies its purpose. Beginning with the Napoleonic wars, Mosse traces the origins of this myth and its symbols, and examines the role of war volunteers in creating and perpetuating it. His book is likely to become one of the classic studies of modern war and the complex, often disturbing nature of human perception and memory.
Author: Eric J. Leed
Publisher: CUP Archive
Release Date: 1981-11-30
Based on the firsthand accounts of German, French, British, and American front-line soldiers, No Man's Land examines how the first modern, industrialized war transformed the character of the men who participated in it. Ancient myths about war eroded in the trenches, where the relentless monotony and impotence of the solder's life was interrupted only by unpredictable moments of annihilation. Professor Leed looks at how the traumatic experience of combat itself and the wholesale shattering of the conventions and ethical codes of normal social life turned ordinary civilians into 'liminal men', men living beyond the limits of the accepted and the expected. He uses the concept of liminality to illuminate the central features of the war experience: the separation from 'home': the experience of pollution, death, comradeship, and 'the uncanny': and the ambivalence of returning veterans about civilian society. In a final chapter Professor Leed assesses the long-term political impact of the front experience. He finds that the end of hostilities did not mean the end of the war experience as much as the beginning of a process by which that experience was framed, institutionalized, celebrated and relived in political action as well as in fiction.
Author: Robert Tombs
Publisher: A&C Black
Release Date: 2013-07-18
France and Britain, indispensable allies in two world wars, remember and forget their shared history in contrasting ways. The book examines key episodes in the relationship between the two countries, including the outbreak of war in 1914, the battles of the Somme and Verdun, the Fall of France in 1940, Dunkirk, and British involvement in the French Resistance and the 1944 Liberation. The contributors discuss how the two countries tend to forget what they owe to each other, and have a distorted view of history which still colours and prejudices their relationship today, despite government efforts to build a close political and military partnership.
Author: Martin Evans
Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic
Release Date: 1997-09-01
This unique and absorbing book looks at the ways in which images and memories of war have emerged and endured in the twentieth century. Through a number of studies by the leading experts in the field, ranging from the construction of memorials through to film and personal testimonies, the complex identities of war memories and their social, cultural and political significances are thoroughly discussed. War and Memory in the Twentieth Century explores differing ways in which memories of conflicts are constructed from a multitude of perspectives and representations, including: · the written and spoken word · cinematic and film images · photography · monuments and memorials · museums · rituals and public celebration The book also discusses how memories of war differ between nations and individuals, and between proximity and distance in time. Wide-ranging and original, individual essays cover topics such as Anne Frank, British war crimes, the Gulf War in British popular culture, German memory and identity, and popular film. This truly interdisciplinary and wide-ranging book will be of interest to the general reader as well as students and academics of history, war and society, political science, cultural studies and media studies. Contributors include: Tony Kushner, Southampton University; David Cesarani, Southampton University; Bernice Archer, Essex University; Jane Leonard, Queens University, Belfast; Lucy Noakes, Sussex University; Margaretta Joly, Sussex University; Catherine Moriarty, Sussex University; Bill Kidd, Stirling University; Sue Harper, Portsmouth University; Martin Shaw, Sussex University; Jeffrey Walsh, Manchester Metropolitan University; Barry Doyle, Durham University; Gerd Knischewski, Portsmouth University.
Author: Jay Winter
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Release Date: 2014-05-15
Jay Winter's powerful study of the 'collective remembrance' of the Great War offers a major reassessment of one of the critical episodes in the cultural history of the twentieth century. Dr Winter looks anew at the culture of commemoration and the ways in which communities endeavoured to find collective solace after 1918. Taking issue with the prevailing 'modernist' interpretation of the European reaction to the appalling events of 1914–18, Dr Winter instead argues that what characterised that reaction was, rather, the attempt to interpret the Great War within traditional frames of reference. Tensions arose inevitably. Sites of Memory, Sites of Mourning is a profound and moving book of seminal importance for the attempt to understand the course of European history during the first half of the twentieth century.
Author: Gregory M. Thomas
Publisher: LSU Press
Release Date: 2009-06-01
From the outset of World War I, French doctors faced an apparent epidemic of puzzling neurological and psychiatric illnesses among soldiers. As they attempted to understand the causes of these illnesses, doctors organized specialized centers near the front, where they submitted soldiers to swift, humiliating treatments and then returned them to duty. At home, they interned the scores of civilians who succumbed to the war's strains in decrepit asylums or left them to fend for themselves. In Treating the Trauma of the Great War, Gregory M. Thomas explores the psychological effects of the war on French citizens, showing how doctors' understanding of mental illness produced deep, tangible effects in the lives of the men and women who suffered. Doctors vigorously debated the war's role in the genesis of the neuropsychiatric disturbances observed in soldiers and civilians, but most psychiatrists ultimately concluded that mental illnesses appeared primarily in individuals predisposed to disease. Consequently, doctors granted their patients few favors when making decisions about diagnostic labels, treatment regimes, and pension allocations, leaving many to endure illnesses without adequate care or sufficient financial support. In their quest to understand the psychological impact of war, Thomas argues, doctors focused more on demonstrating the capabilities of their medical specialties and serving a state at war than on treating patients. Those aims significantly affected doctors' scientific conclusions, their medical and legal decisions, and their treatment practices. When the war ended, psychiatric reformers used the trauma of war to their advantage, promoting the perception of France as a traumatized nation in need of new psychiatric institutions that could accommodate a large and growing pool of psychologically wounded citizens. Thomas draws on the vast medical literature produced during and after the war, including veterans' journals, parliamentary debates, newspaper articles, and medical administrative reports, infusing his narrative with a vivid human element. Though psychiatrists ultimately failed to raise the status of their specialty, Thomas reveals how the war helped precipitate lasting changes in psychiatric practice.
Author: Kathleen E. Smith
Publisher: Cornell University Press
Release Date: 1996
In Remembering Stalin's Victims, Kathleen E. Smith examines how government reformers' repudiation of Stalin's repressions both in the 1950s and in the 1980s created new political crises. Drawing on interviews, she tells the stories of citizens and officials in conflict over the past. She also addresses the underlying question how societies emerging from repressive regimes reconcile themselves to their memories. Soviet leaders twice attempted to liberalize Communist rule and both times their initiatives hinged on criticism of Stalin. During the years of the Khrushchev "thaw" and again during Gorbachev's glasnost, antistalinism proved a unique catalyst for democratic mobilization. The battle over the Soviet past, Smith suggests, not only illuminates the dynamic between elite and mass political actors during liberalization but also reveals the scars that totalitarian rule has left on Russian society and the long-term obstacles to reform it has created.
Author: J. M. Winter
Publisher: Yale University Press
Release Date: 2006
Lamed Shapiro (1878-1948) was the author of groundbreaking and controversial short stories, novellas, and essays. Himself a tragic figure, Shapiro led a life marked by frequent ocean crossing, alcoholism, and failed ventures, yet his writings are models of precision, psychological insight, and daring. Shapiro focuses intently on the nature of violence: the mob violence of pogroms committed against Jews; the traumatic after-effects of rape, murder, and powerlessness; and, the murderous event that transforms the innocent child into witness and the rabbi's son into agitator. Within a society on the move, Shapiro's refugees from the shtetl and the traditional way of life are in desperate search of food, shelter, love, and things of beauty. Remarkably, and against all odds, they sometimes find what they are looking for. More often than not, the climax of their lives is an experience of ineffable terror. This collection also reveals Lamed Shapiro as an American master. His writings depict the Old World struggling with the New, extremes of human behaviour combined with the pursuit of normal happiness. Through the perceptions of a remarkable gallery of men, women, children - even of animals and plants - Shapiro successfully reclaimed the lost world of the shtetl as he negotiated East Broadway and the Bronx, Union Square, and vaudeville.
Author: George Lachmann Mosse
Publisher: Univ of Wisconsin Press
Release Date: 2003
George L. Mosse's extensive analysis of Nazi culture - ground-breaking upon its original publication in 1966 - is now offered to readers of a new generation. Selections from newspapers, novellas, plays, and diaries as well as the public pronouncements of Nazi leaders, churchmen, and professors describe National Socialism in practice and explore what it meant for the average German.
Author: Alexander Watson
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Release Date: 2008-04-17
This book is an innovative comparative history of how German and British soldiers endured the horror of the First World War. Unlike existing literature, which emphasises the strength of societies or military institutions, this study argues that at the heart of armies' robustness lay natural human resilience. Drawing widely on contemporary letters and diaries of British and German soldiers, psychiatric reports and official documentation, and interpreting these sources with modern psychological research, this unique account provides fresh insights into the soldiers' fears, motivations and coping mechanisms. It explains why the British outlasted their opponents by examining and comparing the motives for fighting, the effectiveness with which armies and societies supported men and the combatants' morale throughout the conflict on both sides. Finally it challenges the consensus on the war's end, arguing that not a 'covert strike' but rather an 'ordered surrender' led by junior officers brought about Germany's defeat in 1918.
Author: Alan Kramer
Publisher: OUP Oxford
Release Date: 2008-11-06
On 26 August 1914 the world-famous university library in the Belgian town of Louvain was looted and destroyed by German troops. The international community reacted in horror - 'Holocaust at Louvain' proclaimed the Daily Mail - and the behaviour of the Germans at Louvain came to be seen as the beginning of a different style of war, without the rules that had governed military conflict up to that point - a more total war, in which enemy civilians and their entire culture were now 'legitimate' targets. Yet the destruction at Louvain was simply one symbolic moment in a wider wave of cultural destruction and mass killing that swept Europe in the era of the First World War. Using a wide range of examples and eye-witness accounts from across Europe at this time, award-winning historian Alan Kramer paints a picture of an entire continent plunging into a chilling new world of mass mobilization, total warfare, and the celebration of nationalist or ethnic violence - often directed expressly at the enemy's civilian population.