Themes such as margarine and knitting sound remarkably flippant when discussing a war in which one million men of the British Empire were killed, as well as around one thousand women. There was a “pervasiveness of death” 9 that invaded everyday life. From New Zealand, 17,000 men died, from Canada 60,000, from Australia about 60,000 and from South Africa around 7,000. Three million people in Britain suffered the loss of a close family member, and such losses reinforced familial identities, as mothers, wives, sisters, aunts and cousins (as fathers, brothers, uncles too). Because the war effort was imperial, and because the British-born in the dominions were more likely to enlist than the non-British born, it meant that war casualties often brought home the imperial context of the war. For example, Florence Lockwood, a British Liberal and suffragists, listed her male relatives who were serving in the forces. As well as nephews and cousins in the local Yorkshire territorial force she had relatives in the Royal Irish Rifles, Gordon Highlanders, and an admiral in the Australian fleet. 10 Grief often invaded every waking moment of the bereaved. 11 This was not, however, the only experience of the war that imperial Britons had. Miss E. Airey of Norfolk, whose three brothers joined the armed forces in 1914, wrote in her memoir of the war that, “In the Spring of 1918 came the news that my brother had been killed in France. This was a great tragedy for us and the first real sorrow that I had known.” 12 In order to appreciate the full and varied impact of the GreatWar on identity we need to examine the
One might think that in the interim the debate about the Great War’s causes, its expansion, and its consequences would have been settled. But the controversies continue, important new discoveries remain to be uncovered, and scholarly inquiry into these questions constantly improves. Williamson’s (2014: 35) view is that there is an emerging consensus among historians about the origins of the war. But Röhl (2014: xiv) claims that the so-called “‘slithering’ into the First World War thesis” that Williamson refers to rests on “the deliberate omission or marginalization of much well-known, cast-iron evidence to the contrary.” 2 Clearly, the debate has not subsided and,
T re n c h w a rfa re h a d e x is te d p rio r to th e G r e a t W ar. th e m o s t re c e n t e x a m p le b e in g th e B o er W ar in S o u th A frica a t th e tu r n of th e c e n tu r y . Prior to t h a t, tre n c h e s h a d e x iste d in th e A m e ric a n C ivil W ar th o u g h th e y w ere n o t a s c o m p le x a s th o s e o n th e W e s te r n F ro n t. M o reo v er, th e m ilita ry m in d s e t w a s t h a t i n s t a n c e s lik e t h e s e w e re a ty p ic a l a n d u n lik e ly to r e c u r . " N e v e rth e le ss, tr e n c h w a rfa re w a s a re a lity in F r a n c e a n d F la n d e rs a n d b o th s id e s w ere swift to e s ta b lis h a n e tw o rk o f w in d in g fu rro w s from th e N orth S e a to th e S w iss b o rd e r. T y p ical o f t h e B ritis h lin e w a s th e th r e e - tie r e d tr e n c h s y s te m : fro n t, s u p p o r t a n d r e s e r v e . At th e fo re w a s th e fro n t t r e n c h th a t w a s m a d e u p o f a fire a n d c o m m a n d lin e. T h e fire tr e n c h fro n te d n o m a n 's la n d , p ro te c te d b y b e lts o f b a r b e d w ire . C o n tin u o u s in le n g th , it zig-zagge d a lo n g th e fro n t a t in te rv a ls b e tw e e n 18 a n d 3 0 fe e t. 8 W ithin e a c h s trip , o r tra v e rs e , h u d d le d a g ro u p o f s o ld ie r s a v e ra g in g a d o z e n . B uilt fro m s a n d a g s . c o rru g a te d iro n a n d a n y o th e r d e b r is t h a t c o u ld b e fo u n d , th e fo rw a rd tre n c h 6--------------; “Rifles of the GreatWar". War M achine, no.86, n.d. p .1704-1705.
The last two decades have seen a slow shift in the academic understanding of the impact of the GreatWar on interwar Britain. The work of a small group of cultural historians has challenged strongly held pre-existing interpretations of the cultural impact of the GreatWar. However, there is still a popular perception that the war was characterised by the innocent generation of 1914 marching from an Edwardian summer into an Armageddon which killed most of them, and left the survivors bitter and disenchanted, regretting their participation in a futile conflict, and languishing in the inter-war period, deeply marked by this failure. Yet this is not a view of the war that many of its combatant veterans would have recognised, and, in particular, a productive and influential group of literary veterans, all with connections to Oxford University, who were engaged, in the 1920s and 1930s, in writing a different representation of the meaning and experience of the GreatWar.
Table 3 presents the results of our reconstruction. Series for Soviet interwar territory and the Russian Empire both show an increase in the population during the first years of the GreatWar. After 1915 trends diverge. On the empire territory, population then fell continuously until the data come to an end. The main factors were a jump in mortality and a smaller drop in fertility. On Soviet territory, in contrast, the population continued to grow until 1918. Indeed, the interior regions of the empire that would later form the Soviet Union received waves of refugees from the war-torn and soon-to-be-independent western territories. Until 1917 the influx onto Soviet territory more than offset the indigenous population’s decline. From the start of the Civil War, however, the Soviet population fell for several years because of high death rates associated with combat, infectious diseases, and famine. At the same time, the earlier inward migration was partly reversed as some wartime refugees left Soviet territory and returned home, and some indigenous inhabitants emigrated. Only after 1923 did population growth resume at the rate of 2.5 million per year on average.
As this chapter has shown, forgetting and general amnesia about Irish soldiers prevailed, especially in the decades following the GreatWar. Silence and memory related to the process of state-building helped to marginalize former GreatWar soldiers and also affected how they were commemorated. As has been written, forgetting is crucial in the creation of a nation and it seems that when dealing with memories and trauma, commemoration was deferred until the structures were in place and society was ready for appropriate healing to take place. Most of the literary imaginings emphasised the horror and futility of the War. What is notable is that there were few, if any specific public commemorations of the experience of POWs in either public acts or literary productions. More recent years have seen more readiness to remember the Irish soldiers of the GreatWar, but even still POWs remain forgotten. From the archival work collected here, we might be moved by the images of the damage to young lives and the reality of life for thousands.
Throughout the GreatWar, the Netherlands tried frantically to remain a neutral nation between the warring Central Powers and the Entente Forces. Notwithstanding its neutrality, the war left distinct marks on Dutch society and economy. This article argues that it also left marks, both temporary and lasting, on Dutch contract law. Never since the introduction of the Dutch Civil Code in 1838 had the Netherlands been exposed to such a disruptive international conflict as the GreatWar. Therefore, the war presented the first systemic test of Civil Code doctrines such as impossibility and force majeure. As far as these doctrines are concerned, some have argued that the GreatWar was no different from other, less disruptive economic events. However, on closer inspection one may find that the application of private law doctrines under war conditions seemed to reflect the Dutch neutrality doctrine. The courts strictly construed and enforced contracts, mostly rejected defences involving ‘impossibility’ and vis maior, and often held that contracting parties had knowingly assumed the risks associated with contracting during a war. Moreover, the GreatWar marked the end of nineteenth-century laissez-faire notions in regulatory policies, which in turn caused a gradual shift in balance between public law and freedom of contract. In hindsight, the War can also be regarded as the turning point in Dutch doctrinal thinking on the respective roles of and the relationship between force majeure, unforeseen circumstances and good faith. Another way of looking at judicial application of contract law during the GreatWar is to consider this as an extension of the Dutch neutrality doctrine. Both viewpoints are explored in this article.
First, we provide intertemporal completeness. We fill in all years of this turbulent period. Second, we improve conceptually on existing measures of Russian and Soviet wartime GNP. Russian national accounting has been dogged by the legacy of the “material product system.” This was formalized by the United Nations after World War II (UN 1971), but its intellectual roots go back to Adam Smith and before, and go deep into the thinking of many that would be unfamiliar with its methodological detail. The material product of a society is based on the value of physical commodities produced; this includes the value of intermediate services, such as freight transport, consumed in their production, but excludes services of all kinds (civilian and military, provided privately and by the government) that meet final demand. It has a natural appeal for all that prefer the counting of things over intangible services that are consumed in the same moment that they are produced. This includes many economic historians, given the priority that our discipline has traditionally granted to industrial over commercial revolution. These preferences are present in all previous estimates of Russia’s national income that extend into the period of GreatWar and Civil War.
Jeffery's account of the building of the Irish national war memorial, eventually sited at Islandbridge, across the River Liffey from Phoenix Park, is particularly moving and poignant. The project was delayed for so many years that plans for an opening ceremony in 1939, to be attended by representatives from both parts of Ireland, were abandoned on account of the 'tenseness of the international situation' and the 'consequent ferment' in Ireland. (p. 123) The tortuous history of the memorial provides ample evidence of the reluctance of Free State ministers to adopt wholeheartedly the 'policy of appeasement and reconciliation' urged upon them by those like William Archer Redmond, son of John, whose political and personal loyalties lay with the dead. Public acknowledgement was nevertheless given to the sacrifice and patriotic motives of those who had served in the British Army during the war. To expect the Free State to have done more is to ignore the circumstances in which it came into being. For, as Kevin O'Higgins pointed out in a Dail debate on the national war memorial in 1927, while no-one denied the sacrifice of those who had fought in the war, it was not 'on their sacrifice that this State is built'. (p. 114) That some official ambivalence should be displayed towards the commemoration of Ireland's GreatWar dead was perhaps inevitable; more surprising is the slow and partial progress made towards commemorating those who died in the fight for the Irish republic. A Celtic cross was erected on the lawn of the Irish parliament building (Leinster House) in 1923 as a memorial to Arthur Griffith and Michael Collins, but this was only a temporary structure and was removed ten years later. It was eventually replaced in 1947 by an obelisk, whose 'discreet height' and 'position behind an elaborate railing make it almost invisible'. Thus, as Jeffery tellingly observes, 'in a curious way, this national monument reflects the public invisibility of Lutyens's garden in distant Islandbridge'. (p. 125)
The admiration for and ministrations toward the Australian soldier typified by Holden, but widely held by Australian Methodists of the period, almost necessitated the adoption of a more militant and imperialistic outlook. The idea that such brave and noble examples of Australian manhood were dying for an empty or questionable cause would have been unthinkable. In such a context pacifist voices, even if their stance is drawn from a profoundly religious conviction, are all too readily seen as unpatriotic, perhaps even seditious. That a community as conversionist as Methodism could suggest that the fallen soldier might receive salvation regardless of his lack of personal religious experience or belief, is indicative of how readily a faith community can allow prevailing cultural values to trump the inner logic of its own creed. It is a good example of how complex were religious responses to the GreatWar. Methodism, like all of the Christian churches in Australia, emerged from a colonial situation in which support for Britain’s military agenda seemed natural, even in the post-colonial setting. The response of religious people should not, however, be lost in the assumption that the churches were simply tools of Empire, or that the clergy were its unthinking agents. Michael Gladwin has warned against the tendency of historians selectively to use evidence and failing to consider context, in presenting the unflattering views of the colonial clergymen that have resulted in the prevailing ‘flogging parson’ tradition. 91 The warning is pertinent also in studies of post-
Page | 123 This paper is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License. of the reasons why the GreatWar is probably unique is that “it raised the spectre that through some combination of aerial bombardment and gas or bacteriological poisoning the next large war could lead to world annihilation – the destruction of winner and loser alike” (p. 17). Alfred Bonadeo (1989) explains that “[t]he waste changed man into an inferior being, and the price he paid for valor and survival was degradation” as war “left many men physically alive but spiritually dead” (p. 2). Paul Fussell (1975) dwells on the ironies associated with this war, i.e. how the consequences were always incongruous with the expectations or how the cost was incongruous with an achievement. “Every war is ironic,” writes Fussell, “because every war is worse than expected” (p. 7). “But the GreatWar,” he continues, “was more ironic than any before or since. It was a hideous embarrassment to the prevailing Meliorist myth which had dominated the public consciousness for a century. It reversed the idea of progress” (p. 8). The war, Fussell argues, changed out conception of historical continuity because it disrupted a “seamless, purposeful ‘history’ involving a coherent stream of time…” (p. 21). However, and despite such insightful comments, these critics have not detailed the social context of the war and the interplay between the private experience of individuals and the public event of the war as represented in modernist war literature. Samuel Hynes (1991) offers a more useful model in this regard. Discussing Virginia Woolf’s To the Lighthouse, he asserts that she wrote about “time, change, the irrevocability of loss, the ecstatic sharpness of the felt moment. But her novel is located in history, and like The Waste Land it has a historical vision” (p. 345). War for writers like Woolf and Eliot
The film has an improbable plot. De La Motte plays a young woman called Rose Trenton who agrees to marry George Prothero (Matt Moore), who had been blinded during the GreatWar. Within a short time, Rose realises that she has mistaken pity for love and another man – Sandy Sanderson (Ralph Graves) – has captivated her heart. After breaking off the engagement, the blind-George leaves for Europe. Rose and her new, physically-robust fiancé continue their courtship and are relieved when George returns and seems to harbour no resentment. One day, however, Sandy and George go for a ride, which ends with Sandy being killed by an unknown assassin. Rose is distraught. To her astonishment, however, she receives a letter from a French eye specialist informing her that, during his time in France, George had been cured of his blindness. Miraculously, Sandy then appears, accusing George of attempted murder. The couple are reunited and George leaves in disgrace.
Ask Americans when their country became the world’s dominant power and chances are most will point to the hard-fought victory in the Second World War. But as Adam Tooze shows in his latest work, that shift occurred a generation earlier and before American forces had even fired a shot in what was once called the GreatWar. To those familiar with the history of the First World War, this hardly is a revelation. But Tooze, a professor of history and international security studies at Yale University, aims for something more. His revisionist history sweeps across events in Europe and America, touches on the Middle East, India, and delves into the fractious relationship between China and Japan before ending at the abyss of 1931, when the Great Depression became a global catastrophe. Indeed, the US edition of this book is subtitled The GreatWar, America and the Remaking of the Global Order, 1916–1931. Those years ‘resonate down to the present’ because they raise questions about a ‘lack of will and judgment’ on the part of a ‘rich, powerful democracies’ that remain unanswered. ‘Given the rise of China’, Tooze points out, ‘these questions have an obvious force’ (p. 19).
Still, the call for dialogue is welcome. For the best social history has always been sensitive to language, beliefs and experience, while a cultural history that ignores economic, social or political processes is disembodied. Although cultural history has emerged as the dominant approach to the GreatWar, it has scarcely effaced social history or the older tradition of military, diplomatic and political history.(8)) Cross- fertilising these different approaches or establishing fruitful collaborations between them will provide the most innovative and exciting research on the GreatWar, including in the field of women and gender. To give a few of examples, official fears and anxieties about the unbridled sexual behaviour or financial independence of women during the war may well be no guide to women’s actual behaviour. But together with similar currents of concern evident in soldiers’ letters, songs and trench newspapers, they form one strand of the experience of gender relations, and the myths that informed them had a real social impact. Conversely, the nature of intimacy between married couples, which both partners expressed in probably unprecedented ways owing to separation, became a central thread in the gendered relationship between home and fighting fronts, which can be studied through surviving correspondence. Or again, the concept of
The latter is from MacGill’s memoir The Great Push, where the author seems to be rather understated by simply recording that the soldiers ‘drew our spades and shovel’. A similar scenario, as described by the Irish soldier Private A. R. Read to William Sheehan and retold in The Western Front: Irish Voices from the GreatWar portrays how, in a working party: ‘Each man was loaded up like a pack mule. Trench boards, sandbags, barbed wire, stakes, picks and shovels besides rifles and a canvas bandolier of ammunition’. 2 Read and MacGill describe similar events but the former expands on it by likening the Irish working class soldiers to beasts of burden and thereby becoming, in the eyes of the military, something less than human. In MacGill’s extract the converse is true as the men set to work ‘eagerly’, perhaps to get the job done before ‘dawn’ and avoid becoming obvious targets, but also maybe through a realisation that their efforts will provide them, and their comrades, ‘shelter from bomb and bullet’.
Although a poem about his personal re-consideration of the war’s meaning, Binn’s willingness to consider publishing the piece suggests that he was open to discussing his transformed views. Certainly Robert Manion (future leader of the federal Conservative Party) welcomed the chance to publicly discuss why he reconsidered the conflict. In 1936, Manion published his autobiography, Life is an Adventure, which completely revised his earlier writing on the war. Manion was another member of the war generation disillusioned by peacetime Canada and, like fellow Conservative George Drew, Manion was also a veteran. During the war, he served as a surgeon with the Canadian Army Medical Corps (CAMC) and was awarded the Military Cross for action at Vimy Ridge. When he returned home, Manion was elected as an MP for Borden’s Union Government in 1917. After Arthur Meighen replaced Borden as Prime Minister, Manion served briefly as Minister of the Department of Soldiers Civil Re-establishment. His wartime memoir, A Surgeon in Arms, was published in 1918.
[t]he Russian invasion did not affect or injure those villages, either. The Ruthenians, those who were patronised by the Russians, and vice versa, paid back with a great friendliness towards them. … For example, in the vicinity of Rymanów, the Polish peasants say, the Ruthenians demanded from the Russians to divide up the lands of the Polish lords. Cattle was taken off from the Polish peasants and offered to the Ruthenians; and they [i.e., Polish peasants] had to work for the Ruthenian peasants on the fi eld. … Instances of treason are very frequent too. With the coming of our army, the Russophilic Ruthenians organised outright a civil look-out guard, in order to notify the Russians of the movements of our troops. In Tyrawa Solna, the village we are stationed at today, the civilians assisted the Russians in the digging of the trenches: they would bring along milk, eggs, and the like [for them to eat]. … There are few men visible in the Russophilic villages: all this [= of them] have escaped with the Russians. 44
In the late nineteenth century, many of these undesirables–most of whom were classified as such because they were poor, not criminals–came to the United States by way of Canada. The reason was simple: under American immigration acts introduced after 1891, it became illegal for steamship companies to land excludable aliens at U.S. ports. If someone suspected of a moral, mental, or physical deficiency was discovered in a recently landed group, the steamship company was responsible for the cost of returning them to their original point of departure. An easy solution for these companies was to steer further north, landing at Montreal rather than New York. From there, immigrants could find their way into the United States by land or waterway across an international boundary that was sparsely monitored. 152 Furthermore, by the 1880s an efficient canal and railway system linking the St. Lawrence and Great Lakes made travel along this route particularly easy, even for immigrants who to that point had little exposure to Canada’s two dominant languages. They may have first arrived at Halifax, Quebec, or Montreal, but these people were soon gathering in large numbers at ports in Buffalo, Detroit, and Chicago. So lucrative was this business for Canadian transportation companies that they openly advertised the Canadian route as a way for Europeans to circumvent the U.S. immigration inspection process in the early 1890s. 153