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How did photography articulate individual and collective experiences of the war? This question situates photography at the centre of historical analysis, contending that what we do with photographs (taking, collecting, classifying, exhibiting, looking at and posing for them) shapes how we make sense of what we live through. Picturing the Western Front offers an innovative analysis of the ways in which the practice of photography shaped combatants’ and civilians’ war experiences between 1914 and 1918. Despite military restrictions, photographs were everywhere: the war archives classified thousands of pictures, combatants compiled their own photographic albums and civilians learnt about war developments through the images published in heavily illustrated journals. The study of the material produced by the French military photographic service Section photographique de l’armée, amateur photographers and illustrated magazines such as Sur le Vif reveals that photography mattered not only because of what it showed, but also because of the practices it entailed. Photography recorded events that were then kept in archives and collections, shaping the future histories of the war; shaped affective relationships with others and helped to domesticate the inhospitable environment of the trenches; gave a visual and material body to abstract ideas such as the legal distinction ‘Mort pour la France’ (dead for France); placed people and events in particular landscapes (physical and metaphorical) and made some war events visible while making others, such as suicide, invisible. Photographic practices became, thus, frames of experience: a framework that turned the raw flow of life events into experiences.
This collection explores the role of martial masculinities in shaping nineteenth-century British culture and society in a period framed by two of the greatest wars the world had ever known and punctuated by many smaller conflicts. Bringing together contributions from a diverse range of leading scholars, it offers fresh, interdisciplinary perspectives on an emerging field of study. Chapters in this volume draw on historical, literary, visual and musical sources to demonstrate the centrality of the military and its masculine dimensions in the shaping of Victorian and Edwardian personal and national identities. Focusing on both the experience of military service and its imaginative forms, it examines such topics as bodies and habits, families and domesticity, heroism and chivalry, religion and militarism, and youth and fantasy. The collection is divided into two sections: ‘experiencing’ and ‘imagining’ military masculinities. This division represents the two principal areas of investigation for scholars working in this field. The section on experience considers the realities of military life in this period, and asks to what extent they produced a particular kind of gendered identity. The second section moves on to explore the wider impact of martial masculinities on culture and society, asking whether nineteenth-century Britain can be regarded as a warrior nation. These two sections ultimately demonstrate that the reception, representation and replication of masculine values in Britain during this period was far more complex than might be assumed.
The turbulent diplomatic events of September 1938 aroused substantial public excitement, yet the ‘public’, the ‘people’, the ‘material’ and the ‘popular’ have hitherto been marginalised within a vast historiography dominated by traditional perspectives. Indeed, the most neglected aspects of this ‘model’ crisis – despite the abundance of sources – are the social, cultural, material and emotional, as well as public opinion, an oversight addressed in this collection. The book will also internationalise the original ‘Munich moment’, as existing studies are overwhelmingly Anglo- and Western-centric. It provides a corrective to the long-standing proclivity to consider the Munich Crisis almost exclusively from the viewpoint of politicians and diplomats. The original ‘moment’ will thus be analysed from a variety of relatively unchartered perspectives. Popular responses to the crisis will be prominent, comparing collective responses to individual ones, teasing out its psychological and emotional dimensions, allowing a more holistic and ‘emotional’ history to emerge. The variety of contributions provides an international breadth that is unprecedented in the existing literature, with chapters focusing not only on Britain but also Czechoslovakia, Hungary, the United States, Italy, Germany, France and the Soviet Union. It also furnishes a broader reflection on the status of our discipline, accentuating the benefits of exploring many of the hitherto under-scrutinised issues exposed by the ‘cultural’ and ‘emotional’ turns. The Munich Crisis will thus receive a thorough re-examination that moves beyond those formulaic and Anglo-centric analyses that fixate on positioning the (overwhelmingly male) practitioners of ‘high’ politics as either ‘appeasers’ or ‘anti-appeasers’.
The unimagined community proposes a reexamination of the Vietnam War from a perspective that has been largely excluded from historical accounts of the conflict, that of the South Vietnamese. Challenging the conventional view that the war was a struggle between the Vietnamese people and US imperialism, the study presents a wide-ranging investigation of South Vietnamese culture, from political philosophy and psychological warfare to popular culture and film. Beginning with a genealogy of the concept of a Vietnamese “culture,” as the latter emerged during the colonial period, the book concludes with a reflection on the rise of popular culture during the American intervention. Reexamining the war from the South Vietnamese perspective, The unimagined community pursues the provocative thesis that the conflict, in this early stage, was not an anti-communist crusade, but a struggle between two competing versions of anticolonial communism.
Women of War is an examination of gender modernity using the world’s longest established women’s military organisation, the First Aid Nursing Yeomanry, as a case study. Formed in 1907 and still active today, the Corps was the first to adopt khaki uniform, prepare for war service, staff a regimental first aid post near the front line and drive officially for the British army in France. It was the only British unit whose members were sworn in as soldiers of the Belgian army, and it was the most decorated women’s corps of the First World War. Bringing both public and personal representations into dialogue through an analysis of newspaper articles, ephemera, memoirs, diaries, letters, interviews, photographs and poetry, this book sits at the crossroads of British, social, gender and women’s history, drawing upon the diverse fields of military history, animal studies, trans studies, dress history, sociology of the professions, nursing history and transport history. It reconstructs the organisation’s formation, its adoption of martial clothing, increased professionalisation, and wartime activities of first aid and driving, focusing specifically upon the significance of gender modernity. While the FANY embodied the New Woman, challenging the limits of convention and pushing back the boundaries of the behavour, dress and role considered appropriate for women, the book argues that the Corps was simultaneously deeply conservative, upholding imperial, unionist and antifeminist values. That it was a complex mix of progressive and conservative elements, both conformist and reformist, gets to the heart of the fascinating complexity surrounding the organisation.
Historians of the First World War often seem to have a very clear idea of who middle-class men were and how they reacted to the outbreak of the conflict. This book explores the experiences of middle-class men on the English home front during the First World War. It first focuses on the first twelve months or so of war, a period when many middle-class men assumed that the war could hardly fail to affect them. The book then delves deeper into middle-class men's understandings of civilians' appropriate behaviour in wartime. It explores middle-class men's reasons for not conforming to dominant norms of manly conduct by enlisting, and considers individuals' experiences of 'non-enlistment'. It also focuses on middle-class men's involvement in volunteer activities on the home front. The book also focuses on middle-class men's working lives, paying particular attention to those aspects of work that were most affected by the war. It considers civilian men's responses to the new ambivalence towards profit-making, as well as to the doubts cast on the 'value' of much middle-class, whitecollar work in wartime. The book further assesses the ways in which middle-class men negotiated their roles as wartime consumers and explores the impact of war on middle-class relationships. It considers the nature of wartime links between civilians and servicemen, as well as the role of the paterfamilias within the middle-class family, before turning to focus on the relationship between civilian fathers and combatant sons.
The book is the first systematic study of the ‘People’s Armies’ of ELAS and EDES during the occupation. Previous studies have either neglected the study of the guerrilla armies altogether or focused on their political and operational activities as a result we know very little about the lives, experiences and beliefs of the men who comprised them. Equally little is known about the nitty gritty of guerrilla life; provisioning, leisure, and relations with the civilian population. The book delves into this unexplored area and provides new insights on the formation of the resistance movements and the experiences of the guerrilla fighters. The book follows the guerrillas from enlistment to the battlefield, it examines the rise and origins of the resistance armies, explores how their experiences of hardship, combat and personal loss shaped their self-image and social attitudes and discusses the complex reasons that led partisans to enlist and fight. Existing studies have presented the guerrillas as political soldiers and underscored the importance of ideology in motivation and morale. The present study offers a more complex image and looks at a series of factors that have been neglected by scholars including kinship and group ties, violence, religious beliefs and leadership. Moreover the book discusses relations between the guerrillas and the civilian population and examines how the guerrilla armies governed their territories.
This book explores the meanings of the Second World War in British popular and personal memory. It does so through the study of one particular field of action, namely 'home defence': the military strategy for the security of the British nation against bombardment, incursion, invasion and occupation. The book is organised in three sections, relating to the three critical strategies that inform the research. The first part of the book addresses political challenges to the official version of the social and ideological character of the Home Guard. It addresses tensions over the social and political composition and the ideological inspiration of the Home Guard, and their relationship both to the military functions of the force and to its masculine identity. The second part explores the cultural representations of the Home Guard during and after the war. Official accounts, in posters, films and radio broadcasts, for example, had explicit aims to inform, aid recruitment, raise morale, and counter views that were officially regarded as impeding the war effort. Many unofficial versions took up the government's message about home defence and, like it, they were selective in their representation of Home Guard experience. Others offered more challenging accounts, that were sometimes serious and very often comic. The third part of the book scrutinises personal memories of wartime participation in home defence and their relationship to cultural constructions of the Home Guard, including the Dad's Army representation.
This book provides a unique perspective on the Allied bombing of France during the Second World War which killed around 57,000 French civilians. Using oral history as well as archival research, it provides an insight into children's wartime lives in which bombing often featured prominently, even though it has slipped out of French collective memory. The book compares three French towns with different experiences of bombing: Boulogne-Billancourt , Brest, and Lille. Divided into three parts dealing with expectations, experiences and explanations of bombing, the book considers the child's view of wartime violence, analysing resilience, understanding and trauma. The first part of the book deals with the time before bombing. It examines how the French prepared for war and preparations made specifically for bombing, showing how state-level and municipal-level preparations. The second part considers the time during bombing and its aftermath. It discusses the experience of being bombed, examining children's practical, sensory and emotional responses. The fascinating and frightening scenes in the immediate aftermath of bombing that made lasting impressions on children, including destruction, chaos and encounters with violent, public death. Changes in status as a result of bombing becoming a sinistre, refugee or evacuee had far-reaching consequences in some children's lives, affecting their education and economic situation. The last section looks at the way in which air raids were explained to the French population. It considers the propaganda that criticised and defended the Allies, and an understanding of the history of Vichy.
Working in a World of Hurt uncovers and analyses the range of responses to psychological trauma by male and female medical personnel in wartime in the 20th and early 21st centuries. Until now, academic and popular studies have focused on the trauma experienced by soldiers and civilians, saying very little about the mental strain endured by their healers. Acton & Potter seek to understand the subjective experiences of British, American and Canadian doctors, nurses, and other medical workers by studying personal accounts contained in letters, diaries and memoirs, both published and unpublished, and in weblogs. Offering an interdisciplinary understanding across a large chronological sweep of both the medical experience and the literary history of war, Working a World of Hurt demonstrates that while these narratives are testaments to the suffering of combatants, they also bear witness to the trauma of the healers themselves whose responses range from psychological and physical breakdown to stoical resilience and pride in their efforts to assuage the wounds of war.