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Civvies

Middle-class men on the English Home Front, 1914–18

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Laura Ugolini

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.

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Understanding the imaginary war

Culture, thought and nuclear conflict, 1945–90

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Edited by: Matthew Grant and Benjamin Ziemann

This volume takes the metaphorical character of the Cold War seriously and charts how the bomb was used as a symbol for nuclear war at the very heart of this conflict. The contributions consider the historical relevance of the political, cultural and artistic ramifications of nuclear weapons as signifiers for a new type of conflict. Tis understanding of the metaphorical qualities of the Cold War is encapsulated in the notion of an imaginary war, or, more precisely, a war against the imagination. As an attack against the imagination, the nuclear threat forced politicians and ordinary people to accept the notion that preparations for nuclear annihilation would contribute towards peace, and that the existence of these weapons, and the anticipation of large-scale destruction that came with them, were an inescapable corollary of security, freedom and future prosperity on both sides of the Cold war divide.

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Spyros Tsoutsoumpis

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.

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The experience of occupation in the Nord, 1914– 18

Living with the enemy in First World War France

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James E. Connolly

This study considers the ways in which locals of the occupied Nord responded to and understood their situation across four years of German domination, focusing in particular on key behaviours adopted by locals, and the way in which such conduct was perceived. Behaviours examined include forms of complicity, misconduct, disunity, criminality, and resistance. This local case study calls into question overly-patriotic readings of this experience, and suggests a new conceptual vocabulary to help understand certain civilian behaviours under military occupation.

Drawing on extensive primary documentation – from diaries and letters to posters and police reports – this book proposes that a dominant ‘occupied culture’ existed among locals. This was a moral-patriotic framework, born of both pre-war socio-cultural norms and daily interaction with the enemy, that guided conduct and was especially concerned with what was considered acceptable and unacceptable behaviour. Those who breached the limits of this occupied culture faced criticism and sometimes punishment. This study attempts to disentangle perceptions and reality, but also argues that the clear beliefs and expectations of the occupied French comprise a fascinating subject of study in their own right. They provide an insight into national and local identity, and especially the way in which locals understood their role within the wider conflict.

This book will be useful to undergraduates, post-graduates and academics interested in an understudied aspect of the history of modern France, the First World War, and military occupations.

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Experiencing war as the ‘enemy other’

Italian Scottish experience in World War II

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Wendy Ugolini

Italy's declaration of war on Britain in June 1940 had devastating consequences for Italian immigrant families living in Scotland signalling their traumatic construction as the 'enemy other'. This book takes a case study of a long-established immigrant group and explores how notions of belonging and citizenship are undermined at a time of war. The experiences of the Italian population in Britain during World War Two illuminate the complex and diverse ways in which ethnicity interacts with a sense of belonging to a nation at a time of conflict. There is a tendency within leading British Italian texts to portray the Italians as somehow immune from the difficulties faced by other ethnic minority groups. This book looks at the role of the Fasci all'estero, clubs set up by Benito Mussolini's regime in order to 'fascistise' Italian diasporic communities in the inter-war period. It shows how the wartime configuration of Italians as the 'enemy within' served to dramatically reinforce a sense of 'otherness' and not 'belonging' already prevalent amongst the children of Italian immigrants. The book also offers a critical overview of current representations of Italian internment in Britain, in particular the ways in which the rhetorical device of 'Collar the lot!' is utilised to give the misleading impression that 'all' Italians were interned. The impact of the government's policy of relocating Italian women from coastal regions, the narratives of the Pioneer Corps, and the Italians' declarations of alienage are also discussed.

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Contesting home defence

Men, women and the Home Guard in the Second World War

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Penny Summerfield and Corinna Peniston-Bird

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.

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French crime fiction and the Second World War

Past crimes, present memories

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Claire Gorrara

French crime fiction and the Second World War explores France's preoccupation with memories of the Second World War through an examination of crime fiction, one of popular culture's most enduring literary forms. The study analyses representations of the war years in a selection of French crime novels from the late 1940s to the 2000s. All the crime novels discussed grapple with the challenges of what it means for generations past and present to live in the shadow of the war: from memories of French resistance and collaboration to Jewish persecution and the legacies of the concentration camps. The book argues that crime fiction offers novel ways for charting the two-way traffic between official discourses and popular reconstructions of such a contested conflict in French cultural memory.

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Men in reserve

British civilian masculinities in the Second World War

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Juliette Pattinson, Arthur McIvor and Linsey Robb

This book focuses on working class civilian men who as a result of working in reserved occupations were exempt from enlistment in the armed forces. It utilises fifty six newly conducted oral history interviews as well as autobiographies, visual sources and existing archived interviews to explore how they articulated their wartime experiences and how they positioned themselves in relation to the hegemonic discourse of military masculinity. It considers the range of masculine identities circulating amongst civilian male workers during the war and investigates the extent to which reserved workers draw upon these identities when recalling their wartime selves. It argues that the Second World War was capable of challenging civilian masculinities, positioning the civilian man below that of the ‘soldier hero’ while, simultaneously, reinforcing them by bolstering the capacity to provide and to earn high wages, both of which were key markers of masculinity.

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Civilians into soldiers

War, the body and British Army recruits, 1939–45

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Emma Newlands

Civilians into Soldiers is an examination of British Army life during the Second World War. Drawing on a wealth of official records and servicemen’s personal testimonies it explores the ways in which male civilians were turned into soldiers through the techniques by which they were inducted into military culture. The book demonstrates that the body was central to this process. Using strict physical regimes, the military authorities sorted men into bodily types that reflected their cultural assumptions and sought to transform them into figures that they imagined to be ideal. However, soldiers’ bodies were often far from ideal and served to frustrate these designs. While recruits were willing to engage in practices and routines that they found desirable they also resisted the army’s demands by creating subversive bodily cultures. The book follows the chronological experiences of army personnel, from their recruitment and training to their confrontations with wounding and death, tracing the significance of the body throughout. It analyses the extent to which the British Army organised compliance and relied on consent to achieve its objectives, the ways in which resistance was manifested and experienced, and what can be drawn from these instances by way of larger observations about wartime society in general. By examining soldiers’ embodied experiences it also illuminates broader issues of gender, class, national identity and emotional life. As such, it makes a major contribution to military history, medical history and the social and cultural history of Britain in the Second World War.

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The silent morning

Culture and memory after the Armistice

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Edited by: Trudi Tate and Kate Kennedy

This book revisits the end of the First World War to ask how that moment of silence was to echo into the following decades. It looks at the history from a different angle, asking how British and German creative artists addressed, questioned and remembered the Armistice and its silence. The book offers a genuinely interdisciplinary study, bringing together contributions from scholars in art history, music, literature and military history. It is unique in its comparison of the creative arts of both sides; assessing responses to the war in Britain, Germany and Austria. Together, the different chapters offer a rich diversity of methodological approaches, including archival research, historical analysis, literary and art criticism, musical analysis and memory studies. The chapters reconsider some well-known writers and artists to offer fresh readings of their works. These sit alongside a wealth of lesser-known material, such as the popular fiction of Philip Gibbs and Warwick Deeping and the music of classical composer Arthur Bliss. The wide-ranging discussions encompass such diverse subjects as infant care, sculpture, returned nurses, war cemeteries, Jewish identity, literary journals, soldiers' diaries and many other topics. Together they provide a new depth to our understanding of the cultural effects of the war and the Armistice. Finally, the book has a recuperative impulse, bringing to light rare and neglected materials, such as the letters of ordinary German and British soldiers, and Alfred Doblin's Armistice novel.