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.
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.
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.
This book traces the creation, maintenance, and contestation of the militarized environments from the establishment of France's first large-scale and permanent army camp on the Champagne plains in 1857, to military environmentalism in the first decade of the twenty-first century. In doing so, it focuses on the evolving and profoundly historical relationship between war, militarization, and the environment. The book treats militarized environments as simultaneously material and cultural sites that have been partially or fully mobilized to achieve military aims. It focuses on the environmental history of sites in rural and metropolitan France that the French and other militaries have directly mobilized to prepare for, and to wage, war. They include such sites as army camps, weapons testing facilities, and air bases, as well as battlefields and other combat zones, but not maritime militarized environments, which arguably deserve their own book. First World War cemeteries and the memorial landscapes of the D-Day beaches remain places of international importance and serve as reminders of the transnational character of many French militarized environments. And although the book focuses on the environmental history of militaraization within metropolitan France, it speaks to issues that mark militarized environments across the globe, such as civilian displacement, anti-base protests, and military environmentalism. By focusing on the French case, the author aims to encourage reflection and discussion on the global issue of military control and use of the environment.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The most up-to-date and comprehensive English-language study of its kind, From victory to Vichy explores the political mobilisation of the two largest French veterans’ associations during the interwar years, the Union fédérale (UF) and the Union nationale des combattants (UNC). Drawing on extensive research into the associations’ organisation, policies and tactics, this study argues that French veterans were more of a threat to democracy than previous scholarship has allowed. As France descended into crisis, the UF and the UNC sought to extend their influence into the non-veteran milieu through public demonstrations, propaganda campaigns and the foundation of auxiliary groups. Despite shifting policies and independent initiatives, by the end of the 1930s the UF and the UNC had come together in a campaign for authoritarian political reform, leaving them perfectly placed to become the ‘eyes and ears’ of Marshal Pétain’s Vichy regime.
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.