14-18 by Annette Becker
Understanding the Great War

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A bold new assessment of how the violence, racist nationalism, and grief aroused in 1914-18 changed the course of history

To many, the years of the Great War seemed to signal Europe's collective suicide. A century later, the conflict continues to dominate the imagination of the West--not least because it became the matrix from which all subsequent disasters emerged.

The authors of 14-18: Understanding the Great War have set aside the overly familiar scholarly tasks--assigning responsibility for the war, accounting for its battles, assessing its causes--and instead examine three neglected but highly significant aspects of the conflict, each of which changed national and international affairs forever.

First, the war was unprecedented in its physical violence: Why was this so, and what were the effects of tolerating it? Second, each side seemed motivated and exalted by a vehement nationalistic, racist animus against the enemy: How did this "crusade" mentality evolve, and what did it mean for Europe and the world? Third, with its millions of deaths the war created a tidal wave of grief: How could the mourners ever come to terms with the agonizing pain? These are the elements that are vital to understanding the Great War.

With its strikingly original interpretative strength and its wealth of compelling documentary evidence drawn from all sides in the conflict, this innovative work has quickly established itself as a classic in the history of modern warfare.

About Annette Becker

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Stephane Audoin-Rouzeau is Professor of Modern History at the Universite de Picardie-Jules Verne, Amiens, France. Annette Becker is Professor of Modern History at the Universit de Paris X-Nanterre, Nanterre, France.
Published October 16, 2002 by Hill and Wang. 288 pages
Genres: History, Travel, War. Non-fiction

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(One French sociologist claimed that “the odor of the German race has always produced very unpleasant sensations on the olfactory function of our compatriots in Alsace-Lorraine.”) And those soldiers brought forth a new language for war: for example the German term Verwüstungschlact, for example, ...

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Publishers Weekly

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Over the last 15 years, French scholars have produced a body of research that has fundamentally altered the history of WWI, though much of the work remains largely unknown in the U.S. The authors, directors of the French Museum of the Great War, draw on much of that work and see the war through t...

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Project MUSE

148) little is explained by the repetition of such phrases as "the perverse dynamic of total war" and the "perversion of total war," which are particularly grating when found on the same page (p.

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