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A Civil War of Words

The Cultural Impact of the Great War in Catalonia, Spain, Europe and a Glance at Latin America

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Edited By Xavier Pla, Maximiliano Fuentes and Francesc Montero

The Great War did not only mark the history of the twentieth century: to a large extent, the conflict also affected culture and literature in Europe and the rest of the world. This collection of essays aims to provide the reader with a broad and transdisciplinary perspective on the cultural and political impact of the Great War. Using a comparative approach and focusing on Catalonia and Spain, this volume reflects the enormous variety of representations of the ‘theatre of war’ in both neutral and belligerent countries, causing a significant rejuvenation in fiction and journalistic genres in the subsequent decades.
This book features essays by some of the most important specialists in the First World War from Spain, Italy, Portugal, the United Kingdom and Latin America, who, in the centenary of the conflict, provide an innovative critical approach to this crucial event in contemporary history.
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Some Reflections on the Great War and the Nationality Question in Europe

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It is not our intent to offer here a list of the various ethno-national territorial disputes that took place in Europe during World War I, that defined the continental context for the evolution of Catalan nationalism and the campaign for Catalan autonomy of 1917–18. However, we shall seek to develop an integrated view that might clarify how exceptional the Catalan positions regarding autonomy, self-government, sovereignty and independence were – or were not – in Europe at that time. In fact, we find greater relationship than what is generally believed. Anne-Marie Thiesse has noted that there is rien de plus international que la formation des identités nationales [nothing more international than the formation of national identities].1 Indeed, from Finland to Portugal we encounter similar theoretical principles in the diverse models, paradigms, doctrines and stimuli that have shaped the various nationalist movements and policies in circulation since the beginning of the nineteenth century. ← 35 | 36 →2

I.

We will begin with the years just prior to the outbreak of World War I. In 1913 the French historian Charles Seignobos published his book Tendances autonomistes en Europe [Autonomist Tendencies in Europe], based on his interest in the nationality question in Central-Eastern and Western Europe. He placed the situations of Alsace-Loraine, Catalonia, Bohemia, Ireland, Lithuania and others on the same plane.3 In February of that year, the Parisian (later Swiss) journal Les Annales des Nationalités [The Annals of the Nationalities] published a report on the demands...

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