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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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The Sound of the Mind: Portuguese Intellectuals and the First World War

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1

On 28 July 1914, one month after the Sarajevo assassination, the Portuguese ambassador in Paris, João Chagas, noted in his diary: ‘Dia de ansiedade, não se fala senão na guerra, mas os jornais da manhã ainda deixavam entrever a esperança de a evitar’ [‘Day of anxiety, no one speaks of another thing them the war, but the morning papers still give us a glimpse on how to avoid it’].2 Chagas had been appointed head of the Portuguese diplomacy in France few months after the revolution that on 5 October 1910 overthrown the monarchy forcing King Manoel and the Royal family to exile in Britain. The Portuguese ambassador followed first the impasse, then the distress and finally the turmoil that the death of Franz Ferdinand and his wife had in Europe and defended that the Portuguese government should adopt a belligerent position placing itself on the side of Britain, France and all the states who had chosen to fight the Central Powers. His position was far from being consensual.

In March 1913, Teófilo Braga, president of the Directory of the Democratic Party, in a statement to the newspaper O Século, appeared confident that no conflict could possibly take place in Europe and argued against the need to take seriously ‘[…] nessa organização guerreira que por aí se apregoa’ [‘[…] that warrior organization that is being proclaimed out there’]. ← 73 | 74 →3

The Portuguese Republic was fighting for its...

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