Interpretations and Perspectives of the Great Conflict
Jarosław Suchoples & Stephanie James - Introduction
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Jarosław Suchoples & Stephanie James
The hot summer of 1914 seemed to be another wonderful leisure point of the Belle Époque. Józef Korzeniowski, the famous writer better known under his pen name of Joseph Conrad, spent the first lengthy vacation of his life in the old city of Cracow in the Polish part of Galicia, at that time belonging to the Austrian-Hungarian Empire. Like the overwhelming majority of people around the globe, he did not expect that shots fired in Sarajevo at the end of June would bring the end of the whole era of the long 19th century, and the beginning of a gigantic cataclysm marking the birth of a short, but turbulent 20th century. Conrad-Korzeniowski seemed lucky. As a British subject, astonished by the outbreak of the war in the territory of hostile Austria-Hungary, he could expect imprisonment or, at least, internment. Instead, he hid for a couple of weeks in the mountain resort of Zakopane where he met several Polish writers. They discussed the current political situation of Europe, and the prospects of the reconstruction of an independent Poland during or after the military conflict which had just broken out, ruining the summer vacations of so many Europeans, but expected to be soon over. Finally, as October became November, he was able to cross the frontlines and return safely to his home near Canterbury in England.
Millions of dead, wounded, missing, refugees who lost everything...
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