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The Great War

Insights and Perspectives


Elżbieta Katarzyna Dzikowska, Agata Handley and Piotr Zawilski

This publication is a collection of articles which summarise results of investigations into archival materials concerning wartime stories of various nations involved in the Great War. The objective of the authors was to analyse the wartime experience of individuals and local communities as well as whole nations. They further tried to present a closer, more personal overview of wartime drama. As a result the book portrays the impact of the Great War on the lives of multicultural communities, re-constructs individual war narratives and studies consequences of the conflict. The use of various types of historical materials from state archives and from other sources enabled the authors to create a multifaceted portrayal of the war seen from local and international perspectives.
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War museums at the former frontline between Austria-Hungary and Italy during World War I


1.  On the significance of World War I 100 years after the beginning of the fights

In view of Jan and Aleida Assmann’s definition of a communicative or social memory, which indicates a life span of about 80 to 100 years1, a 100-year-anniversary is a particularly interesting point in time for taking a look at a historical event. Contemporary historians are currently discussing the boundaries of their own subject, which for a long time had been defined, in Rothfels’ words, as an “epoch of contemporaries”2 and thus based on the communicative memory. The enormous attention paid to World War I in 2014, however, raises the question of whether it might be more appropriate to speak of an “epoch of empathy”3.

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