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The Great War

Insights and Perspectives

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Edited By 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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Introduction

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The Great War in local perspectives in the Central Europe

The study of publications related to the centenary of the outbreak of the Great War may give the impression that in the European cultural memory the experience related to the events in the west of the continent is more vivid than the experience related to East-Central Europe. Moreover, it may seem that this western viewpoint is dominant not only in media but quite often also in scholarly debates.

The objective of our large-scale, inter-disciplinary project was to approximate local perspectives and to study the Great War through the prism of archive resources stored in locations that today belong to Poland – a country which was not on the map of Europe when the war broke out and which revived in 1918. The citizens of this future state were often forced to fight against their compatriots who were conscripted to foreign armies like other inhabitants of Eastern and Central Europe such as Jews, Ukrainians, Czechs. The war in the east had a more direct impact on daily life of civilian communities which went through the terror of occupation, changes of the frontline, passage of armies. Additionally, the conduct of allied armies also affected the local communities’ ordeal.

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