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World War I from Local Perspectives: History, Literature and Visual Arts

Austria, Britain, Croatia, France, Germany, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Poland and the United States


Edited By Mirosława Buchholtz and Grzegorz Koneczniak

The volume explores the ways in which the Great War has been remembered and imaged in various local accounts. It provides careful readings of a wide range of sources: letters exchanged by Henry James and Burgess Noakes, spoken accounts of the Old Believers of the Russian Orthodox Church, historical documents concerning Eastern Europe and the United States, travel writings by Fritz Wertheimer, Hermann Struck, and Herbert Eulenberg, literary texts by Lord Dunsany, Miroslav Krleža, and Gustav Meyrink, theater performances in Italy and Ireland and visual arts: masks for facially disfigured soldiers made by Francis Derwent Wood and Anna Coleman Ladd.
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Poems from the Home Front: Marian Allen and Vera Brittain


World War I is believed to be one of the most tragic events of the twentieth century on account of the fact that it brought more casualties and devastations than all the wars that had come earlier. The statistics show that approximately sixteen million people lost their lives during its course. What is more, the Great War was “the first truly global conflict between several major powers, ranging across Europe, Africa, Asia and, hence, over the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific Oceans” (Simkins et al. 2003: 9). Occurring on many fronts extensively and contemporaneously, “the war challenged political and military leaders in a way in which no other conflict had since the Napoleonic Wars in the nineteenth century” (2003: 7–10).

Women had their own front during the First World War: it was not the Western Front, that is, the warfare activities outside Great Britain in the areas of France and Belgium, and commonly associated with abhorrent trenches,1 but the so-called “Home Front,” where they were fighting with their emotional states caused by the loss of beloved people. Interestingly, the Great War initiated significant changes in the roles of women. Because of manpower deficiency, women were urgently needed to perform a wide range of labor previously destined for men: “Over 7,310,000 women were in paid employment by July 1918. The 947,000 who worked in munitions production represented 90 percent of that industry’s workforce, while 117,000 were employed in transport and another 228,...

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