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This revised and updated edition of The Great War in History provides the first survey of historical interpretations of the Great War from 1914 to 2020. It demonstrates how the history of the Great War has now gone global, and how the internet revolution has affected the way we understand the conflict. Jay Winter and Antoine Prost assess not only diplomatic and military studies but also the social and cultural interpretations of the war across academic and popular history, family history, and public history, including at museums, on the stage, on screen, in art, and at sites of memory. They provide a fascinating case study of the practice of history and the first survey of the ways in which the Centenary deepened and deflected both public and professional interpretations of the war. This will be essential reading for scholars and students in history, war studies, European history and international relations.
This contribution distinguishes between two forms of rights discourse in the writings and practice of René Cassin. The first position was that of an advocate of humanitarian rights, understood as falling within the laws of war. His work on behalf of disabled WWI veterans was the origin of this commitment. Overlapping with humanitarian rights were human rights, as adumbrated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights he helped to draft and to persuade the UN to adopt in December 1948. Human rights set down a supranational standard against which all nations had to measure their actions in peacetime as well as in wartime. The problem was that when Cassin dealt with the Jewish population of Palestine, he saw their cause in terms of human rights, the right to form their own state, whereas when he approached the question of Palestinian rights, he framed them in terms of humanitarian rights. The same was true for Muslims in Algeria. He failed to speak out on human rights violations both in Israel and in Algeria during the ongoing Arab–Israeli conflict and during the Algerian War of Independence. His universalism fractured when it came to violent conflicts between Europeans and non-Europeans in decolonization after 1945.
The two centuries from 1800 to the present day are marked by the increasing efficiency of the means by which humans inflict violence. The myriad causes of violence differ little, if at all, from the other periods analysed in the first three volumes of this collection – greed, envy, lust, anger, vanity and shame produce interpersonal violence while differences in race, language, religion, class or creed are common prompts justifying mass-scale violence. The novel aspect of the years explored in this volume largely revolves around the impact on violence of technological advances. The energy unleashed in the Industrial Revolution spurred the rapid growth in technologies supporting the execution, organisation, annotation and representation of violence from 1800. The digital revolution of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries accelerated many of these trends with the advent of the capacity to move information instantaneously around the globe. This volume examines the impacts of this technology-enhanced efficiency with its large-scale acts of violence – mass deaths in minutes – hitherto unseen in human history. It also tracks the ways that increased access to stories of and information about violence has changed public perceptions of the parameters of legitimate violence at both the mass and the interpersonal level. The decreasing public appetite for violence exists simultaneously with expanding, new forms of leisure which have rendered representations of violence banal.
This book explores one of the most intractable problems of human existence - our propensity to inflict violence. It provides readers with case studies of political, social, economic, religious, structural and interpersonal violence from across the entire globe since 1800. It also examines the changing representations of violence in diverse media and the cultural significance of its commemoration. Together, the chapters provide in-depth understanding of the ways that humans have perpetrated violence, justified its use, attempted to contain its spread and narrated the stories of its impacts. Readers also gain insight into the mechanisms by which the parameters about the acceptable limits to and locations of violence have dramatically altered over the course of a few decades. Leading experts from around the world have pooled their knowledge to provide concise, authoritative examinations of the complex phenomenon of human violence. Annotated bibliographies provide overviews of the shape of the research field.
In historical study, the inaudible is the unknowable. Even in the sphere of twentieth-century history, vast tracts of auditory experience – especially in wartime – are completely undocumented. The upshot of this truth is that only with a full sense of the limitations both of our auditory archives and of what can be represented honestly can we construct representations of war that avoid distortion or sanitization. This is particularly true in museum exhibitions on war, where it is now fashionable to use false sound to offer the visitor what is termed "total immersion in history." This approach is a dead end. Instead, we need to leave unsaid that which is false or invented or commercially effective and stage-managed in our museums and other public representations of war. Fake noise is fake history. This chapter uses the experience of the Historial de la Grande Guerre, a museum of the Great War in France, to demonstrate that silence is an important signifier of what we do not know and cannot know about the past. Only when we realize this simple truth can museum designers and curators serve the very large population of people who seek a deeper understanding of war in historical museums around the world.