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The chapter looks at Clementine Churchill’s often neglected position as her husband’s closest advisor and greatest influence. It begins by recounting the attributes she brought to the role, including championing the role of women in wartime and offering personal ‘protection’ to Winston at times of great stress, such as the eve of the D-Day landings. Her role as a British ‘First Lady’ is explored; attending key wartime conferences, editing and rehearsing Churchill’s speeches, and managing high-level international diplomacy with de Gaulle, Roosevelt and Stalin. However, her most important role was in managing Winston, monitoring her husband’s behaviour and restraining him when the need arose. It was a role that absorbed almost all of her energy and time, leaving her little of either for herself or her family.
The first part of the chapter discusses Serbia during the Great War. Following initial military successes, Serbias army was forced to retreat, together with the government and the royal family, to the Greek island of Corfu in late 1915. By late 1918, a recuperated Serbian army, together with its allies, liberated Serbia and occupied much of what would soon become Yugoslavia. Serbia suffered enormously in the war, but its domination of interwar Yugoslavia alienated non-Serbs and many formerly Habsburg Serbs. In response to the political crisis, King Aleksandar Karadjordjević introduced dictatorship in 1929. His project to create a unified Yugoslav nation had largely failed even before his assassination in 1934. The late 1930s saw a partial return to democracy, in contrast to developments elsewhere in East-Central Europe, a Serb-Croat compromise, and a move closer to Berlin and Rome. Serb officers and most political leaders rejected a pact with the Axis in 1941, leading to the invasion and partition of Yugoslavia by the Axis. The final part discusses resistance, civil war and collaboration and the German policy of reprisals against Serbs, Jews and Roma in occupied Serbia.
The chapter examines Churchill’s role on the international stage and his summit diplomacy with Roosevelt and Stalin. Faced with the surprise collapse of France in 1940, he was forced to seek new partners, assiduously courting the United States while seizing the opportunity of an alliance with the Soviet Union. The result was that he had to juggle the conflicting demands of Roosevelt and Stalin, embarking on strenuous personal diplomacy in the face of declining British influence. The chapter reviews the key decisions of the major meetings before looking at their postwar legacy in Churchill’s attempts to advance European reconciliation and his ultimately unsuccessful bid to resume summitry with the Soviet Union.
Through pinpointing how Churchill’s perceptions of aerial bombardment evolved across his political career, this chapter highlights the ambivalence and incongruence that dogged his bombing policy from its earliest days: ultimately arguing that his vacillating approach towards the Allied bombing campaign – and his eventual calculated detachment from it – was not out of character. The chapter begins by establishing his preliminary beliefs about aerial bombardment; next, it traces how his bombing theory converted into destructive reality, from ‘aerially policing’ the British Empire in the 1920s to the Combined Bomber Offensive; finally, it examines how Churchill attempted to reconcile his incriminating role in the German firestorms with a war-scarred Britain after 1945.
Churchill has become the archetypal embodiment of the modern war leader, in part as a result of his own writings, but this chapter strips away the layers of hindsight and looks in detail at the challenge he faced in 1940 and the actions he took in response. By making himself minister of defence, he united the civilian and military administrative machines and established a streamlined decision-making process at the heart of government. He led from the front, both through the projection of his image and through his distinctive oratory. His strategy was to weather the immediate crisis and then to find means of taking the fight to the enemy, even if it meant prioritising the Mediterranean over the Empire in Asia, while also courting the United States and seizing the opportunity of the Soviet alliance. The strain undoubtedly took a toll on his health and, as the war progressed, his room for manoeuvre became more limited and fractures began to emerge over the future, both within his government and in his relations with his key allies.
The modern Japanese nation-state that was established from 1868 onwards was marked by a strong tendency towards the separation of state and religion: religions were protected as a private matter, but the public sphere was resolutely kept free of them. This was mainly done so that competing religions would not get in the way of state-sanctioned emperor worship. The latter, although imbued with elements from Shinto, was carefully defined as non-religious, so that emperor worship could be prescribed without harm to the constitutionally guaranteed freedom of religion. This secularist approach to policing religions was broadly shared among Japanese elites—but it did not remain unopposed.
From around the turn of the twentieth century, dissatisfaction with the separation of the religious and the secular spheres began to be voiced, especially by pan-Asianist activists, who sought to combine the spiritual unity of Asia with the political liberation of Asian countries from Western colonialism and imperialism. Although Japanese pan-Asianism has conventionally been seen as a purely political movement, one cannot explain it fully without taking into account its spiritual dimension, which up to the 1920s drew its primary inspiration from India. This article will show how pan-Asianist activists in Japan opposed mainstream secularism and discuss what their vision for a unified Asia was. In doing so, it will focus on the Japanese reception of the Frenchman Paul Richard, an important political activist-cum-spiritual seeker who was a central node in the network of Indian and Japanese pan-Asianists in the early twentieth century.
In Ukraine, as was the case across occupied Europe, while most residents of any given locality divided into bystanders, collaborators, and accomplices during the Holocaust, a minority turned to rescue work. Faith-motivated rescue work by large institutions or individuals representing prominent branches of Christianity is well documented; its prevalence exemplifies the critical role that the altruism of individual members of the clergy, laity, and religious orders played in the survival of many Jews. However, rescuers from less prominent denominations of Christianity, amongst them Baptists, Evangelicals, Seventh-day Adventists, and Sabbatarians, are less spoken about, although these rescuers were often equally as motivated to rescue and more poorly resourced to do so due to disadvantageous political circumstances. Some scholars suggest that it was their “underdog” identity that made such groups empathize with persecuted Jews, but primary testimony offers an even more intriguing perspective: it was the philo-Semitic underpinnings of some members of the minority Protestant denominations in question that provided a broad theological basis for rescuing Jews, transcending the sociopolitical phenomenon of the common underdog mentality and even more widespread ecumenical obligations for being a good Christian.
Finn Fordham’s chapter addresses the lacuna in scholarly considerations of the early European reception of Finnegans Wake by offering a cultural historiography that focuses on England, addressing its political landscape and specific cultural traditions. Examining the wartime diaries and letters of literary figures in the United Kingdom, it traces complex ideological responses to Joyce’s last text. In doing so, it outlines events that are seminal to the development of the Joyce industry in the United States; Fordham argues that the cultural vacuum in Europe produced by the war led to the conception of a “universal” Joyce. While early reviews in the Southern Review and the Kenyon Review saw the Wake as a perfectly “impersonal work” that inspired the development of New Criticism, this study will construct an alternative account of the impact of Wake. This account centers on readers who respond privately to the text in a time of global conflict and see within its polyphony a set of tacitly political practices.
Chapter 2 explains how and why the campaign against aftosa adopted the policies it did, focusing on high politics of bilateral diplomacy, the main competing political and economic interests on both sides of the border, and bureaucratic infrapolitics. The Mexican government used international ties, obfuscation and delay to gradually blunt US policy preferences and shift the aftosa campaign from slaughter to vaccination. In this way the campaign illustrates the diplomatic leverage Mexico retained in the postwar period, and how it was used.
Starting with popular memories of the civilian gas masks of the Second World War, this chapter argues that the emergence of this singular, material object signals the arrival of the civil defense state and its accompanying militarization of civilian life. It reveals the theoretical and methodological underpinnings of The Age of the Gas Mask, and shows how the gas mask connects the histories of both world wars, of combatants and civilians, of men and women, of metropole and colony, of the state and the individual, thus shedding new light on total war.
While civilians in the metropole had mixed responses to concerted efforts to urge them to carry their gas masks, popular culture continued to make the gas mask an object of humor as well as something to manage panic or fear. As the war continued, new questions emerged that showed the limits of the gas mask’s reach, notably who was responsible for providing gas masks for internees in camps on the Isle of Man or for colonial subjects in places ranging from Aden to India to Singapore to the West Indies. Those planning for civil defense had not considered provisions for those in Britain’s extensive empire, and those in the colonies came to treat imperial civil defense with ambivalence. As Britain’s access to its overseas empire – and most importantly its source of rubber – shifted by the middle of 1942, so too did its instructions about gas masks. It now no longer asked its inhabitants to carry their gas masks everywhere but instead to ensure that they knew where they were and would keep them in good order. Despite poison gas not being deployed in massive attacks on civilians, as feared in the planning stages, the government continued to provide babies’ anti-gas protective helmets to all infants, and to inspect and repair gas masks for other ages throughout the war. At the war’s end, however, it decided not to collect these devices, just in case they could be of use in a future war.
The civilian gas mask made total war seem normal. As an object that could remind wearers of an existential threat to their lives and families and livelihoods while being carried on the body, the gas mask could encapsulate both the warfare state and the welfare state of the twentieth century. A government that freely distributed civilian gas masks made it acceptable to factor its noncombatant population fully into the waging of modern war.
The trial run of civil defence and the gas mask in September 1938 yielded several important lessons for the government. One was that it urgently needed to solve the absence of anti-gas protection for infants and toddlers, which it did by the time Britain entered the Second World War in September 1939. Until the outbreak of war, it continued to encounter resistance to these measures, and when war broke out, some conscientious objectors used their refusal to accept their gas masks as a sign of their commitment to oppose all war. As for the majority who accepted the mask as the gift of a benevolent state, the issue became whether or not they would follow instructions to carry them whenever they left their homes. The government soon came to see gas mask carrying not only as a mark of good morale, but also as indicating whether or not someone was being a good wartime citizen, willing to follow instructions in order to keep the entire civilian population safe. Mass Observation delegated respondents to survey who carried their masks, and they recorded these efforts as mapping onto attitudes towards the war effort. When the worst of the Battle of Britain had subsided with a decrease in devastating aerial attacks by April 1941, the government launched a concerted campaign, using posters, film, and staged gas mask drills to encourage the population to remember that “Hitler Will Give No Warning,” so everyone had to accept the obligation always to have a gas mask at the ready. Carrying and caring for the gas mask became a sign that you accepted your duty to participate in the war effort.
The First World War introduced the widespread use of lethal chemical weapons. In its aftermath, the British government, like that of many states, had to prepare civilians to confront such weapons in a future war. Over the course of the interwar period, it developed individual anti-gas protection as a cornerstone of civil defence. Susan R. Grayzel traces the fascinating history of one object – the civilian gas mask – through the years 1915–1945 and, in so doing, reveals the reach of modern, total war and the limits of the state trying to safeguard civilian life in an extensive empire. Drawing on records from Britain's Colonial, Foreign, War and Home Offices and other archives alongside newspapers, journals, personal accounts and cultural sources, she connects the histories of the First and Second World Wars, combatants and civilians, men and women, metropole and colony, illuminating how new technologies of warfare shaped culture, politics, and society.
War of Words argues that the conflicts that erupted over French colonial territory between 1940 and 1945 are central to understanding British, Vichy and Free French policy-making throughout the war. By analysing the rhetoric that surrounded these clashes, Rachel Chin demonstrates that imperial holdings were valued as more than material and strategic resources. They were formidable symbols of power, prestige and national legitimacy. She shows that having and holding imperial territory was at the core of competing Vichy and Free French claims to represent the true French nation and that opposing images of Franco-British cooperation and rivalry were at the heart of these arguments. The selected case studies show how British-Vichy-Free French relations evolved throughout the war and demonstrate that the French colonial empire played a decisive role in these shifts.
Why have so many Latin American authors recently taken up themes of Nazism, the Second World War and the Holocaust? This introduction re-caps the development of Latin American literary production from the nineteenth century to the present in order to explain why it is a notable trend that can tell us about phenomena as diverse as literary generations, globalization, racism, precarious labour, dictatorship, democracy, ethics and ontology. It investigates whether narratives from Argentina, Chile, Mexico, Colombia and Brazil have anything in common in their approaches to the subject; and whether they are similar or distinct from works by their canonized precursors such as Jorge Luis Borges, Carlos Fuentes, Carlos Onetti and Ricardo Piglia. Ultimately, this introduction sets out a framework for understanding a gradual shift in Latin American literature, from novels underpinning the ‘imagined communities’ of nations (Benedict Anderson), to authors deconstructing these and instead gesturing towards ‘inoperative communities’ (Jean-Luc Nancy).
Addressing the question of why many Latin American fiction authors are writing about Nazism, the Second World War and the Holocaust now, this book charts the evolution of Latin American literary production from the 19th Century, through the late 20th century 'Boom', to the present day. Containing texts from Mexico, Colombia, Brazil, Argentina and Chile, it analyses work by some of the most well-known contemporary writers including Roberto Bolaño, Juan Gabriel Vásquez, Jorge Volpi, Lucía Puenzo, Patricio Pron and Michel Laub; as well as notable precursors such as Jorge Luis Borges, Carlos Fuentes and Ricardo Piglia. Nazism, the Second World War and the Holocaust in Contemporary Latin American Fiction argues that these authors find Nazism relevant to thinking through some of the most urgent contemporary challenges we face: from racism, to the unequal division of wealth and labour between the Global 'North' and 'South'; and, of course, the general failure of democracy to eliminate fascism.
The conclusion offers new perspectives on how after the crises of the 1930s and the even more horrific Second World War a more durable Atlantic order for the “long” 20th century could be created – an order that was founded as a western system led by the new American superpower and rested on the Marshall Plan, the European Recovery Program and the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation. Reappraising the global significance of these developments, it emphasises that what the principal American and west European decision-makers constructed was not just propelled by the escalating cold war with the Soviet Union but rather, on a deeper level, the outgrowth of longer-term learning processes: attempts to draw deeper lessons not only from the rise of National Socialism, authoritarianism and Stalinism and the Second World War but also from the earlier crises and catastrophes of the “long” 20th century, particularly the First World War and the deficient or unfinished efforts to create a modern international system in its aftermath. Finally, it reflects on the challenges of preserving a functioning and legitimate Atlantic and global order in the early 21st century.
Few themes have greater longevity in Britten studies than politics. Conventionally, Britten abandoned his overt political engagement of the 1930s – symbolised by his departure to the United States – finding, through a process of self-discovery, a breadth of human expression that transcended the slogans of politicised art in Peter Grimes. Britten’s pacifism and left-wing politics have formed – with his sexuality – a nexus of othered identity that was, as Pears had it, ‘outside the pale’ in British society of the mid-twentieth century. However, this dichotomy of self and other risks rendering British society an undifferentiated landscape of political and social conservatism. This, in turn, prevents consideration of how Britten’s left-wing pacifism intersected with broader trends and attitudes, and other radical individuals, as well as of the place of politics within his myriad, complex interactions with such conventional institutions as the BBC or the monarchy. It is thus timely to reconsider how communism, socialism, and pacifism intersected with Britten’s musical career, exploring the history of these terms, and how they influenced aesthetics, cultural practice, and individuals.
Auden’s poetry and ideology were shaped by each era and circumstance in which he lived and worked and by those by whom he was surrounded. His early views on politics, religion, sexuality, and the importance of art, music, and poetry to society – all of which defined the poet as Britten knew him in the 1930s and early 1940s – underwent some form of revision thereafter, providing fodder for those critics who sought to conscript him to the turbulent period leading up to and including the Second World War, hailed by many as the ‘golden age’ of his poetry. In England, particularly, some scholars have posited that Auden’s rejection of his ‘age’ – and his country in 1939 – did damage to both his contemporary and posthumous reputations, going so far as to posit that he had squandered his opportunity to be considered that nation’s greatest poet of the twentieth century. As this chapter explores, Auden’s outlook on the varying matters that crept into his poetry was complex and often contradictory.