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Consequently, public statements made by intellectuals were increasingly geared towards the German public. First, many speeches and papers in universities [12] were made with the goal of strengthening the unity of the nation. Wide-spread was the conviction, that German Kultur had to be defended against western civilization as Thomas Mann argued in his Gedanken im Kriege Thoughts in Wartime and Betrachtungen eines Unpolitischen Reflections of a Non-political This expression was first coined by Johann Plenge The ideas of also had some roots dating back to the pre-war period.

They were also drawn on to shape the conception of a specific German approach to development adopted in the 19 th century called deutscher Sonderweg German exceptionalism , which was in contrast to the rest of Western Europe.

Many of these speeches and articles resulted from the heated atmosphere of war, and were therefore idiosyncratic and drew on shortsighted analysis of the problems of the day. They neither fully accounted for the political shortcomings of Imperial Germany nor did they realistically discuss the objective superiority of the combined forces of the Entente with regard to industrial capacity and manpower.

At the beginning of the war there was an immediate and strict censorship of the newspapers by the commanders of the Army Corps, and beginning in February , also by the Supreme Censorship Office Oberzensurstelle of the High Command Oberste Heeresleitung. Public discussion of possible war aims was especially prohibited. However, the censorship was not as strict for books and periodicals, and in any case, memoranda and petitions to the government were still allowed.

Thus, in an informal way, intellectuals gained more political influence than usual. Campaigns in the Affaire Dreyfus and the agitation of the Goethebund against the Lex Heinze had helped to prepare this effect.

The Representation of War in German Literature

These ideas originally had to explain and defend the special social and political system of the German Empire and to proclaim national concord. With the extension of the war discussions about the war aims and about the necessity of political reforms inevitably took place, especially in Prussia. These discussions were connected, because monarchists and radical Pan-Germans Alldeutsche hoped to stabilize the political status quo through a victorious war with great territorial annexations.

In the first period of the war, many overestimated the importance of German victories and developed plans for the expansion of the Empire. This was especially true in the case of Belgium, whose annexation or control as a protectorate was considered as a defensive measure against Great Britain in the case of future conflicts. One of the first memoranda was that of Matthias Erzberger on 2 September , which called for far-reaching annexations in Eastern and Western Europe and substantial reparations. This very much resembled the political goals of the Pan-Germans as they were formulated in the so-called Seeberg Adresse of 20 June , which included 1, signatures university teachers.

The idea of Mitteleuropa Central Europe gained significant attraction through the book of Friedrich Naumann , published in Others, such as the Baltic Germans Theodor Schiemann or Paul Rohrbach , focused more on the simultaneous disintegration of the Russian Empire and an increasing autonomy of the Eastern nations, under German influence, of course, but also in combination with a new colonization of German peasants in the Baltic region. However, even this group was not entirely against German annexations in the East.

As the war dragged on and the food situation deteriorated, the debate about the future political structure of the German Empire became more and more urgent. Answering propositions of Friedrich Meinecke , [25] Max Weber and others, the Chancellor of the Empire, Theobald von Bethmann Hollweg promised reforms in the Reichstag on 27 February , but only very vaguely.

The same was true in the subsequent Easter message Osterbotschaft delivered by the Emperor. It was not a party in the strict sense, but an extreme nationalistic movement in opposition to the majority of the Reichstag. Both movements turned obsolete with the November revolution of , but they did anticipate the political controversies in the republic of Weimar.

The left side of the political spectrum split in the same way.

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The leaders of the Social Democratic Party were heavily criticized by many for their extensive support of the government without any substantial political concessions. Even the more radical Spartacus group around Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht joined this grouping for tactical reasons. The idea that there was a general enthusiasm in the belligerent countries at the outbreak of the war [26] has been modified by scholars in the last decades.

Only some crowds in the capitals joyfully greeted the war, whereas farmers and workers saw no advantages in leaving their farmsteads and families. People confronted with fundamental changes brought about by war were eager to listen to the speeches of scholars and the sermons of clergymen, as well as to read poems and essays. Many writers greeted the end of decadence with hopes for catharsis through the Stahlbad [29] of the war. However, like the scholars, the poets tried to minimize all foreign influence, which included ignoring what they had learned abroad previously, and also forgetting their foreign friends living in the now hostile countries.

The continuous exchange of letters between Romain Rolland and Stefan Zweig remains unparalleled. Especially the young expressionist poets and painters felt attracted to the war as redemption from their monotonous daily life. The same was true for the fine arts, Ernst Barlach , Max Beckmann , Otto Dix and George Grosz , all took part in the war and artistically reprocessed their experiences afterwards in dreadful pictures of the war.

Official war-painters were sent to the front, for example Max Slevogt in the West, who was rapidly disillusioned, and Hugo Vogel , the portraitist of Paul von Hindenburg in the East. The war also led to a rapid development of propaganda by means of new mass-media. Photographs and post-cards illustrated the war in official and censured pictures. Erich Ludendorff fully appreciated the significance of the movies for the Anglo-Saxon propaganda. Special attention was paid to children. Therefore they were more concerned with promoting loyalty to the state and the dynasty according to the ideas of The assurance to carry out a bellum iustum just war may be as old as war itself, and we can find debates about the guilt of war dating back to antiquity.

In however, immediately after entering the war, it was evident that this debate had received a new dimension. The need to justify a war between millions of not only soldiers, but citizens, which affected the entire population, not only in the belligerent, but also in neutral countries, was urgent. While England and France could claim a universal mission to fight for democracy and freedom, Germany neither had such a mission nor was it clear what the objectives of the war were.

As a result, the German arguments were on the one hand rather defensive and in a way even idiosyncratic. On the other hand, however, they were often more thorough and accurate in reflecting on the national character of Germany at the time. Most people outside of Germany were unable or unwilling to appreciate this quality. The consequence was an embitterment on the part of many Germans, which was additionally nourished by the defeat and the revolution in November , the Treaty of Versailles , and the boycott of the German scholars by the international League of Academies in the next decade.

In this way, the Krieg der Geister of had a disastrous and continuous impact on the subsequent events.

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International Encyclopedia of the First World War, ed. DOI : Version 1. Making Sense of the War Germany. By the way, it was clear for Troeltsch, that Germany in that sense was a democratized nation. How Europe went to War in , London War, remembrance and Medievalism in Britain and Germany, , Cambridge The uses of tradition, Oxford , pp.

France-Allemagne et retour, Paris , p. Against this purpose many artists and scholars protested. In they founded the Goethebund in several cities, e. The Goethebund was still active in Das Augusterlebnis in Freiburg. Militarism, myth and mobilization in Germany, Cambridge Eine kritische Bibliographie, Stettin Because each of us knows only one side and does not know anything about the other one. But for the moment it is impossible. Selected Bibliography Ackermann, Jens P. Besslich, Barbara: Wege in den 'Kulturkrieg'. Zivilisationskritik in Deutschland , Darmstadt Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft.

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Bruendel, Steffen: Volksgemeinschaft oder Volksstaat. Demm, Eberhard: Der Erste Weltkrieg , in: idem. Boldt, pp. Others have written better and more detailed analyses of weapons development and air power strategies in World War II.


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His imagery of women stuck in the melting tar of a street like flies on flypaper, of families recovering the charred remains of their loved ones in buckets, and of cellars baking their inhabitants alive is stirring and unforgettable. Friedrich writes in terms of images, experience and emotion, providing graphic depictions of human suffering at the expense of a careful, chronological reconstruction of the air war against Germany.

Friedrich devotes over one third of his study to his discussion of the German Land. Loosely following the chronology of an air campaign limited by range and frontline, he first discusses air attacks on the cities of North Germany, then shifts to the West and the Ruhr attacks. He subsequently examines the fate of the South German cities, and ends his city-by-city examination with a discussion of Berlin and the East. His approach is relentless and detailed: with each city or town, Friedrich presents a brief account of its history, heritage, and main cultural treasures before examining its demise and destruction.