Dynamic of Destruction : Culture and Mass Killing in the First World War
On 26 August 1914 the world-famous university library in the Belgian town of Louvain was looted and destroyed by German troops. The international community reacted in horror - 'Holocaust at Louvain' proclaimed the Daily Mail - and the behaviour of the Germans at Louvain came to be seen as the beginning of a different style of war, without the rules that had governed military conflict up to that point - a more total war, in which enemy civilians and their entire culture were now 'legitimate' targets. Yet the destruction at Louvain was simply one symbolic moment in a wider wave of cultural destruction and mass killing that swept Europe in the era of the First World War. Using a wide range of examples and eye-witness accounts from across Europe at this time, award-winning historian Alan Kramer paints a picture of an entire continent plunging into a chilling new world of mass mobilization, total warfare, and the celebration of nationalist or ethnic violence - often directed expressly at the enemy's civilian population.
- Hardback | 448 pages
- 156 x 236 x 38mm | 821g
- 31 Mar 2008
- Oxford University Press
- Oxford, United Kingdom
- numerous halftones
Other books in this series
This stimulating, scholarly and shrewd book is as rich in original ideas as it is energetic in its revisionism. Simon Sebag-Montefiore, New York Times Review of Books [Kramer's] material is as fascinating as it is depressing. Lawrence D. Freedman, Foreign Affairs A sobering book with a bleak message, but one that needs to be heard. Malcolm Brown, BBC History Magazine. d No serious student of the history of the twentieth century can afford to ignore this book. Jay Winter, author of 'Remembering War'
About Alan Kramer
Alan Kramer is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Modern History and fellow of Trinity College Dublin. He is the co-author of German Atrocities, 1914: A History of Denial.
Table of contents
1. The Burning of Louvain; 2. The Radicalization of Warfare; 3. The Warriors; 4. German Singularity?; 5. Culture and War; 6. Trench Warfare and its Consequences; 7. War, bodies, and minds; 8. Victory or trauma?; Conclusion; Historiographical Note; Bibliography