Guernica and Total War

Guernica and Total War

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Description

One of the most terrible ideas of the twentieth century was that of total war - war by the obliteration of whole civilian populations. The first instance of this in Europe occurred on 26 April 1937 when the ancient Basque town of Guernica was destroyed by bombs in the Spanish civil war.Almost at once the town became a media focus, and Picasso's painting, which rapidly made Guernica the most famous image of total war, was only one of a huge number of paintings, films, novels, poems and plays to explore this new fear of death from the air. Since the first bomb was dropped from an Italian aeroplane over Libya in 1911, bombing became a central weapon in the armoury of European warfare. The zeppelin and bombing raids of World War I showed how effective they could be. Between the wars, apocalyptic ideas of the mass destruction of civilisation gave mass bombing a new currency of fear. This was the context in which news of the bombing of Guernica was received. Ian Patterson brilliantly traces this hidden story of terror through World War II to Hiroshima, and shows how the image of Guernica is just as relevant today, in the world of 9/11 and Iraq.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 208 pages
  • Profile Books Ltd
  • London, United Kingdom
  • 19 b&w illustrations
  • 1861977840
  • 9781861977847

Review quote

"'Lively and thought-provoking.' Sunday Telegraph 'A demanding, timely book.' The Times 'Fascinating.' Sunday Express 'Patterson writes with forensic precision and avoids melodramatic indignation... just the right selection of anecdotes and quotations.' Daily Telegraph"show more

About Ian Patterson

Ian Patterson teaches English at Queens' College, Cambridge.show more