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"The Spirit of 1914": A Redefinition and a Defense

Ringmar, Erik

War in History, 2018-01-01, Vol.25(1), pp.26-47 [Periódico revisado por pares]

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  • Título:
    "The Spirit of 1914": A Redefinition and a Defense
  • Autor: Ringmar, Erik
  • Assuntos: First World War ; Enthusiasm ; Revisionism ; Outbreak Of War ; Samhällsvetenskap ; Statsvetenskap ; Social Sciences ; Political Science ; Humaniora Och Konst ; Historia Och Arkeologi ; Historia ; Humanities ; History And Archaeology ; History
  • É parte de: War in History, 2018-01-01, Vol.25(1), pp.26-47
  • Descrição: The received wisdom has long been that people in Europe reacted with great enthusiasm as war was approaching in August, 1914. However, scholars who have investigated the matter have found little evidence of enthusiasm. There was no unique “spirit of 1914,” and people in general were not happy about the prospect of war. This revisionist thesis is now the new orthodoxy and should as such be subject to scrutiny. In this article I focus on the notion of an “experience.” Experiences are felt and gone through, the argument will be, not rationalized after the fact. As such they will always leave only faint traces in the historical sources. It is very difficult to say what people in August 1914 actually felt. As a way around this problem I suggest we should focus on a study of public moods. It is in a public mood that felt experiences arise and public moods are in principle open to historical investigation. ; The received wisdom has long been that people in Europe reacted with great enthusiasm as war was approaching in August, 1914. However, scholars who have investigated the matter have found little evidence of enthusiasm. There was no unique “spirit of 1914,” and people in general were not happy about the prospect of war. This revisionist thesis is now the new orthodoxy and should as such be subject to scrutiny. In this article I focus on the notion of an “experience.” Experiences are felt and gone through, the argument will be, not rationalized after the fact. As such they will always leave only faint traces in the historical sources. It is very difficult to say what people in August 1914 actually felt. As a way around this problem I suggest we should focus on a study of public moods. It is in a public mood that felt experiences arise and public moods are in principle open to historical investigation.
  • Idioma: Inglês

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