German Atrocities, 1914: A History of Denial

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9780300107913: German Atrocities, 1914: A History of Denial

Is it true that the German army, invading Belgium and France in August 1914, perpetrated brutal atrocities? Or are accounts of the deaths of thousands of unarmed civilians mere fabrications constructed by fanatically anti-German Allied propagandists? Based on research in the archives of Belgium, Britain, France, Germany, and Italy, this pathbreaking book uncovers the truth of the events of autumn 1914 and explains how the politics of propaganda and memory have shaped radically different versions of that truth.

John Horne and Alan Kramer mine military reports, official and private records, witness evidence, and war diaries to document the crimes that scholars have long denied: a campaign of brutality that led to the deaths of some 6500 Belgian and French civilians. Contemporary German accounts insisted that the civilians were guerrillas, executed for illegal resistance. In reality this claim originated in a vast collective delusion on the part of German soldiers. The authors establish how this myth originated and operated, and how opposed Allied and German views of events were used in the propaganda war. They trace the memory and forgetting of the atrocities on both sides up to and beyond World War II. Meticulously researched and convincingly argued, this book reopens a painful chapter in European history while contributing to broader debates about myth, propaganda, memory, war crimes, and the nature of the First World War.

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From the Publisher:

Winner of the Fraenkel Prize for Contemporary History in 2000

From Publishers Weekly:

The German invasion of France and Belgium was from the beginning linked with stories of atrocities committed against civilians. These stories became grist for Allied propaganda, in turn were denounced as lies by Germany, and eventually were submerged in the far more hideous atrocities that accompanied WWII. But as Horne and Kramer, historians at Dublin's Trinity College, demonstrate in this seminal book, German behavior in the first weeks of the Great War was more than a passing episode. Using a remarkable range of printed and unpublished sources, many of the latter only recently available, the authors show that the German army killed over 6,500 French and Belgian civilians between August and November 1914. The atrocities began when poorly trained and poorly disciplined troops reacted to the shock and anxiety of battle by interpreting the rear-guard resistance of French and Belgian soldiers, and their own uncontrolled firing, as the acts of guerrillas. Instead of restoring order in their own ranks, junior officers themselves succumbed to delusion and authorized near-random large-scale shootings of civilians. Since German army policy imposed draconian collective penalties for insurgency, senior officers receiving reports of large-scale partisan activity responded by ordering its ruthless repression. The partisan myth thus took on a life of its own, independent of a reality that consisted of no more than a few isolated acts of civilian resistance. As time and rhetoric blurred memories, politics and the need to heal the wider wounds inflicted by the Great War were responsible for downplaying or dismissing charges of atrocities. The facts, however, remained stubborn. Brought to light here, stripped of their penumbras, they offer fresh perspectives on the German army, the First World War and, by extension, the nature of war itself: the province of horror, confusion and lies.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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Descrizione libro Yale University Press, United States, 2002. Paperback. Condizione libro: New. XXVIII, 548 P. ed.. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****. Is it true that the German army, invading Belgium and France in August 1914, perpetrated brutal atrocities? Or are accounts of the deaths of thousands of unarmed civilians mere fabrications constructed by fanatically anti-German Allied propagandists? Based on research in the archives of Belgium, Britain, France, Germany, and Italy, this pathbreaking book uncovers the truth of the events of autumn 1914 and explains how the politics of propaganda and memory have shaped radically different versions of that truth.John Horne and Alan Kramer mine military reports, official and private records, witness evidence, and war diaries to document the crimes that scholars have long denied: a campaign of brutality that led to the deaths of some 6500 Belgian and French civilians. Contemporary German accounts insisted that the civilians were guerrillas, executed for illegal resistance. In reality this claim originated in a vast collective delusion on the part of German soldiers. The authors establish how this myth originated and operated, and how opposed Allied and German views of events were used in the propaganda war. They trace the memory and forgetting of the atrocities on both sides up to and beyond World War II. Meticulously researched and convincingly argued, this book reopens a painful chapter in European history while contributing to broader debates about myth, propaganda, memory, war crimes, and the nature of the First World War. Codice libro della libreria AAV9780300107913

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John N. Horne, Alan Kramer
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Descrizione libro Yale University Press, United States, 2002. Paperback. Condizione libro: New. XXVIII, 548 P. 285 Illus. ed.. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****.Is it true that the German army, invading Belgium and France in August 1914, perpetrated brutal atrocities? Or are accounts of the deaths of thousands of unarmed civilians mere fabrications constructed by fanatically anti-German Allied propagandists? Based on research in the archives of Belgium, Britain, France, Germany, and Italy, this pathbreaking book uncovers the truth of the events of autumn 1914 and explains how the politics of propaganda and memory have shaped radically different versions of that truth. John Horne and Alan Kramer mine military reports, official and private records, witness evidence, and war diaries to document the crimes that scholars have long denied: a campaign of brutality that led to the deaths of some 6500 Belgian and French civilians. Contemporary German accounts insisted that the civilians were guerrillas, executed for illegal resistance. In reality this claim originated in a vast collective delusion on the part of German soldiers. The authors establish how this myth originated and operated, and how opposed Allied and German views of events were used in the propaganda war.They trace the memory and forgetting of the atrocities on both sides up to and beyond World War II. Meticulously researched and convincingly argued, this book reopens a painful chapter in European history while contributing to broader debates about myth, propaganda, memory, war crimes, and the nature of the First World War. Codice libro della libreria AAV9780300107913

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