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Total WarAn Emotional History$

Lucy Noakes, Claire Langhamer, and Claudia Siebrecht

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780197266663

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197266663.001.0001

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(p.1) 1 Introduction
Total War

Claire Langhamer

Lucy Noakes

Claudia Siebrecht

British Academy

Abstract and Keywords

War is often lived through and remembered as a time of heightened emotional intensity during which patriotic fervour, the break-up of families, encounters with the enemy, loss of life, and extraordinary levels of violence engendered a range of complex emotional responses. This edited collection places the emotions of war centre stage. It explores specific emotional responses in particular wartime locations, it maps national and transnational emotional cultures, and it proposes new ways of deploying emotion as an analytical device. This introductory chapter considers what happens when we place the emotions of war centre stage, demonstrating how cornerstones of historical writing and analysis, such as the chronological divide between ‘war’ and ‘postwar’ can look very different when we approach war through a study of emotions.

Keywords:   war, emotions, Europe, Britain, Agency, First World War, Second World War, civilians, combatants, gender

THE EMOTIONS THAT WERE SUMMONED by the wars of the 20th century facilitated the mobilisation of entire populations. Many millions had their lives and those of family members shaped, and sometimes cut short, by these ‘total wars’. Eric Hobsbawm’s ‘age of extremes’, bookended by the First World War at its outset and the closing years of the Cold War at its conclusion, is understood as a period of political extremes, when oppositional ideologies drove conflict and shaped historical change.1 It was also, we argue, an age of emotional extremes. While wars may have been driven by the pursuit of power and by political ideologies and aims—which may themselves have emotional dimensions—the marshalling of millions behind these politics meant that they had to be felt, as well as thought. The men who queued outside British recruiting offices in August 1914, members of the German women’s movement who declared after the outbreak of war that they ‘felt as one’ with the nation,2 families who mourned civilian and military dead during and after the Second World War, Greeks who fought in a bitter civil war: all were engaged by feelings, by their passions, as well as by other forms of deliberation.

War is often lived through and remembered as a time of heightened emotional intensity during which patriotic fervour, the break-up of families, encounters with the enemy, loss of life, and extraordinary levels of violence engendered a range of complex emotional responses. This edited collection places the emotions of war centre stage. It explores specific emotional responses in particular wartime locations, it maps national and transnational emotional cultures, and it proposes new ways of deploying emotion as an analytical device.

Whilst grief and fear are among the emotions most immediately associated with the rhetoric, experience, and memory of war, this collection suggests that feelings such as love and shame and, as Martin Francis puts it, ‘secondary emotions’, which include pride, jealousy, anger, and resentment, also merit sustained (p.2) attention. Tiffany Watt Smith contends in her Book of Human Emotions that ‘the apparently minor and idiosyncratic … are as distinctive a part of the texture of our emotions as fear or surprise’.3 But our emotional history of war also draws attention to the status and uses of emotion as a category of historical, and contemporaneous, analysis. We go beyond the cataloguing of discrete feelings and think more broadly about how historians can use emotion as a tool for understanding the past. An important part of this is to consider the emotional agency of historical actors and the contexts, modes, and time frames in which men, women, and children communicated their feelings. How purposefully were emotions deployed, how consciously were feelings named and performed, claimed or denied? Wartime provides a particularly dynamic context for thinking through the possibilities and limitations of the emotional approach.

What emerges across this volume is a sense that cornerstones of historical writing such as notions of time and chronology, scale and scope, matter differently if we approach war through a history of emotions lens, just as the very idea of what constitutes an historical archive is also opened up. Total War: An Emotional History provides a series of case studies that explicate the ways in which emotional registers respond to cataclysmic world events. These range from First World War Germany, interwar France, and Second World War Britain, to the Greek Civil War and to the post-war world. Several chapters defy conventional chronology, tracing the lingering emotional legacy of war across different conflicts and to the present day: they show how past, present, and possible futures intersect in the emotions of a moment. They also reveal complicated links between the intimate, the national, and the international, between interiority and sociality, and between conflict and its aftermath.

The focus of this volume is on the European experience of the total wars of the 20th century; it brings into focus how fundamentally challenging these conflicts were to the sense of self and belonging of all, those who fought and those who sustained or suffered war. This aspect of total war encompasses not only the degree to which the inner lives and emotional worlds of contemporaries were affected by war but also the ways in which feelings were constructed, adapted, and presented in wartime contexts.

‘Total war’ is, of course, a global phenomenon, impacting on lives on all continents, and scholars have critiqued the Eurocentrism that appears inherent in the concept by pointing, for example, to the disparity of the meaning of ‘totality’ in colonial warfare. While for the imperial powers such conflicts were limited, Hew Strachan argues that for the indigenous populations these wars ‘tended to totality’.4 And just as historians have questioned for whom a war could be total, and have explored the nature and impact of total war in different historical and geographical (p.3) spaces,5 so the common 20th-century focus of the term has been repeatedly (re-) examined and challenged. Scholars have suggested that the origins of total war might be traced to the American Civil War, the German Wars of Unification, or the French Revolutionary Wars, when the ‘levée en masse’ mobilised the French nation in ways shaped by gender, age, and social class.6 The concept has also been continuously defined and revised. After decades of intense work on ‘total war’, Roger Chickering suggests that our understanding of its dynamics rests first on the erasure of a distinction between military and civilian spheres, and secondly on an understanding that civilians were as critical to the outcome of war as soldiers and were as likely to become its victims.7 Collaborating authors have agreed that ‘the term “total” described the fact that the two world wars encompassed the lives of every man, woman and child in the belligerent states’.8 What follows from this, he continues, poses a challenge for historians of war facing the premise that ‘total war requires total history’.9

Chickering’s most recent intervention in the field is a microhistory of the German city of Freiburg during the First World War, an account that integrates all dimensions of a society’s history at a given moment and demonstrates that an engagement with the hallmarks of total war remains a constructive and instructive undertaking.10 Others, however, have rejected the term, viewing it as a dogmatic, prescriptive yardstick, such as Michael Geyer and Adam Tooze who, focusing on the Second World War, suggest that ‘a war of peoples against peoples’ would be the best term to characterise the conflict.11 Here, the war is viewed as a societal project of transformation and the focus is shifted to the involvement of societies, economies, and cultures in their remaking rather than on the war’s impact on society—an interpretation that does not actually appear to be in conflict with a looser application of the term ‘total war’.

(p.4) The chapters in this collection exemplify key aspects of the historiography of total war at this moment in time and demonstrate what remains at the heart of how historians conceptualise and engage with ‘total war’: the deep and intersected involvement of contemporaries of all genders and ages in war. By tracing the ways that total war shapes these people’s emotional lives, and the ways that emotions can themselves become weaponised, understood as supporting or undermining the wartime national collective, the focus on emotions offers a fresh perspective in the field. As a collection, this volume demonstrates not just that the history of total war is enhanced through an encounter with the history of emotion, but rather that such an encounter is essential if we are to comprehend the history of war in its totality.

A focus on the emotions of those who lived through war and its aftermath is applicable on a global scale and within very different cultural contexts. Whilst there is, of course, a wealth of research exploring the experience and memory of warfare outside Europe, a focus on the emotions offers a powerful means through which to explore the relationship between individual experience and global forces that is at the heart of wartime for all of those caught up in its whirlwind.12 How, for example, were Chinese civilians encouraged to resist, and then endure, Japanese occupation? Did the memory of maternal grief in the First World War shape the attempts of Nepalese women to hide their sons from recruiting officers in the Second World War? Were ‘comfort women’ able to speak of their experiences if they returned home after the defeat of Imperial Japan? In other regions, questions regarding the totality of war may apply to other conflicts such as the changing sense of belonging for Algerian or Kenyan fighters in the wars of decolonisation, or the historical layers of conflict and feelings that continue to shape conflict on both sides in the Middle East. A shift to the emotional history of other theatres of war might also require us to pose different questions.

The History of Emotion

The rise to historiographical prominence of the history of emotion has taken many by surprise; not least those who have long practised it.13 This is not a new field, and its recent ‘discovery’ probably says as much about the relationship between visibility and power within the academy as it does about anything else. Nonetheless, (p.5) this is a field whose interpretative time does seem to have come. The contemporary world appears to be awash with feeling. Across Europe and the United States, emotional responses to conflict, to the economy, to migration, to the state, to experts, and particularly to politicians, have recently seemed to sharpen and to shift the nature of public debate. And where society goes, historians tend to follow: emotion is increasingly an object of historical research and a useful category of historical analysis across period and place.

It is not the purpose of this introduction to provide comprehensive surveys of either emotion studies or of the conceptual frameworks that it offers. The former would be unwieldy; the latter already exists.14 Rather, we want to think creatively about what engaging with these ideas and approaches might offer historians of the last century, and specifically historians of total war. In doing this we adopt sociologist Liz Stanley’s approach to method. Introducing her edited collection Feminist Praxis, back in 1990, she urged readers to approach it as ‘a kind of cookbook: read the recipes; try out those you like but modify, as good cooks always do, the ingredients and their proportions; jettison those you don’t like; pass on those you do’.15 More recently philosopher Erin Manning has argued against ‘method’, proposing instead a ‘speculative pragmatism’ that is about ‘balancing several books, or several passages, or several ideas, or several textures, at the edge of the desk, on the floor of the studio, and wondering how else they might come together, and what else, together, they might do’.16 In this collection we see scholarship on emotions as a rich intellectual resource offering a variety of ideas and explanatory frameworks, which can be tested in, and adapted for, specific temporal and archival contexts. In introducing this volume we wish to point up the conceptual and methodological juxtapositions that might help us to think differently about a familiar past.

Despite periodic attempts to impose definitional and conceptual rigour on the history of emotion—to discipline and to police its parameters—it remains defiantly messy and diverse terrain. It is, nonetheless, an approach that those working on diplomacy and politics, as well as intimate lives and social relations, increasingly utilise.17 The multivalent nature of this area of enquiry is evident in the range of terminology used within this collection and in the varied traditions invoked by the contributors. Ute Frevert’s chapter, for example, speaks to a study of emotional codes with roots in Peter and Carol Stearns’s focus on ‘emotionology’, ‘a (p.6) term with which to distinguish the collective emotional standards of a society from the emotional experiences of individuals and groups’.18 Her chapter helps us to understand the extent to which states drove the development of some emotional codes and the breaking down or silencing of others. Claudia Siebrecht’s focus on the remembered act of crying speaks to a body of work on the physiology of emotion, for as Joanna Bourke has observed whilst ‘Discourse shapes bodies … bodies also shape discourse.’19 Martin Francis writes in conversation with Michael Roper’s critique of a history of emotions that neglects the unconscious, whilst Roper and Joy Damousi situate their chapters within the traditions of oral history and personal family history respectively. Each shows how we might elicit the memory of emotion, or perhaps more accurately the emotion of memory, whilst thinking beyond, as well as with, these intimate histories.20 Susan Grayzel turns from the affective lives of individuals to the affective life of one object—the gas mask—drawing upon scholarship on the material culture of feeling to do so.

Both Lucy Noakes and Claire Langhamer invoke separate interventions by Monique Scheer and Barbara Rosenwein. The latter’s notion of ‘emotional communities’ as ‘groups – usually but not always social groups – that have their own particular values, modes of feeling and ways to express those feelings’ has become a widely deployed formulation, further developed by Benno Gammerl in his thinking about ‘emotional styles’ which ‘oscillate between discursive patterns and embodied practices as well as between common scripts and specific appropriations…’.21 Scheer’s notion of ‘emotional practice’ has been similarly influential, encouraging us to attend to the things people in the past actually did to create and maintain particular communities or styles. Scheer herself suggests that attention to ‘emotional practices’ offers to connect seemingly disparate notions for historians of emotions ‘such as body and mind, structure and agency, as well as expression and experience’.22

Those interested in emotional practices also draw upon ideas from beyond the field of history, and multidisciplinary perspectives necessarily inform our thinking in this collection. Particularly influential has been cultural theorist Sara Ahmed’s assertion that the significant question is not ‘What are emotions?’ but (p.7) rather ‘What do emotions do?’23 This question is notably pertinent to the wars of the 20th century because communal feeling could drive, support, or undermine conflict. But it is a question that can also usefully be posed of wars’ aftermath. Emotional responses to wartime could continue to shape individual lives and shared cultures for many years after an armistice.

In thinking about the texture, sociality, and materiality of these responses Total War: An Emotional History also engages with recent work in cultural studies that attends to the formation of ‘material moods that knit together culture on the ground’, and considers how individuals conceive of, and are affected by, distinct moodscapes as they traverse everyday life.24 Rather than viewing the individual as predominantly reactive to a ‘structure of feeling’, mood, or ‘spirit of an age’, we use this framing to further interrogate the interconnectedness of the individual and the collective, the public and the private, emotion and environment, the state and the citizen, feeling and rhetoric.

In this volume, then, contributors draw upon and develop models for understanding the role of emotions in human history that have emerged from the ‘emotional turn’ within historical studies as well as across academic disciplines. But we do so in order to explore the specific relationship between war and the emotions. This collection both consolidates the history of war and emotions as a field and takes it in new directions.

Emotions and War

The origins of a history of emotions in war can be traced at least as far back as Marc Bloch and Lucien Febvre, whose interests and approaches to historical enquiry were also shaped by their experiences during the First and the Second World Wars. In his 1921 essay on rumours in war, Marc Bloch employs a case study from September 1917 when he was an officer stationed near the Chemin des Dames plateau.25 Bloch describes how the capture of an elderly German reservist who was from the Hanseatic town of Bremen (in French: Brême) led to rapidly spreading false news of an elaborate spy network operated by the Germans across villages in France. The immediate causal explanation for this, Bloch wrote, was the similar-sounding locales that saw the captured sentinel as an agent set up as a shopkeeper in the nearby village of Braisne instead of Brême in Germany. He also points to more complex dynamics that account for the rapid spread of rumours, such as pre-existing collective representations that were fuelled by emotions and (p.8) fatigue that debilitated critical faculty in times of war.26 This investigation led Bloch to see the beliefs, imagination, and feelings of contemporaries as crucial to achieving a deeper understanding of both past and present.

Although Marc Bloch can be viewed as an early practitioner of writing on emotions and war, it is his friend, colleague, and collaborator on their jointly edited Annales journal, Lucien Febvre, also a decorated First World War veteran, who is generally viewed as the founding father of the history of emotions. Febvre pressed historians to study sensibilities and feelings in essays written in 1939 and 1941, and his was a concern driven by contemporary political developments such as the rise of fascism in Europe and the military successes of Nazi Germany.27 As Jan Plamper puts it, at the beginning of the study of history and emotions were Febvre, Mussolini, and Hitler.28 Lucien Febvre shared with Marc Bloch the belief that history and its dissemination mattered in the present, though they differed over the ways in which their journal should continue its work under German occupation in Second World War France.29 Here, war represented not only the historical context, but was part of the academic and political rationale for studying emotions in history—a correlation that continues to resonate with scholars in the field and also underpins work in this volume.

The recent surge in historical writing on emotions and war might thus be viewed less as a rediscovery than a crystallisation of the way in which scholarship on the history of the world wars was revolutionised over the course of the last four decades. First social and then cultural history began to open up our understanding of wartime beyond the parameters of high politics and military history.30 In Britain the fiftieth anniversary of the First World War drove the collection of oral histories and the publication of memoirs of the men (and some women) who had experienced the conflict first hand.31 Second wave feminism propelled research into women’s lives and experiences of war, whilst the scholarship on gender that (p.9) emerged from the cultural turn explained that wartime could both challenge and strengthen existing constructs of masculinity and femininity. Henri Rousso’s The Vichy Syndrome applied some of the methods and questions of cultural history to a perceptive study of the impact of the years of occupation and collaboration on the post-war French nation, while ranging across the disciplines, and the Historikerstreit demonstrated the ongoing political significance of the Nazi period and the war years for late 20th-century Germany.32 Also emerging from the social and cultural turns was the ‘new military history’, which has shifted the focus of the history of conflict away from battlefield strategy towards the relationship between warfare and society and between the mass armies of modern wars, and the societies from which they are drawn, and whom they seek to defend.33

The interdisciplinary, yet historically grounded, nature of much of this research is perhaps best embodied in the wave of writing on the cultural memory of war that has followed from the ‘memory boom’ of the late 20th century.34 These works have demonstrated the complexity of war memories, as individuals are enabled to speak or prevented from speaking of their experiences by a complex range of factors that include the psychological difficulty of articulating trauma and the social and political context in which wars are being remembered.35 The insights delivered by historians who have peeled away the different layers that determined historical experience and who have uncovered complex dynamics that shaped the agency of people in wartime, have reset the agenda for many working in the discipline. One intellectual consequence can be seen in a more deliberate focus on the history of emotions in war and a recognition of the insights that an interrogation of feelings can provide to our understanding of the experience of total war and its aftermath. While this is not to say that emotions have not been of relevance as part of other approaches, their status as a starting point and as a core interest in historical research on war is a more recent trend.36

(p.10) Some of the initial attraction of the history of emotions lay in the expectation that this, finally, might offer a way of accessing the unmediated inner world of historical actors; here specifically that of people living through war. Capturing the actuality of feeling probably remains as elusive for those taking the emotional turn as it is for any other historian. But an approach that attends to the expression of emotion allows us to think differently about motivation and causation. This point is manifest in the ways in which historians have interrogated the realm of feeling, predominantly through the study of cultural outputs such as diaries, letters, autobiographical testimony, poetry, fiction, and art. And as Barbara Rosenwein has asserted, such gestures and material representations of emotions not only reflected but also impacted on their environment.37 For example, emotion could drive political activism—as Carrie Hamilton and others have shown—and shape claims to human rights and humanitarian action as Roland Burke explains.38 The innovation thus lies in locating and reading sources through a lens that acknowledges expressions of feelings as part of historical experience and agency. The insights in the field stem from assessing specific contents and contexts and the ways in which emotions were communicated, and to whom. Here, the familial, communal, and national provide frames of reference that are inherent in the expression of emotions, mediated also by gender, race, and class.

For an inclusive approach to the history of emotions in war, the methodological and epistemological questions of what constitutes an archive of feeling and whose feelings are seen to matter deserve particular attention. For the historian of the British war experience the Mass Observation Archive offers particularly emotion-laden material, not least because the organisation routinely solicited the feelings, as well as the attitudes and behaviour, of its volunteer writers—as Claire Langhamer shows in this volume. The First World War love letters archived at the Department of History at the University of Vienna have been used by Christa Hämmerle to explore the performative nature of wartime love letter writing. As she puts it ‘the writing represents an act, the “doing” of emotion – motivated by desire, to initiate something upon the recipient of the letter’.39 Nonetheless, (p.11) Alison Twells critiques a class bias in the history of emotions that often neglects or dismisses wartime writing from ‘ordinary’ people based on form and format, whilst Santanu Das’s research on Indian soldiers during the First World War brings forward a challenge to an archive of feeling as one predominantly centring on literacy and high culture.40 He emphasises the importance of ‘reading the narrative structures, assumptions and socio-cultural codes’ of wartime correspondence if it is to contribute to a subaltern history of feeling, and also proposes avenues to access wartime emotions through oral, material, and visual archives.

Wartime emotions could often be heightened and complex responses to extreme and demanding experiences. But they could also be shaped by continuities, by the routines of everyday life, which sometimes followed the patterns of peacetime despite the ability of total war to reach into areas of life previously understood as private and personal. Life writing, diaries, letters, and memoirs, could provide a form of refuge from the demands and constraints of total war, a site in which the demands on the self could be negotiated, considered, and evaded.41 Sixteen-year-old Edward Taylor, working in the railway sheds of Swindon in south-west England during the First World War, kept a diary that, rather than focusing on the excitements and disruptions of war, instead detailed the continuities of everyday life, recording cycling trips, the changing seasons, and the best places to pick blackberries.42 Nella Last, a housewife and voluntary worker from the north of England, writing her diary for Mass Observation, recounted the ways in which the everyday and the extraordinary were intertwined in wartime, as her days spent struggling to find appetising food, and to forge an emotional connection with her distant yet controlling husband, were followed by nights spent sleeping in a Morrison shelter while the nearby docks were bombed.43 These diaries and similar sites provided a space for individuals to reflect on the impact of warfare on their lives and their feelings about this, using language and foregrounding events that sometimes differed from the dominant emotional style of the community in which they lived. Preserving some of the patterns of private life in the face of war’s ability to fracture these often demanded a degree of emotional labour, however. As Hämmerle has argued, the wartime letters that served to maintain relationships across the geographical and experiential divisions of wartime in the Habsburg Empire also entailed sometimes difficult emotional work. Letters from Franz Kundera to Anna Mitterhoffer, a young woman from (p.12) the same village in Moravia, whom he married in 1918, show him working hard to sustain their nascent relationship by focusing on their commonalities rather than the sights he witnessed as Galicia was devastated by the failed Kerensky Offensive in 1917.44 Here the articulation of the everyday and the ordinary works to assert and reinforce emotional ties in opposition to the demands and disruptions of wartime.

If emotion in wartime could be shaped by the routines of everyday life, wartime could also operate as an emotional, as well as a political and social, watershed. The exigencies of war often demanded changed emotional responses and emotional strategies for managing altered circumstances. Dealing with untimely death, and with its legacy, is perhaps the most acute example of this.

On 1 January 1915 a French primary pupil described how his family responded to the death of his cousin in the war:

The year that is starting finds everyone steeped in sadness because of this dreadful war that is making so many victims. In our family, we were particularly unhappy, for just the day before we received very bad news: one of our cousins had been killed on the Yser battlefield, in the line of duty of a good Frenchman … In the evening we stayed by the fireplace, barely talking, and we thought about our dear cousin whom we shall no longer see and also about all our valiant soldiers fighting so heroically to defend our country.45

While the emotional anguish of the wider family is central to this account, it also associates death in war as a heroic duty. Such framing is evident throughout observations by young Europeans living through war and indicates the sort of parameters within which wartime death and grief were placed. A good six months later the German schoolgirl Agnes Zenker from the Ore Mountains in Saxony wrote about the shared grief for the son of a befriended family, Immelmann, a flying officer whose plane was shot down. Here, the moral and social value associated with the conduct of the bereaved stand out as, on 25 June 1916, the fifteen-year-old noted in her diary: ‘Immelmann’s parents are true German heroes and set an example for everyone else. They do not wear any outward sign of their bereavement. Surely they are proud of their hero-son.’46

Both accounts reflect aspects of the cross-generational impact of death in war beyond the immediate family. Such ‘communities in mourning’, as Jay Winter has termed them, emerged across wartime societies and saw people bonding as they anticipated and grieved death in war.47 Contemporary interpretations and (p.13) understandings of death in war, the ways in which mourners attempted to or failed to imbue wartime death with meaning and the political context for both public and private bereavement form, as Stéphane Audoin-Rouzeau and Annette Becker have long argued, are an integral part of the war experience.48 Scholars have explored these issues in a variety of national contexts and studies of grief help to illustrate the multiple ways in which emotions have politics. Joy Damousi has explored the degree to which the experience of death impacted on the identity of the bereaved and led to their political mobilisation and organisation in First and Second World War Australia, and Suzanne Evans emphasises the importance of notions of motherhood for the cultural and political framing of grief in First World War Britain and Canada.49

Oliver Janz has studied the culture of bereavement in First World War Italy where, he argues, a highly gendered understanding of grief regulated mourning women and confined emotional expression to their private homes, and Claudia Siebrecht contends that art was one way in which German women expressed their emotional pain over death in war that stood in conflict with public expectations of the emotional conduct of the bereaved and women’s own loyalty to their fighting relations.50 Other scholars highlight the political dimension of grief by focusing on specific groups, communities, or minorities.51

As well as making the politics of emotions highly visible, total war brought about or sped up changes in emotional cultures, practices, and expression.52 The explosion of war memorials and of commemorative practices in the interwar years are perhaps the most visible example of European emotional (and material) cultures being shaped and transformed by the experience of death and bereavement brought about by total war. As Jay Winter has argued, the need of individuals and communities to have their loss recognised and remembered drove a wave of memorialisation and commemoration across much of Europe in the 1920s, providing public sites where it was commonly agreed that grief could become visible, sites where it was contained by state recognition and communal support.53

(p.14) If grief was an affective category, it was not always easy to contain or to control.54 Related emotions could be difficult, disruptive of political war efforts or of attempts to build a national consensus in wartime. Lucy Noakes shows that in Second World War Britain the containment of grief was expected of women, just as it was between 1914 and 1918.55 Individuals, with all their messy, complex, and sometimes contradictory feelings, were actors in the historical events of their period; agents, as well as the subjects of emotional regimes. Of course, the degree to which agency could be acted upon differed across national boundaries and chronological periods.

In Britain, the attempts of RAF spouse Peggy Ryle to contain her anguish within the pages of her diary when her husband’s plane went missing in 1944 might at first seem diametrically opposed to the actions of Otto and Elise Hampel, the working-class Berlin couple who were executed in 1943 after leaving postcards in mailboxes and apartment block stairwells protesting against Nazism and the war following the death in action of Elise’s brother.56 However, both cases show the power of wartime grief to enter into and to disrupt the public and political sphere. Ryle’s attempts to contain her grief were motivated by an awareness of this particular emotion’s potential to harm public morale and a desire not to ‘let down’ her husband by displaying her distress in public, whilst the actions of the Hampels were an attempt to instrumentalise their grief as a means of communicating with others, building political resistance through a shared emotional experience. In both cases the potential of emotions to impact on others in ways that could not be controlled or utilised by the wartime state were recognised as a powerful political force.

If grief, in all of its public and private manifestations, marked the emotional lives of millions across periods of total war, then fear is probably the emotion most widely associated with warfare. A range of historical work, often driven by the cultural turn and the rise of discourse as a historical category of enquiry, has focused on the experience of fear and on attempts to manage this emotion, both as affect and as expression, in times of total war. Towards the end of the 20th century an awareness of the impact of often traumatising events on the human psyche, seen in the recognition of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder amongst United States veterans following the Vietnam War, led to an understanding of war, particularly combat, as a literally terrifying event that could shape lives long after the conflict had ended. This however, was not always the case. Jan Plamper’s study of fear (p.15) in soldiers has shown, for example, that soldierly fear did not begin to be voiced amongst Russian combatants until the early 20th century. While fear was recognised earlier, it was understood as a force to be harnessed, channelled, and overcome by military practice and routine; when this failed, the result was cowardice, not fear.57 When combatants gave expression to fear, grief, or shock through tears in First World War France, for example, André Loez has shown that the disruptive potential of such expression was carefully and often brutally policed by comrades, themselves fearful of the impact of tears on their own careful management of fear and grief.58

Historians of the First World War have increasingly seen fear as the emotion at the heart of the conflict, for both combatants and civilians. In The Secret Battle Michael Roper used psychoanalytic theory to explore the ways in which British men in the trenches of the Western Front and their families at home attempted to manage their fear and anxiety in order to survive the war psychologically intact.59 John Horne and Alan Kramer have demonstrated how fear and anger fuelled the atrocities committed by German soldiers in Belgium and France 1914. Their fear of fighting Franc-tireurs was of such a nature that imagined actions by the enemy were seen as real and caused a breakdown of military discipline.60 The importance of fear as a wartime emotion has also been acknowledged and explored by political historians, Jon Lawrence arguing that it shaped a post-war Britain that ‘was haunted by the fear that violence had slipped its chains’.61 Fear then, while it may be a ‘primary’ emotion that has been felt in the body in response to threat for millennia, is historically situated and experienced. As Joanna Bourke argues, ‘humanity could only fear within the context of the discourse of fear’.62

As the creation of fear amongst enemy combatants and civilians lay at the heart of much military strategy in total war, societies and states struggled to find a means to contain and control this emotion in an attempt to prevent it undermining morale and threatening the collective war effort. Many historical studies of fear in wartime have coalesced around the phenomenon of shell shock, the psychological reaction to the experience of industrialised trench warfare, experienced in (p.16) both the mind and the body.63 Attitudes towards, attempted treatment for, and the experience of shell shock have provided historians with a rich body of evidence through which to explore the impact of fear on men in the historically unique and often terrible conditions of early 20th-century trench warfare, when men who had been educated to expect a war of chivalric charges and individual acts of heroism instead found themselves to be the passive victims of impersonal bombardment.

Studies of shell shock have provided fertile ground for historians to consider the ways that wartime emotions are shaped by gender; and the ways in which gendered identities and experiences are framed by understandings of emotional lives.64 As Hazel Croft’s work on ‘civilian neuroses’ in Second World War Britain has shown, emotional management was central to the British state’s preparation for aerial bombardment: women, the working class, and the Jewish community of east London were all imagined as being particularly likely to express fear, and crucially to panic under bombardment.65 Early in 1939 Dr Louis Minski wrote that ‘the civilian population in future wars would be subjected to as much stress and strain as the result of air raids as the combatant on the front line’.66 As the state prepared for war, hospitals on the edge of large cities were emptied of their patients and prepared for the expected influx of civilians overcome by fear and unable to cope with life under the bombs. That these psychological casualties of war failed to appear in large numbers is suggestive of the struggle of many to examine and regulate their emotional, and particularly their fearful, responses to the demands of war.

Like grief, fear could be a powerful political force in a time of total war, and civilians alongside combatants were both likely to be fearful and expected to control this emotion, lest it undermine the war effort. The growth of aerial warfare as a weapon increasingly intertwined the civilian and the combatant experience of warfare. Civilian fear, and the fear of combatants for their loved ones at home, was mobilised effectively by both air power theorists and by those who opposed the potential use of new technologies of warfare to terrify and annihilate civilian populations.67 In an age of aerial warfare, fear was not only a key emotional (p.17) response to war, but it had also become a weapon in its own right, imagined as being able to destroy support for war on the Home Front, and to demotivate combatants, so concerned for the welfare of those at home that they were no longer willing or able to fight.

By the middle of the 20th century then, fear was so central to understandings of morale, and thus of how to win a war, that a range of discursive devices emerged to control and contain its expression. In the air raid shelters of German towns and cities, images of the racialised national community were mobilised as a means of encouraging self-control amongst shelterers, whilst more punitive measures, such as exclusion from the shelter, were threatened against those whose behaviour was understood as undermining group morale.68 In Britain the 1943 disaster at Bethnal Green underground station, when 173 people died in a crush on the stairway as people struggled to get into the shelter, was blamed on ‘foreigners, Jews, criminals and irresponsible young people’, all groups widely understood as failing to display the stoicism seen as necessary in mid-century Britain to withstanding the multiple challenges and demands of wartime.69 The new discipline of psychology was mobilised to both protect and control populations subject to the shocks and disruptions of total war. As Michal Shapira has shown, potentially disruptive emotions such as fear and anxiety became medicalised in the Second World War, as their perceived threat to the social order was so great as to require medical categorisation and close professional study.70 Most, however, were able to control their emotional reactions to the challenges dealt by total war, drawing on the popularisation of psychology in the interwar years, as well as an emotional economy that valorised stoicism, to do so.71 Good wartime citizenship entailed the self-management of feeling, especially emotions that could undermine morale and the collective war effort, such as grief and fear.

During the Cold War fear had its own historically specific politics, as fear of the enemy helped to create compliant populations, whilst fear of nuclear war was effectively mobilised by protest groups such as the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament in their drive for disarmament and by the West German Peace Movement in the powerful declaration ‘We are Afraid’.72 This denial of stoicism in an age of apocalyptic weaponry was not a simple articulation of feeling, but an effective politicisation of emotion in the face of effective annihilation; a recognition that in the nuclear age civilian endurance would ensure neither victory (p.18) nor survival. At times however, such fear could be overwhelming, as in the case of Elsie and Andrew Marshall from Lancashire who killed their three children and themselves in 1957, leaving a suicide note that cited their anxieties about political crisis and the potential for nuclear war.73 Living at a time when popular culture emphasised the apocalyptic potential of the new weapons, civilians had to be helped to manage their feelings of fear and anxiety: in the United States this took the form of street shelters, training, and drills for schoolchildren; in Europe, voluntary civil defence organisations drew on the memory of bombed cities and civilian rescue squads to reassure populations that nuclear attack could be survivable.74

The management of emotions such as fear was central to warfare in an age of mass democracy. Echoing the emphasis on the self-management of emotions seen under the shadow of the bomber in the 1930s and 1940s, citizens of the nuclear age were likewise encouraged to master their fear, while scientists and psychologists studied the potential impact of ‘panic’ on group reactions to disasters.75 Throughout the 20th century, as weaponry changed to enable total war to target civilians alongside combatants, good wartime citizenship changed to encompass the mastering of individual fear and anxiety to benefit the common good.

An Emotional History of War

William Reddy has argued that we live in ‘emotional regimes’, which shape how we are able to express emotions, which emotions we are able to express, and also how we perceive them. In the historic West, Reddy claims, emotions have been understood as private, individual responses to the world and thus as separate from the public, political forces which shape our lives. These feelings, however, are experienced and felt within a ‘collectively constructed emotional common sense’ that is both shaped by political power and has the potential to challenge, undermine and even overthrow such power.76 The relationship between emotion and power is particularly visible during periods of total war. Emotional capacity and emotional resilience were often read through gendered, imperial, and classed lenses. As Ute Frevert shows us, emotional codes around honour and shame were deeply gendered, both in derivation and in application. Lucy Noakes demonstrates that the hybrid masculinity of the Second World War demanded the performance of particularly nuanced emotional styles in the movement between the emotional communities of the domestic and military worlds in which many men moved. (p.19) Michael Roper explores the complex gender relations implicated in the care of disabled soldiers by their daughters in interwar Britain, whilst Martin Francis shows that wartime imperial policy was steeped in private feeling. Both Michael Roper and Martin Francis point towards the importance of a history of emotion that moves beyond codes and scripts towards a consideration of the unconscious, while Claire Langhamer shows the ways that living through the Second World War led Mass Observers to ascribe greater significance to experience and feeling as ways of understanding and intervening in the world. Within this context ‘feelings’ became central to the articulation of citizenship.

The experience of war could also sharpen the edges of family memory. Indeed, as the chapters by Claudia Siebrecht, Michael Roper and Joy Damousi show us family memory can itself operate as an archive of war feeling. Moreover, feelings about one conflict can operate as an affective resource for another. This layering of feeling, across generations, is not a straightforward process but it is no less significant for that. As Michael Roper suggests, taking this avowedly emotional process seriously as historians may help us to better understand ordinary experiences and legacies of war.

This collection explores the very notion of what archival knowledge amounts to, examines the perceived interpretive power of emotion for individuals, families, and nations, and develops our sense of what an archive of wartime feeling might look like. Drawing on her own family’s history, and demonstrating the ability of an informal, family archive to illuminate lived experience and feeling, Joy Damousi’s chapter shows the long emotional afterlife of wartime, carefully tracing the aftershocks of her uncle’s death in the Greek Civil War in a family dispersed across the globe yet still devastated by grief. In contrast Claudia Siebrecht’s chapter focuses on the tearful responses of many German women to news of the 1939 invasion of Poland as a means of exploring the legacy of the First World War for many of those about to experience a second, devastating war. While Damousi creates a historical archive through the piecing together of family letters, photographs, rumours, and interviews, Siebrecht reads diverse sources as an ‘emotional archive’, in which testimony provides a route into the emotional response to a specific historical moment for a range of different historical actors, drawn together by their gender and nationhood. In contrast Susan Grayzel shows us that an emotional history of total war can spin around the meanings and significance of a single object: the gas mask. In so doing she ties together cultures of care, fear, and hope from the First World War to the dawn of the Second, thinking with Daniel Miller’s work on ‘how things make people’ to show how things not only make emotion, but can possess their own emotional registers.77 She points to the simultaneity of apparently contradictory emotional responses—in this case hilarity and terror, but elsewhere perhaps hope and anxiety, fear and excitement, grief and relief. Ultimately she maps a multivalent emotional register that evades easy disciplining.

(p.20) This collection also explores the emotional history of war through photography, gravesites, diplomatic exchange, public discourse, state propaganda, and material things. The chapters presented here suggest that the problem—if such it is—for the history of emotion is not a paucity of source material but rather the reverse. It is difficult to conceive of an archive of total war that is not, on some level, emotional. Even the disavowal of emotion—itself an emotional style—speaks to hierarchies of knowledge and power. But it is life histories that offer the most obvious way into narrated feeling. The chapters here use life history materials—of varying forms—to place subjectivity at the heart of the history of war. Letters, interviews, diaries, memoirs, and the life writing curated by organisations such as Mass Observation offer temporally distinct layers of historical feeling as well as of interpretation. It would be wrong, however, to see feeling and interpretation as necessarily in tension: several of the chapters demonstrate the intertwining of feeling, experience, attitude, and belief in the making of perspectives on the past, present, and future. Together they map the contours of an archive of wartime feeling within which emotional narratives can be seen to cohere and to fracture according to moment and contexts.

But can this focus on the subjective, the emotional, and the personal deliver the kind of overarching interpretation and causal explanation that historians often crave? In this volume we suggest that it can, and that, in fact, it must; that it is precisely in the movement between the emotional intimacy of the small scale and the emotional abstraction of the large scale that we see the forces of history at play. For Joy Damousi, family history facilitates an understanding of transnational migration; for Martin Francis individual subjectivity has a powerful place within the grand narratives of global warfare. Both Claudia Siebrecht and Claire Langhamer focus on particular years—1939 and 1945 respectively—but use precise responses to these moments in order to investigate the epistemological status of feeling and experience.

Times of total war, when war operates on the largest possible scale, are perhaps the most apt moments to test the explanatory power of the history of emotion and to ask whether, in Frank Biess’s words, ‘Rather than merely reflecting larger social and cultural transformations, emotions function as historical forces in their own right that also affect change’.78 In different ways and with different foci the chapters in this collection suggest that if we look through an emotional lens we see war differently. But they also suggest that employing emotion as a category of historical analysis can help us to better interpret and understand the history of total war.


(1) Eric Hobsbawm, Age of Extremes: The Short Twentieth Century, 1914–1991 (London: Michael Joseph, 1994).

(2) Gertrud Bäumer, ‘Wir Frauen’, in Die Frauenfrage, 9/10 (16 August 1914); Lili Braun, Die Frauen und der Krieg (Leipzig: Hirzel, 1915), p. 8.

(3) Tiffany Watt Smith, The Book of Human Emotions (London: Profile, 2016), p. 12.

(4) Hew Strachan, ‘Total War in the Twentieth Century’, in Arthur Marwick, Clive Emsley, and Wendy Simpson (eds), Total War and Historical Change: Europe 1914–1955 (Buckingham: Open University Press, 2001), pp. 256, 264–6.

(5) Arthur Marwick (ed.), Total War and Social Change (Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1988); Arthur Marwick, Clive Emsley, and Wendy Simpson (eds), Total War and Historical Change: Europe 1914–1955 (Buckingham: Open University Press, 2001).

(6) Stig Förster (ed.), On the Road to Total War: the American Civil War and the German Wars of Unification, 1861–1871 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997); David A. Bell, The First Total War: Napoleon’s Europe and the Birth of Warfare as We Know It (Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin, 2007).

(7) Manfred F. Boemeke, Roger Chickering, and Stig Förster (eds), Anticipating Total War: The German and American Experiences, 1871–1914 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999); Roger Chickering and Stig Förster (eds), Great War, Total War: Combat and Mobilisation on the Western Front, 1914–1918 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000); Roger Chickering, Stig Förster, and Bernd Greiner (eds), A World at Total War: Global Conflict and the Politics of Destruction, 1937–1945 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005).

(8) Roger Chickering, The Great War and Urban Life in Germany: Freiburg, 1914–1918 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007), here, introduction: ‘Total War and Total History’, p. 1.

(11) Michael Geyer and Adam Tooze (eds), The Cambridge History of the Second World War, vol. 3: Total War: Economy, Society and Culture (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015), pp. 2–4.

(12) For innovative histories of total war for ‘non Western’ populations that make use of historical methodologies drawn from social and cultural history, and from memory studies, see, for example, Yasmin Khan, The Raj at War: A People’s History of India’s Second World War (London: The Bodley Head, 2015) and Akiko Takenaka, Yasukuni Shrine: History, Memory and Japan’s Unending Postwar (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 2015).

(13) Historians have been thinking about emotion since at least the middle years of the 20th century, although it was Peter and Carol Stearns who kickstarted the current wave of interest with their work on ‘emotionology’ in 1985. Peter N. Stearns and Carol Z. Stearns, ‘Emotionology: Clarifying the History of Emotions and Emotional Standards’, The American Historical Review, 90/4 (1985), 813–36.

(14) See, for example, Jan Plamper, The History of Emotions: An Introduction (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012) and Susan J. Matt, ‘Current Emotion Research in History: Or Doing History from the Inside Out’, Emotion Review, 3/1 (2011), 117–24.

(15) Liz Stanley (ed.), Feminist Praxis. Research, Theory and Epistemology in Feminist Sociology (Abingdon: Routledge, 1990), p. 13.

(16) Erin Manning, The Minor Gesture (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2016), p. 39.

(17) For examples of the former see Frank Costigliola, ‘“Mixed Up” and “Contact”: Culture and Emotion among the Allies in the Second World War’, International History Review, 20/4 (1998), 791–805 and his Roosevelt’s Lost Alliances: How Personal Politics Helped Start the Cold War (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2012); Barbara Keys, ‘Henry Kissinger: The Emotional Statesman’, Diplomatic History, 35/4 (2011), 587–609.

(19) Joanna Bourke, ‘Fear and Anxiety: Writing about Emotion in Modern History’, History Workshop Journal, 55 (2003), 111–33.

(20) Michael Roper, ‘The Unconscious Work of History’, Cultural and Social History, 11 (2014), 172–4; Michael Roper, ‘Slipping out of View: Subjectivity and Emotion in Gender History’, History Workshop Journal, 59 (Spring 2005), 57–72.

(21) Barbara H. Rosenwein, Generations of Feeling: A History of Emotions, 600–1700 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016), p. 3. This idea was first developed in Barbara H. Rosenwein, Emotional Communities in the Early Middle Ages (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2006). Benno Gammerl, ‘Emotional Styles – Concepts and Challenges’, Rethinking History. The Journal of Theory and Practice, 16/2 (2012), 163–4.

(23) Sara Ahmed, The Cultural Politics of Emotion (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2014), p. 4.

(24) Ben Highmore, ‘Feeling Our Way: Mood and Cultural Studies’, Communication and Critical/Cultural Studies, 10 (2013), 431.

(25) Marc Bloch, ‘Réflexions d’un historien sur les fausses nouvelles de la guerre’, Revue de synthèse historique (1921), quoted in Marc Bloch, ‘Reflections of a Historian on the False News of the War’, trans. James P. Holoka, Michigan War Studies Review, 51 (2013), 9.

(27) Lucien Febvre, ‘Sur la doctrine Nationale-Socialiste. Un conflit de tendances’, Annales d’histoire sociale, 4 (1939), 426–8, accessible at http://www.persee.fr/doc/ahess_1243-2563_1939_num_1_4_3015, and Lucien Febvre, ‘La sensibilité et l’histoire: Comment reconstituer la vie affective d’autrefois?’ Annales d’histoire sociale, 3 (1941), 5–20, English translation ‘Sensibility and History: How to Reconstitute the Emotional Life of the Past’, in Peter Burke (ed.), A New Kind of History: From the Writings of Febvre (London: Harper & Row, 1973), pp. 12–26 (accessed 27 June 2018).

(28) Jan Plamper, The History of Emotions: An Introduction (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015, original publication in German, 2012), pp. 42–3.

(29) André Burguière, The Annales School: An Intellectual History (Ithaca, NY, and London: Cornell University Press, 2009, original publication in French, 2006), pp. 44–8.

(30) Key texts here would include Gail Braybon and Penny Summerfield, Out of the Cage: Women Workers in the Two World Wars (London: Pandora Press, 1987); Claudia Koonz, Mothers in the Fatherland: Women, the Family and Nazi Politics (London: Routledge, 1987); Margaret Randolph Higonnet, Jane Jenson, Sonya Michel, and Margaret Collins Weitz (eds), Behind the Lines: Gender and the Two World Wars (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1987).

(31) Key texts here include Martin Middlebrook, The First Day on the Somme: 1 July 1916 (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1971); Lynn MacDonald, They Called it Passchendaele (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1971).

(32) Henri Rousso, The Vichy Syndrome: History and Memory in France Since 1944, trans. Arthur Goldhammer (Boston, MA: Harvard University Press, 1994). On Germany see, for example, Jane Caplan, Norbert Frei, Michael Geyer, Mary Nolan, and Nick Stargardt, ‘The Historikerstreit Twenty Years On Forum’, German History 24/4 (2006), 587–607.

(33) Interdisciplinary journals such as War and Society, founded in 1983, and Critical Military Studies, founded in 2015, have provided a home for much of this research. For an overview see Robert M. Citino, ‘Military Histories Old and New: A Reintroduction’, The American Historical Review, 112/4 (October 2007), 1070–90.

(34) T. G. Ashplant, Graham Dawson, and Michael Roper (eds), The Politics of War, Memory and Commemoration (London: Routledge, 2000); Martin Evans and Kenneth Lunn (eds), War and Memory in the Twentieth Century (Oxford: Berg, 1997); Paul Fussell, The Great War and Modern Memory (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1975); Lucy Noakes, War and the British: Gender, Memory and National Identity (London: I.B.Tauris, 1998); Jay Winter, Remembering War: The Great War and Historical Memory in the Twentieth Century (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2006).

(35) See Alistair Thomson, Anzac Memories: Living with the Legend (Melbourne: Oxford University Press, 1994; Melbourne: Monash University Publishing, 2013).

(36) Exploratory pieces include Stéphane Audoin-Rouzeau, ‘Corps Perdu, Corps Retrouvés’, Annales, 55/1 (2000), pp. 47–71; Richard Bessel, ‘Hatred after War: Emotion and the Postwar History of East Germany’, History and Memory, 17 (2005), 195–216; Joanna Bourke, ‘The Emotions in War: Fear and the British and American Military, 1914–45’, Historical Research, 74 (2001), 314–30; Frank Costigliola, ‘“Like Animals or Worse”: Narratives of Culture and Emotion by US and British POWs and Airmen behind Soviet Lines, 1944–45’, Diplomatic History, 28/5 (2004), 749–80; Katrin A. Kilian, ‘Kriegsstimmungen. Emotionen einfacher Soldaten in Feldpostbriefen’, in Jörg Echternkamp (ed.), Die Deutsche Kriegsgesellschaft 1939 bis 1945. Zweiter Halbband: Ausbeutung, Deutungen, Ausgrenzung (Munich: DVA, 2005), 251–88.

(37) Barbara Rosenwein, ‘Worrying about Emotions in History’, The American Historical Review, 107/3 (2002), 839–40.

(38) Carrie Hamilton, ‘Moving Feelings: Nationalism, Feminism and the Emotions of Politics’, Oral History, 38 (2010), 85–94; Jeff Goodwin, James M. Jasper, and Francesca Polletta, Passionate Politics: Emotions and Social Movements (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2001); Roland Burke, ‘Flat Affect? Revisiting Emotion in the Historiography of Human Rights’, Journal of Human Rights, 16 (2017), 123–41.

(39) Christa Hämmerle, ‘“Waiting longingly…” Love Letters in the First World War – a Plea for a Broader Genre Concept’, History of Emotions – Insights into Research (2014), 2. http://www.univie.ac.uk/Geschichte/sfn/index.php (accessed 27 June 2018).

(40) Alison Twells, ‘“Went into Raptures”: Reading Emotion in the Ordinary Wartime Diary, 1941–1946’, Women’s History Review, 25/1 (2016), 143–60; Santanu Das, ‘Indian Sepoy Experience in Europe, 1914–18: Archive, Language, and Feeling’, Twentieth Century British History, 25/3 (2014), 391–417.

(41) Reddy uses the term ‘emotional refuge’ to describe social groups that provided a form of sanctuary from dominant emotional regimes and so allowed individuals to avoid or minimise what he terms goal conflict. William M. Reddy, The Navigation of Feeling: A Framework for the History of Emotions (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001).

(42) With thanks to Sarah Lloyd for this example. Sarah Lloyd, ‘Learning from the Centenary’, Keynote lecture, Reflections on the First World War Reflective Workshop, University of Kent, UK, 2017.

(43) Richard Broad and Suzy Fleming (eds), Nella Last’s War (Bristol: Falling Wall Press, 1981).

(45) From Jean Guirbal, La Grande Guerre en compositions française (Paris: Nathan, 1915), pp. 72–3, cited in Stéphane Audoin-Rouzeau and Annette Becker, 1914–18: Understanding the Great War (New York: Hill and Wang, 2002), p. 208.

(46) War diary, Agnes Zenker 1914–1918: Nessis Kriegstagebuch. https://www.zenker.se/History/nessi.shtml (accessed 1 May 2018)..

(47) Jay Winter, Sites of Memory, Sites of Mourning: The Great War in European Cultural History (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996), pp. 29–53.

(49) Joy Damousi, The Labour of Loss: Mourning, Memory and Wartime Bereavement in Australia (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999); Suzanne Evans, Mothers of Heroes, Mothers of Martyrs: World War I and the Politics of Grief (Montreal and London: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2007).

(50) Oliver Janz, Das symbolische Kapital der Trauer. Nation, Religion und Familie im italienischen Gefallenenkult des Ersten Weltkriegs (Tübingen: Max Niemeyer Verlag, 2009); Claudia Siebrecht, The Aesthetics of Loss: German Women’s Art of the First World War (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013).

(51) Erika Kuhlmann, Of Little Comfort: War Widows, Fallen Soldiers, and the Remaking of the Nation after the Great War (New York and London: New York University Press, 2012); Tim Grady, The German-Jewish Soldiers of the First World War in History and Memory (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2011); Bruce Scates, Return to Gallipoli: Walking the Battlefields of the First World War (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006).

(52) See Claire Langhamer, The English in Love: the Intimate Story of an Emotional Revolution (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013).

(54) See Daniel Usshishkin, Morale: A Modern British History (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017).

(55) Lucy Noakes, ‘Gender, Grief, and Bereavement in Second World War Britain’, Journal of War and Culture Studies, 8/1 (2015), 72–85.

(56) Peggy Ryle, Missing in Action. May–September 1944 (London: WH Smith, 1970), cited in Pat Jalland, Death in War and Peace: A History of Loss and Grief in England, 1914–1970 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010), pp. 159–66; Liesl Schillinger, ‘Postcards from the Edge’, New York Times (27 February 2009), http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/01/books/review/Schillinger-t.html (accessed 27 June 2018). Hans Fallada’s 1947 novel (trans. Michael Hoffman, 2009), Every Man Dies Alone (London: Melville House, 2009), is based on the story of the Hampels.

(57) Jan Plamper, ‘Soldiers and Emotion in Early Twentieth-Century Russian Military Psychology’, in Jan Plamper and Benjamin Lazier (eds), Fear: Across the Disciplines (Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2012), pp. 78–98.

(58) André Loez, ‘Tears in the Trenches: A History of Emotions and the Experience of War’, in Jenny Macleod and Pierre Purseigle (eds), Uncovered Fields: Perspectives in First World War Studies (Leiden: Brill, 2004), pp. 211–26.

(59) Michael Roper, The Secret Battle: Emotional Survival in the Great War (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2009).

(60) John Horne and Alan Kramer, German Atrocities 1914: A History of Denial (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2002).

(61) Jon Lawrence, ‘Forging a Peaceable Kingdom: War, Violence and Fear of Brutalization in Post-First World War Britain’, Journal of Modern History, 75/3 (2003), 557.

(62) Joanna Bourke, Fear: A Cultural History (London: Virago, 2005), p. 76.

(63) For the British context see, for example, Tracey Loughran, Shell Shock and Medical Culture in First World War Britain (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017); Roper, The Secret Battle; Ben Shephard, A War of Nerves: Soldiers and Psychiatrists 1914–1994 (London: Jonathan Cape, 2000). For Germany, see Paul Lerner, Hysterical Men: Psychiatry and the Politics of Trauma in Germany, 1890–1930 (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2003).

(64) See, for example, Jessica Meyer, Men of War: Masculinity and the First World War in Britain (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009); Elaine Showalter, The Female Malady: Women, Madness and English Culture (London: Virago, 1987).

(65) Hazel Croft, ‘Rethinking Civilian Neuroses in the Second World War’, in Jason Crouthamel and Peter Leese (eds), Traumatic Memories of the Second World War and After (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016), pp. 95–116.

(66) Cited in Michal Shapira, The War Inside: Psychoanalysis, Total War and the Making of the Democratic Self in Postwar Britain (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013), p. 36.

(67) Brett Holman, The Next War in the Air: Britain’s Fear of the Bomber, 1908–1941 (Farnham: Ashgate, 2014); Susan R. Grayzel, At Home and Under Fire: Air Raids and Culture in Britain from the Great War to the Blitz (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012).

(68) Dietmar Süss, Death from the Skies: How the British and Germans Survived Bombing in World War II (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014), pp. 321–37.

(71) For the British case, see Thomas Dixon, Weeping Britannia: Portrait of a Nation in Tears (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014) for the culture of stoicism and Mathew Thomson, Psychological Subjects: Identity, Culture and Health in 20th-Century Britain (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006) for the popularisation of psychology.

(72) On this, see Bourke, Fear; Friederike Brühöfener, ‘Politics of Emotions. Journalistic Reflections on the Emotionality of the West German Peace Movement, 1979–1984’, German Politics and Society, 33/4 (Winter 2015), 102.

(73) See Jonathan Hogg, ‘“The Family That Feared Tomorrow”: British Nuclear Culture and Individual Experience in the Late 1950s’, British Journal for the History of Science, 45/4 (2013), 535–49.

(74) See Bourke, Fear; Matthew Grant, ‘“Civil Defence Gives Meaning to Your Leisure”: Citizenship, Participation and Cultural Change in Cold War Recruitment Propaganda, 1949–54’, Twentieth Century British History, 22/1 (2011), 52–78.

(77) Daniel Miller, Stuff (Malden, MA: Polity, 2010), p. 42.

(78) Frank Biess, ‘“Everybody Has a Chance”: Nuclear Angst, Civil Defense, and the History of Emotions in Postwar West Germany’, German History, 27 (2009), 218.