This volume analyses testimonies of people who lived through the First World War. Without ignoring the war in the west, it broadens the focus to Eastern Europe, the Balkans and the Baltic region, Italy, and the Ottoman Empire. It offers a critical examination of ego documents and extends our understanding of the war geographically and culturally.
About the author
Richard Bessel completed his doctoral research at Oxford University in 1980. He first taught at the University of Southampton, before moving to the Open University. In 1998 he was appointed to the Chair of Twentieth Century History at the University of York. He has held visiting fellowships and professorships at the universities of Bielefeld and Freiburg, and at the Max Planck Institute for History in Göttingen, the Institute for Contemporary History in Munich,
and the Freiburg Institute of Advanced Studies.
Dorothee Wierling studied history and English literature at the University of Bochum. She received her Ph.D. in history in 1987 from the University of Essen and her Habilitation from the University of Potsdam in 2000. She has held several fellowships and visiting professorships in Germany, the USA, and Israel. Her work focuses on German social history, oral history, and the history of gender and generations in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
With the centenary of the First World War, interest in the war has increased and research about the war has developed in new directions. This timely volume combines two of these new directions: an increased interest in ego documents from the Great War, and an increased interest in the First World War beyond the Western Front. The essays assembled here, written by an international team of scholars, analyse the testimonies of people who lived through that war.
While British and French perceptions of the First World War understandably focus largely on the western front and German perceptions, too, draw largely on the war in the west, increasing attention now is being paid to the fact that the Eastern Front involved as many soldiers, left behind as many dead, and had consequences at least as significant as what occurred in the west. Without ignoring the war in the west, this volume focuses particularly on what occurred in the east and the south:
eastern Europe, the Balkans and the Baltic region, Italy, and the Ottoman Empire.
It offers a critical examination of the value of ego documents connected to the First World War, both as part of a broader belief in the 'authentic' access to historical events that they provide and in relation to their use to historians. At the same time, it extends our understanding of the war geographically and culturally. The volume is based on an appreciation that each ego document is representative, not in the statistical meaning of the term, but in that it contains elements of larger
social patterns of experience. In this way, and by extending our gaze eastwards and southwards, this volume offers new and revealing perspectives on the history of the First World War.
An extremely valuable resource for specialists.