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Other titles in the Studies in War, Society, and the Military series:
Picture This: World War I Posters and Visual Culture (Studies in War, Society, and the Military)by Pearl James
Synopses & Reviews
The First World War was waged through the participation not just of soldiers but of men, women, and children on the home front. Mass-produced, full-color, large-format war posters were both a sign and an instrument of this historic shift in warfare. War posters celebrated, in both their form and content, the modernity of the conflict. They also reached an enormous international audience through their prominent display and continual reproduction in pamphlets and magazines in every combatant nation, uniting diverse populations as viewers of the same image and bringing them closer, in an imaginary and powerful way, to the war.
Most war posters were aimed particularly at civilian populations. Posters nationalized, mobilized, and modernized those populations, thereby influencing how they viewed themselves and their activities. The home-front life—factory work, agricultural work, domestic work, the consumption and conservation of goods, as well as various forms of leisure—became, through the viewing of posters, emblematic of national identity and of each citizens place within the collective effort to win the war.
Essays by Jay Winter, Jeffrey T. Schnapp, Jennifer D. Keene, and others reveal the centrality of visual media, particularly the poster, within the specific national contexts of Britain, France, Germany, Russia, and the United States during World War I. Ultimately, posters were not merely representations of popular understanding of the war, but instruments influencing the reach, meaning, and memory of the war in subtle and pervasive ways.
World War I was a watershed in modern world history. On the battlefield, millions were slaughtered by chemical warfare, machine guns, and trench warfareand#8212;and this senseless bloodletting remains the most enduring legacy of the Great War. Critical to understanding the warand#8217;s significance is the often-overlooked emergence of a and#8220;modernand#8221; dynamic grassroots peace movement that both opposed war and sought to abolish its social causes.
Edited by Scott H. Bennett and Charles F. Howlett, Antiwar Dissent and Peace Activism in World War I America presents primary documents, most anthologized for the first time, illustrating opposition and resistance to the war and the governmentand#8217;s efforts to promote the war and restrict dissent. This fresh collection highlights the broad range of antiwar sentiment: religious and secular, liberal and radical, pacifist and nonpacifist, including conscientious objection. It also addresses key issues raised by the antiwar movementand#8212;particularly dissent in wartime, civil liberties, the meaning of patriotism, and citizen peace activismand#8212;that remain vital to understanding American democracy.
About the Author
Pearl James is an assistant professor of English at the University of Kentucky.
Contributors: Meg Albrinck, Richard S. Fogarty, Stefan Goebel, Nicoletta F. Gullace, Pearl James, Jakub Kazecki, Jennifer D. Keene, John M. Kinder, Mark Levitch, Jason Lieblang, Andrew Nedd, Jeffrey T. Schnapp, and Jay Winter.
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