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Title: Visual narratives of conflict in Germany, 1871-1933
Author: Fox, Paul Louis Dominic
ISNI:       0000 0004 2725 1539
Awarding Body: University College London (University of London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2009
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This thesis investigates how war was represented in positive terms in German culture between 1871 and 1933. It explores how modes of representing combat in affirmative illustrated accounts of the Franco-Prussian War were reinterpreted in order to remember the First World War on equivalent terms, after defeat in 1918. It examines the terms on which representations of cohesive teamwork on the battlefield demonstrate the will to battle, conceived of as a German trait. It addresses a broad spectrum of sources in which this quality is exemplified, including oil painting, film, illustrated histories, newspapers and propaganda posters. The thesis considers the implications for spectatorship posed by a society that practiced universal male conscription, and explores the relationship between military experience and issues of memory formation. Chapter 1 examines how the rhetoric of selfless attentiveness in visual accounts of military command and control was so solidly embedded in German culture by 1918 that it crossed over into the civilian domain. Chapter 2 addresses the terms on which visual accounts of combat proclaimed the martial virtues of the German soldier through representations of a collective will to aggressive war fighting. Chapter 3 investigates the terms on which the rhetoric of performing excellence associated with both command and combat were redeployed in an account of counterrevolutionary operations in early 1919. The final chapter explores how the growing influence of technology on battlefield events was acknowledged in accounts affirming a German way of waging war. The thesis concludes that affirmative narratives maintained a consistent thematic approach to the representation of the German soldier at war. Performing excellence located in the will to battle was upheld as an enduring virtue in visual accounts of decision making and of combat, despite the impact of increasingly lethal technology, and of defeat in 1918. 4
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available