Dynamic of Destruction: Culture and Mass Killing in the First World War

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In the final week of August 1914, German occupying troops torched the medieval city of Louvain in Belgium, slaughtering hundreds of civilians and deliberately destroying its cultural heritage, including its world-famous university library.
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Editorial Reviews

Simon Sebag Montefiore
This stimulating, scholarly and shrewd book is as rich in original ideas and accounts of unfamiliar aspects of World War I as it is energetic in its revisionism.
—The New York Times
From the Publisher
"Kramer's careful weighing of the available evidence, and his insistence on taking seriously the way that events were understood at the time rather than perpetuating historical myth, provides an instructive methodology for future historians. In its centennial year, our understanding of the First World War is still incomplete. Alan Kramer shows us why it is so important to continue to investigate its events and interpretations." —Library of Social Science Book Reviews

"This stimulating, scholarly and shrewd book is as rich in original ideas and accounts of unfamiliar aspects of World War I as it is energetic in its revisionism."—New York Times Book Review

"An invaluable contribution in Great War historiography and pedagogy." —World History Bulletin

"An ambitious book in a class by itself, deserving of careful reading by any WWI scholar." — Camaraderie: The Journal of the Western Front Association

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199543779
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 1/15/2009
  • Series: Making of the Modern World
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 448
  • Sales rank: 823,177
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Alan Kramer is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Modern History and fellow of Trinity College Dublin. He is the co-author of German Atrocities, 1914: A History of Denial.

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations x

List of Maps xii

Abbreviations xiii

Introduction 1

1 The Burning of Louvain 6

2 The Radicalization of Warfare 31

3 The Warriors 69

4 German Singularity? 114

5 Culture and War 159

6 Trench Warfare and its Consequences 211

7 War, Bodies, and Minds 230

8 Victory, Trauma, and Post-War Disorder 268

Conclusion 328

Historiographical Note 339

Appendix Hague Convention (IV) Respecting the Laws and Customs of War on Land (1907) 347

Notes 349

Bibliography 394

Sources and Acknowledgements for Illustrations 416

Index 419

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