Catholicism and the Great War: Religion and Everyday Life in Germany and Austria-Hungary, 1914-1922

Catholicism and the Great War: Religion and Everyday Life in Germany and Austria-Hungary, 1914-1922

by Patrick J. Houlihan


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This transnational comparative history of Catholic everyday religion in Germany and Austria-Hungary during the Great War transforms our understanding of the war's cultural legacy. Challenging master narratives of secularization and modernism, Houlihan reveals that Catholics from the losing powers had personal and collective religious experiences that revise the decline-and-fall stories of church and state during wartime. Focusing on private theologies and lived religion, Houlihan explores how believers adjusted to industrial warfare. Giving voice to previously marginalized historical actors, including soldiers as well as women and children on the home front, he creates a family history of Catholic religion, supplementing studies of the clergy and bishops. His findings shed new light on the diversity of faith in this period and how specifically Catholic forms of belief and practice enabled people from the losing powers to cope with the war much more successfully than previous cultural histories have led us to believe.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781108446020
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publication date: 12/07/2017
Series: Studies in the Social and Cultural History of Modern Warfare
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 301
Sales rank: 540,208
Product dimensions: 5.98(w) x 9.02(h) x 0.63(d)

About the Author

Patrick J. Houlihan is Assistant Director of Student Preparation in the Career Advancement Office at the University of Chicago, where he also has taught in the History Department. He received his Ph.D. in History from the University of Chicago in 2011 with a dissertation entitled, 'Clergy in the Trenches: Catholic Military Chaplains of Germany and Austria-Hungary during the First World War'. His research has been supported by grants and fellowships from the University of Chicago, the Fulbright Program, and the American Philosophical Society. Houlihan's other publications include peer-reviewed journal articles in Central European History and First World War Studies. He has presented papers at the American Historical Association, German Studies Association, and the American Catholic Historical Association. His invited lectures include the New York University Remarque Institute in Kandersteg, Switzerland and the Institute for Cultural Studies in Vienna. Among other venues, he has given papers at the National World War I Museum in Kansas City as well as the UK Chaplaincy Centre. He maintains scholarly interests in the classical and contemporary issues of religion and war, especially as seen through global and transnational history.

Table of Contents

Introduction; 1. Catholicism on the eve of the Great War in Germany and Austria-Hungary; 2. Theology and catastrophe; 3. The limits of religious authority: military chaplaincy and the bounds of clericalism; 4. Faith in the trenches: Catholic battlefield piety during the Great War; 5. The unquiet home front; 6. A voice in the wilderness: the papacy; 7. Memory, mourning, and the Catholic way of war; Conclusion; Sources; Index.

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