War And Social Change In The Twentieth Century: A Comparative Study Of Britain, France, Germany, Russia And The United States

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This is the first systematic study of the nature and extent of the social changes brought about in Europe and North America by the major twentieth-century wars.

While recognising the essential uniqueness of historical events, Professor Marwick argues that these changes can be best explained by developing a 'model' which breaks war down into four meaningful components. Throughout the book - and without detriment to the clarity of the narrative of the events themselves - there is discussion of wars as destruction, of the way in which war tests existing institutions, of the manner in which participation in war-time benefits underprivileged groups, and of the psychological repercussions of war.

This study makes no attempt to glorify war of gloss over its horrors. It appraises the reactions of artists and writers and examines such topics as: war and the position of women; war and the black American; war and revolution in Russia and Germany; war and social attitudes, customs and conditions; Hitler's 'New Order'; the French Resistance; and it concludes by analysing the relationship between the Second World War and the movement towards European integration.

The author's thematic approach - together with his use of archive film material - serves as a guide to new methodologies in historical study. The comparative approach illuminates both the manner in which war affects society, and also some of the characteristic differences and similarities in the various societies studied. Through drawing on social science, as well as on art, literature and music, Professor Marwick believes that written history must above all succeed as communication. His present study will be of particular value to students of twentieth-century history, of the history of war and of political sociology.

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