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"The Spirit of 1914": A Redefinition and a Defense

Ringmar, Erik LU (2018) In War in History 25(1). p.26-47
Abstract (Swedish)
The received wisdom has long been that people in Europe reacted with great enthusiasm as war was approaching in August, 1914. However, scholars who have investigated the matter have found little evidence of enthusiasm. There was no unique “spirit of 1914,” and people in general were not happy about the prospect of war. This revisionist thesis is now the new orthodoxy and should as such be subject to scrutiny. In this article I focus on the notion of an “experience.” Experiences are felt and gone through, the argument will be, not rationalized after the fact. As such they will always leave only faint traces in the historical sources. It is very difficult to say what people in August 1914 actually felt. As a way around this problem I suggest... (More)
The received wisdom has long been that people in Europe reacted with great enthusiasm as war was approaching in August, 1914. However, scholars who have investigated the matter have found little evidence of enthusiasm. There was no unique “spirit of 1914,” and people in general were not happy about the prospect of war. This revisionist thesis is now the new orthodoxy and should as such be subject to scrutiny. In this article I focus on the notion of an “experience.” Experiences are felt and gone through, the argument will be, not rationalized after the fact. As such they will always leave only faint traces in the historical sources. It is very difficult to say what people in August 1914 actually felt. As a way around this problem I suggest we should focus on a study of public moods. It is in a public mood that felt experiences arise and public moods are in principle open to historical investigation. (Less)
Abstract
The received wisdom has long been that people in Europe reacted with great enthusiasm as war was approaching in August, 1914. However, scholars who have investigated the matter have found little evidence of enthusiasm. There was no unique “spirit of 1914,” and people in general were not happy about the prospect of war. This revisionist thesis is now the new orthodoxy and should as such be subject to scrutiny. In this article I focus on the notion of an “experience.” Experiences are felt and gone through, the argument will be, not rationalized after the fact. As such they will always leave only faint traces in the historical sources. It is very difficult to say what people in August 1914 actually felt. As a way around this problem I suggest... (More)
The received wisdom has long been that people in Europe reacted with great enthusiasm as war was approaching in August, 1914. However, scholars who have investigated the matter have found little evidence of enthusiasm. There was no unique “spirit of 1914,” and people in general were not happy about the prospect of war. This revisionist thesis is now the new orthodoxy and should as such be subject to scrutiny. In this article I focus on the notion of an “experience.” Experiences are felt and gone through, the argument will be, not rationalized after the fact. As such they will always leave only faint traces in the historical sources. It is very difficult to say what people in August 1914 actually felt. As a way around this problem I suggest we should focus on a study of public moods. It is in a public mood that felt experiences arise and public moods are in principle open to historical investigation. (Less)
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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
First World War, enthusiasm, revisionism, outbreak of war
in
War in History
volume
25
issue
1
pages
22 pages
publisher
SAGE Publications Inc.
external identifiers
  • scopus:85041017782
DOI
10.1177/0968344516650476
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
b4532100-fffd-44e1-ae95-02a0e45a9c7c
date added to LUP
2017-06-07 10:43:54
date last changed
2018-02-11 04:29:10
@article{b4532100-fffd-44e1-ae95-02a0e45a9c7c,
  abstract     = {The received wisdom has long been that people in Europe reacted with great enthusiasm as war was approaching in August, 1914. However, scholars who have investigated the matter have found little evidence of enthusiasm. There was no unique “spirit of 1914,” and people in general were not happy about the prospect of war. This revisionist thesis is now the new orthodoxy and should as such be subject to scrutiny. In this article I focus on the notion of an “experience.” Experiences are felt and gone through, the argument will be, not rationalized after the fact. As such they will always leave only faint traces in the historical sources. It is very difficult to say what people in August 1914 actually felt. As a way around this problem I suggest we should focus on a study of public moods. It is in a public mood that felt experiences arise and public moods are in principle open to historical investigation.},
  author       = {Ringmar, Erik},
  keyword      = {First World War,enthusiasm,revisionism,outbreak of war},
  language     = {eng},
  month        = {01},
  number       = {1},
  pages        = {26--47},
  publisher    = {SAGE Publications Inc.},
  series       = {War in History},
  title        = {"The Spirit of 1914": A Redefinition and a Defense},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0968344516650476},
  volume       = {25},
  year         = {2018},
}