PICTURING THE GREAT WAR: A WORLD ON THE CROSS

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In my book The Great and Holy War, I write at some length about the propaganda imagery of the war, and how thoroughly it drew on Christian imagery, especially Christ himself, and the Crucifixion. Posters and cartoons depicted whole nations as the victims of crucifixion. Usually they were depicted in the form of women, and [Read More...]

PICTURING THE GREAT WAR (3)

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One hundred years ago this week, Europe began the deadliest war in its history (to that date). I have been writing about how historians can find and use visual resources to understand attitudes at the time, and I have written about Germany and France. The other key player at the start of the war, of [Read More...]

PICTURING THE GREAT WAR (2)

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I was discussing the vast range of visual materials that historians can use to illustrate attitudes to the First World War. German propaganda especially suggested that easy victory lay within reach, which was fine unless and until they ran into obstacles and defeats, when all those cheery images began to look very sour. The French, [Read More...]

PICTURING THE GREAT WAR (1)

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We are presently commemorating the centennial of the outbreak of the First World War in 1914. Plenty of different theories allocate blame for that event to various powers, usually to Germany, with Russia as a runner up. For present purposes, though, let us set aside blame and look at how the different powers presented the [Read More...]

WARS HOLY AND UNHOLY

(c) The Highlanders' Museum; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

I have been posting a lot recently on the topic of holy war and crusade in the context of the First World War. In that context, I read a piece by Donald R. McClarey posted at the American Catholic. It includes a quote that demands a “discuss!” following it. The piece is called “Benedict XV, [Read More...]

BUCHAN’S POWER HOUSE

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I have been posting on some books that appeared during the First World War – books by Wells, Moore, and Machen – but one contribution from that time was one of the most daring and, we might even say, prophetic. Amazingly in light of his later reputation, the author in question was John Buchan. His [Read More...]

THE GHOSTS OF WARS TO COME

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As we commemorate the First World War in coming months, we are going to hear a great many myths and mis-statements. Although it certainly is not the most pernicious, let me just correct one of the more persistent. Recently, the Weekly Standard presented an interesting review by J. Harvie Wilkinson III, who began, “Back then, [Read More...]

MACHEN’S TERROR

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I recently published the book The Great and Holy War, about the supernatural dimensions of the First World War. In connection with that project, I have posted on some of the major books of that era, including works by George Moore and H. G. Wells. I am arguing that the war’s astonishing violence inspired both [Read More...]

THE FOUR HORSEMEN

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Following on from my book The Great and Holy War, I have been working on the religious and apocalyptic aspects of the First World War, and have recently posted on some major popular culture items from that time. I find myself concentrating on 1916, the year of Mr Britling Sees It Through and The Brook [Read More...]

TECTONIC FAITH

In my new book The Great and Holy War, I argued that the catastrophe of the First World War transformed the world’s great religions. I continue to think through some of the implications of this story, for what it might tell us about the history of religions more generally. (I have already posted a couple [Read More...]


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