Cities into Battlefields : Metropolitan Scenarios, Experiences and Commemorations of Total War book cover
1st Edition

Cities into Battlefields
Metropolitan Scenarios, Experiences and Commemorations of Total War

ISBN 9781138273252
Published October 26, 2016 by Routledge
256 Pages

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Book Description

Cities have always had a key role in warfare, as strategic centres which periodically suffered the horrors of siege and sack. With industrialisation, however, they were drawn ever closer to the front line and to direct and continuous experience of fighting and destruction. 'Cities into Battlefields: Metropolitan Scenarios, Experiences and Commemorations of Total War' explores the cultural imprint of military conflict on metropolises world wide in the era of the First and Second World Wars. It brings together cultural and urban historians and scholars of related disciplines including anthropology, education, and geography. The volume examines how the emergence of 'total' warfare blurred the boundaries between home and front and transformed cities into battlefields. The logic of total mobilisation turned the social and cultural fabric of urban life upside down. Arranged so as to bring out the evolution of experience over time, the essays explore Eastern and Central Europe, Britain and Western Europe, and Japan and address several key themes. The first strand - scenarios - explores the apocalyptic imagination of intellectuals and experts in peacetime. Artists and writers anticipating doom presented the coming upheaval as an urban event - a commonplace of late-Victorian and post-1918 pessimism. On a different plane, civil servants and engineers materialised visions of urban chaos and devised countermeasures in case of emergencies. Both groups helped to furnish a repertoire of cultural forms which channelled and encoded the actual experience of war. The second strand deals with metropolitan experiences, notably mobilisation, deprivation, and destruction in wartime. Ruins and the repercussions of war is the central theme of the third strand - commemorations - which investigates post-war efforts to remember and forget. The quest for meaningful forms of commemoration was hard enough after the First World War; the Second World War, which saw whole cities disappear in flames, raised the possibility that the limits of representation had been reached. The central contention of this volume - that total war in the twentieth century has a significant but often overlooked metropolitan dimension - is fully addressed, thereby filling a conspicuous gap in the currently available literature.

Table of Contents

Contents: Towards a metropolitan history of total war: an introduction, Stefan Goebel and Derek Keene; 'A promise of terror to come': air power and the destruction of cities in British imagination and experience, 1908-39, Susan R. Grayzel; '9/7', the first day of the London blitz: the context, Peter Stansky; Parisian peculiarities: the French capital in the age of total war, Patrice Higonnet; Constructing a symbol of defeat and national rejuvenation: Edirne (Adrianople) in Ottoman propaganda and writing during the Balkan Wars, Eyal Ginio; Reclaiming their city: Belgraders and the combat against Habsburg propaganda through rumours, 1915-18, Jovana Knezevic; Local space and total war: enemies in Vienna in the two world wars, Maureen Healey; Ghettos and the remaking of urban space: a comparative study of Budapest and Warsaw, Tim Cole; Total warfare in a city: Stalingrad, Berlin - and Baghdad, Antony Beevor; Commemorative cosmopolis: transnational networks of remembrance in post-war Coventry, Stefan Goebel; Memories in ruins: Hiroshima's nuclear annihilation and beyond, Lisa Yoneyama; The spirit of war remains intact: the politics of space in Tokyo and the Yasukuni shrine, Julie Higashi; Conclusion: metropolitan history and national history in the age of total war, Jay Winter; Index.

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Dr Stefan Goebel, University of Kent, UK and Professor Derek Keene, Institute of Historical Research, London, UK.


'... an innovative collection of essays that ... can be recommended to anyone with an interest in urban history, memory, or military history.' Cercles '... an interesting and diverse collection of essays.' Reviews in History 'Individually, the essays make this volume a valuable addition to the literature. They also document the growing vitality of scholarship on war and the city in the twentieth century.' German Studies Review '... interesting collection on urban dimensions of total war... this is an impressive volume. The editors’ introduction, 'Towards a Metropolitan History of Total War', is full of interest and a lengthy and richly suggestive chapter, unlike so many editorial introductions.' European History Quarterly '... impressive global reach, spanning half the globe and three continents. Rarely does a collection of essays achieve to bring together, in one volume, articles on the impact of war on such diverse places as Tokyo, Adrianople, Leningrad, Warsaw, Vienna and Coventry, to name but a few. Reading them side by side accords an impression not only of how global 'The Age of Catastrophe' (Eric Hobsbawm) really was.' Urban History