Narratives of War considers the way war and battle are remembered and narrated across space and time in Europe in the twentieth century.
The book reflects on how narratives are generated and deployed, and on their function as coping mechanisms, means of survival, commemorative gestures, historical records and evidence. The contributions address such issues as the tension and discrepancy between memory and the official chronicling of war, the relationship between various individuals’ versions of war narratives and the ways in which events are brought together to serve varied functions for the narrators and their audiences. Drawing upon the two World Wars, the Spanish Civil War and the ex-Yugoslav wars, and considering narrative genres that include film, schoolbooks, novels, oral history, archives, official documents, personal testimony and memoirs, readers are introduced to a range of narrative forms and examples that highlight the complexity of narrative in relation to war.
Approached from a multidisciplinary perspective, and taken together, analysis of these narratives contributes to our understanding of the causes, experience, dynamics and consequences of war, making it the ideal book for those interested in twentieth-century war history and the history of memory and narrative.
Table of Contents
Part I: Narrative and the Story of War 1. ‘Narratives of War in the Twentieth Century: an Introduction’ 2. ‘A Tale of Two Battles: Narrating Verdun and the Somme, 1916’ Part II: Constructing War Narratives 3. ‘The Stories the First World War Inherited: Adaptations of Napoleonic Veterans’ Memoirs, 1814-1914 4. ‘The Archive as Narrator? Narratives of German "Enemy Citizens" in the Netherlands after 1945’ 5. ‘Of Triumph and Defeat: World War II and its Historians in Post-war Germany’ 6. ‘The Imagery of War: Screening the Battlefield in the Twentieth Century’ Part III: The Development and Deployment of War Narratives 7. ‘The War Books Controversy Revisited: First World War Novels and Veteran Memory’ 8. ‘War and Peace as a "Paradoxical Coherence": How the European Union Uses the Remembrance of the Great War to Construct European Identities’ 9. ‘History Wars in School Textbooks? The Massacres in Volhynia and Eastern Galicia in Polish History Textbooks since 1989’ 10. ‘"I was Hurt and you were Hurt too": the Role of Religion and Competing Narratives in the Reconciliation Process in Bosnia and Herzegovina' Part IV: Testimonies and Survivalist Narratives 11. ‘Hints of Heroism, Traces of Trauma: Trauma and Narrative Structure in Interviews with Dutch and English International Brigade Volunteers of the Spanish Civil War’ 12. ‘Digital Survival? Online Interview Portals and the Re-Contextualization of Holocaust Testimonies’ 13. ‘Remembering the Sternlager of Bergen-Belsen: Anecdotes, Humour and Poetry as Survival Strategies’ Part V: Conclusion 14. ‘Twentieth-Century Narratives of War: Conclusions’
Nanci Adler is Professor of Memory, History and Transitional Justice at the University of Amsterdam and Programme Director of Genocide Studies at the NIOD Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies (Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences). She is the author of numerous titles, including Keeping Faith with the Party (2012) and The Gulag Survivor (2002), and editor of, among others, Understanding the Age of Transitional Justice (2018).
Remco Ensel teaches cultural history at Radboud University in Nijmegen (the Netherlands). His current interests include visual nationalism in the 1930s and 1940s, Holocaust studies and antisemitism. He co-edited with Evelien Gans The Holocaust, Israel and ‘the Jew’: Histories of Antisemitism in Post-war Dutch Society (2017).
Michael Wintle is the Professor of Modern European History at the University of Amsterdam, where he is head of the department of European Studies. He has published widely on Dutch and European history, including The Image of Europe (2009), European Identity and the Second World War (ed. with M. Spiering, 2011) and The Historical Imagination in Nineteenth-Century Britain and the Low Countries (ed. with H. Dunthorne, 2013).