Sunday, January 13, 2008

Gertz on Censorship, Propaganda, and the Production of "Shell Shock" in World War I

Nolen Gertz, Ph.D. candidate at the New School for Social Research, has posted an interesting new paper, Censorship, Propaganda, and the Production of "Shell Shock" in World War I. Here's the abstract:
In discussing warfare we tend to maintain a theoretical cleavage between the "home front" and the "battle front" that is supposed to parallel the physical distance that separates them. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the academic literature that surrounds World War I, with each discipline for decades having studied its correspondent aspect of the war. While this has provided us with incredibly detailed research into the minutiae of battles and the changing attitudes of the masses, it has done little to help us combine these details into a full-scale picture of what was actually experienced by civilians and soldiers alike. Therefore this paper will instead attempt an interdisciplinary approach to understanding this war by looking at the alarmism that helped lead to the war and the censorship and propaganda campaigns that helped shape it. Thus it will be shown that only by returning to the concerted efforts of politicians and journalists years before the war can we see how the "war to end all war" eventually led to the creation of "shell shock" and the loss of a generation.