The First World War as a Clash of Cultures

The First World War as a Clash of Cultures

Edited by Fred Bridgham


Camden House



Essays examining the rift between British and German intellectual and cultural traditions before 1914 and its effect on events.
This volume of essays examines the perceived rift between the British and German intellectual and cultural traditions before 1914 and how the resultant war of words both reflects and helped determine historical, political, and, ultimately, military events. This vexed symbiosis is traced first through a survey of popular fiction, from alarmist British and German "invasion novels" to the visions of Erskine Childers and Saki and even P.G. Wodehouse; contrastingly, the "mixed-marriage novels" of von Arnim, Spottiswoode, and Wylie are considered. Further topics include D. H. Lawrence's ambivalent relationship with Germany, Carl Sternheim's coded anti-militarism, H. G. Wells's and Kurd Lasswitz's visions of their countries under Martian invasion, Nietzsche as the embodiment of Prussian warmongering, and the rise in Germany of anglophobic, anti-Spencerian evolutionism. Case histories of the positions of German and English academics in regard to the conflict round out the volume.

Contributors: Iain Boyd White, Helena Ragg-kirkby, Rhys Williams, Ingo Cornils, Nicholas Martin, Gregory Moore, Stefan Manz, Andreas Huther, Holger Klein

Fred Bridgham is Senior Lecturer in the Department of German at the University of Leeds.


September 2006
344 pages
9x6 in
Studies in German Literature Linguistics and Culture
ISBN: 9781571133403
Format: Hardback
Library eBook
Camden House
BISAC LIT004170, SOC041000, HIS014000
Share on Facebook   Share on Twitter   Pin it   Share by Email

Table of Contents

Introduction - Fred Bridgham
Anglo-German Conflict in Popular Fiction 1870-1914 - Iain Boyd Whyte
Perversion and Pestilence: D. H. Lawrence and the Germans - Helena Ragg-Kirkby
"Und mu ich von Dante schweigen, zieht Italien gegen uns?": Carl Sternheim's Opposition to the First World War - Rhys W. Williams
The Martians Are Coming! War, Peace, Love, and Reflection in H. G. Wells's The War of the Worlds and Kurd Lasswitz's Auf zwei Planetenand Kurd Lasswitz's Auf zwei Planeten -
Nietzsche as Hate-Figure in Britain's Great War: "The Execrable Neech" - Nicholas Martin
Darwinism and National Identity, 1870-1918 - Gregory Moore
Bernhardi and "The Ideas of 1914" - Fred Bridgham
Peacemaker and Warmonger: Alexander Tille and the Limits of Anglo-German Intercultural Transfer - Stefan Manz
"In Politik verschieden, in Freundschaft wie immer": The German Celtic Scholar Kuno Meyer and the First World War - Andreas Huether
Austrian (and Some German) Scholars of English and the First World War - Holger Klein


This admirably cohesive volume of cultural history essays addresses an important gap in the existing scholarship, linking prewar attitudes to wartime propaganda and arguments. ... The essays here make a strong contribution to the scholarship of the early twentieth century by elaborating upon Niall Ferguson's comment that World War I was "caused by culture." GERMAN STUDIES REVIEW

Gathering contributions by experts in various disciplines, this volume elucidates antagonistic cultural crosscurrents between England and Germany in the period prior to WWI.... A book for historians and scholars of literature and cultural studies. CHOICE

(A)n invaluable resource for further work on Anglo-German relations. JOURNAL OF EUROPEAN STUDIES

The essays collected in this volume discuss the war of ideas that contributed to the sense that the First World War was more than simply the solution of political conflicts through armed action: it was a genuine "clash of civilisations." FORUM FOR MODERN LANGUAGE STUDIES

Also in Series