World War I in Central and Eastern Europe: Politics, Conflict and Military Experience Judith Devlin (University College Dublin, Republic of Ireland)
In the English language World War I has largely been analysed and understood through the lens of the Western Front. This book addresses this imbalance by examining the war in Eastern and Central Europe. The historiography of the war in the West has increasingly focused on the experience of ordinary soldiers and civilians, the relationships between them and the impact of war at the time and subsequently. This book takes up these themes and, engaging with the approaches and conclusions of historians of the Western front, examines wartime experiences and the memory of war in the East. Analysing soldiers' letters and diaries to discover the nature and impact of displacement and refugee status on memory, this volume offers a basis for comparison between experiences in these two areas. It also provides material for intra-regional comparisons that are still missing from the current research. Was the war in the East wholly 'other'? Were soldiers in this region as alienated as those in the West? Did they see themselves as citizens and was there continuity between their pre-war or civilian and military identities? And if, in the Eastern context, these identities were fundamentally challenged, was it the experience of war itself or its consequences (in the shape of imprisonment and displacement, and changing borders) that mattered most? How did soldiers and citizens in this region experience and react to the traumas and upheavals of war and with what consequences for the post-war era? In seeking to answer these questions and others, this volume significantly adds to our understanding of World War I as experienced in Central and Eastern Europe.