Kriegsbegeisterung und mentale Kriegsvorbereitung: Interdisziplinäre Studien

TitleKriegsbegeisterung und mentale Kriegsvorbereitung: Interdisziplinäre Studien
Publication TypeBook
Year of Publication1991
AuthorsLinden, Marcel van der, and Gottfried Mergner
Number of Pages296
PublisherDuncker & Humblot
CityBerlin
Abstract

War means the totalization of all horrors, which humans have thought up for destruction, humiliation and torment for each other. - And for this "masses of people" should be able to get enthusiastic? Again and again scholars have wondered about a possible "war enthusiasm" of the population and have found speculative theories to explain it. But a closer look reveals the mental integration of populations into the respective historical war events, even the general enthusiasm of the population for war, as an extremely complicated phenomenon with many overlooked exceptions, contradictions and ambivalences. At the beginning of the Enlightenment - in the 17th century - skepticism spread among scholars about the mass delusion, religious enthusiasm, and fanaticism of the lowly people. Later, intellectuals loyal to the state would learn to distinguish between the "noble enthusiasm" of the people to sacrifice themselves for the ideals of the nation, the "common fatherland," and the "base, selfish instincts of the masses." The tension between the "noble people" and the fearful "unpredictability and selfishness of the masses" still dominates the discourse of the politically interested in industrial societies. Scientific opponents and advocates of war have also thought in terms of this dichotomy. The fear of the "seducible masses" often blinded to the historical reality of the mental attitudes of the population to and in the respective war situation. Modern warfare encompasses the whole of society, but this rarely led to a unification of the overall population's mental attitude toward war. What has been identified as general war enthusiasm was often only the product of propaganda by small, albeit influential, elites or the result of wishful thinking by war propagandists. Popular unity and accord were usually only the result of effective suppression of resistance or the result of widespread political resignation. When research pursues the manifold manifestations of real historical "war enthusiasm," it easily loses its object. The wide range of exceptions, peculiarities and contradictions confuses and makes global judgments inadmissible.

Translated TitleWar Enthusiasm and Mental Preparation for War: Interdisciplinary Studies.
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