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Honor, Glory, Sacrifice, and Annihilation: Violence and Death in World War II

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Civilian publics at large internalize death and killing in wartime as a given; after all, what is war if not fighting and dying? There exist popularized notions of “rules of war,” as put by a 2014 BBC ethics piece that

Civilian publics at large internalize death and killing in wartime as a given; after all, what is war if not fighting and dying? There exist popularized notions of “rules of war,” as put by a 2014 BBC ethics piece that accepted the notion “that soldiers must be prepared to put their own lives at risk in order to limit civilian casualties.” Here there is no denial that combatants kill and die in war. Yet in another sense, the public sanitizes the permanent reality of death and killing—it constructs careful euphemisms and erects psychological barriers that allow the perpetuation of violence without emotionally confronting the brutal reality of the battlefield. In spite of such concentrated cultural efforts at reconceptualization of death and killing, however, the soldiers and combatants who actually engage in this behavior irrevocably come face-to-face with the reality of death and killing in wartime. It is the “[i]ntimate acts of killing in war,” such as those “committed by historical subjects imbued with language, emotion, and desire” that necessarily challenge and threaten culturally-constructed sterilized preconceptions of deadly violence; still, as Joanna Bourke argues, “[k]illing in wartime is inseparable from wider social and cultural concerns.”

To this end, a war that involves not only the physical intimacy of killing but also mortal struggles between cultures and ideologies arguably complicates the extent to and manner by which individual combatants engage in such behavior. No war fulfills these criteria so cleanly as World War II—it was a conflict that cost more people their lives than any war before, and as a global conflict, it brought vastly differing perspectives of death and killing to the battlefield. World War II represented not simply a struggle for national-ideological survival (though that it clearly was), but more importantly a struggle for the retention of the self through identity.

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Date Created
2018-12

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ARMAGEDDON REVISITED: SOVIET FILM AND MEMORY OF THE GREAT PATRIOTIC WAR

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The Soviet Union suffered immensely as a result of World War II. When the dust settled and Soviet citizens began to rebuild their lives, the memory of the social, economic, and human costs of the war still remained. The Soviet

The Soviet Union suffered immensely as a result of World War II. When the dust settled and Soviet citizens began to rebuild their lives, the memory of the social, economic, and human costs of the war still remained. The Soviet state sought to frame the conflict in a way that provided meaning to the chaos that so drastically shaped the lives of its citizens. Film was one such way. Film, heavily censored until the Gorbachev period, provided the state with an easily malleable and distributable means of sharing official history and official memory. However, as time went on, film began to blur the lines between official memory and real history, providing opportunities for directors to create stories that challenged the regime's official war mythology. This project examines seven Soviet war films (The Fall of Berlin (1949), The Cranes are Flying (1957), Ballad of a Soldier (1959), Ivan's Childhood (1962), Liberation (1970-1971), The Ascent (1977), and Come and See (1985)) in the context of the regimes under which they were released. I examine the themes present within these films, comparing and contrasting them across multiple generations of Soviet post-war memory.

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Created

Date Created
2014-05

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ARMAGEDDON REVISITED: SOVIET FILM AND MEMORY OF THE GREAT PATRIOTIC WAR

Description

The Soviet Union suffered immensely as a result of World War II. When the dust settled and Soviet citizens began to rebuild their lives, the memory of the social, economic, and human costs of the war still remained. The Soviet

The Soviet Union suffered immensely as a result of World War II. When the dust settled and Soviet citizens began to rebuild their lives, the memory of the social, economic, and human costs of the war still remained. The Soviet state sought to frame the conflict in a way that provided meaning to the chaos that so drastically shaped the lives of its citizens. Film was one such way. Film, heavily censored until the Gorbachev period, provided the state with an easily malleable and distributable means of sharing official history and official memory. However, as time went on, film began to blur the lines between official memory and real history, providing opportunities for directors to create stories that challenged the regime's official war mythology. This project examines seven Soviet war films (The Fall of Berlin (1949), The Cranes are Flying (1957), Ballad of a Soldier (1959), Ivan's Childhood (1962), Liberation (1970-1971), The Ascent (1977), and Come and See (1985)) in the context of the regimes under which they were released. I examine the themes present within these films, comparing and contrasting them across multiple generations of Soviet post-war memory.

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Created

Date Created
2014-05

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Structural and Autotelic Violence on the Eastern Front of World War II and in the Early Years of the Spanish Dictatorship

Description

This thesis examines autotelic and structural violence as perpetrated by the German Wehrmacht on the Eastern Front of World War II, and General Franco's Nationalist forces during the Spanish Civil War and the early years of Franco's dictatorship. Three victim groups are addressed: civilians, prisoners of war, and women.

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Created

Date Created
2013-05