EDITED BY: JOHN CRAWFORD, DAVID LITTLEWOOD, AND JAMES WATSON
PUBLISHER: MASSEY UNIVERSITY PRESS, 2016
The First World War is widely conceived as a pointless conflict that destroyed a generation. Petty squabbles between emperors and elites pushed naïve young men into a nightmare of mud and blood that killed millions and left the survivors scarred and embittered. However, the process of reinterpretation of the First World War reveals that matters were rather more nuanced and complex. Hardship and death were all too common, but there were positive experiences, too. Vast numbers of people, for example, travelled to new parts of the world and encountered new cultures, which inspired a sense of wonder and respect. Military tactics were improved, and training and education would prove useful after the Armistice. Great military commanders of the inter-war and Second World War periods came to prominence during the First World War, and the conflict also had a formative influence on politicians, writers, artists, union leaders and businessmen. Some ethnic minorities used their participation to press for equal rights and full citizenship. This book’s 16 chapters, written by a range of leading New Zealand and international historians, explain how.