Click on the Contributor's name to see the Abstract for his or her article

Volume 12 SPRING/SUMMER 2005
Numbers 1/2



About the Contributors

Preface: World War I—Nearly a Century of Impact
Robert S. Frey


Our First View of the End of the World
Dr. Terry Castle
Walter A. Haas Professor in the Humanities
Department of English
Stanford University
Stanford, CA 94305 (USA)

“The Mighty Hand of God”: The Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland and the Great War
Dr. James Lachlan MacLeod
Associate Professor of History
University of Evansville
History Department
Evansville, IN 47722 (USA)

Poets of the Great War and Their Impact on European and Western Society
Ms. Helen McPhail
Shropshire (United Kingdom)

The Miraculous Survival of Tommy Atkins: Continuity and Discontinuity in British Masculinity After the First World War
Dr. Jessica Meyer
(United Kingdom)

A Breaking Point? The Position of the First World War in Literary History
Ms. Joanna Scutts
Columbia University
New York, NY (USA)

British Propaganda in the Neutral United States, 1914-1917 97
Ellen J. Jenkins, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of History
Arkansas Tech University
Russellville, AR 72801 (USA)

Goodbye to All That? The First World War and the Making of the Twentieth Century
Dr. Adrian Gregory
Pembroke College (United Kingdom)

Impacts of the Great War
Daniel P. Christine
DePaul University
Chicago, IL 60611 (USA)

The Berles Position Cemetery, 1916-1917: An Essay on Margins and Memory
Professor Mark A.R. Facknitz
Professor of English
James Madison University
Harrisonburg, VA 22807 (USA)

Deplorable, Unavoidable, Functional, Salutary: Some Remarks on the Acceptance of Mass Violence by Turkish and German Élites in the Context of the Armenian Genocide
Dr. Hans-Lukas Kieser
Zürich University (Switzerland)



Gary Backhaus and John Murungi, eds., Earth Ways: Framing Geographical Meanings
Arthur J. Spring

Ian Buruma and Avishai Margalit, Occidentalism: The West in the Eyes of Its Enemies
Yoram Lubling

Steven Carter, Devotions to the Text
Therese Paetschow

Richard de la Chaumiere, What's It All About? A Guide to Life's Basic Questions and Answers
Angus Crane

James F Keenan, Moral Wisdom: Lessons and Texts from the Catholic Tradition
Arthur J. Spring

Benjamin Nathans, Beyond the Pale: The Jewish Encounter with Late Imperial Russia
Yoram Lubling

Steve Neal, ed. HST: Memories of the Truman Years
James Southerland

Jeremy A. Rabkin, The Case for Sovereignty: Why the World Should Welcome American Independence
Arthur J. Spring

Moss Roberts, trans. and commentator, Dao De Jing: The Book of the Way. Laozi\
Rosamond Kilmer Spring

J. Paul Sampley, ed., Paul in the Greco-Roman World: A Handbook
Michael J. Gorman

Raphael Sassower, Confronting Disaster: An Existential Approach to Technoscience
Peter Amato

Thomas A. Shannon, ed., Death and Dying: A Reader
Ingrid H. Shafer

Bennett J. Sims, Why Bush Must Go: A Bishop's Faith-Based Challenge
Jeffrey Robbins

Richard Vedder, Going Broke by Degree: Why College Costs Too Much
Richard Isaacman


Ernesto Cabellos and Stephanie Boyd, Choropampa: The Price of Gold
Rosamond Kilmer Spring

John Junkerman and John Dower (directors). Hellfire: A Journey From Hiroshima
Rosamond Kilmer Spring

Catherine Scott, Profits of Punishment
Richard Isaacman

Ireen van Ditshuyzen (director), Hard Choices
Ingrid H. Schafer


Abstracts of Current Issue

“The Mighty Hand of God”: The Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland and the Great War

James Lachlan MacLeod

This paper concentrates on the reaction to the Great War of one Scottish religious denomination, the Free Presbyterian Church. The way that the Free Presbyterians reacted provides a fascinating glimpse at the complex nature of British society’s attempts to come to terms with what was in many ways the single most shattering event of the twentieth century, and it makes clear the enormous pressures that the Great War placed upon traditional religion. The paper inspects the Free Presbyterian Church and the Great War from four angles: the Church's explanation of the reasons for the War; their support for the British cause; the provision of chaplains; and finally their opposition to the popular theological innovations that the Great War created. What is clear, and significant, is that the Free Presbyterian response to the War was a reflection of its own complex identity as Church that was both supportive and critical of the British State, and a Church that was national in scope and vision but Highland in reality. It also reflects the enormous challenges that the Great War posed for traditional understandings of life, death, God, church, and country.

Poets of the Great War and Their Impact on European and Western Society


Helen McPhail

The value of exploring the physical landscape experienced by the English soldier-poets of the First World War is emphasized. The importance of choosing a witness to this crucial historical period, of balancing different types of history, and using the literary record to explain the human experience of life at war, is illustrated. The continuing significance of the Great War for contemporary life, in particular the value of school visits to the battlefields, is discussed. The significant interest aroused by explaining the literary record of the war years on specific sites linked to specific writers or pieces of writing is observed and discussed. The long-term influence of the war years, and the importance of perceiving this influence on the 20th century and therefore the 21st century, is presented. The continuing interest in poets such as Sassoon, Graves, Owen, and Blunden is explored. Finally, the need to avoid any deadening of imaginative faculties is highlighted.

The Miraculous Survival of Tommy Atkins: Continuity and Discontinuity in British Masculinity After the First World War


Jessica Meyer

The resilience of the ideal of the soldier as a masculine figure in the era of the First World War is examined. The gender history of the war has generally viewed masculinity as threatened, if not destroyed, by the realities of total warfare. Following an examination of memoirs from World War I veterans, it is argued that in the years after the war, the experience of being a soldier continued to be associated with the formation of qualities that were seen as necessary to masculinity. Five key qualities of masculinity are explored—physical strength, resourcefulness, endurance, comradeship, and sacrifice—to discern the ways in which the war affected how masculinity was defined in the war’s aftermath. The representational meanings of the first two qualities, it is argued, were altered by the realities of war. By comparison, the final three were heightened in significance by memoirists’ experiences of war. What is clear is that all five qualities remained central both to memoirists’ understandings of masculinity and to their memories of their war experience.

A Breaking Point? The Position of the First World War in Literary History


Joanna Scutts

The dominant narrative of the First World War in literary history, which marks this war as the “breaking point” in a cultural fall from innocence to experience, is called into question. It is suggested that such categories are not only inaccurate, but that they constitute value judgments about literature and history that have far-reaching effects on the developing modernist canon. These histories have worked to privilege certain literary forms and voices, especially the stance of detached irony, and have in the process had to sideline poetry and prose dealing with war experience directly into a separate and radically limited genre. It is argued that the war-as-breaking-point is an unjustly comforting structure, which separates it from history and ultimately rehabilitates its violence as a force of cultural progress.

British Propaganda in the Neutral United States, 1914-1917


Ellen J. Jenkins

The United States was officially neutral during the first years of World War I, during which time the Allies increasingly came to depend upon American-made goods and supplies to support their own war effort. In order to foster U.S. neutrality and bolster Washington’s refusal to stop selling war goods to belligerents, a combination that worked to the Allies’ advantage, the British launched a clandestine propaganda campaign to gain American support for their cause. This secret battle involved a variety of means, including the mails, newspapers and popular magazines, public speakers, and ultimately film, as the British infiltrated American popular opinion and shaped it to support the Allies’ interpretation of the war against the Central Powers.

Good bye to All That? The First World and the Making of the Twentieth Century

Adrian Gregory

The First World War is generally perceived as a catastrophic event ushering in an epoch of still greater catastrophe. This view is to a large extent an illusion caused by an exaggerated view of the specific horrors of the war, by a reactionary nostalgia for the world prior to 1914, and by a dubious teleology, which creates doubtful causal linkages between the war and subsequent events. The Great War was no more dreadful than many previous European conflicts and in certain respects was more civilized and restrained than both previous and subsequent wars. The literary output associated with the war has made us more familiar with its horrors than those of previous conflicts, but this is intrinsically misleading. The immediate effects of the war were in many respects emancipatory and it was the attempt to reverse the verdict of the war, rather than the war itself, which was responsible for the catastrophes of Europe in the 1930s and 1940s.

Impacts of the Great War

Daniel Christine

It has been nearly a century since the profound impacts of World War I were unleashed on global societies. It was the First World War that initially produced these modern effects on world culture and continues to influence our ideas and actions with respect to military, sociological, political, and scientific matters. The swift advance of technology during this time provided the world with a new and constantly shifting array of weaponry, including the first chemical weapons, use of aircraft and aerial bombing, and systematic genocide. All of these weapons and tactics, advanced and refined, are still present in the contemporary arena of warfare.

How World War I changed modern societies in relation to their philosophy on war, their views of their governments, and their scrutiny of the use of military force is a question with which historians continue to grapple. World War I was certainly the first war that produced intense changes in warfare that contradicted the strategies and philosophies of earlier wars, such as those of the nineteenth century. And it is clear that the shift of those strategies and philosophies brought about many unfortunate features in warfare throughout the twentieth century. But it can be argued that World War I also introduced many positive changes as well pertaining to the philosophies modern societies desperately needed in order to avoid war in the future. In the century since World War I, it appears global societies have learned these lessons and can apply them in order to preserve peace among all nations.

Deplorable, Unavoidable, Functional, Salutary: Some Remarks on the Acceptance of Mass Violence by Turkish and German Élites in the Context of the Armenian Genocide


Hans-Lukas Kieser

Acceptance of mass violence in the political language of states supporting nationalist élites in Turkey and Germany is discussed in the larger context of World War I. Several revolutionary paradigms with which these élites identified and by which they justified their thinking of violence are emphasized. These include the rebirth of one’s own nation, seen by them as a great victim of history; the association of modern progress with ethno-national homogenization; and human history viewed in Darwinian terms. In this framework, violence was not to be questioned. The state’s exercise of violence and coercion against its own citizens—who were judged as collective obstacles to or foes of the national order—was approved of in terms ranging from “unavoidable” and “functional,” and even “salutary.” In the context of total war and its multiple traumas, high rationality joined the insane dream of a clean nation: a situation that, in retrospect, resulted in genocide. The protagonists responsible and the élites behind them did all they could to remove linguistic reminders of the crime.


The cover design for the SPRING/SUMMER 2005 issue of BRIDGES was created by Mr. Ty Bachus.


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