Attack on All Fronts: The Culture of Twentieth-Century War
The twentieth-century was arguably the most belligerent in history, marked as it was by
a culture of war – that is, values, attitudes, and so on, which support the waging of war.
At the same time, this culture shifted profoundly so that now, in the twenty-first century,
we can plausibly think about a culture of peace. This book looks at turning-points in the
twentieth-century cultural attitudes towards war, from the sacrificed soldier of World War
One to the anti-war demonstrations of the Sixties, and beyond to the ubiquitous War on
Terrorism. We have undergone a crucial transformation of how we view ‘reality’ – how
we determine what is ‘real’ and what is not; our metaphysical concepts affect how we
wage war on the international front and how we interrelate on the home front. Our sense
of reality affects our culture of war. At the same time, we have been suffering from the
trauma and shock of horrific experiences. Two world wars pushed the limits of our ability
to rationalize and accept man’s inhumanity to man, triggering a response which was
essentially an embracing of the absurd. Our inability to deal with the horrors of the war,
coupled with our inability to express our loss, resulted in a culture of post-traumatic
reaction from which we may, possibly, have begun to emerge.