2007 Student Research Conference:
20th Annual Student Research Conference

Social Science

Worth Fighting For: National Identity in the Great War
Kevin R. Dyke
Dr. Torbjörn Wandel , Faculty Mentor

The Great War was the defining moment of twentieth century European history. At the war’s onset, millions of eager young men volunteered their service for a number of reasons. Many were dissatisfied with what they perceived to be a stagnant, baseless modern society, and through the war they sought grand adventure and spiritual fulfillment. Another reason for enthusiasm among these men was the desire to serve their nation. As the war progressed, oppositional nationalities demonized one another through the spreading of stories of atrocities. The Germans became a menacing figure for the British and French, while they became the same for the Germans. Within each group, however, regional differences remained more important than a single national identity. While the Germans were simply “the Germans” to the enemy, they identified themselves as Prussians, Bavarians, and other regional groups. World War I played an important role in transforming this regionalism into nationalism.

Keywords: Great War, World War I, nationalism, identity

Topic(s):History

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 65-2
Location: VH 1320
Time: 3:00 pm

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