Research Online

Logo

Goldsmiths - University of London

‘“For Kaiser and Reich”: the Identity and Fate of the German Volunteers, 1914-1918’

Watson, Alexander. 2005. ‘“For Kaiser and Reich”: the Identity and Fate of the German Volunteers, 1914-1918’. War in History, 12(1), pp. 44-74. ISSN 0968-3445 [Article]

No full text available

Abstract or Description

Historiography on the volunteers has maintained that most were young, aggressive, ‘war enthused’ men from the Wilhelmine educated elite, who quickly became disillusioned or broke down when faced with war’s ghastly realities. By analysing a sample of 2584 volunteers from 36 units, examining unpublished letters and diaries, and studying the volunteers’ battle performance, this article questions these beliefs. It argues that in fact volunteers came from a wide urban background, that most were motivated to enlist by defensive patriotism, not aggressive ‘war enthusiasm’, and that military ill-preparedness, not unrealistic combat expectations, accounts for the volunteers’ high psychiatric casualty rates.

Item Type:

Article

Identification Number (DOI):

https://doi.org/10.1191/0968344505wh311oa

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

History

Dates:

DateEvent
January 2005Published

Item ID:

8569

Date Deposited:

27 Jun 2013 07:34

Last Modified:

27 Jun 2017 10:38

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.

URI:

http://research.gold.ac.uk/id/eprint/8569

Edit Record Edit Record (login required)