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The emotions in war: fear and the British and American military, 1914–45

Bourke, Joanna (2001) The emotions in war: fear and the British and American military, 1914–45. Historical Research 74 (185), pp. 314-330. ISSN 0950-3471.

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In modern warfare, technological innovations are applied to terrifying effect. On the machine-dominated battlefields of the twentieth century, the ability of individuals to master their emotions is crucial to the whole martial enterprise. Fear has widely been recognized as the most fraught of all emotions: it may stimulate combatants to fight and it may cause them to flee. This article examines the proliferation of theories about the nature of this emotion within the British and American forces during the First and Second World Wars. The military recognized the impact of new technologies upon human physiology and psychology, elaborated ways of interpreting the particular threat posed by ‘fear’ in modern conflicts, and prescribed ways of disciplining the emotional lives of combatants.

Item Type: Article
School or Research Centre: Birkbeck Schools and Research Centres > School of Social Sciences, History and Philosophy > History, Classics and Archaeology
Depositing User: Sandra Plummer
Date Deposited: 20 Nov 2007 13:07
Last Modified: 11 Oct 2016 11:59

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