How colonial violence came home: the ugly truth of the first world war
November 21, 2017 5:31 AM   Subscribe

"But in order to grasp the current homecoming of white supremacism in the west, we need an even deeper history. [...] Such a history would show that the global racial order in the century preceding 1914 was one in which it was entirely natural for “uncivilised” peoples to be exterminated, terrorised, imprisoned, ostracised or radically re-engineered. Moreover, this entrenched system was not something incidental to the first world war, with no connections to the vicious way it was fought or to the brutalisation that made possible the horrors of the Holocaust. Rather, the extreme, lawless and often gratuitous violence of modern imperialism eventually boomeranged on its originators."
posted by destrius (33 comments total) 50 users marked this as a favorite
 
Yes, yes, yes.

A fine read, but so much of it seems so familiar to anyone born and raised in an ex-colony that it's slightly staggering to think how much it's been forgotten in an ex-power like Britain. Mishra is right when he says:

In this new history, Europe’s long peace is revealed as a time of unlimited wars in Asia, Africa and the Americas. These colonies emerge as the crucible where the sinister tactics of Europe’s brutal 20th-century wars – racial extermination, forced population transfers, contempt for civilian lives – were first forged.

There are Brexiteers, right now, tweeting about how Britain did just fine in the years of Empire and can do the same again, displaying a breathtaking (wilful?) ignorance of the oppression of other peoples that its prosperity was built on, and total self-delusion about how willing such people would be to put themselves in anything like the same position again. Many Brexiteers are old enough to remember the collapse of British colonialism in the 1950s and 1960s, or to have heard about it growing up - surely they don't think the Mau Mau were in it for sport?

One phrase I'd take issue with in that quote I've given above is "first forged": Europe had a centuries-long internal history of racial extermination, forced population transfers and contempt for civilian lives. In the second half of the nineteenth century, as Mishra suggests, emigration to colonies and the riches flowing back from them had become enough of a relief valve for domestic pressures that those old internal enmities quietened down for a bit while violence was outsourced. From this distance it seems a brief window of European peace, maybe 50-60 years. We may end up looking back on the 60-ish post-WW2 years as another.
posted by rory at 6:33 AM on November 21, 2017 [16 favorites]


the sinister tactics of Europe’s brutal 20th-century wars – racial extermination, forced population transfers, contempt for civilian lives – were first forged.

Germany’s brutal 20th century wars, no point in denying it. The thesis would make more sense if it framed WWI as Germany’s desperate effort to make up for its limited experience of colonialism. If these wars were just the colonial powers bringing business as usual back home, they would have been started by Britain, by France, maybe even by Belgium. And as we know, whatever you can say about WWI you cannot say that Belgium invaded Germany.
posted by Segundus at 6:57 AM on November 21, 2017 [2 favorites]


Germany’s brutal 20th century wars, no point in denying it...whatever you can say about WWI you cannot say that Belgium invaded Germany.

France and Russia invaded Germany in the first few days of the war. If you believe that Germany bears sole responsibility for WW1 you need to read less Allied propaganda.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 7:28 AM on November 21, 2017 [4 favorites]


> France and Russia invaded Germany in the first few days of the war.

*blink*. Germany declared war on Russia August 1st. Then it invaded Luxembourg and crossed the border at Joncherey the next day. (This article contains a lot of straw men, BTW).
posted by Leon at 7:34 AM on November 21, 2017 [14 favorites]


All the "yes"'s but don't forget "technology". From my little reading WWI started as a few small time countries wanting to stir things up and hopefully come out a bit richer, but they lined up traditionally for a day of charging across the field for glory and discovered ** machine guns ** which changed the entire equation in ways that took decades for society to truly comprehend.

The use (abuse) of foreign troops seemed to be sometime after the local "heroes" (cannon fodder) were wiped out. Remember the entire death count from the Iraq wars was a single bad day in WWI.
posted by sammyo at 7:40 AM on November 21, 2017 [3 favorites]


Remember the entire death count from the Iraq wars was a single bad day in WWI.

150,000 people died in a single day in WWI? Yikes, that war was worse than I thought.
posted by euphorb at 7:49 AM on November 21, 2017


150,000 people died in a single day in WWI? Yikes, that war was worse than I thought.

...pretty much?
posted by saturday_morning at 7:58 AM on November 21, 2017 [17 favorites]


"France and Russia invaded Germany in the first few days of the war. If you believe that Germany bears sole responsibility for WW1 you need to read less Allied propaganda."
In a lot of ways this article does not go nearly far enough in ramming home its incredibly valid thesis, which is notably no where near as novel as it presents. Europe had been carefully designed for the internal peace that had lasted much longer than standard lifetime and that peace had been carefully designed to fail, should it need to, in non-catastrophic ways. The plan was for a stalemate along the heavily militarized Franco-German border that would tie up the German army to a degree that nothing truly decisive could happen in the East with Russia. This would have given politicians the space they needed to reorganize a new balance that would get everyone home by Christmas and keep damage limited.

The true horror of what Imperial Germany did wasn't really so much from the ancient treaties they shamelessly broke with the Schlieffen Plan, or even the balance upending advantage that their treachery gave them. What shattered the foundations of Europe was more the way that they meant to treat their neighbors like those neighbors treated their colonies. The Imperial German War aim with the was to colonize Belgium and Poland and to subjugate France and Russia. Germany could not have armed itself the way it did without taking loans that were secured on the value of the wealth they intended to loot from French and Belgian treasuries, factories, churches and museums. Notably those loans coming due were at lest as large of a factor in post-war inflation as the reparation requirements.

So yes, while it is true that both France and Russia attacked in the opening stages of the war, they had geared up to fight a very different and much less catastrophic war than the Germans had. That a war was being fought at all was the common fault of all of Europe, but that the war was so apocalyptic is something that can absolutely be laid at the feet of the Imperial military. Its really hard to overstate how much we've lost as a result of this war being conducted in the way that it was.
"Germany’s brutal 20th century wars, no point in denying it. The thesis would make more sense if it framed WWI as Germany’s desperate effort to make up for its limited experience of colonialism. If these wars were just the colonial powers bringing business as usual back home, they would have been started by Britain, by France, maybe even by Belgium. And as we know, whatever you can say about WWI you cannot say that Belgium invaded Germany."
The Imperial and then Fascist hagiographies of the war absolutely painted Belgium as an aggressor, supposedly letting French armies in to skirt around German defenses, in a supremely unselfreflective act of projection.
posted by Blasdelb at 8:01 AM on November 21, 2017 [10 favorites]


> The true horror of what Imperial Germany did wasn't really so much from the ancient treaties they shamelessly broke with the Schlieffen Plan

The Schlieffen Plan wasn't really a horror, it was a survival strategy. Once war existed, what other approach was viable?
posted by Leon at 8:13 AM on November 21, 2017


Somehow the constant drone of desperate neo-fascist apology has slowly caused us to lose our cultural memory of what the treaty of Versailles really was, what it was for, and what it wasn't - but as we start increasingly taking the Nazis at their word and take their victimhood complexes at face value we only get further from being able to see where it actually failed.

The Nazi hagiography of the end of the war is bullshit. The wealth of Imperial Germany, which was about to be considerable before the war, was drained largely by a desperate war effort funded by absurdly oppressive loans that Imperial Germany took out, not the treaty conditions. They didn't 'lose' in the war reparations in a meaningful sense, they were just obliged to pay a fraction of what they owed to the people they hurt in the execution of their war. With the influence of Wilson in creating a "fair peace," combating the influence of Clemenceau in orchestrating "revenge," the organizing principle for the treaty was largely David Lloyd George's interest in some kind of justice. Article 231 of the Treaty called for the remains of Imperial Germany to rebuild French villages, replant orchards, reopen mines, rebuild the libraries and cathedrals they intentionally destroyed and pay pensions for people they maimed. The church bells looted from French and Belgian churches were to be returned if extant or recast if not, the cultural and scientific contents of museums they looted as war prizes were to be returned, and looted industrial machinery was to be returned or remade. The calculation of combined liability between each of the Central Powers made by the London Schedule of Payments ended up at a total of 132 billion gold marks of which Germany was only responsible for 50 billion gold marks - less than the liabilities resulting from those loans that Imperial Germany couldn't afford without their hands in their neighbors pockets. With measures that included the seizure of goods such as ships and patents like the one for aspirin in addition to gold and silver, the reparations we very much payable even if they did strain a German economy already buckling under the weight of those loans.

Where the treaty actually failed is in how it treated the colonies of both the Entente and Central Powers. A remarkable number of later prominent nationalists from various colonies were actually present to see their homes bartered like poker chips, and it was really Versailles that laid the groundwork for so much trouble in the second half of the 20th Century.
posted by Blasdelb at 8:15 AM on November 21, 2017 [18 favorites]


"The Schlieffen Plan wasn't really a horror, it was a survival strategy. Once war existed, what other approach was viable?"
The one everyone expected, which had little hope of a knockout blow, but plenty of advantages. It would have involved a much shorter front that would have required significantly fewer resources to fight on allowing more commitment in the East and South, may not have drawn the British into the war at all and even if it did would have only involved a nominal commitment, would have left Imperial Germany room to seize the moral high ground in the Battle of the Atlantic even if the British entered the war, would have never drawn the US into the war, would not have risked the alliance of Italy, and would have given everyone the easy option to calm down before Christmas.

The idea that it was somehow necessary, or that Imperial Germany would have been somehow risking anything other than its standing in Europe much less its 'survival,' is fascist bullshit. The limited, planned, war everyone had in mind would have almost certainly left nearly all of the powers in Europe intact and with a sated bloodlust. Instead, the Schlieffen Plan necessitated the reorganization and destitution of the Central powers, and ripped up the fabric of Europe in ways that have still only begun to mend a hundred years later.
posted by Blasdelb at 8:28 AM on November 21, 2017 [6 favorites]


I don't really buy that. Maybe before WWI people believed a "limited war" was possible, but I can't imagine any war in Europe taking that route given what we now know about the technology of the era. The meat-grinders would have been built, almost by accident, and once they existed they had to be fed men and materiel to keep them running. And that meant making unrealistic promises to everybody involved, and now you're stuck. You can't pursue peace without breaking those promises, and you can't stop feeding men into the meat-grinder, even for a moment, because if you do your lines collapse. It just seems like an inevitability to me.

(Apropos nothing much: I discovered this week that my great-grandfather was a sapper at Hill 60. There's an experience I wouldn't wish on anyone).
posted by Leon at 8:41 AM on November 21, 2017


Good article. I'm tempted to get derailed into saying all the things I know about the hows and whys of WWI, but I don't actually know all that much about WWI+imperialism besides things which are already mentioned in the article. I'm interested in learning more. If Mishra has a book, I'd be glad to buy it.
posted by clawsoon at 8:53 AM on November 21, 2017


150,000 people died in a single day in WWI? Yikes, that war was worse than I thought.

August 22, 1914 saw the death of 27,000 French troops in *one day*. 329,000 French troops were killed that month.

The Iraq war was remarkably surgical in comparison. WWI was staggeringly bloody.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 8:56 AM on November 21, 2017 [2 favorites]


I guess we've derailed somewhat, but those are good derails.

Colonization always backfire. Before the WWI, there was the Franco-Prussian war, after which the conqueror, Germany, demanded exorbitant war indemnity from France. It backfired horribly [long and winding Michael Pettis blog post].

The scandalous treatment of the Shandong Problem in the Treaty of Versailles is nothing less than a kind of national identity component for the Chinese. What followed was a historical watershed: the redefinition of Chinese nationalism and the precursor of Communist power.
posted by runcifex at 9:06 AM on November 21, 2017 [2 favorites]


I've thought for a while that it might be possible to conceive of early 20th-century international law as a consensus that a "civilized" nation doesn't do to another civilized nation what it does in its own colonies, and that imperial Germany's relative lack of interest in and commitment to those developing concepts reflected less some weakness in the German character and more a lack of German colonies to make those concepts useful to leverage.
posted by praemunire at 9:07 AM on November 21, 2017 [7 favorites]


I have not heard much that I'd characterize as a "constant drone of desperate neo-fascist apology", either here on MeFi or in the US more generally; if anything, I think the dominant understanding of WWI in the US is insufficiently nuanced, based almost exclusively on the wartime narrative as documented in propaganda and newsreels on the one hand, and a blurring of Germans into generic "bad guys" through the lens of WWII on the other.

Generally speaking, I think a high degree of skepticism is justified when evaluating claims of jus ad bellum by victors, since there is both motive and opportunity for creating it retroactively, given a thorough victory. The number of times the victors of wars just happen to have had the moral high ground from the beginning is... well, it either means that the moral high ground confers a hell of a military advantage, or perhaps something else is going on.

While it doesn't necessarily follow that Germany wasn't the aggressor, I think a significant amount of caution needs to be taken, in order to counterweight: (1) US sources, both primary and secondary, tend to have an understandable slant to them, since the US was a participant in the war, and (2), since Germany lost the war, they necessarily were always going to be found at fault. Had the Central Powers won, doubtless they would have propounded a different story, one in which they weren't the aggressors, or at least one that gave them more justification. (We can see a version of this in the postwar narrative used by the Nazis, certainly, although as this was meant for internal consumption it differs from the hypothetical jus ad bellum that a victorious Central Powers might have discovered if they had somehow managed victory.)

Regarding the Schlieffen Plan, it's worth noting that it was devised long before the outbreak of WWI. Schlieffen devised it either as part of, or shortly following, a series of wargames which postulated a French invasion of Germany via the Low Countries, and it was meant as a counterattack, turning an invasion back and pushing into France to create a buffer where less-well trained troops could dig in and defend, while the field armies moved east to counter a slower Russian advance.

Where Schlieffen was, in retrospect, quite ahead of his time was his conception of defense through attack, although I'm not sure how much credit he really deserves. My read is that there's an aspect to the plan that was meant to be intentionally controversial in its aggressiveness, since at the time of its creation it could not have taken advantage of the technologies which later made it common doctrine. Schlieffen reportedly favored wider conscription and a bigger standing army in Germany, similar to France's, which would presumably have allowed a more traditional, less risky, deployment plan. (Conventional wisdom at the time held that defenders held a 3:1 advantage over attackers.) It's hard not to read the original plan as a chastisement of the government for not allowing conscription levels and a standing army at the same levels of France.
posted by Kadin2048 at 9:12 AM on November 21, 2017 [2 favorites]


If Mishra has a book, I'd be glad to buy it.

His older books are here, and his new one looks good (UK edition).
posted by rory at 9:12 AM on November 21, 2017 [2 favorites]


runcifex: Colonization always backfire.

It succeeded spectacularly in the Americas, at least from the perspective of the colonizers. (From the perspective of the colonized, not so much.) Same with the Russian colonization of Siberia and the Han colonization of what's now China. The ancient Greeks had a pretty good run of colonization throughout the Mediterranean and Black Sea, too. Sometimes the strong bully the weak successfully, and no moral force comes along to correct the injustice.
posted by clawsoon at 9:21 AM on November 21, 2017 [9 favorites]


The Schlieffen Plan, the ensuing offensive operations, and the complete carnage that resulted seems to happen a lot. A group of assholes stumble into power, suffer from Dunning-Kruger, and completely eff over a huge chunk of society.

One awful subtext of the article is that the British used wars to bleed down "surplus" population. WWI was largely "working as intended".

Wherever the powerful go suffering is sure to follow.
posted by pdoege at 9:49 AM on November 21, 2017 [1 favorite]


Whatever happens, we have got
The Maxim gun, and they have not.

-Hilaire Belloc on European imperialism before the Maxim guns came home

Decent article, which does a good job of introducing recent WWI historiography to a world audience. There's been a recent push to get away from the western front obsession, to treat the conflict as, well, a world war. For example, from the introduction to a recent collection of papers, "In many respects total war was thus simply 'colonial war writ large,' with the conflicts of 1914-1918 and 1939-1945 incrementally taking on elements of earlier imperial struggles." (_Other Combatants, Other Fronts: Competing Histories of the First World War_, Alisa Miller and Laura Rowe, eds, 2009/2011) That collection has some fascinating papers on racism, including ways French and German propagandists played the race card after November 1918.

One problem with the article is eastern Europe. A good number of western and central Europeans, plus white Americans, viewed Slavs as subhuman (cf WWII for the full flowering of this). Yet Russia was also very much an imperial power, projecting force into the Pacific, central Asia, eastern Europe, trying for the Med. At some point Russians, like the Irish, "became white", but anti-Slav racism was a serious thing in the 20th century's first half (and people can access it today, to some extent). So Russia, an enormously important player in WWI, doesn't fit Mishra's thesis well. Nor, to a lesser extent, does the Austro-Hungarian empire, which included a good number of Slavs, which Vienna worried might be a weakness in war with Moscow.

Indeed, the eastern front remains understudied across the board, still dwarfed by the western.

Another problem is the Ottoman empire. Many (but not all) of the inhabitants were nonwhite. Moreover, most were Muslim; religion doesn't really play a role in the article (except this formulation, which I'm not persuaded by: "whiteness, first turned into a religion during the economic and social uncertainty that preceded the violence of 1914"). The Ottomans were, of course, imperialists, with an intercontinental empire going into WWI. They were also subject to European imperialism, notably through financial instruments, not to mention the Kaiser's plan to enflame Islam against the Entente. Again, the Ottomans don't fit neatly into the article's thesis.
posted by doctornemo at 10:28 AM on November 21, 2017 [3 favorites]


But it is too easy to conclude, especially from an Anglo-American perspective, that Germany broke from the norms of civilisation to set a new standard of barbarity, strong-arming the rest of the world into an age of extremes. For there were deep continuities in the imperialist practices and racial assumptions of European and American powers.

This was such a key point for me, besides the nuances of WWI et al discussed above. Bottom line is, we are hypocrites in our rewriting of good vs. evil -- in all of history, of course, but specifically in this case. And it behooves us to remember that.
posted by knownassociate at 10:32 AM on November 21, 2017 [3 favorites]


"France and Russia invaded Germany in the first few days of the war. If you believe that Germany bears sole responsibility for WW1 you need to read less Allied propaganda.
In order to find out what Germany’s war aims were in 1914, it’s probably best to venture beyond the Schlieffen Plan and have a look instead at the September Memorandum. Issued on 9 September 1914 by the office of the German Chancellor, Theobald von Bethmann-Hollweg, the memorandum indicates that Germany planned to vassalize Belgium, permanently annex large portions of France (including the Channel coast), absorb Luxembourg into the German Empire, impose a “war indemnity” on France so financially crushing it was fully intended to destroy the French economy, and peel off a large extractive colony in central Africa from formerly French and Belgian territories. Bear in mind, too, that the bulk of documents relating to German prewar foreign policy in German archives didn’t survive the combination of Nazi suppression and allied bombing in WWII, so we don’t know the extent to which the September Memorandum followed on from prewar German war plans. But they’re unlikely to have manifested themselves out of thin air in the 5 weeks or so Germany had been at war by that point. Official document collections issued by the German War Guilt Section up until the Nazi seizure of power in 1933 were heavily selective and calculated to exclude anything too compromising to German national interests, so much else has no doubt disappeared. All of this was laid out by Fischer 50 years ago and is lucidly summarised by John C. G. Rohl here.

Probably the key book to read on how prewar German colonial policy impacted on all this is Isobel V. Hull’s Absolute Destruction: Military Culture and the Practices of War in Imperial Germany (2005). The essays in Santanu Das, ed., Race, Empire and First World War Writing (2011) are also very much worth reading.
posted by Sonny Jim at 11:18 AM on November 21, 2017 [8 favorites]


Hull also wrote A Scrap of Paper, which is the study of international law re: war practices running up to and through WWI which set me thinking on the above lines. But, as you might infer, I very much wonder (but can't answer without devoting several years to the question) whether England et al were willing to adopt restrictive theories of authorized conduct in war in part because they benefited from a "civilized"-colonial dichotomy, not because they were better people or less aggressive in aims and methods. (I don't think it's all that useful to pull out a ministry's wish list in the early days of war by itself and suggest that it must reflect a unique barbarity or contempt for Western civilization. What are we measuring against?)
posted by praemunire at 11:37 AM on November 21, 2017 [1 favorite]


All of this was laid out by Fischer 50 years ago and is lucidly summarised by John C. G. Rohl here.

Great link! Glad someone brought up Fischer.

I don't actually know all that much about WWI+imperialism besides things which are already mentioned in the article. I'm interested in learning more.

Not by Mishra, but the standard survey of the theoretical literature is Brewer's Marxist Theories of Imperialism. Most of the classic literature on the subject was written either before or during WWI.
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 12:36 PM on November 21, 2017 [3 favorites]


Moltke modified the Schlieffen Plan enough that it perhaps shouldn't be referenced. Schlieffen would have gone through the Netherlands, and swept further west in France before wheeling south. Moltke wouldn't go that far, and weakened the attacking arm, both widening the war and ensuring it would stalemate.

I don't think the war would have stalemated had they followed the French expectations. France assumed the Russians could hold their own while they would punch through German forces in Alsace-Lorraine. The Russians scored some early victories in the east, but poor command and logistical ability quickly doomed them. The Germans actually started pushing them back with their own weakened eastern troops, before the troops they pulled from the western advance had arrived to reinforce them. Had the Germans placed the troops destined for Belgium on the eastern front instead, they would have smashed Russian defenses quickly, rolling up the eastern front. It would not have been a stalemate in the east, and the French weren't strong enough to push through in the west.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 3:03 PM on November 21, 2017


My knowledge of WW1 is sketchy at best, but the main takeaway I got from the article was this: The atrocities of the world wars were not that dissimilar to what had already been happening in the various colonies around the world; what made them different was that the people dying were Europeans. The racism and social darwinism that culminated in Nazism and the Holocaust arose from imperialism, colonization and the theories people developed to justify the genocide and subjugation of other cultures for their own benefit.

As somebody who plays strategy games, I kind of appreciate the war nerdery going on here, but it's a little disappointing (and ironic) that the discussion has drifted to be all about dead white men again.
posted by destrius at 5:55 PM on November 21, 2017 [10 favorites]


Solid read. There really aren't a lot of books on the non-western fronts, but they're well worth finding. To be fair, we concentrate on the effects on the western nations because they had such profound effects on the world, but you can't find a place untouched by the Great War that didn't have profound effects follow it. The conflict in Namibia/Angola (Namibia being a former German colony taken by South Africa in the war), most of the Middle East (Mesopotamia/Iraq, Palestine/Israel, the creation of Saudi Arabia, Japan's rise in Asia, the devolution of the British Empire (Canada, Australia/NZ, India), the modern awakening of China.

The treatment of non-Europeans by the dominant powers echoes the treatment of women as well, in a way. Simultaneously disparaging and increasingly relying on them for survival, looking to put that genie back in the bottle afterwards only to have their power structures toppled. The war unleashed a massive range of forces that we still don't properly appreciate a century later. I've been studying the war for forty years and I still find it fascinating.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 6:49 PM on November 21, 2017 [1 favorite]


Regaining imperial power and glory has already proven to be a treacherous escapist fantasy – devastating the Middle East and parts of Asia and Africa while bringing terrorism back to the streets of Europe and America – not to mention ushering Britain towards Brexit.

"Bringing terrorism back"---when did terrorism disappear in America, at least between the beginning of the 20th century and the late Cold War? Because the activities of, e.g., the KKK would certainly seem to qualify.
posted by pykrete jungle at 8:35 PM on November 21, 2017


...which is not to take away fomr the article, which was certainly eye-opening for me. It was an interesting counterpoint to my morning podcast listen on Guernica, which made the Italian and German involvement in the Spanish Civil War sound like an attempt for them to relive frustrated colonial glories in their own backyards.
posted by pykrete jungle at 8:38 PM on November 21, 2017


150,000 people died in a single day in WWI? Yikes, that war was worse than I thought.

...pretty much?


The battle of the Somme took place over 5 months not a single day. But thanks for playing Who's War Was Deadlier. Enjoy your parting gift.
posted by euphorb at 6:55 AM on November 22, 2017


The battle of the Somme took place over 5 months not a single day. But thanks for playing Who's War Was Deadlier. Enjoy your parting gift.

It's estimated that WWI caused 18 million deaths over 4 years, or about 12,000 deaths per day. So it definitely wins the "bloodiest war" contest against the Iraq wars - 12 average days of WWI == all Iraq wars - but not to the degree originally suggested. 60 million people died in WWII, but somehow the impression is that WWI was the bloodier slaughterhouse. I wonder if it's because WWII moved around more, so the deaths at least appeared to be connected to the gain and loss of military objectives rather than the endless, pointless deaths of WWI.
posted by clawsoon at 7:46 AM on November 22, 2017 [1 favorite]


I think that one of the reasons that WWI seems more terrible or somehow denser with horrors than WWII is that Western culture suffers from some kind of geographical hemiotopsia: only what is on the Western side of the map of Europe is visible, and the vast majority of the horrors in the European theater happened in the east - where the Germans planned and partially implemented a project of colonization. Of course, the very term Eastern Front establishes the German perspective as the default.
posted by a certain Sysoi Pafnut'evich at 2:17 PM on November 22, 2017 [3 favorites]


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