- List of Contributors
- The Ideological Origins of Fascism before 1914
- The First World War as Cultural Trauma
- The First World War as Totality
- The Aftermath of War
- Culture and Intellectuals
- The Peasant Experience under Italian Fascism
- Corporatism and the Economic Order
- Fascism and Catholicism
- Propaganda and Youth
- Women in Mussolini's Italy, 1922–1945
- Crime and Repression
- Fascism and War
- Dictators Strong or Weak?: The Model Of Benito Mussolini
- State and Society: Italy and Germany Compared
- Diplomacy and World War: The (First) Axis of Evil
- Communism: Fascism's ‘Other’?
- Yugoslavia and its Successor States
- The Netherlands
- Britain and its Empire
- Comparisons and Definitions
- Memory and Representations of Fascism in Germany and Italy
Abstract and Keywords
This article describes the totality of the First World War in many aspects. The word ‘total’ lies at the heart of different perceptions of the First World War. It was a war that involved total mobilization, socially and economically; a modern war, which required total commitment and support from the population, on the home front and on the battlefront; and a war that led to the total subordination of the economy and society to the needs of the military. Commitment to war had to be total. This was the apparent lesson of the First World War. Modern war could not be fought with half-measures. This combination – struggle beyond reason and war without end – became the agenda of fascism.
Richard Bessel is Professor of Twentieth-Century History at the University of York. His publications include Germany after the First World War (Oxford, 1993), Life after Death: Approaches to a Cultural and Social History of Europe during the 1940s and 1950s (Cambridge, 2003) (edited with Dirk Schumann), and Nazism and War (London, 2004).
Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.
If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.