chapter  30
52 Pages

Women’s Memories, Women’s Memoirs of the Great War

WithRichard R. Ring

World War I – the Great War – is, perhaps, the single most momentous event in the 20th century. It has had a more significant impact on the political, social, and economic development of our times than any other major event. Its impact on the lives and memories of those men – and women – who experienced it and lived through it (and, of course, those who did not live) is recorded in thousands of personal narratives both published and unpublished. These personal narratives as a body of literature are the best evidence we have not so much for an understanding of the “facts” of the Great War but for comprehending people’s hearts and minds, for a history of mentalités. Through these personal narratives we can recreate and analyze the experiences, thoughts, and emotions of the generation of the Great War, just as the personal narratives themselves shaped the memory of that particular past for their authors.