Narratives of War considers the way war and battle are remembered and narrated across space and time in Europe in the twentieth century.

The book reflects on how narratives are generated and deployed, and on their function as coping mechanisms, means of survival, commemorative gestures, historical records and evidence. The contributions address such issues as the tension and discrepancy between memory and the official chronicling of war, the relationship between various individuals’ versions of war narratives and the ways in which events are brought together to serve varied functions for the narrators and their audiences. Drawing upon the two World Wars, the Spanish Civil War and the ex-Yugoslav wars, and considering narrative genres that include film, schoolbooks, novels, oral history, archives, official documents, personal testimony and memoirs, readers are introduced to a range of narrative forms and examples that highlight the complexity of narrative in relation to war.

Approached from a multidisciplinary perspective, and taken together, analysis of these narratives contributes to our understanding of the causes, experience, dynamics and consequences of war, making it the ideal book for those interested in twentieth-century war history and the history of memory and narrative.

part Part I|34 pages

Narrative and the Story of War

chapter 1|17 pages

Narratives of War in the Twentieth Century

An Introduction
ByMichael Wintle, Nanci Adler, Remco Ensel

chapter 2|17 pages

A Tale of Two Battles 1

Narrating Verdun and the Somme, 1916
ByJohn Horne

part Part II|64 pages

Constructing War Narratives

chapter 3|16 pages

The Stories the First World War Inherited

Adaptations of Peninsular War Veterans’ Memoirs, 1814–1914
ByMatilda Greig

chapter 4|13 pages

The Archive as Narrator?

Narratives of German ‘Enemy Citizens’ in the Netherlands after 1945
ByMarieke Oprel

chapter 5|17 pages

Of Triumph and Defeat

World War II and its Historians in Post-war Germany
ByChristina Morina

chapter 6|18 pages

The Imagery of War

Screening the Battlefield in the Twentieth Century
ByFrank van Vree

part Part III|64 pages

The Development and Deployment of War Narratives

chapter 7|17 pages

The War Books Controversy Revisited

First World War Novels and Veteran Memory
ByDunja Dušanić

chapter 8|11 pages

War and Peace as a ‘Paradoxical Coherence’

How the European Union Uses the Remembrance of the Great War to Construct European Identities
ByPeter Pichler

chapter 9|18 pages

History Wars in School Textbooks?

The Massacres in Volhynia and Eastern Galicia in Polish History Textbooks since 1989
BySylwia Bobryk

chapter 10|17 pages

‘I was Hurt and You were Hurt too’

The Role of Religion and Competing Narratives in the Reconciliation Process in Bosnia and Herzegovina
ByMarieke Zoodsma

part Part IV|42 pages

Testimonies and Survivalist Narratives

chapter 11|17 pages

Hints of Heroism, Traces of Trauma

Trauma and Narrative Structure in Interviews with Dutch and English International Brigade Volunteers of the Spanish Civil War
ByTim Scheffe

chapter 12|10 pages

Digital Survival? 1

Online Interview Portals and the Re-Contextualization of Holocaust Testimonies
BySusan Hogervorst

chapter 13|14 pages

Remembering the Sternlager of Bergen-Belsen 1

Anecdotes, Humour and Poetry as Survival Strategies
ByEvelien Gans

part Part V|16 pages


chapter 14|16 pages

Twentieth-Century Narratives of War

ByRemco Ensel, Michael Wintle, Nanci Adler