War Land on the Eastern Front: Culture, National Identity and German Occupation in World War I

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In his book War Land on the Eastern Front: Culture, National Identity and German Occupation in World War I Vejas Gabriel Liulevicius argues that the German experience on the Eastern Front during the First World War had disastrous effects for both the occupied and the occupiers, and that this experience built the framework for the atrocities committed by the Nazis on the Eastern Front during the Second World War. Liulevicius’ argument differs from that of most Post-Cold War era historians who argue that Germany’s plunge below the depths of barbarism during the Second World War can be attributed to either a special path, Sonderweg, taken by Germany that differed from the so-called normal criteria of how a Western capitalist nation modernizes; or that Germany’s attempt at liberal democracy, the Weimar Republic, was essentially doomed from its beginnings, concluding in Adolf Hitler’s constitutional ascension to his dictatorial position, from which he orchestrated the atrocities of the Second World War. Liulevicius’ argument, centered on the experience of the Eastern Front during the First World War, provides better foreground to the politics of the interwar period, the Nazis’ rise to power, and how the atrocities of the Holocaust were made possible than either of the more popular arguments, which for the most part exclude Germany’s history in Eastern Europe almost entirely.
The central aim of War Land on the Eastern Front: Culture, National Identity and German Occupation in World War I is to educate the reader on the broader history of Germany’s occupation of Eastern Europe during the First World War, which, as expressed before, is mostly ignored by historians in favor of more popular Western Front histories; however, this e...

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...’s argument, like other popular explanations of how Germany succumbed to Nazism, is almost solely centered on the failings of Weimar, and does not even breach the topic of how the Nazis could so easily plunge the nation into committing genocide. Thus, Liulevicius’ argument provides a better foreground to Weimar political division helping to explain the Nazi rise to power, while also going well beyond the rise to power in 1933 by explaining how the occupation of the Eastern Front during the First World War laid the foundations for the Holocaust.

Works Cited

Vejas Gabriel Liulevicius, War Land on the Eastern Front: Culture, National Identity and German Occupation in World War I (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000), Kindle Edition, location 3170.
Mary Fulbrook, A Concise History of Germany, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991), 153-4.

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