The War Come Home: Disabled Veterans in Britain and Germany, 1914-1939.By Deborah Cohen cohen
(Hebrew: “priest”) Jewish priest descended from Zadok (a descendant of Aaron), priest at the First Temple of Jerusalem. The biblical priesthood was hereditary and male. (Berkeley: University of California Press "UC Press" redirects here, but this is also an abbreviation for University of Chicago Press
University of California Press, also known as UC Press, is a publishing house associated with the University of California that engages in academic publishing. , 2001. xii plus 285pp.).
Disabled veterans have received considerable attention from historians but few if any recent volumes by a single author take up the subject so adeptly as this work. Based on an impressive range of research undertaken in Britain and Germany, The War Come Home engages the works of Charles Maier and Keith Middlemas (1) to offer a different, if in some sense complementary, interpretation of stability in the Great War's aftermath." (p. 3) Cohen's interpretation locates civil society--defined as "the dense network of voluntary, and especially philanthropic, organizations that mediated between the individual and the state"--not at the periphery but rather at the very center of stability traditionally understood as shaped by states and special interest groups. "The peace this book will describe," Cohen explains eloquently in her introduction, "was forged not in back rooms and ministerial chambers but in arenas of broad public participation, in soup kitchens and makeshift local pension offices, homes for orphaned children and villas turned lazarets." (p. 4)
Cohen skillfully skill·ful
1. Possessing or exercising skill; expert. See Synonyms at proficient.
2. Characterized by, exhibiting, or requiring skill. and convincingly compares the British and German cases, and the specific brands of veterans' politics that emerged in each state. In Britain, despite public pressure to meet veterans' demands, the state failed to fulfill its obligations, leaving a voluntarist system to care for disabled veterans and, at the same time, veterans' organizations This is a list of veterans' organizations. Australia
Metaphysical or psychological system that assigns a more predominant role to the will (Latin, voluntas) than to the intellect. Christian philosophers who have been described as voluntarist include St. Augustine, John Duns Scotus, and Blaise Pascal. reflected the state's failure to provide adequately for the men who for fought for "King and Country," it served to convey both the public's appreciation of and veteran's pride in the gratitude of their fellow citizens. Moreover, as voluntarism shielded the British state from the consequences of its unpopular policies, indeed ensuring the moderation of British veterans, voluntarism's good intentions failed to prevent British disabled ex-servicemen from living "literally, as well as figuratively, on the edges of their society." (p. 12)
Different circumstances and outcomes characterized the German case. Here, efforts to gain the loyalty of war victims informed both the extension of state control (Verswatlichung), indeed its monopoly, over war victims' care, and the elimination of philanthropic competition and even distribution of benefits. This regulation of charity yielded the Weimar state shouldering the full burden of the Fatherland's thanks. (p. 11) Over time, however, with German philanthropy shunted to the margins and the state increasingly unable to fulfill its commitments despite reintegrating many men into the postwar economy, German veterans began to complain bitterly that the public was doing little if anything to assist them. Cohen's conclusion: "The National Socialists gave veterans everything they believed Weimar had taken away: honor, gratitude, and respect. The Thousand Year Reich's munificence mu·nif·i·cent
1. Very liberal in giving; generous.
2. Showing great generosity: a munificent gift. See Synonyms at liberal. would not long be theirs to enjoy alone." (p. 97)
Cohen's interpretation of the British public as the British ex-servicemen's best ally deserves special attention for the way in which this relationship rightly "forces some reappraisal of the myth of the war generation." (p. 47) Cohen's narrative reveals that the rift defined by literary modernism simply did not play out in the lives of disabled men themselves, indeed this rift reveals little about the actual lives of British ex-servicemen. "Ex-servicemen were angry at the state, that is indisputable," Cohen claims, "they despised de·spise
tr.v. de·spised, de·spis·ing, de·spis·es
1. To regard with contempt or scorn: despised all cowards and flatterers.
2. generals in plush chairs behind the lines, Whitehall bureaucrats, profiteers--but their attitudes toward the general public were benign when not sympathetic. It was true that the war has resulted in an undefinable cleft of experience separating soldiers from those who had stayed at home, but that did not mean the public's benevolence BENEVOLENCE, duty. The doing a kind action to another, from mere good will, without any legal obligation. It is a moral duty only, and it cannot be enforced by law. A good wan is benevolent to the poor, but no law can compel him to be so.
BENEVOLENCE, English law. was worth any less." British ex-servicemen's favorable views of British philanthropic efforts, Cohen argues effectively, help us to see vital nuances in the experiential "gap" that inhabits so many histories of the Great War, its combatants, and those who remained at home.
Brilliantly written and immediately accessible, The War Come Home offers a long overdue interpretation of philanthropy's essential role in mediating between the individual and the state during the first half of the twentieth century. In doing so, it paves a new avenue in the historiography historiography
Writing of history, especially that based on the critical examination of sources and the synthesis of chosen particulars from those sources into a narrative that will stand the test of critical methods. of the Great War and, indeed, in critical thinking about how future voluntary sectors will (or will not) play mediating roles during war and its aftermath.
ENDNOTE See footnote.
(1.) Charles Maier, Recasting re·cast
tr.v. re·cast, re·cast·ing, re·casts
1. To mold again: recast a bell.
2. Bourgeois Europe (Princeton N.J., 1975); Keith Middlemas Politics in Industrial Society: The Experience of the British System since 1911 (London, 1979).
Jeffrey S. Reznick
Orthotic orthotic /or·thot·ic/ (or-thot´ik) serving to protect or to restore or improve function; pertaining to the use or application of an orthosis.
Of or relating to orthotics. and Prosthetic pros·thet·ic
1. Serving as or relating to a prosthesis.
2. Of or relating to prosthetics.
serving as a substitute; pertaining to prostheses or to prosthetics. Assistance Fund, Washington, DC