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The Shock of War

The Shock of War: Civilian Experiences, 1937-1945

Copyright Date: 2011
Pages: 160
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  • Book Info
    The Shock of War
    Book Description:

    InThe Shock of War: Civilian Experiences, 1937-1945, Sean Kennedy shifts the reader's focus from the battlefields of the Second World War to the civilian experience.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-9468-2
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgements
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 1-12)

    A family is shattered by the loss of a father or son in battle. A young woman seizes new opportunities, and confronts new challenges, after she leaves her old job to work in a munitions plant. A merchant faces the difficult choice of whether or not to sell to German or Japanese occupiers. A community is devastated by aerial bombardment, with the threat of more looming ahead. These are only some of the myriad experiences of civilians during the Second World War. This book seeks to analyze those experiences, notably the pressures imposed by the demands of mobilization; the challenges...

  5. 1 The Strains of Mobilization
    (pp. 13-48)

    Over the course of the 1930s, growing international strife led both politicians and many ordinary citizens to fear a terrible conflict was in the offing. But when the Second World War did actually begin, at different times for different countries, the demands it made upon ordinary life still constituted a shock for many. While the modes and timing of national mobilizations varied greatly, all states made increasing demands upon their populations. Economies were reoriented towards wartime production, and legislation was passed to direct the flow of labour. Countries made preparations for civil defence, and in some instances massive evacuations had...

  6. 2 Living under Occupation
    (pp. 49-80)

    Hundreds of millions of people experienced occupation during the war. All the major combatant states, including Britain, the United States, and above all the Soviet Union, took control of foreign lands. This chapter, however, will focus on the wartime empires established by the leading Axis states, Germany and Japan. At its height, the Third Reich asserted control over most of Europe, as well as a huge swathe of Soviet territory. The Japanese empire included vast Chinese territories, Korea, most of Southeast Asia, and numerous Pacific islands. Both empires were the product of frighteningly ambitious ideologies. They stressed the innate superiority...

  7. 3 The Impact of Violence
    (pp. 81-110)

    As many as 60 million people died as a result of the Second World War; over half of them were civilians. In some cases these deaths were the unintended, though not necessarily unanticipated, by-product of military operations, but non-combatants were often deliberate targets. Hoping to cause panic, invading armies attacked population centres and fleeing refugees. Rampaging troops frequently robbed, assaulted, and murdered non-combatants. One of the defining characteristics of the Second World War was the mass bombing of civilians, which was intended not only to disrupt the war effort but also the cohesion of enemy populations. These attacks killed hundreds...

  8. 4 A World Unsettled
    (pp. 111-144)

    Though the Second World War formally ended with the surrender of Germany and Japan in 1945, its effects upon civilians reverberated for decades. For those living outside the battle zones, the end of hostilities brought an overwhelming sense of relief and great joy at the prospect of returning loved ones. But popular enthusiasm was tempered by the knowledge that many would not return, and veterans often found reintegration into civilian life very difficult. The wartime economy, and the challenges of wartime living, had brought a sense of purpose and even prosperity for some, but there was also anxiety about what...

  9. Index
    (pp. 145-160)