War in peace: pacifist and anti-war writing in the battle for control of German Great War memory, 1927–1930

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)


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The chapter re-examines the so-called ‘war writing boom’ of 1927–30 in Germany, which saw the publication of some of the finest German anti-war texts of the interwar period, including Arnold Zweig’s Grischa, Glaeser’s Jahrgang 1902, Renn’s Krieg, Johannsen’s Vier von der Infanterie, Remarque’s Im Westen nichts Neues, Köppen’s Heeresbericht, and Plivier’s Des Kaisers Kulis. The paper situates this ‘(anti-)war writing boom’ in the context of the production and political biases of semi-fictional German literature on the First World War (WW1) as a whole between 1914 and 1932. It will be argued that the brief flowering of anti-war literature in the late 1920s occurred in a German war writing landscape dominated by nationalist and revanchist accounts. Some of the most notorious of these – by e.g. Schauwecker, Wehner and Beumelburg – were calculated counterblasts to the anti-war animus of Im Westen nichts Neues and other allegedly ‘un-German’ texts of the late 1920s. By considering the wider political context of writing about WW1 a decade after Germany’s defeat in that conflict, the paper seeks to illustrate the beleaguered position in which German pacifist and/or anti-war writers found themselves and to illuminate reasons why they ultimately lost the battle for control of German memory of the Great War.


Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPacifist and Anti-Militarist Writing in German, 1889–1928
Subtitle of host publicationFrom Bertha von Suttner to Erich Maria Remarque
EditorsRitchie Robertson, Andreas Kramer
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2018

Publication series

NameLondon German Studies