Role of religious faith in World War I examined in new book (from 2010)
Brief review of a book published in 2010, but looks like a good read. Seems to touch on race relations of the time, the formation of the American Legion and the rise of religion in national political terms. I've always seen WW1 as the end of American isolationism. This may offer more context. Appropriate for the "eleventh day of the eleventh month". ~ pinto
Role of religious faith in World War I examined in new book 4/21/2010 | Sharita Forrest, Arts Editor
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Although World War I has faded from cultural memory, overshadowed by more dramatic and unambiguous conflicts that both preceded and followed it, the Great War continues to shape Americans’ interpretations of their nation, its war-craft and its soldiers today.
In a new book, “Faith in the Fight: Religion and the American Soldier in the Great War,” (Princeton University Press), Jonathan Ebel, a professor of religion at the University of Illinois, examines the pivotal role that religious faith – Christianity, in particular – played in the war effort and people’s interpretations of their wartime experiences, giving birth to a religion-based nationalism that continues to loom large in American discourse.
1. WWI had a salutary effect on Europe in one sense. After that terrible struggle between
so many ardent Christian foes, many careful observers in Europe began to see a different brighter light: secularism.
WWI was also the main driver for the revival of spiritism, exploited by fraudulent mediums to defraud the mourning parents of the fallen. Count among the victims Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and others who should have known better. A mercifully temporary phenomenon.
For students of miracles, you do well to review the short story "The Bowmen" by Arthur Machen. Folk anxious for any good news from the front believed in the miraculous events, Machen was at great pains to deny them. A modern version of what must have happened many times in the past.
We should remember the WWI and WWII are really a unity. There was merely a temporary tumultuous time for rearmament between them. In the interim Germany prepared to take a terrible revenge on the religious groups who had not shown sufficient appetite for slaughter.
Also to be noted: the sacrifice of many of Europe's best and brightest sons influenced the rise by default of America as an intellectual power, including religious studies. It marked the end of the almost exclusive power of the European schools, although of course their intellectual heritage continued over here.