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Encyclopedia Entry
Moral Norms and Values , in: 1914-1918-online. International Encyclopedia of the First World War, ed. by Ute Daniel, Peter Gatrell, Oliver Janz, Heather Jones, Jennifer Keene, Alan Kramer, and Bill Nasson, issued by Freie Universität Berlin, Berlin 2019-03-07
'Moral Norms and Values'
Optional Fields
Coarse egalitarianism; parental authority; temperance; personal consumption; transgressive violence; expendable lives
This article considers how the norms and values of belligerent societies were affected, across Europe and in the USA, by the exigencies of a long war during the First World War, 1914-1918.
Change and continuity marked belligerent societies’ norms and values during the First World War. Normative institutions such as marriage and the family proved basically resilient but “fatherlessness” propelled anxieties about unruly youth who asserted greater autonomy in terms of leisure and courtship. Non-marital relationships received pragmatic state recognition withheld before the war. Rhetoric of sacrifice and restraint, backed up by law, ordained norms for personal consumption, as seen in the regulation of alcohol and of sexuality, just as a coarse egalitarianism drove attacks on profiteering. The civilian-soldier distinction weakened with state-sanctioned repression of dissenters and anti-imperial revolts. Mass violence permeated societies and expanded the categories of expendable lives even if humanitarian mobilization salved some wounds.
Freie Universität Berlin.
Ute Daniel, Peter Gatrell, Oliver Janz, Heather Jones, Jennifer Keene, Alan Kramer, and Bill Nasson (eds),
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Publication Themes
Humanities in Context