The Cross and the Trenches: Religious Faith and Doubt Among British and American Great War Soldiers
Praeger Publishers, 2003 - 311 páginas
The modernist historiographical model of the Great War neglects such traditional modes of thought as religious response to battle. Drawing on the testimony of over 500 British and American soldiers, Schweitzer provides an in-depth account of topics such as soldiers' prayers and biblical readings, as well as religious doubts. As a detailed snapshot of religion during the war, this study provides a crucial preamble to studies of the legacy of the Great War.
The lack of a satisfactory scholarly study has left interpretation of the role that religion played in soldiers' lives to the pronouncements of their contemporaries who often either viewed World War I as an opportunity to spark a religious revival or as an event that crushed religious faith. Schweitzer argues that neither of these interpretations is accurate, and he hopes to replace them with a model that arranges responses on a spectrum ranging from absolute faith in God to atheism. Based on extensive archival research, this study establishes a detailed model of the spiritual lives of British and American soldiers during the war. After sketching this spiritual history, he concludes that both British and American soldiers were more religious than previous writings have indicated.
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Victor then wished that in time he might outgrow his youthful cynicism and
reconcile himself to religion : “ I am beginning to hope that what the older people
always say is true , that cynicism both with regard to Religion and to other things
is only ...
... but the minutes record that “ this was not agreed to by the meeting . " 185 At
another meeting a soldier identifiable only as Smith felt that " the Church was not
going down but up . " Smith ' s hope was not shared by Tom Stroud who railed ...
In August 1915 she referred to her " present agnostic tendencies " and in that
same passage achieved a degree of critical distance in understanding the
appeal of religion during war : " Yet it is only in human nature to hope for a
Hereafter . . . if ...
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The British and American Churches and the
The Spectrum of Religious Faith
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