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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27 As with cases of prebattle stress , Christianity offered some solace to those
soldiers who survived battle . In his seminal study Acts of War , Richard Holmes
drew on the field of psychology to suggest that there were two mechanisms by ...
While the typical Great War soldiers ' extended correspondence or detailed diary
refers to either a personal or institutional form of religion , a minority of soldiers —
Herbert W . McBride is an example — make little or no reference to religion .
18 After the source of danger had passed many soldiers returned to a vague
belief in God , and reverted to form as either lapsed or casual Christians .
Although the most prevalent reaction among British and American soldiers was a
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The British and American Churches and the
The Spectrum of Religious Faith
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