The War Come Home: Disabled Veterans in Britain and Germany, 1914-1939

TitleThe War Come Home: Disabled Veterans in Britain and Germany, 1914-1939
Publication TypeBook
Year of Publication2001
AuthorsCohen, Deborah
Number of Pages285
PublisherUniversity of California Press
CityBerkeley, CA

Disabled veterans were the First World War's most conspicuous legacy. Nearly eight million men in Europe returned from the First World War permanently disabled by injury or disease. In this volume, the author offers a comparative analysis of the very different ways in which two belligerent nations--Germany and Britain--cared for their disabled. At the heart of this book is an apparent paradox. Although postwar Germany provided its disabled veterans with generous benefits, they came to despise the state that favored them. Disabled men proved susceptible to the Nazi cause. By contrast, British ex-servicemen remained loyal subjects, though they received only meager material compensation. The author explores the meaning of this paradox by focusing on the interplay between state agencies and private philanthropies on one hand, and the evolving relationship between disabled men and the general public on the other. This volume describes in detail disabled veterans' lives and their treatment at the hands of government agencies and private charities in Britain and Germany. The study moves from the intimate confines of veterans' homes to the offices of high-level bureaucrats; the author tells of veterans' protests, of disabled men's families, and of the well-heeled philanthropists who made a cause of the war's victims. This book provides a new perspective on the ways in which states and societies confront the consequences of industrialized warfare.

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