Defeat and Memory: Cultural Histories of Military Defeat in the Modern Era

TitleDefeat and Memory: Cultural Histories of Military Defeat in the Modern Era
Publication TypeBook
Year of Publication2008
AuthorsMacleod, Jenny
Number of Pages259
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
CityBasingstoke, UK

From Appomattox Courthouse to the Hall of Mirrors at the Versailles Palace, from the beaches of Dunkirk to the toppling of the statue of Saddam Hussein in Baghdad, the moment of victory in any conflict, whether temporary or definitive, has and will always incorporate and equally powerful moment of defeat. History may be written by the victors, but it is lived equally by the vanquished. These detailed case studies of the manner in which military defeat has been remembered range from the Napoleonic wars to Vietnam. They encompass seven different countries and the experiences of diverse individuals from expatriated White Russians to thwarted kamikaze pilots. They utilise a rich range of sources including school text books, war memorials, and advertisements. In aggregate, they reveal a number of recurring themes: the rituals of humiliation, the influence of the Christian belief in sacrifice and redemption, and the enduring myths of the stab-in-the-back and the Lost Cause.

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