The authors, Audoin-Rouzeau and Becker present their book “14-18: Understanding the Great War”, in a Franco centric way. The authors not only focus on the battles and encounters but also the human experience and reaction towards war. The experiences match the characteristics of “American strategic culture” that promote peace and moral objectives before engaging in battles.
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The piece mentions covert experiences of survival during the war. These include homosexuality, aggression and mourning (Audoin Rouzeau & Becker, 2002). The book focuses on three wide-ranging essays examining factors grave in the war’s legacy especially aggression, crusade and mourning.
After reading the writing, I realized the magnitude of human losses arising from the war. The book outlines the wretchedness of combatants and civilians during the wartime years. The authors relate the escalation of violence in the 1914 to 1918 to conduct of civilians and prisoners.
The American strategy endeavors to avoid such human injustices in current wars. This culture explains mechanisms of achieving peacetime and wartime objectives (Audoin Rouzeau & Becker, 2002).
The second essay, “Crusade,” is problematic and confrontational. Audoin Rouzeau and Becker (2002) highlight the emotions that enhanced the conflict and the perception of WWI as a fruitless endeavor. This indicates that the objectivity of the war was a personal interest of the leaders to take out their enemies.
The American strategists associate winning wars with battles. For instance, recent events in Afghanistan and Iraq indicate the importance of an “American strategic culture” in developing a genuine approach of war. Individuals can easily link how political and societal concerns shape the wars and their successes.
The book indicates that the Great War began as a crusade and soon became a popular culture. It also became a fight against barbarism and control of world issues; numerous intellectuals were supportive of this concept (Audoin Rouzeau & Becker, 2002). The bitterness among the combatants made it complex for organizations such as the Vatican or Red Cross to function as arbiters.
Audoin Rouzeau and Becker (2002) indicate that religion was critical in shaping the ideals of the war through the eschatological vision. However, religious perspective was sidelined after the war because the society became increasingly idealistic with the intention of correcting the perceptions arising from the combat.
This is moderately attributable to Europeans who searched for explanations highlighting aggressive acts. Audoin Rouzeau and Becker (2002) decrease the genuine divides that arose in the opponent societies as the war continued.
The third essay, mourning, focuses on understanding war through literature (Audoin Rouzeau & Becker, 2002). It suggests that historians neglect individual accounts of bereavement with the intention of portraying the participants as heroes.
Their writings persuade historians that highlighting these personal histories will enable individuals comprehend the private mourning in Europe and its effects on Great War (Audoin Rouzeau & Becker, 2002).
The authors postulate that individual mourning was a “taboo” because it was a betrayal of the sacred cause of the dead. The American culture emphasizes aversion of casualty as a critical element of war because they can become vital political weapons.
The authors address a different dimension of the war. Several readers might dispute some of the author’s interpretations. However, the book reflects critical elements of war. Audoin Rouzeau and Becker provide fascinating insights into World War 1 (WW1)
Audoin-Rouzeau, S., & Becker, A. (2002). 14-18, Understanding the Great War. New York, NY: Hill and Wang.