By Susan Kingsley Kent
This e-book examines the effect of collective trauma coming up out of the nice conflict at the politics of the Nineteen Twenties in Britain. Aftershocks reviews how meanings of shellshock and imagery featuring the traumatized psyche as shattered contributed to Britons understandings in their political selves within the Twenties. It connects the strength of feelings to the political tradition of a decade which observed impressive violence opposed to these considered as un-English.
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Additional info for Aftershocks: The Politics of Trauma in Britain, 1918-1931
Gibbs believed that the “dreadful crimes, of violence and passion” on the part of soldiers or ex-soldiers that filled the newspapers derived from the hatred for the Germans instilled by four years of war, but we should probably understand the rage that “surge[d] up when there are no Germans present, but some old woman behind an open till, or some policeman . . 44 The anxieties, confusion, disorders, instability, dislocations, and divisions of the immediate postwar years engendered a number of responses at the level of both the individual and the collective.
The dismantling of barriers between men’s and women’s work and the evident joy women experienced in their new roles fostered a blurring of distinctions that had helped to form traditional versions of gender identity. ” In this context, it is not surprising that anxiety about the war frequently took shape as anxiety about sex, or was articulated in sexual terms; as the war effort worsened attacks on women, and especially on women’s sexuality, increased. Women who labored in the munitions factories and served in the auxiliary forces excited adverse comment; many implied that their earnings came from working an “extra shift,” by which they meant prostitution.
For many, the opportunity to contribute to national life, to work and to be well paid, was a rewarding and exhilarating experience, one that they would not easily have turned their backs on upon the conclusion of hostilities. The independence and autonomy they had found during the war could be construed as having been achieved at the expense of men, to whom they had no intention of relinquishing their freedoms. ”6 Lady Rhondda recalled that we found ourselves in an utterly changed world. Across that gulf of chaos whose memory we needed above all else to wash away, the frontiers of 1914 were already dimmed and half forgotten.