The Silent Morning

The Silent Morning: Culture and Memory After the Armistice, ed. Trudi Tate and Kate Kennedy. Manchester University Press, 2013; paperback 2015.

Hardback 978 0719090028

Paperback 978 0784991166


Käthe Kollwitz, Die trauernden Eltern
Käthe Kollwitz, Die trauernden Eltern

On 11 November 1918, at precisely 11 a.m. British time – 12 noon German time – the infernal noise of the First World War came to an abrupt end. Almost everywhere in the war zones, the machinery of warfare stopped at the agreed moment. Those present found the experience eerie. The greatest war in history ended not with a bang, nor a whimper, but with the most profound sound of all: silence. And after that silence – what?

The essays in this book revisit the end of the First World War to ask how that moment of silence was to echo into the following decades. The Armistice of 1918 brought hopes for a better future, as well as sadness, disappointment, and rage. Many people in all the combatant nations asked hard questions about the purpose of the war. Many wondered whether the effort and the suffering had been worth it. These questions are explored in complex and nuanced ways in the literature and art of the period.

This book builds upon the pioneering research of military and social historians such as Hugh Cecil, Peter Liddle, Adrian Gregory, and Jason Crouthamel. We look at the history from a different angle, asking how British and German creative artists addressed, questioned, and remembered the Armistice and its silence. Though there are many fine works of cultural history of the First World War, no other book takes quite this kind of comparative look at the cultural effects of the war. This volume offers a genuinely inter-disciplinary study, bringing together contributions from scholars in art history, music, literature, and military history. It is unique in its comparison of the creative arts of both sides; assessing responses to the war in Britain, Germany, and Vienna.


Trudi Tate and Kate Kennedy, Introduction: ‘This Grave Day’

1 John Pegum, The parting of the ways: The Armistice, the Silence and Ford Madox Ford’s Parade’s End

2 Klaus Hofmann, Alfred Döblin’s November 1918: The Alsatian prelude

3 George Simmers, ‘A strange mood’: British popular fiction and post-war uncertainties

4 Alison Hennegan, Fighting the peace: Two women’s accounts of the post-war years

5 Trudi Tate, King Baby: Infant care into the peace

6 Andrew Frayn, ‘What a victory it might have been’: C.E. Montague and the First World War

7 Jane Potter, The Bookman, the Times Literary Supplement, and the Armistice

8 Max Haberich, ‘Misunderstood … mainly because of my Jewishness’: Arthur Schnitzler after the First World War

9 Peter Tregear, Leaping over shadows: Ernst Krenek and post-war Vienna

10 Kate Kennedy, Silence recalled in sound: British classical music and the Armistice

11 Claudia Siebrecht, Sacrifice defeated: The Armistice and depictions of victimhood in German women’s art 1918-1924

12 Michael Walsh, ‘Remembering, we forget’: British art at the Armistice

13 Alexander Watson, Indecisive victory? : German and British soldiers at the Armistice

14 Adrian Barlow, Mixing memory and desire: British and German war memorials after 1918