Aftershocks: Politics and Trauma in Britain, 1918-1931 by Susan Kingsley Kent

By Susan Kingsley Kent

This ebook examines the impression of collective trauma bobbing up out of the good conflict at the politics of the 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 Nineteen Twenties. It connects the strength of feelings to the political tradition of a decade which observed outstanding violence opposed to these considered as un-English.

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Extra resources for Aftershocks: Politics and Trauma in Britain, 1918-1931

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They’ve seen all their friends blown up or shot to pieces . . They may seem to forget it and go along as peaceable as anybody to all outward appearance, but it’s all artificial, you get my meaning. Then, one day, something ‘appens to upset them . . and something goes pop inside their brains and makes raving monsters of them. It’s all in the books, he adds, offering an explanation for the widespread adoption of the mind in pieces as archetypal interwar subject. Lord Peter himself had been “blown up and buried in a shell-hole” in 1918, returning home with “a bad nervous breakdown, lasting, on and off, for two years.

Leaving those comrades for peacetime existence produced a sense of disconnection from anything meaningful, and often produced a sense of alienation and atomization that plagued many veterans. ” Guy Chapman found that the men of his battalion “had become so much a part of me that its disintegration would tear away something I cared for more dearly than I could have believed. 42 Veterans, men and women alike, found that the society to which they returned could not or would not embrace them with the respect and dignity they believed their sacrifices had earned them.

Most concretely, in the aftermath of the Russian revolution, they were alleged to be responsible for the spate of strikes that had plagued the country since the armistice. MP Stanton, a longtime Welsh labour activist, denouncing “all the muck, the rubbish, and the refuse of the Continent and other places” that were “drift[ing] into this country,” identified virtually all aliens as bolshevists and accused them of inciting workers to down tools. “We can well understand why there have been so many strikes and so much trouble and agitation,” he declared.

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