Empire Between the Lines: Constructions of Empire in British and French Trench Newspapers of the Great War translation missing: zh.hyrax.visibility.files_restricted.text

Stice, Elizabeth Joan (2012)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/j098zb82z?locale=zh


Empire Between the Lines: Constructions of Empire in British and French Trench
Newspapers of the Great War

The First World War spanned continents, mobilized vast resources and populations, and initiated new modes of contact within and among empires. For the British and the French the war brought colonial troops and supplies to Europe, involved fighting for colonies in Africa and Asia, and brought about changes in imperial policies. This dissertation is fundamentally concerned with British and French soldiers' discourses of empire during the war. Specifically, this project examines trench newspapers for representations of colonial troops, depictions of non-European campaigns, and descriptions of the German enemy, to identify ways in which British and French soldiers experienced and envisioned empires through the war and the war through empire. Trench newspapers were informal papers created by and for soldiers and circulated at or near the front. The papers were transitory products of a collective endeavor that forged a community for readers and helped re-order the world in the disorder of war. This dissertation argues that soldiers' discourses in trench newspapers demonstrate that the war was an imperial event for British and French soldiers and that empire cannot be disentangled from the experience of the war. Descriptions of colonial troops, and their reasons for fighting, revealed ways in which British and French soldiers understood and imagined their own respective empires. Depictions of German wartime activity show that empire was an interpretive lens for many soldiers seeking to make sense of the conflict. Coverage of the Ottoman campaigns made explicit that for some soldiers the war challenged orientalist and colonialist tropes, which had been thoroughly internalized. The focus on trench newspapers illuminates the common soldier's experience of the war and the nature of imperial cultures.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

Chapter 1. The Great War in Imperial Context 18

Chapter 2. "Who is Christopher of whisky fame?" 43

Chapter 3. Men on the Margins: Representations of Colonial Troops in British and French Trench Newspapers 75

Chapter 4. Why War?: The Imperial Enemy and the Struggle for Civilization 105

Chapter 5. Other Fronts, Other Wars? Descriptions of the African and the Ottoman Campaigns in British and French Trench Newspapers 144

Conclusion 178

Bibliography 189

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