Self-deception and Survival: Mental Coping Strategies on the Western Front, 1914-18

  title={Self-deception and Survival: Mental Coping Strategies on the Western Front, 1914-18},
  author={Alexander Watson},
  journal={Journal of Contemporary History},
  pages={247 - 268}
  • A. Watson
  • Published 1 April 2006
  • History
  • Journal of Contemporary History
This article reinvestigates German and British soldiers’ impressive resilience during the first world war. Rather than following previous historiography’s societal and military-institutional approaches, it focuses on combatants’ psychology. Men coped overwhelmingly successfully by failing to recognize fully the front’s disempowering and dangerous nature. Fears were repressed or minimized with black humour. Through religion and superstition, imagined order was imposed on the chaotic environment… 
Medical, religious, and military authorities made unprecedented attempts to assert control over men’s sexual lives through mass media and militarization. However, it became impossible to conceal the
  • A. Watson
  • Political Science
    The Historical Journal
  • 2008
ABSTRACT This article reviews recent research investigating the impact of societal culture on combat performance in the western world during the first half of the twentieth century. It identifies two
Violence on the Periphery: Renamo Combatants, Civilians, and War
Depictions of Renamo combatants have portrayed their participation in the civil war as structured by the twin forces of violent power and economic profit. Violence against civilians and atrocities
Combatant Faith on the Western Front
In Chapter 3 it was seen that the relationship between British soldiers and the orthodox Christianity of the churches was not entirely straightforward. Some soldiers retained the devout Christian
Living beyond the barbed wire: the familial ties of British prisoners of war held in Europe during the Second World War
All existing histories on the lives of British prisoners of war held in Germany and Italy during the Second World War focus inwards on life in the prison camps. This article looks outwards, beyond
  • M. Roper
  • History
    The Historical Journal
  • 2011
ABSTRACT This article is concerned with the longing for home of British soldiers during the First World War. What, it asks, can such longings reveal about the psychological impact of trench warfare?
Mental Strategies for Fighting the IS: A Field Study of the Peshmerga Soldiers in Northern Iraq
ABSTRACT This study analyzes the war against the Islamic State (IS), specifically on the front in northern Iraq, and the mental strategies that the Kurdish Peshmerga soldiers use to maintain their
'Seeking the bubble reputation' : continuities in combat motivation in western warfare during the twentieth century with particular emphasis on the Falklands War of 1982
The subject of combat motivation continues to challenge historians, sociologists, psychiatrists and the military establishment. Despite a considerable body of research, the subject remains
War and Armed Conflict in Yemen : Causes and Coping Strategies
The present study identifies the causes of wars and armed conflicts in Yemen together with their accompanying coping strategies. In-depth semi-structured interviews were conducted with seven
A Taste of Army Life
ABSTRACT Food and military identity were inextricably linked in the British Army: rations were a thrice daily indicator of the men's separation from their civilian selves. The soldiers were what they


Illusion and well-being: a social psychological perspective on mental health.
Research suggesting that certain illusions may be adaptive for mental health and well-being is reviewed, examining evidence that a set of interrelated positive illusions—namely, unrealistically positive self-evaluations, exaggerated perceptions of control or mastery, and unrealistic optimism—can serve a wide variety of cognitive, affective, and social functions.
Britain and the First World War
Introduction John Turner 1. Allies, Rivals and Enemies: British Strategy and War Aims During the First World War David French 2. The War and the British Empire A. J. Stockwell 3. The Royal Navy and
Against the Gods: The Remarkable Story of Risk
Against the Gods: The Remarkable Story of Risk by Peter L. Bernstein. 1996. New York: John Wiley & Sons. Reviewer: Brian J. Glenn, St. Antony's College, University of Oxford; Insurance Law Center,
Yoxall, letter to mother
    Danger Values
    • Journal of the Royal United Services Institute
    and Genscher, letter to father
      According to a contemporary calculation, it took 329 shells to hit one German soldier
        McTaggart, 'Danger Values
        • Journal of the Royal United Services Institute,
        • 1921