The Last Great War By Adrian Gregory Analysis

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Adrian Gregory 's "The Last Great War" is a convincing attempt to challenge popular and historical memory of World War 1. Gregory opens by explaining the popular perception of World War 1 as being "stupid, tragic and futile". Increasingly, the British have renounced World War 1, describing it as being "... An apocalyptic fall from grace... The definitive bad war". This is sharply contrasted to World War 2, which, in British memory, holds the iconic position as "the good war". In retrospect, it incredibly easy to justify World War 2. The idea of war is considered evil, however, the evils of war pale in comparison to atrocities committed by the Nazi regime. Gregory states that "It is an inconvenient truth that the Second World War, like the …show more content…
The popular interpretation is that "... British people went to war because they wanted to". Gregory argues against the idea of British society being strongly jingoistic and enthusiastic to go to war and instead describes a more mixed reaction. Leese describes the conflict as "... Seen as regrettable and uncertain in outcome... An intensely moral, perhaps even spiritual battle". British society did not enter the First World War with enthusiasm, but instead with begrudging acceptance of its necessity against the serious and unacceptable threat of German militarism and …show more content…
He writes: "Any consideration of the events of 1914 should start by acknowledging that the very idea of a uniform reaction from the "masses" owes more to contemporary beliefs of the excitability of mass society, widespread amongst Liberals and Conservatives alike, then it does to empirical evidence"
In this vein, it is also important to avoid allowing the public opinion after the official declaration of war change the interpretation of pre-war attitudes. Gregory notes that "Responses before the outbreak of war differed from responses afterwards, and public opinion continued to evolve". The reactions after the outbreak of war cannot be taken as indicative or as evidence prior to the declaration of

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