Mobilizing Myths and Conscript Soldiers

Matthews James

in Reluctant Warriors

Published in print June 2012 | ISBN: 9780199655748
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199949953 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Historical Monographs

Mobilizing Myths and Conscript Soldiers

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  • Modern History (1700 to 1945)


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This chapter looks at the ideological language of mobilization used with recruits and the tactics used to maintain morale. It examines the frameworks within which both sides appealed to their conscript soldiers and attempted to instil in them a good level of morale. It examines the role of myths and their functions in wartime, and analyzes the different constructs both sides used to present the conflict to their drafted men with the aim of granting the war a purpose. In their discourse, the two sides particularly underlined their claim to represent the nation. Finally, this chapter explores the scope of techniques that each side used to broaden the appeal of the war and engender loyalty among often reluctant conscripts. Rather than implying falsehood, myth, in this context, is used to express the embellished narratives that synthesized and characterized the fundamental meanings of the conflict for its participants.

Keywords: maintenance of morale; language of mobilization; myths; embellished narratives; motivation

Chapter.  16848 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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