The First World War as Totality

Richard Bessel

in The Oxford Handbook of Fascism

Published in print October 2010 | ISBN: 9780199594788
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in History

The First World War as Totality


This article describes the totality of the First World War in many aspects. The word ‘total’ lies at the heart of different perceptions of the First World War. It was a war that involved total mobilization, socially and economically; a modern war, which required total commitment and support from the population, on the home front and on the battlefront; and a war that led to the total subordination of the economy and society to the needs of the military. Commitment to war had to be total. This was the apparent lesson of the First World War. Modern war could not be fought with half-measures. This combination – struggle beyond reason and war without end – became the agenda of fascism.

Keywords: modern war; total war; economic mobilization; fascism; total conflict; military

Article.  9128 words. 

Subjects: History ; Military History

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