Published: 28/11/2015
ISBN: 9781784624538
eISBN: 9781785894985
Format: Paperback/eBook

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A War Symphony
Writings by German Authors about War
by Keith Rumsey (editor)

Offering a different view of the impact of war on ordinary people from a German perspective, A War Symphony is a collection of short stories and other writings translated from German, all by influential German writers and penned between 1924 and 1954.

The stories in this compilation include pieces by Wolfgang Borchert, Kurt Tucholsky, Hans Bender, Meinrad Inglin, Elisabeth Langgässer, Hermann Hesse, Bertolt Brecht and Ernst Gläser and all refer in some way to war, though none of them are war stories as such. They relate not so much the active experience of fighting as the effect of that experience on soldiers and on civilians. Some are overtly anti-war, others are less strident and allow the narration to speak for itself. Many of the more pacifist ones blame nationalism for both wars. All are sympathetic to the plight of those affected by war. Not all are serious – some contain a good deal of quiet humour. Rather than arranging them chronologically or by author, translator Keith Rumsey, has tried to group them by tone.

Each story also reflects a relevance to modern attitudes to nationalism and debates over the size and purpose of our armed forces, but importantly challenge our preconceptions about historic German attitudes to war. These writings show that not all Germans were pro-war and that, whatever their attitudes, Germans were affected by their experiences.

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