Total War Analysis

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Stine Bekkos 14753469

Is the concept of ‘total war’ useful for understanding the history of the two world wars?

‘Total War’ for historians can seem to be an endless minefield where one is destined to step wrong sooner or later. With the extensive diverse research on the topic and the numerous definitions of ‘total war’, it can be challenging to use the concept of ‘total war’ for understanding the history of the two world wars, as it can and already has be interpreted in diverse ideas. ‘What, after all, is the term total war meant to describe: a specific period, particular wars or only certain aspects of such wars? Some precision would clearly be welcomed.’ This essay will attempting to argue that the concept of ‘total war’ can be used to
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‘The concept of total war originally emerged in the ideological and political context of the interwar period. It was not designed as a precise tool of academic analysis, but as a rhetorical’ During the Interwar period, the concept developed into ideas on how to prepare for a possible new conflict, especially in Germany there was a sense of that the country had not been willing to go far enough. ‘Eric Ludendorff saw ‘total war’ as the Great War done right.’ ‘Total war’ was to Ludendorff during the interwar period becoming an ideal where Germany could succeed if followed until the hostile nation was crushed. ‘He was convinced that to succeed, the nation would need a military dictatorship, and that ‘total war’ was total mobilization of all human material resources. ’ In a more modern context ‘The notion of ‘total war’ is commonly used within military history to describe a totality of effort, meaning the full mobilization of civil, economic and military sectors for war.’ This, however, is only one of several depictions of ‘total war’. It can be argued that ‘total war’ only is an ideology, and furthermore that it always existed only as a theory. ‘Both Ernst Jünger and Erich Ludendorff did not accepts the totality of the Great War, dissatisfied with the outcome of the war and Germany’s loss, they argued that their country had not committed fully, and both felt that…show more content…
Furthermore, we have tried to briefly show how it is possible to compare the two wars to each other without declaring that one is more total than the other, but rather using the concept of ‘total war’ to define similarities and differences between the two wars for historical background. Also, this essay has been attempting to bring in interpretations from the interwar period and after to indicate the way the term have varied trough the 20th century, this to show how the concept can be used quite widely. It is evident that the concept of ‘total war’ is a large one where different interpretations make it intricate to use as an analytic tool. The Conclusion would be that the concept of ‘total war’ is a wide and open term, which can if seen as nothing more than an ideal, be used to get an understanding of the history of the two wars, however, it also argues that the ideology of ‘total war’ can be widely different depending on the Historian using the term, that it may cause more confusion than presenting us with a helpful tool to comprehend the background of the two

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