When one thinks of war, the first thing that comes to mind are the soldiers on the battlefield risking their lives for the cause. Many times, people fail to consider what is going on at home. Going to war comes with serious repercussions on the home front. In The War From Below one of the perspectives that Stibbe describes the war from is the perspective of the citizens left at home. Also, it is typical of us to read documents from officials and people of power rather than everyday people, so Stibbe attempts to tell us how the soldiers on the battlefield felt, not just the generals and commanders. Had Stibbe told this story from above, it would have been quite different. I don’t think we would have heard as much about the hardships and the governments inability to provide for their citizens, but rather about the success of the government implementations, and the good things that came from the decisions of the statesmen, generals, admirals, officials, and politicians. After all, no one likes to portray themselves badly and admit to their faults. Hearing about this war from above would provide a bias that Stibbe attempts to ignore by telling this story from everyday citizens’ prospectives. It is clear the government was unable to cope with the food shortages, the people’s resentment for the censorship of the army, the divides the war brought amongst classes, the need for women and children to turn to crime to support their families, nor the discontent of organized labor workers. All of these factors brought on by the war led to an anti-war sentiment amongst the people. Their desire for the war to be over was the major factor led to the revolution in 1918. The people felt that overthrowing the monarchy was the way to get the war to end.
Stibbe’s narrative goes well with Schivelbusch’s as both discuss an overall feeling of being over the war by the German population. Schivelbusch focuses on how the feeling of nationalism that would be required for the Germans to pull off this win was not present on the battlefield, just as Stibbe tells us it was not their at home either. In a new perspective than that given by Stibbe, Schivelbusch describes the german civilians to lack a “sense realistic of realistic political proportion”. They were so blinded with how great and young they were told their nation was, that the idea of a loss was not in their minds. They is why when the news of the defeat came to light, panic arose in Germany. This I feel conflicts with what Stibbe wrote about a desire for the war to be over by the people. But maybe, although they wanted it to be over, they did not expect to lose after all they had put into it? Maybe they desired compromises to be made that would not count as a loss for them? I guess this idea confused me, because I always thought that the people wanted the way to be over so badly, so once it was, why were they so devastated? Because of the blow to their national pride?
I found the German justification of their loss with their “im Felde unbesiegt” slogan to be quite typical of countries during war. No country likes to admit defeat. Stories are always twisted an an attempt to leave citizens with a sense of pride and nationalism. I am really interested to see what the government in Germany says to justify the Holocaust, and how the nationalism is able to remain. In Germany, once people started to realize the truth behind the surrender, the leaders once again had to come up with a way to keep nationalism and restore faith in the government, and so, they came up with a scapegoat: the revolutionaries.