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The Great War
Prologue Chapter 1 Chapter 2 Chapter 3 Chapter 4 Timeline Maps & Battles The Shaping of the 21st Century Historians
Historians OverviewPaul Fussell

19th Century Optimism
Paul Fussell
"It was genuinely a world war.

"The last twenty years of the 19th Century, say 1880 to 1900; those years were characterized by an immense optimism. It was thought that the telegraph, the telephone, ultimately the wireless and the radio were going to civilize human life in a way that it had never been civilized before.

"When all of a sudden, what happens is ghastly war breaks out and spoils everything.

"That's highly ironic, but it helped add a sort of mode of despair to all subsequent history. One couldn't be sure that something that looked good was really good, because it might recoil and hit you in the face just the way industry did when it was alive with destructive impulses in The Great War."

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