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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 OverviewRobert Wohl

Aftermath - The Road Back
Robert Wohl
"As horrible as the war was, it was an experience that many people found positive, productive and worthwhile… that's something that's generally not understood about the WW1.

"A lot of the men who fought in that war came out of it very attached to their experience of the war, thinking that this was the best time of their lives. They had experienced comradeship with other men that they had never even thought possible before, and wondering then what the post-war world was going to be like. And for many of these men, the road back was just very difficult. There was no road back for some of them. Many of them never succeeded in reintegrating themselves into civilian life.

"They expected political change. They expected greater equality to come out of the war experience because of the importance of comradeship that people experienced at the Front.

"They thought that this would extend over into the post-war period and would fundamentally change the relationships that people had with one another.

"In retrospect, we can say that this was a very naive expectation on their part. People don't change like that, not even in wars. I suppose one of the most disillusioning things for young people who knew the trenches and served in the war, was to find out that once the war was over, things went back to normal – because people who were experiencing the war as combatants didn't think that it would ever be possible to go back to normal; because the war seemed to be an event of such extraordinary magnitude and difference that they thought that once it was over that it would really bring about a revolution in the way that people lived in Europe.

"Many of the movements that were set up after the war, in particular, the Fascist movement, tried to recapture these qualities of the war, and held out in their programs the vision of a new community, a new camaraderie."

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