Mirrors of Destruction: War, Genocide, and Modern Identity

Synopsis

This book examines the relationship between total war, state-organized genocide, and the emergence of modern identity. Omer Bartov demonstrates that, in the twentieth century, there have been intimate links between military conflict, mass murder of civilian populations, and the definition and categorization of groups and individuals. The Holocaust, he argues, can only be understood within the context of the century's predilection to apply systematic and destructive methods to resolve conflicts over identity. His study follows the changing relationships between Jews and non-Jews in France and Germany from the outbreak of World War I to the present. He takes a close look at the glorification of war between 1914-18 and examines the pacifist reaction in interwar France to show how it contributed to a climate of collaboration with dictatorship and mass murder. He also provides detailed analyses of modern apocalyptic visions and pursuits for internal enemies. The book is an important new perspective on some of the most crucial issues of our time.