Brill’s Digital Library of World War I

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Albion

(236 words)

Author(s): Reimann, Aribert
Albion (Celtic: white-land) Earliest known name given to the island of Great Britain by Greek geographers of the 5th century BC, transmitted by the Roman poet Avianus. In Roman times the term was also associated with the white cliffs of Dover (Lat. albus = white). During the Middle Ages, “Albion” came to be used as a synonym for the Kingdom of England, and later the British Empire, most often in a negative connotation as “perfidious Albion.” This derogatory slogan has its origins in France, where it can be traced as far back as the 14th…

Brittain, Vera

(232 words)

Author(s): Reimann, Aribert
Brittain, Vera (December 29, 1893, Newcastle-under-Lyme – March 29, 1970, London), English writer. Brittain became particularly well-known through her memoir Testament of Youth (1933), which was based on her correspondence with her younger brother Edward, her fiancé Roland Leighton and other friends, as well as her own diaries from the time of the First World War. Already a student at Somerville College (Oxford) at the beginning of the war, she decided to go to France, Malta, and London first to work as a Voluntary A…

Stereotypes

(627 words)

Author(s): Reimann, Aribert
Stereotypes Combatants developed their images of “us” and “them” along the lines of national stereotypes that echoed, to some degree, cultural impressions coined before the war. Frequently this involved the clearly pejorative, somewhat racist disparagement of the enemy. Occasionally this also involved the judgment implicit in their evolving typification of national characters, which sometimes was in effect along the fronts of the war and beyond. The oldest typification existed in the figure of Tommy Atkins, the typical British soldier. This idealization of the valorou…