The Sonic Mindedness of the Great War
Viewing History through Auditory Lenses
This chapter explores the sonic experience of the First World War from the perspective of soldiers on the ground, in the sea, and in the air. World War I, with its extensive employment of modern warfare technology, created a new sonic experience that was closely linked with the universal human need to survive. Soldiers developed the ability to translate their individual sonic experiences in the battlefield into a collective bipolar distinction between “sounds of safety” and “sounds of danger” and act upon this distinction, called “wartime sonic mindedness.” This sonic mindedness continued long after the First World War, when many heard the hectic sonic “battlefields” of the post-war era through the auditory lenses of war.
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