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FrontlineCombat and Cohesion in Twenty-First Century$
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Anthony King

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780198719663

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198719663.001.0001

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Killing and Cohesion in Close Combat

Killing and Cohesion in Close Combat

Contexts and Concepts from the First World War to the Present

Chapter:
(p.46) 3 Killing and Cohesion in Close Combat
Source:
Frontline
Author(s):

Rob Johnson

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198719663.003.0003

Killing in close combat presents significant problems in the interpretative frameworks adopted by scholars, not least because both archival and oral records are distorted. Responses to killing and combat are driven by a complex situational context, and, while the act of killing is an intensely individual experience, the immediate group cohesiveness is of great importance. This chapter draws on examples from the First World War and locates them in a more general history of conflict to assess the typicality, evaluation, and responses of participants’ experiences and subsequent analyses by military specialists and scholars. What emerges from this short survey is a great diversity of cultural and situational responses, varied interpretations, and attempts, even by veterans, to construct some rationale for their otherwise illogical, emotive, and irrational experiences.

Keywords:   killing, cohesiveness, combat, First World War, veterans

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