by Michal Mechlovitz, Kim Velez, and T. Noelle Williams
The commencement of World War I possessed great influence over national sympathies around the world. From 1914, through the duration of the war in 1919, people's nationalistic identities were strongly affected due to the circumstance of crisis and turmoil that proved rampant throughout the international strata. Not only were feelings swayed in regard to people's own native lands, but they were respectively moved when considering foreign cultures, and the races therein as well. Whether positive, negative, or indifferent, nationalistic and race oriented views became evident throughout the literary and artistic world, which hold true to be apparent in Blast, The New Age, The Owl, Poetry, Scribner's, and Wheels magazines. Each of these literary magazines had published issues at some point during the war itself, (some had existed before and after the fact as well,) and each possess context that, while unique to the individual, parallels the inner thought process of authors and artists of the era in regard to the subjects of Nationalism and Race in a time when international tensions and weariness of cultural identity thrived.
Prior to the start of the World War I feeling of nationalism could be seen within mangy publications. Within the First issue of Blast the one is exposed to the extreme thoughts of the Manifesto I of Vorticism. The writers combine their thoughts on all countries together and bring their readers their opinions on the how one country compare to another. At first glance the writer seems to criticizes England and France on pages 11-14 describing how naive and they were and set in their ways which did not allow other to succeed in their own light. The narrator disagrees with the Victorian outlook of he English people as vampires who suck the life out of others and police the world so others would not over ride them in any shape or form. England was a machine, which others must obey, if not cursed thoughts that went against it. Once England was blasted for its position of power France was then criticized for set ways as well.
“Complacent young man,
so much respect for Papa
and his son ! –Oh ! Papa
is wonderful: but all papas
are! (pg 13)
The respect for ones country was described through the comparison of a son to his father. The thought process of the French and English people was no country was greater than theirs. The narrator depicts the feeling of nationalism the people held for their countries. Even though he described them as naïve and empty, the land, which they reside, is never wrong in their action only those who surround them are at fault.
Within the Second Manifesto within Blast’s fist issue a combination of writers described how battles are fought on the basis of which side one is on. http://dl.lib.brown.edu/jpegs/1143210060500013.jpg
“We fight first on one side, then on the other
but always for the same cause, which is
neither side or both sides and ours” (pg 30).
The narrator describes the use of nationalism once again for the reason one fights for any cause within time of war or focal point in that matter. Even with the success of developing new views and strives for equality and peace primitive thoughts still lived on. The cause is not revaluate in many cases due to the face that the cause can not be seen by thoughts who fought. “ Our cause is NO Man’s (pg 35). He then goes on describing how England produces the greatest artist due to the style compare to that of the Americas or Russia ect.. The sense of Nationalism is felt through out the Manifesto when describing the success of the modern world. http://dl.lib.brown.edu/jpegs/1143210160781264.jpg . The Englishmen where thought to have own influenced the European world in modern technology as France on did to the world of Art. The Modern world was the product of Anglo Saxon genius and the success of others could never be compared.
With in The New Age the reader was overcome with many different aspects of the war and what it brought to the home front. With in the weekly section "Notes of The Week" many of its main focal point was an incite on government issues including nationalism and the conflicts on foreign policy. With in the Feb Issue of "The New Age" 1918 the editor The editor includes a quote which sets the tone for the whole issue. He states “ It is difficult, of course, for good – nature Englishmen such as we will allow our pacifists to be, to conceive that there can exist in modern civilized State like Prussia a ruling class rhar does not mean weill in their sense of the world” ( Vol XXII No. 17 pg 331). The sense of pride and superiority of Great Britain was felt the thought of was continuation of the article in when discussing the socialist government and the independence of the Ukraine.
With in the article Land Power or Sea Power Ramiro de Maeztu in the February 18,1918 issue of New Age the debate between the effectiveness of German army to the armies of Britain, Japan and The United States. The feel of nationalism with in this article is seen when the Maeztu begins to discuss how the aim of the Allies is to prevent Germany from making use of the people of other nations such as the Slav race. Even with the fact that Germany as a result of war expanded and expanded their influence over the slave nations its land power dose not compare to the power brought by the Sea. The Northern armies remained convinced that these armies were able to arrive in time because sailing vessels to move at the speeds five or six times greater than armies which proceeded at the place of an infantry march. Even with Germany’s influence over the Slavic nations and their home front advantage Maeztu still proved his argument of the effectiveness of the English sea power. He praised their tactics and embraced the greatness of the Allies and Great Britain.
The literary magazine Poetry was first published by author and poet Harriet Monroe in 1911. Based out of Chicago, Poetry put hundreds of poetry works into print, with issues published monthly, through the duration of World War I. The magazine appears to take a somewhat pacifist approach towards the war, despite the national cry for disunion from foreign correspondence. In several of the works published in the war's earlier years, the concept of feeling the nationalistic need to separate from foreign races is not only defied, but is somewhat portrayed as ignorant arrogance. In Amy Lowell's poem "The Foreigner", the poet depicts a battle scene from the perspective of a soldier from the opposing end of the war. He discusses how he was ill spoken of by the white natives, but still is certain of his own profound human qualities. The narrator is confident and certain of his cunning, as well as his superiority to the negativity he finds himself the target of. Indeed, he rises above because he is certain he will have the last word: "You Apes! You Jack-Fools!/ You can show me the door,/ And jeer at my ways,/ But you're pinked to the core./ And before I have done,/ I will prick my name in,/ With the front of my steel,/ And your lily- white skin/ Shall be print with me./ For I've come here to win!" Lowell includes a description of the foreigner's unusual attire, as well as his awkward hair, stature, and the shape of his nose. It is clear that she does not see this character as a lesser human being whatsoever, and that she does not necessarily hold a firm belief in the cause of the war, if she should say the opposing end has more courage and advantage.
In the next month's issue, Harriet Monroe includes an editorial commentary titled "The Enemies We Have Made." A note to her fervent subscriber's four years after the first publication of the magazine, and well into the early months of World War I, Monroe's commentary discussed the vitality of friends from various cultures. Monroe discusses her wide international readership base with a grateful tone, one that reads success to her cause. She writes: "From France, Italy, and England, from India, China, and New Zealand, and even from our next-door neighbors, these salutations have come; from poets laurelled and obscure, from editors and critics, classicists and radicals. To all who send them, much thanks; their greetings have power to change paper and ink into flesh and blood." Such an outlook is one that is truly humanist; a sympathizer to all humanity, Monroe puts forth these issues with the need to reach beyond a national level. It is evident in her contribution to Poetry that despite the war, communications and interactions with other cultures and races remain a vital aspect of what makes Poetry thrive. While the war may have affected the contents of the medium of poetry, the intention of it remains universal and cosmopolitan.
The Owl is another literary magazine based out of London from around the same era; however, only three were ever printed, and each of the three printed in a different season four years apart. The first issue was published in 1915, a good year into the war. It is difficult to derive what kind of emotional charge The Owl had towards other races. The magazine itself is filled with poetry of a light-hearted nature, mostly clever bits of optimism, or rhyming, sing song like poems on general topics such as love and nature. It seems as though it's opinion is somewhat ambivalent; in fact, it is stated that the aim of the magazine was not to be political, nor was it geared to any particular Modernist movement. Its purpose was a simple one: to publish and share art. Due to the minimal number of issues, very few works can be found that have any relevance to the issue of race. It is not a particularly well founded theme of The Owl. Still several unusual drawings can be found; one a watercolor called "The Indian", and the other a drawing titled "Gyp." Both works are portraits of people that would seem out of the norm, or somewhat exotic to a youthful poetic magazine from London. Both works possess aspects of these people being foreign; however, neither are viewed in a delicate sense. Both drawings seem only to be studies, an ambiguous observance of a different life than one familiar to artists.
The copies of Scribner's that we have available to us through the MJP fall on interesting dates. The first magazine, dated January 1915, is a year after WWI started and the last issue, dated December 1916, is a year before the US entered combat and three years before the end of the war. From the first issue available the war is a popular issue for the magazine. After wading through many many advertisments - the first and last third of each issue seems to be ads - the reader will find six articles in the first issue alone that deal with the war. One story in this issue, "Coals of Fire" by Mary R.S. Andrew, disscusses the issues of Nationalism verses the Suffragist cause. The main character stands at a suffrage rally agruing for the women to put aside the cause to stand up for the English men who are dying. When an older lady states that the war is not thier cause, she replies "Aren't we English before anything else?" The story illustrates discussions that must have been going on at the time. While some suffragettes believed that England came before the movement others felt they were women above all else. It is an interesting discussion in Nationalism verses the individual.
The magazine Wheels was mainly a way for a few poet friends to publish their work. The magazine was first published just three years before the end of the war and stops running three years after the end. During the war Wheels mentions the war very little if at all, yet its influence, the overall dark and disheartened pitch that the world was in during the war is evident in the poetry that is published in it. One would be hard pressed to find a happy poem in Wheels. For instance the poem, "The Mother" by Edith Sitwell, begins very sweetly, yet with a single line at the end of the second stanza the caring is sucked out of the poem. The poem has waves of sweetness - the care that goes into creating and raising a child - and bitterness - "They live to curse us; and they die." This dark look at motherhood is born out of a world that is losing its sense of humanity which is what many people saw in WWI. Wheels also takes on the war after its end in the issue that is dedicated to Wilfred Owen, a poet who died in battle. The poetry in this issue is full of thoughts against the war and there is no blame placed on any nation nor is there a rally cry to help one. To the poets in Wheels the evil seems to be the war itself.
In some instances the writers of the time saw nationalism as a reason to go to war orto put aside other causes during war, yet we also see that a great deal of writers during the time saw the war as an evil towards the entire human race. For every article found praising the war and calling people towards the war effort, there were three denouncing the war, sometimes within the same article. The authors of the time showed that no matter how much a person loved their country, some things were to atrocious to seam reasonable.