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Lęk przed śmiercią, bezdomnością, demoralizacją. Polki i Polacy 1914–1918

Katarzyna Sierakowska

Fear of Death, Homelessness, Demoralization. Polish Women and Men of 1914–1918

The text indicates some aspects of the broad issue, which is a matter of social anxiety during World War I. Not much has been devoted to that subject in the Polish historiography. However, the attempt to look at the history of the society through the prism of emotions can expand the cultural context of the studied historical time. The analysis of personal documents from the years 1914–1918 shows that the expression of at least some of war fears was dependent on sex, age, the author’s origins and specific experience of individuals. The war time imposed the criterion of the division of society into civilians and soldiers. Soldiers were afraid that they would die anonymously and would have no own grave. Fear of death also concerned civilians. One could probably risk the interpretation that the war strengthened the existential fear present in human since the dawn of history. To weaken it different defensive strategies were developed, like writing letters, using stimulants, e.g. tobacco and alcohol; another way to release emotions was sex.