Brill’s Digital Library of World War I

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Hero Cult
(1,197 words)

Hero Cult

The First World War was the last war to have an explicit hero cult; it continued almost to the end of the war. Every day, and increasingly as the war situation intensified, the public was presented with war heroes, whether alive or killed in action, both collectively and individually. Their cult grew out of the national tradition; they were to be followed as examples of willpower and readiness for battle, staying power, and readiness for sacrifice.

The World War, with its new weapon systems capable of killing anonymously, no longer provided any real basis for a …

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Schneider, Gerhard, “Hero Cult”, in: Brill’s Digital Library of World War I. Consulted online on 26 February 2024 <>
First published online: 2015

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