War and Social Upheaval: World War I (1914-18)


Figure 1.--

Because of the time frame, HBC readers can not offer any personal accounts of World War I. We are, however, looking for published accounts. Here we are especially interested in finding accounts of the War as witnessed by children. Unlike World War II, we have not yet found many, but hope to add books to our list as HBC develops.

Kate Seredy (Hungary)

Hungary was during World War I a part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, one of the Central Powers. Kate Seredy's lovely little book, The Singing Tree is about life in rural Hungary during World War I. Kate's father, Sandor, is drafted into the Austro-Hungarian Army. The well-respected landlord, Marton Nagy, about whom Seredy wrote another book, is also drafted. Much of the book isevoted to describing how the family surviveswithout the men at home. Russian prisoners of war are interened in Humgary and some are used for farm labor. Some city people arementioned in farm like a young woman and her new baby who can not support herself with her husband in the army. German war orphans from the cities are also taken in. Some orphans from the cities of Germany are sent out to the countryside. Sandor is captured by the Russians and set to work on a farm in Russia. Nagy miraculously in brought home and tells many stories about the war. Perhaps the most touching is is a story about Christmas Eve where both sides sing Silent Night together and light matches to the Christ child. One of the side effects of the War was increased racism in the countryside. One of the notable observations from the book is the relativels humane treatment of POWs, in sharp contrast yo World War II.






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Created: February 16, 2003
Last updated: February 16, 2003