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Healing the NationPrisoners of War, Medicine and Nationalism in Turkey, 1914-1939$
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Yucel Yanikdag

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780748665785

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748665785.001.0001

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The Search for a Useable Past: Prisoners of War, the Ottoman Great War and Turkish Nationalism

The Search for a Useable Past: Prisoners of War, the Ottoman Great War and Turkish Nationalism

Chapter:
(p.249) Epilogue The Search for a Useable Past: Prisoners of War, the Ottoman Great War and Turkish Nationalism
Source:
Healing the Nation
Author(s):

Yücel Yanikdağ

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9780748665785.003.0008

The epilogue brings together the themes explored in the earlier chapters to argue that the First World War and nearly everything connected to it – war neurosis, prisoners of war, fears of degeneracy – were excluded from the nationalist historiography as the new nation tried to refashion its recent past. This happened even as neuro-psychiatrists continued to write about such issues in specialist medical journals, which were not meant for public consumption. Exclusion or marginalization of the experience of wartime and prison camp mental breakdown from the national narrative allowed for the creation of the ‘myth of the military nation’, which became one of the foundational discourses of Turkish nationalism. The ‘living dead’ prisoners and male hysterics did not fit into this ideology of militarist and masculinist nationalism. Some of this marginalization was the more natural retroactive interference of the politically more important Turkish War of Independence (1919-22), but others resulted from the more deliberate ways of writing, representing, remembering and forgetting the recent past.

Keywords:   nationalism, myth of the military nation, nationalist historiography, marginalization, War of Independence, remembrance, Gallipoli, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, Mazhar Osman, eugenics

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