Gramsci, the First World War, and the Problem of Politics vs Religion vs Economics in War

Abstract This essay examines Gramsci?s writings about the First World War, primarily his immediate reflections in 1914?1918, but also relevant prison notes (1926?1937). The most striking feature of his attitude during the war years is ?Germanophilia?, a label I adapt from Croce, whose writings on the Great War also exhibited this attitude. A key common motivation was that political conflicts should not be turned into religious ones in which one portrays the enemy as an evil to be annihilated. But they also had other divergent motivations. Another striking feature of Gramsci?s writings during the war years was his opposition to economic measures against Germany. He seemed to suggest that a military conflict should not be automatically expanded to include an economic war, conflating politics and economics. But later in prison he theorised that modern wars tend to be wars of position, in which military operations and industrial production are vitally connected
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