Atrocities | International Encyclopedia of the First World War (WW1)

Atrocities | International Encyclopedia of the First World War (WW1)

The term atrocity describes an act of violence condemned by contemporaries as a breach of morality or the laws of war. Atrocities are culturally constructed; by 1914, an international discourse on civilized war had defined atrocities as acts perpetrated by an enemy that was uncivilized, or barbarian. Victims of the German atrocities of 1914 were French and Belgian civilians; the killing of Germans in East Prussia by Russian troops featured less prominently. Habsburg forces killed numerous civilians in Serbia; all sides were charged with atrocities against captured soldiers and in naval warfare. Atrocity propaganda is discussed in a separate article.

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