Skip to main content
Nationalism, internationalism, and the poets of the great war

Europe, Oh Europe!

Geert Buelens

The Great War created a new world order and changed the map of Europe forever. Empires collapsed, new countries emerged. Revolutions shocked and inspired the world. All across Europe, intellectuals reflected on the future of the continent. Geert Buelens tells this story from the point of view of European poets who, on the battlefield, in their studies, and on the barricades expressed the suffering, the hate, the hopes and desires of their generation. From Achmatova to Apollinaire, from Owen and Sassoon to Ady and Pessoa, from Polish to Yiddish poets, from Dada to the Italian futurists and the Irish poets who led the Easter Rising – Buelens shows how at the beginning of the 20th century European intelligentsia was enflamed by the spirit of war. He describes how, in the summer of 1914, many threw themselves into the conflict, and did not hesitate to use violence to change the world.

Buelens has written a brilliant and accessible book about the hyperbole of the Great War.
De Volkskrant

In 'Europe, oh Europe!' Buelens describes how Europe was shooting itself to pieces while desperately seeking a new identity. It is a book about the destructive and healing power of the word, a chunk of lively cultural history and a meditation on nationalism and international cooperation.