Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
The Common CausePostcolonial Ethics and the Practice of Democracy, 1900-1955$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Leela Gandhi

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780226019871

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226020075.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 27 May 2022

Elementary Virtues

Elementary Virtues

The Great War and the Crisis of European Man

(p.93) Three Elementary Virtues
The Common Cause

Leela Gandhi

University of Chicago Press

This chapter surveys the military cosmopolitanism of the WWI, with its complex migration of soldiers from colonial outposts to the battlefields of Europe and back again, as a setting for an inter-civilizational ethics of intimate-enmity devoted to rescuing the endangered spirit of Europe from the clutches of imperial-fascism, and at the cost of immediate anticolonial nationalist aims. Based on nationalist war-recruitment records and letters written by Indian-peasant soldiers, the chapter gleans from the rhetoric of sacrifice a discrepant genealogy for moral imperfectionism, and tracks its development through the decolonization era. This trope of sacrifice may well be the most elementary virtue of anticolonial antifascist democracy as a work of self-ruination. Its clarification, and with it of the obscured story of colonial participation in the violent European wars of the previous century, answers some of the key questions that have provoked this book: Did non-western decolonization movements ever refuse the spoils of anticolonial nationalism for the sake of reparative solidarity with colonial cultures? Did these movements conceive demands for independence from Europe not just as a rejection of Europe but also as a desire to salvage the very best of Europe?

Keywords:   WWI, military cosmopolitanism, intimate-enmity, decolonization, virtue, peasant soldiers, sacrifice, nationalism, Europe

Chicago Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.