Semester of Graduation

Spring 2022


Master of Arts (MA)



Document Type



This thesis examines how conservative German war veterans, in particular author Ernst Jünger, granted meaning to the First World War by affirming the technological encounter. Instead of succumbing to the feelings of powerlessness and inferiority engendered by the domination of machinery on the Front, Jünger and other conservative veterans elevated the Materialschlacht into a spiritual event, a battle between the spirit and the material in which the human spirit emerged victorious. Strengthened by their confrontation with the machine, humans gained the spiritual skills which would enable them to master the machine and, therefore, meet the demands of the technological world. Despite the German defeat, the war experience became not a sign of German weakness, but rather a source of national regeneration. Out of the crucible of the Materialschlacht, there would emerge a “new man” who would lead the German nation out of its degenerative state and into the future. By examining the ways in which conservative war veterans gave meaning to their battlefield experiences with technology, this thesis illuminates the complex ways in which war, technology, and nationalism intertwined in Weimar conservative thought.

Committee Chair

Marchand, Suzanne



Available for download on Friday, April 04, 2025