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War Damage in Western Europe

The Destruction of Historic Monuments During the Second World War

Nicola Lambourne

Paperback (Printed to Order)

Wartime architectural damage is an area which has until now been subject more to a process of mythologization than to historical analysis - for most it means only Coventry, Dresden, and perhaps Bomber Harris. This fascinating new book attempts to counter this trend. Introducing the subject of wartime destruction of architecture and historic monuments, Nicola Lambourne compares the damage inflicted upon Germany, Britain and France and considers the use and abuse of this type of destruction in the lowering of morale and for propaganda purposes.

Commentaries on large-scale destruction have focused more on the resulting human damage than on the effect on the architectural heritage, with the result that the bombardment of historic monuments has almost been taken for granted as an inevitable but essentially unproblematic aspect of 'total war'. However the debate surrounding the morality of this type of damage made it an important and highly visible issue during the Second World War and this book aims to recover the significance and resonance that architectural and cultural damage had at the time.

Highly readable and including much fascinating detail, this book spans the areas of military, social, cultural and architectural history, placing the subject within the overall history of the Second World War in Europe and the longer term perspective of events between the 1870s and 1990s. Illustrated with forty black and white photographs, it will appeal to all those with an interest in the damage inflicted during Second World War.

Key Features

  • Topical, in light of damage being inflicted upon the former Yugoslavia
  • Comparative approach - across country and subject area - makes this book unique
  • Illustrated with 40 stunning black and white photographs
  • Evokes the significance of architectural and cultural damage during the Second World War

About the Author

Nicola Lambourne is an Associate Lecturer with the Open University in Brussels.


Timely and even trendy… This is an admirably produced book, well illustrated and written to a format that is accessible and succinct.
- War in History

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