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Home » E-Book » The Story of War Church and Propaganda in France and Sweden 1610-1710

"O God we thank thee" was sung in the churches of France and Sweden after military victories in the seventeenth century. To celebrate Thanksgiving was a way of thanking God, but also a way for the rulers to legitimize the ever ongoing wars. For the inhabitants it was both an occasion for festivity and a of getting information about what happened in the battle field. Yet the image given was selective. Bloody defeats and uneventful everyday life was replaced by spectacular victories and royal glory. Even though the rituals in the two countries were similar in some ways, there were also substantial differences. The propaganda formulated a narrative about what war actually was, and what role the rulers and their subjects should play. In the crisis of 1709 this narrative was profoundly challenged. The book investigates how war events were communicated to the inhabitants of France and Sweden in the seventeenth century by the Church, and especially through days of thanksgiving (called Te Deum in France).

It is divided into three thematic sections: Information, Celebration and Narration, and thus analyses both what was said (and left out) and how the rituals were performed. The Story of War demonstrates how a highly selective narrative of war was formulated and communicated, putting kings and their glory in focus. Yet, it also reveals that the story was challenged in the early eighteenth century and had to change - even though the new, more inclusive narrative were to be short lived.
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