<<"I>> am myself it" : comparative national identity formation in the lives of Vera Brittain and Edith Stein
This is a study of the transformational impact of their World War One experiences on the national identities of two eminent feminist intellectuals, Vera Brittain and Edith Stein, each a volunteer Red Cross nurse on opposing warfronts. The essay examines how their gender, ethnicity, social class, and feminism intersect within this identity. To assess the War's impact, the author first probes - through extensive research in unpublished and recently published documents - the nature and evolution of Brittain and Stein's pre-war national identities, identities featuring a complex and ambiguous interplay of European and national consciousness. Through analysis of the tension between national and European identity in Brittain's and Stein's lives, the essay hightlights key questions with regard to national similarities and differences in women's wartime experiences, as well as revealing critical factors vital to wider analysis of the War's impact on female national identity, particularly among educated middle-class German and British women.