Brill’s Digital Library of World War I

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Heroic Sacrifice, Myth of
(791 words)

Heroic Sacrifice, Myth of

The word Opfer (‘victim’) has two different connotations in the German language. One can make an Opfer, a ‘sacrificial offering,’ by sacrificing a victim to the gods, and in extreme cases a human being can offer himself in sacrifice. In its other connotation, a person can become the passive victim or ‘target’ of fate, whether from decisions made by others or from unknown circumstances. In both connotations the word has been extensively used in the literature and public debates on the World War. This suggests that the word…

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Hüppauf, Bernd, “Heroic Sacrifice, Myth of”, in: Brill’s Digital Library of World War I. Consulted online on 20 February 2020 <>
First published online: 2015

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