This book is the first systematic analysis of German public opinion at the outbreak of the Great War and the first treatment of the myth of the 'spirit of 1914', which stated that in August 1914 all Germans felt 'war enthusiasm' and that this enthusiasm constituted a critical moment in which German society was transformed. Jeffrey Verhey's powerful study demonstrates that the myth was historically inaccurate. Although intellectuals and much of the upper class were enthusiastic, the emotions and opinions of most of the population were far more complex and contradictory. Jeffrey Verhey further examines the development of the myth in newspapers, politics and propaganda, and the propagation and appropriation of this myth after the war. His innovative analysis sheds new light on German experience of the Great War and on the role of political myths in modern German political culture.