This article considers patriotism and manliness in a long chronology from the Victorian period to the 1930s. It begins with a discussion of Victorian manliness, built upon Christian gentility and Social Darwinism. It argues that the Great War activated traditional notions of patriotism but then tested them to the utmost. Nothing could prepare men adequately for the Western Front, where they learnt about fear and in a good many cases shell shock. Many displayed endurance, going through a process of psychic development. For those at home the ideology of heroism sufficed. It was in the aftermath of the war that the Victorian ideology of manliness was gradually transformed, as veterans wrote their memoirs and reflected upon how their masculinity had been created. If the Great War was the apotheosis of Victorian manhood, in its aftermath, during the 1920s and 1930s, survivors began to reconstruct their identity in the light of their experience as young men going to war.