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The Memory of the First World War at its Centenary in Britain: A Study of War Memory at National, Local and Individual Levels

Smith, Olivia A E (2019) The Memory of the First World War at its Centenary in Britain: A Study of War Memory at National, Local and Individual Levels. Masters thesis, University of Essex.

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Abstract

This research project examines the commemoration of the First World War Centenary (2014-2018) in Britain and assess the relationship of between centenary events and cultural memory of the war. Since the Armistice in 1918, the memory of the First World War has been reshaped throughout the past century and the pity of war narrative, as told by poets, of trench warfare that amassed in thousands dead, is the dominant commonly held view. The centenary can be perceived as a unique modern platform that could change these dominant narratives, and this research project will ask, did it? By looking at commemoration from a national perspective through the British government marking the outbreak of war in 2014, the Battle of the Somme in 2016, the Battle of Passchendaele in 2017 and Armistice in 2018 and public art projects from 1418-NOW, to see how they acted as agents of war memory and to what extent they modernised or retained traditional commemoration. The Heritage Lottery Fund funded communities across Britain to commemorate the centenary in their own way. It is here we see the ‘world’ of First World War being acknowledged and what impact this has within the dominant popular memory. A study on individual memory investigated the popular responses to topics involving the centenary, the current battlefields and the future of commemoration. The consistent resonance of family connections to the First World War has shown to be a motivating factor for public involvement in the centenary and how modern media brought the topic of the First World War to an audience that may have not been aware of a centennial national commemoration. This project will assess if the centenary distorted the dominant popular perceptions of the First World War or if it retained them.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Subjects: D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D501 World War I
D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities > History, Department of
Depositing User: Olivia Smith
Date Deposited: 09 Jan 2020 09:23
Last Modified: 09 Jan 2020 09:23
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/26335

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