Reflections on the Commemoration of the First World War
Perspectives from the Former British Empire
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The First World War’s centenary generated a mass of commemorative activity worldwide. Officially and unofficially; individually, collectively and commercially; locally, nationally and internationally, efforts were made to respond to the legacies of this vast conflict. This book explores some of these responses from areas previously tied to the British Empire, including Australia, Britain, Canada, India and New Zealand. Showcasing insights from historians of commemoration and heritage professionals it provides revealing insider and outsider perspectives of the centenary. How far did commemoration become celebration, and how merited were such responses? To what extent did the centenary serve wider social and political functions? Was it a time for new knowledge and understanding of the events of a century ago, for recovery of lost or marginalised voices, or for confirming existing clichés? And what can be learned from the experience of this centenary that might inform the approach to future commemorative activities? The contributors to this book grapple with these questions, coming to different answers and demonstrating the connections and disconnections between those involved in building public knowledge of the ‘war to end all wars’.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Assessing the Centenary of the First World War
David Monger and Sarah Murray
Part I: Commemoration and the Centenary in Perspective
1. Colonial Commemoration in a Time of Multiculturalism: South Asia and the First World War
2. Resurrecting Heroes … or Reinventing Them? Interpretations of the Heroic in Australian First World War Centenary Commemorations
3. The First Time he Felt Truly Australian: Anzac Sport and Australian Nationalism, 1995 – Today
4: ‘Our War’: National Memory, New Zealand and Te Papa’s Gallipoli
Part II: The Centenary in Practice
5. Voicing War: Canadian Soldiers’ Oral Culture during and after the First World War
6. New Zealand’s War in the Air: A Centenary Exhibition in Review
7. Uncovering the Hidden Stories of the Voices Against War in a New Zealand Province
8. Reclaiming Salute to Valour: The Official Canadian Film of the Pilgrimage to the Vimy Monument
David Monger is Senior Lecturer in History at the University of Canterbury, New Zealand. He is the author of Patriotism and Propaganda in First World War Britain: The National War Aims Committee and Civilian Morale, co-editor of Endurance and the First World War: Experiences and Legacies in New Zealand and Australia, and has written several articles on aspects of First World War history.
Sarah Murray is Curatorial Manager at Canterbury Museum, New Zealand. She specialises in the history of the First World War and public history. Sarah is the author of A Cartoon War: The Cartoons of the New Zealand Free Lance and New Zealand Observer as Historical Sources, August 1914 - November 1918, co-editor of Endurance and the First World War: Experiences and Legacies in New Zealand and Australia and has both published articles and curated exhibitions on the First World War.