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War and Memorials
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Table of contents :
Chapter 1 Introduction: War Memorials and Critical Insights into the Human Past
Chapter 2 A Duty to Remember (and Forget?): A Transnational Perspective on Commemorating War
Chapter 3 Sacred Shrines of the Secular Age: War Memorials and Landscape in the Twentieth Century and Beyond
Chapter 4 “… where Liberty was fought for”: Civil War Memorials in England
Chapter 5 Patriotic Nationalism and Valorous Masculinity: The National Monument for the Prussian Wars of Liberation
Chapter 6 “They Did Their Bit” – British Animal Welfare Societies and the Memorialization of War Animals since the Anglo-Boer War
Chapter 7 Identity and Memory at First World War British Imperial Memorials on the Western Front
Chapter 8 The Construction of a Memorial Space: The Gallipoli Campaign and Spatial Remembrance
Chapter 9 A Living Memorial – The Toc H Movement and Talbot House
Chapter 10 Temporary Cenotaph: A Contradiction in Terms?
Chapter 11 “They Did Not Want Great Buildings”: The American and Canadian Legionnaires as Living Memorials

Citation preview

War and Memorials

War (Hi) Stories Edited by Frank Jacob, Sarah K. Danielsson, Hiram Kümper, Sabine Müller, Jeffrey M. Shaw

Vol. 3

Scientific Board Jürgen Angelow, Martin Clauss, Christian Gerlach, Verena Moritz, Stefan Rinke, Stefanie Schüler-Springorum, Jorit Wintjes

Frank Jacob, Kenneth Pearl (Eds.)

War and Memorials The Age of Nationalism and the Great War

Ferdinand Schöningh

Cover illustration: World War I “doughboy” 1930 statue, by Arthur Ivone, atop the Ohio World War Memorial, erected in 1930 at the Ohio Statehouse, the name for the state capitol used locally, in Columbus, Ohio. Photographer: Carol M. Highsmith. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington.

Bibliographic information published by the Deutsche Nationalbibliothek The Deutsche Nationalbibliothek lists this publication in the Deutsche Nationalbibliografie; detailed bibliographic data available online: http://dnb.d-nb.de All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, translated, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior written permission from the publisher. © 2019 Verlag Ferdinand Schöningh, an Imprint of the Brill-Group (Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, Netherlands; Brill USA Inc., Boston MA, USA; Brill Asia Pte Ltd, Singapore; Brill Deutschland GmbH, Paderborn, Germany) www.schoeningh.de Cover design: Nora Krull, Bielefeld Production: Brill Deutschland GmbH, Paderborn ISSN 2511-5154 ISBN 978-3-506-78822-1 (paperback) ISBN 978-3-657-78822-4 (e-book)

Contents 1.

Introduction: War Memorials and Critical Insights into the Human Past . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 Frank Jacob and Kenneth Pearl


A Duty to Remember (and Forget?): A Transnational Perspective on Commemorating War . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23 Gary Baines


Sacred Shrines of the Secular Age: War Memorials and Landscape in the Twentieth Century and Beyond . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45 Sam Edwards


“… where Liberty was fought for”: Civil War Memorials in England . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 67 Sarah Betts


Patriotic Nationalism and Valorous Masculinity: The National Monument for the Prussian Wars of Liberation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 93 Christopher Goodwin


“They Did Their Bit” – British Animal Welfare Societies and the Memorialization of War Animals since the Anglo-Boer War . . . . . . . 129 Chelsea A. Medlock


Identity and Memory at First World War British Imperial Memorials on the Western Front . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 157 Hanna Smyth


The Construction of a Memorial Space: The Gallipoli Campaign and Spatial Remembrance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 189 Frank Jacob


A Living Memorial – The Toc H Movement and Talbot House . . . . . 209 Linda Parker

10. Temporary Cenotaph: A Contradiction in Terms? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 229 Sally Carlton




“They Did Not Want Great Buildings”: The American and Canadian Legionnaires as Living Memorials . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 251 Mary E. Osborne Contributors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 279 Index . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 283

Chapter 1

Introduction: War Memorials and Critical Insights into the Human Past Frank Jacob and Kenneth Pearl War memorials fulfill three basic tasks: they remember the dead, remind the survivors, and warn the descendants. Especially in the period between the two World Wars, war memorials had been, as Jay Winter correctly highlights, the “locus classicus of remembrance.”1 In these years, not only governments or larger organizations were responsible for their erection, but especially smaller groups of those who wanted, even needed, to remember the events of the past and the possible loss of family members and friends. These “social agents of remembrance”2 were therefore responsible for the shaping of collective memory about the war, especially in its local contexts. The German anthro­ pologist, Susanne Küchler, emphasizes that “a culture without monuments appears to us like a ship lost to the sea – unable to navigate and correct mistaken judgement,”3 pointing to the fact that the use or function of memorials goes way beyond the three basic tasks mentioned above. Next to a utilitarian func­ tion of the memorial or the space created by it, American sociologist Bernard Barber (1918–2006) also mentioned an aesthetic and a social function.4 The latter one especially is of some importance for the understanding of war me­ morials, because their social purposes can be the creation of identity, a service to the community, the honoring of those who died, as well as an expression of humanitarianism.5 Furthermore, wars and their remembrance help, according to British historian Eric Hobsbawm (1917–2012), to invent traditions, i.e. “essen­ tially a process of formalization and ritualization, characterized by reference

1  Jay Winter, Remembering War: The Great War Between Memory and History in the Twentieth Century (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2006), 135. 2  Ibid., 136. 3  Susanne Küchler, “The Place of Memory,” in The Art of Forgetting, eds. Adrian Forty and Susanne Küchler (Oxford: Berg, 1999), 53. 4  Bernard Barber, “Place, Symbol, and Utilitarian Function in War Memorials,” Social Forces 28:1 (1949), 66. 5  James M. Mayo, “War Memorials as Political Memory,” Geographical Review 78:1 (1988), 71.

© Verlag Ferdinand Schöningh, 2019 | doi:10.30965/9783657788224_002


Frank Jacob and Kenneth Pearl

to the past, if only by imposing repetition.”6 Collective identities often gain their legitimization from past events, when the members of this collective rely on historic and sometimes traumatic events of the past.7 A community is forged over time, not without breaks or gaps, but usually by referring to an almost mythical event of the past as the foundational start of the community’s existence as such.8 Memorials in particular, as the American scholar of urban planning, James M. Mayo, remarks, “can intentionally be de­ signed to evoke, often forcefully, memories of war”9 to remind those who visit them about this specific foundational moment in the past. In a “public space of communication (öffentlicher Kommunikationsraum),” as German historian Loretana de Libero remarks, the memorial is a “medium of interpretation (Deutungsträger).”10 How memorials are interpreted is related to the cultural background of those who erected and ‘use’ them, because they can only ful­ fill their intended function if those who visit them are able to decipher the message contained within.11 That means that remembrance is possible be­ cause memorials connect to the memory according to cultural and historical traditions shared by a specific group of people at a specific time in history. Memorials consequently are an essential element in forming the collective memory of a certain society.

Collective Memory

Considering what has been said so far, it is obvious that “memorials are for the living [and] their appearance dictated by the needs of the communities that

6  Eric Hobsbawm, “Introduction: Inventing Traditions,” in The Invention of Tradition, eds. Eric Hobsbawm and Terence Ranger, 21st edition (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013), 4. 7  Ljiljana Radonić and Heidemarie Uhl, “Zwischen Pathosformel und neuen Erinnerungs­ konkurrenzen: Das Gedächtnis-Paradigma zu Beginn des 21. Jahrhunderts,” in Gedächtnis im 21. Jahrhundert: Zur Neuverhandlung eines kulturwissenschaftlichen Leitbegriffs, eds. Ljiljana Radonić and Heidemarie Uhl (Bielefeld: Transcript, 2016), 8. 8  Oliver Marchart, “Das historisch-politische Gedächtnis: Für eine politische Theorie kollektiver Erinnerung,” in Gedächtnis im 21. Jahrhundert: Zur Neuverhandlung eines kulturwissenschaftlichen Leitbegriffs, eds. Ljiljana Radonić and Heidemarie Uhl (Bielefeld: Transcript, 2016), 46. 9  Mayo, “War Memorials,” 68. 10  Loretana de Libero, Rache und Triumph: Krieg, Gefühle und Gedenken in der Moderne (Munich: DeGruyter Oldenbourg, 2014), 4. 11  Ibid.

1. Introduction


build them.”12 War memorials in particular do not therefore only help to re­ member those who lost their lives while sacrificing it for the nation or an ideal cause, but they also express the values and attitudes towards war or those who are remembered that are shared by the members of the society who erected the memorials. Consequently, they are “a symbol of the feelings of the social group.”13 The French historian Pierre Nora referred to memorials as memory places (Les Lieux de mémoire, 1984), where people construct memory, yet do not remember history. In contrast to history that has passed and has been re­ constructed by historians, memory is alive and evolves according to the group that shares it.14 Jay Winter also highlights the difference between history and memory: “Memory is history seen through affect. And since affect is subjective, it is difficult to examine the claims of memory in the same way as we examine the claims of history. History is a discipline. We learn and teach its rules and its limits. Memory is a faculty. We live with it, and at times are sustained by it.”15 For the historian, theoretically it should not matter that the past is not linked to the present, when it is studied, but a “temporal link”16 is needed for the memory of past events. Or in other words, if nobody is linked to the event in the past, who should remember it? The memory related to war memorials, as memory per se, is a “retroactive reconstruction of the past”17 and therefore depends on the way people want to remember events of the past. Winter therefore correctly reminds us that “the performance of memory is both a mnemonic device and a way in which individual memories are relived, revived, and refashioned.”18 German cultural scientist, Jan Assmann, also points to the fact that individual memory is often constituted by exchange and communication with others,19 and the French sociologist Maurice Halbwachs (1877–1945) had earlier emphasized that the 12  Jane Hammond and Amanda Potter, “Collecting Leaves, Assembling Memory: Jane Hammond’s Fallen and the Function of War Memorials,” Archives of American Art Journal 47:3/4 (2008), 74. 13  Barber, “Place, Symbol, and Utilitarian Function,” 65. 14  Anita Kasabova, “Memory, Memorials, and Commemoration,” History and Theory 47:3 (2008), 331. For a discussion of the interrelationship between history and memory also see: Winter, Remembering War, 5-6. 15  Jay Winter, “The Performance of the Past: Memory, History, Identity,” in Performing the Past: Memory, History, and Identity in Modern Europe, eds. Karin Tilmans, Frank van Vree, and Jay Winter (Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2010), 12. 16  Kasabova, “Memory,” 331-332. 17  Ibid., 332. 18  Winter, “The Performance of the Past,” 11. 19  Jan Assmann, “Kollektives Gedächtnis und kulturelle Identität,” in Kultur und Gedächtnis, eds. Jan Assmann, Tonio Hölscher (Suhrkamp, Frankfurt a. M.: Suhrkamp, 1988), 10.


Frank Jacob and Kenneth Pearl

individual and collective memories of a society are intertwined.20 Assmann would later analyze this interrelationship when he studied the cultural mem­ ory of societies, and highlighted that such a cultural memory was supposed to preserve the knowledge and ideals of a specific group.21 Cultural memories therefore become concrete in relation to the identity of the group they refer or belong to. Furthermore, a cultural memory is reconstructed, which means that it is not only related to an event in the past, but also impacted by present events. Therefore, commemorations usually do not only have the purpose to remember the past, but also to make a statement or fulfill a function related to current events.22 In addition, a society’s cultural memory is organized, which means that: 1) official ceremonies or communication secure its existence, and 2) a specific group of specialized individuals takes care of the organizational preservation of the memory.23 Eventually, a collective memory is mandatory with regard to an existent normative self-image of the group members, who construct values and ideals that are necessary to structure relevant knowledge and symbols within the collective memory.24 The memory that is therefore constructed by those who commemorate a past event is not based on actual or factual history, but on an interpretation of the past as it is created by the mem­ bers of the group through their commemoration as such. A cultural memory is necessary for a society as its “consciousness of unity and idiosyncrasy”25 is based on it. The commemoration of past events, especially of wars and the losses and sacrifices related to them, takes place in spaces that become sacred by the act of remembrance by a group. Profane places might therefore be transformed into sacred ones by the act of remembrance.26 It is therefore correct, to quote Barber again, that “any physical space can be made sacred by the appropri­ ate attitudes.”27 However, the places’ significance needs to be reassured over time by the acts of society, i.e. commemoration. Once a society is no longer attached to a specific event in the past and the place or memorial no longer plays a role within the cultural memory of the time, memorial spaces can lose 20  Maurice Halbwachs, Das Gedächtnis und seine sozialen Bedingungen (Frankfurt a.M.: Suhrkamp 1985), 23. 21  Assmann, “Kollektives Gedächtnis,” 13. 22  Ibid. 23  Ibid., 14. 24  Ibid. 25  Ibid., 15. 26  Barber, “Place, Symbol, and Utilitarian Function,” 65. On the difference between profane and sacred see: Émile Durkheim, Les formes élémentaires de la vie religieuse (Paris: Presses de France, 1960), 49-58. 27  Barber, “Place, Symbol, and Utilitarian Function,” 66.

1. Introduction


their meaning, eventually returning to a profane status again. A community usually reflects upon and presents something of itself by creating memori­ als and establishing commemorative services.28 A memorial, which “mirrors not only what a society wants to remember but also what it wishes to forget,” is ultimately nothing more than an idealization of the past, through which “people can simultaneously enhance, reinterpret, and forget various facts of war history.”29 A disliked present might therefore lead to an idealized recon­ struction of the past,30 although the interpretation might change and me­ morials of the past no longer fit the idealization of the time of its erection.31 The meaning of war and its commemoration might not only change but also challenge former interpretations of historic events, leading to new discourses about the cultural memory and the way a specific society commemorates a now much older past. Since space and time play an important role for memoryrelated issues, every generation must redefine its relation to the past (time) and the memorial as such (space). The lifetime of memorials, or at least their spiritual relevance, is limited by time.32 A “fading away is inevitable” since every memorial space “relates to the concerns of a particular group of people who created them or who use or appropriate them as ceremonial or reflective sites of memory. That set of meanings is never permanent; but it is also rarely determined by fiat.”33 Yet before commemoration can be performed, a memo­ rial space needs to be created first, in order to create a meeting point for those who want to remember, mourn, or express their sorrows.

Memorial Space

Memorials spaces or landscapes can appear in many different forms, and the “appearance is largely determined by how well the public’s collective memory of the events fits with the needs of those who have actually suffered person­ al loss, and by how cohesive, stable, and enduring that collective memory is

28  Amy Davidson, “War Memorial Landscape Heritage in England,” Garden History 42:1 (2014): Memorial Gardens and Landscapes: Design, Planting and Conservation, 64. 29  Mayo, “War Memorials,” 73 and 75. 30  David Lowenthal, The Past Is a Foreign Country (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985), 263-362. 31  The case of Confederate States monuments in the south of the United States provide a current example for such a discourse. 32  Winter, Remembering War, 135. 33  Ibid., 140.


Frank Jacob and Kenneth Pearl

perceived to be.”34 Memorials could have limited functions, e.g. to offer a place to remember and mourn, but after the First World War, there was also a trend to create memorials with a more practical function, e.g. playing fields, memori­ al halls, etc.35 Usually war memorials are what Mayo calls “a social and physical arrangement of space and artifacts to keep alive the memories of persons who participated in a war sponsored by their country,”36 although the place as such might become a symbol for the commemorative duty per se.37 The symbols and sentiments attached to the memorial by the society that is responsible for its erection provide meaning and the possibility to remember what is con­ sidered important. On a higher level, a “sacred space enables a place to have a distinct spiritual meaning amid chaos, and this sacredness is beyond unique individual experiences.”38 Yet it is the community and the cultural memory, as described above, that have to define the sacrality of the space first. With regard to the actual ground or space for the erection of a memorial, it must be designed and sacralized first – although a utilitarian space is also possible –, before the society and its members can use it for the purpose of commemoration.39 A society might decide to dedicate whole landscapes for memory service, but this is usually related to a utilitarian approach to the re­ membrance of war, because often parks, to name just one example, also serve recreational purposes.40 Although not everyone might have agreed on such a combined space, it was not uncommon to have such places in the aftermath of the First World War.41 Within “open spaces in the countryside,” i.e. specific spots that were “re-dedicated in public and private schemes to the men and women of the locality and region,”42 a commemoration of the fallen also 34  Hammond and Potter, “Collecting Leaves,” 74. 35  Davidson, “War Memorial Landscape Heritage,” 68. 36  Mayo, “War Memorials,” 62. 37  For a more detailed discussion of the symbolism of memorials, see: Barber, “Place, Symbol, and Utilitarian Function,” 64-68. 38  Mayo, “War Memorials,” 63. 39  On different space categories, see: Brian Robinsion, “Some Fragmented Forms of Space,” Annals of the Association of American Geographers 67 (1977), 549-563. 40  Keith Grieves and Jenifer White, “Useful War Memorials, Landscape Preservation and Public Access to the English Contryside: Fitting Tributes to the Fallen of the Great War,” Garden History, 42, Supplement 1: Memorial Gardens and Landscapes: Design, Planting and Conservation (2014), 18. 41  Martin Conway pronounced in a review of Laurence Weaver’s Memorials and Monuments, published in 1915, that “A memorial to be satisfactory must be useless for any practical purpose whatever, never to be an investment for the living.” Martin Conway, “Let Us Now Praise Famous Men,” Country Life (24 July 1915), 133, cited in Grieves and White, “Useful War Memorials,” 18. 42  Ibid., 19.

1. Introduction


became possible, even if there did not exist a concrete memorial. It therefore did not always have to be a statue or something comparable that marked the spot for commemoration. A memorial sui generis could also just be a land­ scape, of course, one that had been partly or fully sacralized within the cultural memory of a community. That act was usually also marked by the “acquisition of open spaces through subscription schemes and gifts by landowners” whose acts were perceived as a form of “thanksgiving and remembrance.” The chosen space was naturally related to memory as well, since it usually represented “much-loved corners” to which the community was willing to attach a remembrance of those of its members who had given their lives for it.43 Regardless of the existence of quite different memorial spaces, e.g. parks, gardens, etc., it is the architectural monu­ ments or cemeteries that usually receive more attention than other memorial spaces.44 While war itself is impossible to understand without considering its multiple geographies,45 landscapes are also closely related to the memorial­ ization of war events. Especially in the 20th century, when almost every vil­ lage in Europe was affected by the impact of the two World Wars – in some areas the Great War still dominates with regard to the war memorials –, com­ memoration changed. It was especially the First World War that had created a commemoration boom, because “even the smallest and most remote village”46 would need its own memorial. “A vast range of monuments were erected by countless different voluntary subscriptions and donations”47 and a broad variety of war memorials were created. The range of sacral symbols was broad, as was the number of utilitarian or “living memorials”: on the one hand were “crosses, obelisks, stained-glass windows, or statue figures and groups,” and on the other “clock towers, halls, libraries, hospitals or cottages for nursing staff.”48 The design and use of the memorials often represented the group or community that had created it, and the variety of war memorials in the after­ math of the Great War shows how differently the commemoration of the ‘war to end all wars’ had been chosen to be made visible or to be performed. 43  Ibid., 21. 44  David Lambert, “ ‘A Living Monument’: Memorial Parks of the First and Second World Wars,” Garden History 42, Supplement 1: Memorial Gardens and Landscapes: Design, Planting and Conservation (2014), 34. In Britain, to name just one example, one can count some 300 memorial gardens and 200 memorial parks. 45  For a detailed discussion of the interrelationship between war and geography see: Sarah K. Danielsson and Frank Jacob, eds. War and Geography: The Spatiality of Organized Mass Violence (Paderborn: Schöningh, 2017). 46  Lambert, “‘A Living Monument’,” 35. 47  Ibid., 36. 48  Ibid.


Frank Jacob and Kenneth Pearl

Of course, local communities often debated the form their memorializa­ tion of the war should take, although these debates, as British garden historian David Lambert emphasizes, were also based on pragmatic needs: In debating the form of a living memorial, local committees considered local needs and opportunities. In the south, in market towns or in sub­ urban areas, where none had been built in the previous century, com­ memoration often coincided with a strategic need or popular demand for a public park. By the end of the nineteenth century, most towns and cities had their premier park, and many were also supplemented by a range of smaller local parks and playgrounds.49 Many different forms of memorial spaces exist and historians can use them as a tool to gain more knowledge about the past, especially the cultural memory of communities at a specific moment in time. The memorials become a mirror for the understanding and interpretation of older events at a specific moment in history. We therefore might not learn a lot about the actual events that were remembered, but rather more about how people imagined and were willing to commemorate them. It is, of course, not surprising then that war memorials would also serve a political purpose.

Political Purpose

Austrian political scientist Oliver Marchart highlights that within political dis­ courses “the past always happens in the particular present.”50 Narratives about the past need repetition to remain actual, which means, as mentioned above, that the memorialization or remembrance of a specific event in the past can only remain part of the cultural memory if it is steadily repeated and new gen­ erations’ memory is also becoming attached to the named events. Considering that there are always political implications related to current acts of com­ memoration, one can fully accept German historian Reinhart Koselleck’s (1923–2006) argument that “the commemoration of the fallen is part of the political culture,”51 and that war memorials can be used for a secular or political

49  Ibid., 37. 50  Marchart, “Das historisch-politische Gedächtnis,” 46. 51  Reinhart Koselleck, “Einleitung,” in Der Politische Totenkult: Kriegerdenkmäler in der Moderne, eds. Reinhart Koselleck and Michael Jeismann (Munich: Wilhelm Fink, 1994), 9.

1. Introduction


creation of meaning.52 When, in the aftermath of the First World War, people began to memorialize common soldiers, they also began to democratize the way historical events were remembered, namely by no longer focusing on famous generals, but on the human sacrifice and honor of common soldiers. A memorial can consequently tell us a lot about the level of democratization a society has reached.53 They are “symbolic manifestations, in which political, social, and mental needs are incorporated.”54 German teacher and historian Bernhard Böttcher also emphasizes that they express “legitimation, ideas, a [history-oriented] self-ascertainment, [and] the memory of a nation, a society or parts of it.”55 The historical and political mentality of a time is inscribed into the war memorials and therefore they show how people in post-war societies dealt with the experience of loss or destruction, victory or defeat.56 That a political landscape is inevitably established by the erection of war memorials cannot be denied. The First World War marked a cesura, as there­ after many people participated in attempts to commemorate the past, while other wars had not created such a public interest and left the commemorative service in the hands of the military authorities.57 It is therefore often not easy to divide personal and governmental motives, especially when both of these parties were involved in the process of the memorial’s erection. Mayo’s evalu­ ation of war memorials contains these problematic issues, as he confirms that “[e]very war memorial has an identity that can evoke memory of past wars, and these evocations may have competing or conflicting meanings.”58 These conflicting meanings are expressed within local or national debates about war memorials,59 especially since they can have multiple layers of meaning: “Beyond honoring individuals who fought, some monuments offer a plea for

52   Reinhart Koselleck, “Kriegerdenkmale als Identitätsstiftung der Überlebenden,” in Identität, ed. Odo Marquard (Munich: Wilhelm Fink, 1979), 261. 53  Ibid., 259. 54  Bernhard Böttcher, Gefallen für Volk und Heimat: Kriegerdenkmäler deutscher Minder­ heiten in Ostmitteleuropa während der Zwischenkriegszeit (Cologne/Weimar/Vienna: Böhlau, 2009), 1. 55  Ibid. 56  Ibid., 2. 57  Peter Donaldson, Remembering the South African War: Britain and the Memory of the Anglo-Boer War, from 1899 to the Present (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2013), 12. 58  Mayo, “War Memorials,” 65. 59  Edward Pluth, “To Honor the Soldier Dead: The Todd County World War I Monument,” Minnesota History 66:3 (2018), Fuji-Ya, Second to None: Reiko Weston’s Role in Reconnecting Minneapolis and the Mississippi River, 119.


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peace. A few memorials go even further, because what is being remembered demands that people develop a concern for humanity.”60 The existence or non-existence of a memorial can be important for causes that go beyond the local perspective, and are essential for the creation of a nation, national pride, or self-awareness and self-consciousness as a people.61 Memorials, regardless of their political implications, also provide the chance to be economically exploited as tourist attractions. The sacred memorial space is consequently commodified and abused to attract tourism.62 Memorials have been criticized a lot, not only because of this commodification, but also due to their politicization. John Anderson (1893–1962), Challis Professor of Philosophy at the University of Sydney between 1927 and 1958, criticized war memorials for being “political idols” in 1931. He argued that “the keeping up of religious ceremonies connected with them are merely fetishes for the purpose of blocking discussion. They prevent critical thinking about the character and conditions of the last war and thus about war and social relations in general.”63 In later years, Anderson was “opposed to all war memorials because they were ritualistic and militaristic, both factors opposed to inquiry.”64 Political discus­ sions about war memorials are a global phenomenon nowadays, since many nation states are currently going through a re-evaluation of their political aims or agendas and therefore war memorials, as well as other memories or histori­ cal legacies, are currently being analyzed and might be up for change sooner rather than later. This, however, is also an expression of the historical changes that have been witnessed over recent decades. It will be interesting to see how the discussion continues and how the next generation will remember the past. In the 20th century, the first event that shaped the memory policy of more than one generation was the First World War, and so a closer look at its impact will briefly be taken here.

60  Mayo, “War Memorials,” 67. 61  An example would be the “Pride of Our Nation” monument on the Solomon Islands, which was errected in 2012 to commemorate the landing of US Marines on Guadalcanal and the service of the Solomon Islanders 70 years before. See: Anna Annie Kwai, Solomon Islanders in World War II: An Indigenous Perspective (Canberra: ANU Press, 2017), 93-95. 62  Mayo, “War Memorials,” 69. 63  Cited in: Brian Kennedy, A Passion to Oppose: John Anderson, Philosopher (Melbourne, Melbourne University Press 1995), 96. His argument was part of the so called Free Thought Debate in 1931. On this debate, see: George Parsons, “ ‘War Memorials are Idols’: Professor John Anderson & the Freethought Controversy of 1931,” Australian Quarterly 81:1 (2009), 20-25, and 39. 64  Ibid., 20.

1. Introduction


The First World War

The war memorials of the 20th century are different from their predecessors, because, as Winter correctly remarks, “they deal with exceptional and extreme experiences of massive, industrialized, violence and mass death.”65 The First World War was not only the “seminal catastrophe”66 of the so-called “Age of Extremes,”67 but also the starting point for a “memory boom” that was stimu­ lated by “its drama, its earthquake-like character.”68 What followed the Great War was a “remarkable wave of memorial construction”69 and therefore a “re­ markable amount of artistic and cultural expression”70 in all fields of the arts and humanities.71 In the case of the First World War, the artifacts and memo­ rials are so numerous that many studies have been published that deal with specific aspects of the memory culture related to this war, and we are sure that many more will follow, since several aspects have not been discussed – either with a regionalistic or a comparative focus. The memory boom might also be related to the fact that the war, in contrast to other wars of the past, could be perceived in different ways, since new technologies provided a deeper insight, a closer identification, an imagined participation in the war.72 It was conse­ quently a war that influenced the lives of civilians as much as it determined the lives of the soldiers. The commemoration after the war therefore naturally surpassed the limits of local or professional interest groups, and rather de­ manded a national effort to remember the events.

65  Jay Winter, War Beyond Words: Languages of Remembrance from the Great War to the Present (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017), 4. 66  George F. Kennan, The Decline of Bismarck’s European Order: Franco-Russian Relations, 1875–1890 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1979), 3. 67  Eric Hobsbawm, The Age of Extremes: The Short Twentieth Century, 1914–1991 (New York: Vintage Books, 1994). 68  Winter, Remembering War, 6. 69  J. Bartlett and K. M. Ellis, “Remembering the Dead in Northop: First World War Memorials in a Welsh Parish,” Journal of Contemporary History 34:2 (1999), 231. 70  David A. Johnson and Nicole F. Gilbertson, “Commemorations of Imperial Sacrifice at Home and Abroad: British Memorials of the Great War,” The History Teacher 43:4 (2010), 563. 71  For a detailed discussion of the impact of the First World War on the humanities see: Frank Jacob, Jeffrey M. Shaw, Timothy Demy, eds. War and the Humanities: The Cultural Impact of the First World War (Paderborn: Schöningh, 2019). 72  George L. Mosse, Fallen Soldiers: Reshaping the Memory of the World Wars (New York/ Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1990), 4.


Frank Jacob and Kenneth Pearl

The image of the First World War in Europe was dominated by the image of the Western Front and trench warfare.73 However, it was not mourning for the many millions of dead soldiers alone that dominated the commemoration of the Great War. Very often, pride also played an important role, especially since those who fought against the Central Powers considered themselves as crusad­ ers for a free and democratic world.74 The sacrifice of the lives of these young men was an essential part of the interwar commemoration of the First World War, and, as George L. Mosse (1918–1999) remarked, “[t]he picture of the fallen soldier in the arms of Christ, so common during and after the First World War, projected the traditional belief in martyrdom and resurrection onto the nation as an all-encompassing civic religion.”75 The experience of the Western Front shaped the British cultural memory of the interwar years and it was there where countless memorials were erected in unmatched numbers. But memorials of the “terrible, almost unimagina­ ble, human losses of the war, and of efforts to commemorate the fallen” also stimulated a demand for and the erection of different kinds of memorials on the former battlefields in France and Flanders as well, and even today they “dot the countryside, in cities, towns, and villages, in market squares, church­ yards, schools, and obscure corners of hillsides and fields.”76 It is true, that “[a]lmost all towns and villages in the major European combatant countries were … communities of the bereaved,” but in Britain, with the large number of fallen soldiers, there was also an intense interest to commemorate them by “primary mourners.”77 There was almost no community in the country that had not lost somebody, which is why it seemed only natural that memorials were installed to remember such losses. The questions that caused “communal and political repercussions”78 were often those related to commemoration and remembrance. In the British Isles, one can count more than 100,000 war memorials,79 and they do not only mark the historical landscape of England, but also of Ireland, 73  Ibid. The war on the Eastern Front was rather unimportant in the post-war commemora­ tion, at least in Western Europe. For a more detailed analysis of the events on the Eastern front see: Bernhard Bachinger and Wolfram Dornik, Jenseits des Schützengrabens: Der Erste Weltkrieg im Osten: Erfahrung – Wahrnehmung – Kontext (Innsbruck: Studienverlag, 2013). 74  Mosse, Fallen Soldiers, 6. 75  Ibid., 7. 76  Jay Winter, Sites of Memory, Sites of Mourning: The Great War in European Cultural History, Canto Classics Edition (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014 [1995]), 1. 77  Ibid., 6. 78  Ibid. 79  Davidson, “War Memorial Landscape Heritage,” 58.

1. Introduction


Scotland, and Wales.80 They were essential to negotiating national identi­ ties on the British Isles in the interwar period,81 and almost naturally became “shrines of national worship.”82 Since the bodies of the fallen soldiers were not repatriated but buried on the continent, “an explicable need for those at home to have somewhere to remember their loved ones”83 stimulated the memo­ rial boom in Britain. For many who had lost family members during the war, the “government efforts to erect official war memorials and to give ceremo­ nial burial to a single, representative ‘unknown soldier’,” as American scholar Katie Trumpener describes it, “are at worst callous attempts to avoid respon­ sibility for the war’s casualties, at best a macabre sinecure for official artists.”84 Nevertheless, the provision of a war memorial for the public and the burial of the one unknown soldier were well prepared by the British government and became quite important for British mourning: On Armistice Day, 1920, the king ceremonially unveiled the Cenotaph, then appeared at Westminster Abbey as chief mourner at the burial of an unknown soldier. Within a few days, over a million people had filed through the abbey to pay last respects to the Unknown Warrior. Here an anonymous corpse, interred in a ceremonial tomb, was elevated to be­ come an emblem of collective loss; of the half million British soldiers who died during the war, the Unknown Warrior’s was the only body re­ turned home for burial.85 The memorials therefore in a way served not only as surrogates for the soldiers who would not return home, for the graves that could not be filled, but also for a soul that needed some sacred space to mourn, remember, and probably heal

80  Fergus A. D’Arcy, Remembering the War Dead: British Commonwealth and International War Graves in Ireland since 1914 (Dublin: Stationery Office, 2007); Angus Calder, “The Scottish National War Memorial,” in Memory and Memorials: The Commemorative Century, eds. William Kidd and Brian Murdoch (London/New York: Routledge, 2004), 61-74; Angela Gaffney, Aftermath: Remembering the Great War in Wales (Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 2000). 81  Jenny Macleod, “Britishness and Commemoration: National Memorials to the First World War in Britain and Ireland,” Journal of Contemporary History 48:4 (2013), 648. 82  George L. Mosse, “National Cemeteries and National Revival: The Cult of the Fallen Soldiers in Germany,” Journal of Contemporary History 14 (1979), 16. 83  Davidson, “War Memorial Landscape Heritage,” 61. 84  Katie Trumpener, “Memories Carved in Granite: Great War Memorials and Everyday Life,” PMLA 115:5 (2000), 1096. 85  Ibid., 1097.


Frank Jacob and Kenneth Pearl

a bit again. The flood of memorials was necessary, because they presented “a way in which loss could be expressed and perhaps in the end accepted.”86 It was the permanent possibility to remember that was provided by the erec­ tion of war memorials and what was felt by many to be a debt to those who had died for the honor and glory of the nation had been repaid.87 Each community used its own memorial for a specific healing process, which is why the designs are so numerous, because every memorial has its own story and its own deeper meaning, and “they speak to and for communities of men and women.”88 In France, the developments were quite similar and around 30,000 war me­ morials provide space to commemorate the nation’s human loss,89 but one na­ tion state that had problems with remembering its fallen soldiers at home was Australia. The ANZAC forces that had first and foremost gained fame for their participation in the Gallipoli campaign had lost many men on the Gallipoli peninsula. While the Scottish architect,, Sir John James Burnet (1857–1938) de­ signed several memorials and cemeteries on the peninsula, where he faced the “challenge of memorializing both the campaign and the imperial dead on the foreign territory of Gallipoli,”90 Australia had to find ways to commemorate the dead soldiers, whose bodies were laid down to their final rest thousands of miles away. 60,000 Australian soldiers had died during the war, and in a nation with 4 million people, around 2,000 war memorials were erected to remember their deaths.91 Since then, ANZAC Day, on 25 April, has become the most im­ portant day for the commemoration of Australia’s losses in war. As in Britain, France, and Australia, the memorial boom was also felt in the United States. There, as US military historian Lisa M. Budreau put it, “[o]n a personal level the sacrifice of life needed to be fully justified and then mourn­ ed and remembered in an honorable way.”92 It was, like in Britain, often the initiatives of private men, women, or local groups that led to demands for the erection of war memorials. To name just one example, we would like to draw attention to the case of William Lee of Todd County, Minnesota. He 86  Bartlett and Ellis, “Remembering the Dead,” 231. Also see Angela Phelps, “Memorials with­ out Location: Creating Heritage Places,” Area 30:2 (1998), 166. 87  Bartlett and Ellis, “Remembering the Dead,” 232. 88  Winter, Sites of Memory, 51. 89  Ken Inglis, “Men, Women, and War Memorials: Anzac Australia,” Daedalus 116:4, Learning about Women: Gender, Politics, and Power (1987), 36. 90  Ahenk Yilmaz, “Memorialization on War-Broken Ground: Gallipoli War Cemeteries and Memorials Designed by Sir John James Burnet,” Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians 73:3 (2014), 328. 91  Inglis, “Men, Women, and War Memorials,” 36. 92  Lisa M. Budreau, Bodies of War: World War I and the Politics of Commemoration in America, 1919–1933 (New York: New York University Press, 2010), 3.

1. Introduction


was a banker and local politician from Long Prairie, Minnesota, who “had a strong sense of history and a deep affection for his community,”93 and there­ fore wanted to help erect a war memorial for the soldiers from his county who had died during the First World War. It was initiatives such as this that led to the spread of war memorials in the United States, although there was not as much variation as in the British Isles. More than 140 communities in the US in the early years after the war bought a “popular mass-produced statue titled Spirit of the American Doughboy, a figurative sculpture of a US infantryman designed by Ernest Moore Viquesney”94 to commemorate their dead sons and brothers. The trend to use copies like that, however, caused serious concerns within the American art community. While, as Barber remarked, “good taste in war memorials requires ‘dignity’ rather than ‘beauty’,”95 many communities just wanted to fill the memorial space as soon as possible. In early 1919 national art organizations as well as municipal societies began to form advisory com­ mittees, whose members would take care of the problem of more and more communities erecting war memorials, because a “plague of war memorials,” as it was referred to, already threatened the country.96 Morris Gray (1856–1931), President of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, acknowledged in the same year that “America answered the call of war for a great spiritual cause – the liberty of the world,” but emphasized that now “[n]ot only do we have the op­ portunity of erecting great memorials, but we have incidentally but none the less importantly the opportunity of developing in our people the love and un­ derstanding of art – one of the greatest of all the manifestations of the spirit.”97 Gray warned that “the memorial should not be a dead thing,” but rather “an inspiration to arches manifesting the power and the citizens.”98 American artist Frederick W. MacMonnies (1863–1937) was “glad that the American Federation of Arts is taking up the subject of War Memorials; not only to save the country from becoming a chamber of horrors, but also to give an impetus to art and artists here by creating a demand for the right sort of thing and establishing a standard for the future.”99 The artist claimed that 93  Pluth, “To Honor the Soldier Dead,” 118. 94  Ibid., 120. 95  Barber, “Place, Symbol, and Utilitarian Function,” 67. 96  Jennifer Wingate, “Over the Top: The Doughboy in World War I Memorials and Visual Culture,” American Art 19:2 (2005), 27. 97  Morris Gray, “War Memorials: Utility or Spirituality?” The American Magazine of Art 10:11 (1919), 410. 98  Ibid., 412. 99  Frederick W. MacMonnies, Paul W. Bartlett, and Hermon A. MacNeil, “Typical Memorials,” The American Magazine of Art 10:7 (1919), 252.


Frank Jacob and Kenneth Pearl

“[t]he majority of Americans in small towns have no way of knowing what has been done in the world in all epochs nor how many choices are open to them.”100 That the American Federation of Arts began its work to educate America about fine art to prevent them from raising unaesthetic war memorials, however, did not decrease the number of war memorials, but many communities now directed requests to the Federation’s General Committee on War Memorials, which within in six months in 1919 “received more than two hundred and fifty requests from places in all parts of this country for advice with regard to the erection of War Memorials. The majority of these requests have been of the most interesting character and have shown a desire on the part of those in au­ thority to be guided by expert advice in the hope of securing the best.”101 The representatives of the federation consequently declared the success of their attempt “to mitigate the plague of war memorials now sweeping over this land – a plague worse than the Egyptian plagues of old in that the memorials will be perpetual.”102 It was the purpose of the artists to ensure that the country only had to suffer from the war itself, not from its commemoration. Charles Moore, in an article titled “Memorials of the Great War” for The American Magazine of Art, emphasized that “[n]ot every one calling himself an artist is one; often what parades as art is only an exhibit of bad taste.”103 However, critical towards those often responsible for the erection of war me­ morials, he argued: The successful man is the one who has accumulated money or power; and with money and power have come arrogance and impatience of authority other than the authority of money and power. That there are other standards never occurs to these “successful” men. The discouraging – very often the hopeless – consideration is, that men and women with no training, no standards, assume to pass upon the work of artists, call­ ing this good and that bad, according to their own whims. Usually these people control, not because they have taste, but because they have money or political power.104

100  Ibid., 253. 101  Morris M. Bruce and G. W. Cable, “War Memorials,” The American Magazine of Art 10:8 (1919), 286. 102  Charles Moore, “Memorials of the Great War,” The American Magazine of Art 10:7 (1919), 233. 103  Ibid., 234. 104  Ibid., 234.

1. Introduction


Of course, he did not deny the American public a right to commemorate its dead soldiers, because “[t]he commemoration of village sacrifice, of intense feeling for right and justice, is a natural and laudable desire,” but “there should be real feeling and true expression. Ostentatious and lavish display are vulgar in public as in private life; and vulgarity is the unpardonable sin in the ex­ pression of human feelings.”105 To ensure more aesthetic values in future war memorials, the artists also tried to provide examples of ‘good’ war memorials.106 Memorial committees and their members throughout the country were advised, for example, to “choose simple commemorative forms like decora­ tive flagpoles instead of figurative sculpture produced by the nation’s ex­ panding commercial monument industry.”107 In a way, the arrogance of the artists might have also played a role in their evaluation, especially since, as art historian Jennifer Wingate remarks, “[m]any art professionals believed effec­ tive and timeless memorials could only be made by artists of “genius,” whose creative, original designs the general public could not appreciate, let alone afford.”108 While memorials needed to exist to highlight the otherwise invis­ ible death of members of the community,109 according to the artists they had to follow aesthetic norms. The discussion about the use of the doughboy as a common image was therefore heated among artists, local interest groups, and politicians.110 A closer look at war memorials will consequently provide deeper knowledge about the political, social, and very often emotional processes that were related to mourning and remembrance during the interwar period. Contributions The first part of the present book deals with the question of what or who was or can be remembered through war memorials. After a transnational survey of war commemorations by Gary Baines, the general interrelationship between war memorials and landscapes is discussed by Sam Edwards. That it was not 105  Ibid., 235-236. 106  “American Federation of Arts Urges Suitable Memorials for Heroes of the War,” Evening Star [Washington, D.C.], July 27, 1919, 67. 107  Wingate, “Over the Top,” 27. 108  Ibid. 109  Ute Planert and Dietmar Süß explain that the visible death is usually the one of others, who are remembered by those who remain living. See: Ute Planert and Dietmar Süß, “Nichts ist umsonst: Anmerkungen zu einer Sozialgeschichte des Todes,” in Sterben, Töten, Gedenken: Zur Sozialgeschichte des Todes, eds. Ute Planert, Dietmar Süß and Meik Woyke (Bonn: J.H.W. Dietz, 2018), 19-20. 110  Wingate, “Over the Top,” 28.


Frank Jacob and Kenneth Pearl

only the Great War that was remembered in Britain will be shown by Sarah Betts, whose contribution deals with war memorials related to the English Civil War. Her discussion of these memorials will show which political implications usually accompany the creation and erection of war memorials in a national­ ist age. A similar perspective for Prussia will then be provided by Christopher Goodwin, who takes a closer look at the National Monument for the Prussian Wars of Liberation, and also shows that, as heritage studies scholar Angela Phelps claimed with regard to most memorials, the commemoration of war “remain[s] resolutely male and military.”111 Chelsea Medlock closes the first sec­ tion by taking a closer look at the memorialization of war animals in Britain since the Anglo-Boer War, highlighting that the perception of human-animal relations shifted during the war, considering why the animal companions of the soldiers received more attention during the commemoration process as well. The second part of the book provides case studies for memorials related to the First World War from a British-American perspective. Hanna Smyth ana­ lyzes the British war memorials on the Western Front, where the bodies of the soldiers who served in the British Army and did not survive the war found their final rest. A case study for the specific interrelationship between landscapes and war commemoration is then provided by Frank Jacob, who discusses the construction of memorial space in the aftermath of the Gallipoli cam­ paign. Linda Parker then provides a closer look at one of the so-called British “living memorials,” namely Talbot House. Sally Carlton analyzes the role of the Cenotaph and the contradictions related to this specific war memorial, be­ fore Mary E. Osborne discusses the dispute about memorials for the American and Canadian legionnaires of the First World War. All of the named contributions will show that behind every memorial lies a long process of discussion, evaluation, and sometimes re-definition of the past that needed to match the demands of the interwar years, the communi­ ties who mourned their dead, and the honor of those who had lost their lives fighting for a greater cause. Works Cited “American Federation of Arts Urges Suitable Memorials for Heroes of the War,” Evening Star [Washington, D.C.], July 27, 1919, 67.

111  Phelps, “Memorials,” 166.

1. Introduction


Assmann, Jan. “Kollektives Gedächtnis und kulturelle Identität.” In Kultur und Gedächtnis, eds. Jan Assmann, Tonio Hölscher, 9-19. (Suhrkamp, Frankfurt a. M.: Suhrkamp, 1988). Barber, Bernard. “Place, Symbol, and Utilitarian Function in War Memorials.” Social Forces 28:1 (1949), 64-68. Bartlett, J. and K. M. Ellis. “Remembering the Dead in Northop: First World War Memorials in a Welsh Parish.” Journal of Contemporary History 34:2 (1999), 231-242. Böttcher, Bernhard. Gefallen für Volk und Heimat: Kriegerdenkmäler deutscher Minderheiten in Ostmitteleuropa während der Zwischenkriegszeit. Cologne/Weimar/ Vienna: Böhlau, 2009. Bruce, Morris M. and G. W. Cable. “War Memorials.” The American Magazine of Art 10:8 (1919), 286-289. Budreau, Lisa M. Bodies of War: World War I and the Politics of Commemoration in America, 1919–1933. New York: New York University Press, 2010. Calder, Angus. “The Scottish National War Memorial.” In Memory and Memorials: The Commemorative Century, eds. William Kidd and Brian Murdoch, 61-74. London/ New York: Routledge, 2004. Danielsson, Sarah K. and Frank Jacob, eds. War and Geography: The Spatiality of Organized Mass Violence. Paderborn: Schöningh, 2017. D’Arcy, Fergus A. Remembering the War Dead: British Commonwealth and International War Graves in Ireland since 1914. Dublin: Stationery Office, 2007. Davidson, Amy. “War Memorial Landscape Heritage in England.” Garden History 42:1 (2014): Memorial Gardens and Landscapes: Design, Planting and Conservation, 58-72. Donaldson, Peter. Remembering the South African War: Britain and the Memory of the Anglo-Boer War, from 1899 to the Present. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2013. Durkheim, Émile. Les formes élémentaires de la vie religieuse. Paris : Presses de France, 1960. Gaffney, Angela. Aftermath: Remembering the Great War in Wales. Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 2000. Gray, Morris. “War Memorials: Utility or Spirituality?” The American Magazine of Art 10:11 (1919), 410-412. Grieves, Keith and Jenifer White. “Useful War Memorials, Landscape Preservation and Public Access to the English Contryside: Fitting Tributes to the Fallen of the Great War.” Garden History, 42, Supplement 1: Memorial Gardens and Landscapes: Design, Planting and Conservation (2014), 18-33. Halbwachs, Maurice. Das Gedächtnis und seine sozialen Bedingungen. Frankfurt a.M.: Suhrkamp 1985. Hammond, Jane and Amanda Potter. “Collecting Leaves, Assembling Memory: Jane Hammond’s Fallen and the Function of War Memorials.” Archives of American Art Journal 47:3/4 (2008), 66-77.


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Hobsbawm, Eric. “Introduction: Inventing Traditions.” In The Invention of Tradition, eds. Eric Hobsbawm and Terence Ranger, 21st edition, 1-14. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013. Inglis, Ken. “Men, Women, and War Memorials: Anzac Australia.” Daedalus 116:4, Learning about Women: Gender, Politics, and Power (1987), 35-59. Jacob, Frank, Jeffrey M. Shaw, Timothy Demy, eds. War and the Humanities: The Cultural Impact of the First World War. Paderborn: Schöningh, 2019. Johnson, David A. and Nicole F. Gilbertson. “Commemorations of Imperial Sacrifice at Home and Abroad: British Memorials of the Great War.” The History Teacher 43:4 (2010), 563-584. Kasabova, Anita. “Memory, Memorials, and Commemoration.” History and Theory 47:3 (2008), 331-350. Kennedy, Brian. A Passion to Oppose: John Anderson, Philosopher. Melbourne, Melbourne University Press 1995. Koselleck, Reinhart. “Einleitung.” In Der Politische Totenkult: Kriegerdenkmäler in der Moderne, eds. Reinhart Koselleck and Michael Jeismann, 9-20. Munich: Wilhelm Fink, 1994. Koselleck, Reinhart. “Kriegerdenkmale als Identitätsstiftung der Überlebenden.” In Identität, ed. Odo Marquard, 253-276. Munich: Wilhelm Fink, 1979. Küchler, Susanne. “The Place of Memory.” In The Art of Forgetting, eds. Adrian Forty and Susanne Küchler, 53-73. Oxford: Berg, 1999. Kwai, Anna Annie. Solomon Islanders in World War II: An Indigenous Perspective. Canberra: ANU Press, 2017. Lambert, David. “‘A Living Monument’: Memorial Parks of the First and Second World Wars.” Garden History 42, Supplement 1: Memorial Gardens and Landscapes: Design, Planting and Conservation (2014), 34-57. Libero, Loretana de. Rache und Triumph: Krieg, Gefühle und Gedenken in der Moderne. Munich: DeGruyter Oldenbourg, 2014. Lowenthal, David. The Past Is a Foreign Country. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985. Macleod, Jenny. “Britishness and Commemoration: National Memorials to the First World War in Britain and Ireland.” Journal of Contemporary History 48:4 (2013), 647-665. MacMonnies, Frederick W., Paul W.  Bartlett, and Hermon A. MacNeil. “Typical Memorials.” The American Magazine of Art 10:7 (1919), 252-257. Marchart, Oliver. “Das historisch-politische Gedächtnis: Für eine politische Theorie kollektiver Erinnerung.” In Gedächtnis im 21. Jahrhundert: Zur Neuverhandlung eines kulturwissenschaftlichen Leitbegriffs, eds. Ljiljana Radonić and Heidemarie Uhl, 43-77. Bielefeld: Transcript, 2016. Mayo, James M. “War Memorials as Political Memory.” Geographical Review 78:1 (1988), 62-75.

1. Introduction


Moore, Charles. “Memorials of the Great War.” The American Magazine of Art 10:7 (1919), 233-247. Mosse, George L. Fallen Soldiers: Reshaping the Memory of the World Wars. New York/ Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1990. Mosse, George L. “National Cemeteries and National Revival: The Cult of the Fallen Soldiers in Germany.” Journal of Contemporary History 14 (1979), 1-20. Parsons, George. “‘War Memorials are Idols’: Professor John Anderson & the Freethought Controversy of 1931.” Australian Quarterly 81:1 (2009), 20-25, and 39. Phelps, Angela. “Memorials without Location: Creating Heritage Places.” Area 30:2 (1998), 166-168. Planert, Ute and Dietmar Süß. “Nichts ist umsonst: Anmerkungen zu einer Sozialgeschichte des Todes.” In Sterben, Töten, Gedenken: Zur Sozialgeschichte des Todes, eds. Ute Planert, Dietmar Süß and Meik Woyke, 7-22. Bonn: J.H.W. Dietz, 2018. Pluth, Edward. “To Honor the Soldier Dead: The Todd County World War I Monument.” Minnesota History 66:3 (2018), Fuji-Ya, Second to None: Reiko Weston’s Role in Reconnecting Minneapolis and the Mississippi River, 118-131. Radonić, Ljiljana and Heidemarie Uhl. “Zwischen Pathosformel und neuen Erinnerungskonkurrenzen: Das Gedächtnis-Paradigma zu Beginn des 21. Jahrhunderts.” In Gedächtnis im 21. Jahrhundert: Zur Neuverhandlung eines kultur­ wissenschaftlichen Leitbegriffs, eds. Ljiljana Radonić and Heidemarie Uhl, 7-25. Bielefeld: Transcript, 2016. Robinsion, Brian. “Some Fragmented Forms of Space.” Annals of the Association of American Geographers 67 (1977), 549-563. Trumpener, Katie. “Memories Carved in Granite: Great War Memorials and Everyday Life.” PMLA 115:5 (2000), 1096-1103. Wingate, Jennifer. “Over the Top: The Doughboy in World War I Memorials and Visual Culture.” American Art 19:2 (2005), 26-47. Winter, Jay. Remembering War: The Great War Between Memory and History in the Twentieth Century. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2006. Winter, Jay. Sites of Memory, Sites of Mourning: The Great War in European Cultural History, Canto Classics Edition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014 [1995]. Winter, Jay. “The Performance of the Past: Memory, History, Identity.” In Performing the Past: Memory, History, and Identity in Modern Europe, eds. Karin Tilmans, Frank van Vree, and Jay Winter, 11-31. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2010. Winter, Jay. War Beyond Words: Languages of Remembrance from the Great War to the Present. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017. Yilmaz, Ahenk. “Memorialization on War-Broken Ground: Gallipoli War Cemeteries and Memorials Designed by Sir John James Burnet.” Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians 73:3 (2014), 328-346.

Chapter 2

A Duty to Remember (and Forget?): A Transnational Perspective on Commemorating War Gary Baines Introduction Commemoration refers to remembrance activity explicitly designed to mark the loss of life.1 It affords individuals an opportunity to bear witness to the dead and their sacrifices, especially of fallen soldiers in times of war. These commemorations are social occasions in which members of mnemonic communities gather to pay tribute to and mourn the dead at memorials erected for the purpose. As commemorative devices, memorials provide sites where private sorrow and individual grief are transformed into public remembrance.2 And through repeated performances the memorialization of the dead is institutionalized by way of public rituals and ceremonies. Commemorative acts are invariably premised on the assumption that we have an obligation to remember the dead, that the current generation has an essential debt to its predecessors or to the past. But there is seldom any effort to interrogate this assumption. In fact, the reasons proffered for why we should remember the fallen are seldom stated explicitly; rather, it is simply assumed that it is the right thing to do. Paul Connerton speaks of a “commonly held if not universal assumption that remembering is usually a virtue and that forgetting is necessarily a failure.”3 According to Jenny Edkins, remembering amounts to “keeping the faith” and forgetting, presumably, to “backsliding.”4 Whether we reference religious idioms or the discourse of memory politics, forgetting is almost invariably defined as the antithesis of memory and falsely 1  Dan Todman, “The Ninetieth Anniversary of the Battle of the Somme,” in War Memory and Popular Culture: Essays on Modes of Remembrance and Commemoration, ed. Michael Keren and Holger H. Herwig (Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2009), 26. 2  Jay Winter, Sites of Memory, Sites of Mourning: The Great War in European Cultural History (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995), 98. 3  Paul Connerton, “Seven Types of Forgetting,” Memory Studies 1:1 (2008), 59. 4  Jenny Edkins, Trauma and the Memory of Politics (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003), 16.

© Verlag Ferdinand Schöningh, 2019 | doi:10.30965/9783657788224_003


Gary Baines

equated with amnesia.5 But this equation is not self-evidently true and thus the premises of the “duty to remember” should be challenged. This chapter will trace the genealogy of the “duty to remember” from Biblical beginnings to the present and show how this imperative has shaped commemorative practices in Britain and South Africa. It will then examine the practices of commemoration in these rather different societies; the first a stable democracy and the second one in which democracy is barely consolidated. Thereafter it will ask whether remembering is necessarily more efficacious than forgetting. For, in strictly logical terms, “forgetting no more guarantees the repetition of past injustices than remembering ensures their prevention.”6 Finally, it will propound the possibility of just forgetting and forgiveness in order to negotiate troubled pasts.

Remembrance: From Sacred to Moral Duty?

Why do we feel duty bound to remember the dead and where does the imperative to commemorate them originate? In his pioneering study Zakhor: Jewish History and Jewish Memory (1982), Yosef Yerushalmi argues that remembrance of God’s acts of intervention in history was regarded as a sacred duty by the Jews. He notes that the Jews are charged to remember God or Israel 169 times in the Old Testament. In his words: Ancient Israel knows what God is from what he has done in history. And if that is so, then memory has become crucial to its faith and, ultimately, to its very existence. Only in Israel and nowhere else is the injunction to remember felt as a religious imperative to an entire people.7 Yerushalmi believes that Jewish memory was transmitted primarily through two channels: ritual and recital. Such commemorative ceremonies are not unique to Judaism. The Christian Church’s re-enactment of the Last Supper as the rite of Holy Communion also stems from an injunction to remember. So does the Muslim pilgrimage to Makkah that includes the ritual of walking 5  Debra Hawhee and Brandon Vivian, “Review Essay: On the Language of Forgetting,” Quarterly Journal of Speech 95:1 (2009), 89. 6  Bradford Vivian, Public Forgetting: The Rhetoric and Politics of Beginning Again (Philadelphia: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2010), 9. 7  Yosef Yerushalmi, Zakhor: Jewish History and Jewish Memory (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1996 [1982]), 9.

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around the Kaaba, the black cube-shaped stone. Such rites derive their power and efficacy from the rehearsal of commands and the sacralisation of memory. The imprints of such religious traditions still manifest in contemporary – or ‘secular’? – society where Holocaust remembrance has become ubiquitous. The centrality of the Holocaust in modern memory owes something to its sacralisation by those who insist on its uniqueness (as if it happened outside of history). In Israel its remembrance has arguably assumed the form of a civil religion with Yad Vashem as its sanctuary.8 The Jewish state introduced its own Holocaust Remembrance Day well before International Holocaust Remembrance Day was assigned the date 27 January (when Auschwitz was liberated by the Soviet forces). Moreover, every year thousands of Israeli youths visit Holocaust memorial sites in Europe to learn about the plight of the six million Jewish victims. These trips are not merely exercises in pedagogy but are undertaken in a spirit of solemnity and reverence. They amount to pilgrimages in which the sacredness of the Holocaust is reified for successive generations of Jews. In trying to make a connection between the Biblical injunction to remember the deeds of the divinity and the victims of the Holocaust, Paul Ricoeur remarked that: “We must remember because remembering is a moral duty. We owe a debt to the victims … By remembering and telling, we … prevent forgetfulness from killing the victims twice.”9 Here he echoes Elie Wiesel (1928–2016), who held that as a survivor he had a duty to testify to the horrors and trauma of the Shoah for the sake of the dead and the living. For Wiesel, “memory can confer a kind of afterlife to the dead by refusing to let them be effaced from memory as they had been effaced from the world before their time. Thus, to remember is to deny the perpetrators their ultimate victory.” Conversely, “… to forget the dead would be akin to killing them a second time.”10 In other words, Wiesel asserts the power of memory mediated through testimony to defeat death. Somewhat controversially, Marc Augé contends that death camp survivors “do not need to be reminded of their duty to remember”; on the contrary the past is ever present for them.11 He holds that even survivors have a duty to forget. He writes: “if they want to live again and not just survive, [they] must be able to do their share of forgetting … in order to find faith in the everyday 8  Charles S. Liebman and Eliezer Don-Yehiva, Civil Religion in Israel: Traditional Judaism and Political Culture in the Jewish State (Washington: Washington Press, 1983). 9  Paul Ricoeur, Figuring the Sacred: Religion, Narrative, and Imagination (Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortress, 1995), 289-290. 10  Elie Wiesel, ‘Preface to the New Translation’ of Night (London: Penguin Books, 2006), xv. 11  Marc Auge, Oblivion (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2004), 87.


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again and mastery over their time’… they cannot afford to ‘forget to forget.”12 Augé’s does not prescribe exactly how Holocaust survivors should forget but he deems it essential for their wellbeing, and their ability to start anew. This position puts him at odds with Wiesel, the self-appointed custodian of Holocaust remembrance. Holocaust remembrance provides a paradigm for positive action in the present and future. Almost all Holocaust memorial sites and museums champion Wiesel’s ethical/pedagogical injunction to “never forget”. This is captured in the admonitory slogan “Never Again” which translates as: “Never forget so that the world will remember and learn.”13 This categorical imperative is derived from noble but unrealistic expectations. The perpetration of genocides since the Holocaust does not necessarily prove that public remembrance is ineffectual, but it should make us wary of the refrain that societies learn from the past by remembering its injustices. For subsequent generations have failed to heed the warning of the Holocaust and hence “we will continue to build memory sites to past atrocities exactly because we still have unrepresentable ongoing violence.”14 Whether it happens to be the violence of genocide or wars (or both), the moral and ethical burdens of remembering should not be discounted.15 The political theorist, W. James Booth, posits an ethics of remembrance. He holds that “remembering is a duty rooted in affiliation; forgetting an offense against that debt shared by a community.”16 Similarly, Duncan Bell suggests that “[t]he ethical impulse of memory flows from the idea that something is owed to the dead, and especially to the victims of past injustices.”17 This begs the questions: what exactly is owed to the dead and who should render the debt? Ziya Meral holds that we have a moral obligation and utilitarian reasons for remembering. He suggests that remembrance involves looking backwards and forwards (like Janus, the Greek god of history), thereby implying that the society has a responsibility of stewardship towards past and future generations. He states that we should acknowledge our debt to those who paid with 12  Ibid., 88. 13  Michael Bernard-Donals and Richard Glejzer, Between Witness and Testimony: The Holocaust and the Limits of Representation (Albany, NY: State University of New York Press), xii. 14  Laurie Beth Clark, “Never Again and its Discontents,” Performance Research 16:1 (2011), 69. 15  Anne Whitehead, Memory (London: Routledge, 2009), 122. 16  W.  James Booth, “Kashmir Road: Some Reflections on Memory and Violence,” Millennium: Journal of International Studies 38 (2009), 370. 17  Duncan Bell, “Introduction: Violence and Memory,” Millennium: Journal of International Studies 38 (2009), 358.

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their lives so that others may live theirs, and that we should seek to deter future atrocities and bring a closure to the past in order to achieve social harmony.18 This perspective appears to hold sway in much of the contemporary world as is evident from practices of war commemoration.

War Commemoration in Britain and South Africa

In liberal democracies such as the United Kingdom, a measure of consensus has been reached as to how the war dead might be commemorated. But there is not always agreement as to which dead should be honoured and how this should be done. This will be illustrated with respect to the Great War. Contestation is even more evident in a deeply-divided post-conflict society such as South Africa, where an entirely different set of dynamics is at play. Indeed, the issue of commemoration and memorialization of the war dead has become an impediment to transformation and reconciliation. The remembrance of the “Border War”19 is a case in point.20 Accordingly, it may be instructive to examine these case studies so as to engage with memory and its ethical challenges. The centenary of the Great War has ushered in a prolonged period of commemoration. The UK government allotted the sum of £55 million for centenary events. This will cover long-standing commemorative events that are already part of the landscape of memory, as well as special ones planned for the centenary. The proclamation and observance of public holidays is a practice that shapes a nation’s culture of remembrance. Remembrance Day (11 November or the nearest Sunday thereto) is a well-established fixture on Britain’s commemorative calendar. The day is given to three rituals of remembrance that have become customary since the end of the War: parades at the London Cenotaph and ceremonies before the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier 18  Ziya Meral, “A Duty to Remember? Politics and Morality of Remembering Past Atrocities,” International Political Anthropology 5:1 (2012), 38. 19  The nomenclature is a not so much a matter of dispute as one of perspective. Whereas South Africa’s white electorate called the conflict in Angola-Namibia the “Border War”, or sometimes the “bush war”, those fighting the apartheid regime preferred other terms. For SWAPO it was a War of National Liberation, otherwise known as the Namibian War of Independence. Namibia and South Africa were arguably theatres of the same conflict and liberation movements in the latter referred to their fight against the apartheid state’s security forces as the armed and/or liberation struggle. I use “Apartheid Wars” as an umbrella term for all the regional conflicts between the 1960s and 1980s. 20  See G. Baines, South Africa’s ‘Border War’: Contested Narratives and Conflicting Memories (London: Bloomsbury, 2014), for an extensive treatment of this topic.


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in Westminster Abbey, the observation of the Armistice Day silence, and the wearing of red poppies. Apart from these regular memorial practices, many more special commemorative projects have been planned for the five-year period of commemoration set aside to remember the Great War in Britain.21 These plans include the issue of 30 commemorative stamps – six per annum – by the Royal Mail. As an exercise in commemoration, the issuing of stamps amounts to a statement about what values, aspirations, and so on, the authorities consider important in projecting about the country. As a result, the designs chosen for the stamps reveal a wish to proclaim that the sacrifice of the fallen was not in vain but for the greater good. The first stamp to be issued in this series contains the well-known lines from Laurence Binyon’s poem “For the Fallen” (1914): At the going down of the sun and in the morning We will remember them. These lines are intoned at Remembrance Day ceremonies in Britain and throughout its former empire. It is customary for those present to respond with the words “Lest we forget,” that forms the refrain of Rudyard Kipling’s poem “Recessional” (1897) penned on the occasion of Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee. Also closely associated with war remembrance is the epitaph, “Their name liveth for evermore” that is inscribed on many of the UK’s more than 65,000 war memorials. The words were chosen by Kipling, the imperial poet who lost his son in the war. It is the survivors who craft such homilies as “Their name liveth for ever more.” This language of remembrance serves to remind us to be vigilant against forgetting. Indeed, it seeks to restore the absent from anonymity.22 In memorializing and bearing witness, citizens give words to the deceased and attempt to capture the sense of debt they owe to those soldiers silenced by the war. W. James Booth reckons that bearing witness can be understood as a “reciprocal obligation” between the current generation of a community and an affirmation of their identity with those who have gone before them.23 On 21  Ben Quinn, Antoine Reverchon, Raffaello Masci and Joachim Käppner, “First World War: How Countries Across Europe Will Mark Centenary,” The Guardian, 16 January 2014, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jan/16/first-world-war-europe-centenary. For information about the UK’s World War I Remembrance Projects, see http://www.greatwar.co.uk/organizations/remembrance-projects.htm. 22  W.  James Booth, Communities of Memory: On Witness, Identity and Justice (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2006), 102. 23  Ibid., 103.

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the other hand, the very act of inscribing the names of the dead on memorials relieves us of the burden of bearing witness. Perhaps it displaces memory, giving it a permanence in stone rather than in the hearts and minds of citizens. By this account, memorializing is less an antidote to forgetting than its very agent.24 Thus even the combined acts of inscription and incantation are no guarantee that the dead will be remembered by the survivors and their descendants in perpetuity. The Royal British Legion is the UK’s self-styled custodian of war remembrance.25 Apart from its annual Poppy Appeal charity drive to raise funds for disabled war veterans, widows, and so on, it runs programmes to keep alive the memory of the war dead with an enthusiasm verging on evangelical zeal. These programmes seek to foster war remembrance in young people. Their pedagogic and memory activities include providing primers for the teaching of the Great War in the school curriculum, sponsoring tours of war cemeteries on the continent, and maintaining the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire. The British Legion also funds public surveys and research projects. It endorsed the publication of the text Lest We Forget: Remembrance and Commemoration (2011) that reinforces the sense of public indebtedness to those who gave their lives on Flanders Fields and elsewhere during the Great War. It reifies the notion that commemoration of the war dead is pivotal in modern national identity construction and that warfare constitutes the nation as a community of sacrifice.26 The National Memorial Arboretum is located in a geographically remote site that arguably effaces the enormity of the losses sustained by the British forces on the continent during the Great War.27 Still, their lives are grievable in Judith Butler’s meaning of the term,28 as lives that frame the nation’s sense of being a moral community. On the other hand, the British memorial landscape, by and large, fails to acknowledge the hurt and pain suffered by those at home. Civilians are low in the hierarchy of victims. Their worth is seldom recognized in the practice of memorialization. A rare exception followed the pardoning of 24  Ibid., 107. 25  Jay Winter, “Commemorating War, 1914–1945,” in The Cambridge History of War, vol. 4: War and the Modern World, eds. Roger Chickering, Dennis Showalter and Hans Van de Ven. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012), 322. 26  John Hutchinson, “Warfare and the Sacralisation of Nations,” Millennium: Journal of inter­ national Studies, 38 (2009), 401. 27  Brian Graham and Yvonne Whelan, “The Legacies of the Dead: Commemorating the Troubles in Northern Ireland,” Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 25 (2007), 492. 28  Judith Butler, Frames of War (London: Verso, 2009).


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those unjustly condemned and executed by military authorities for “treason” and “cowardice” in the anodyne National Memorial Arboretum. This illustrates conclusively that memorials are for the living rather than the dead. The Great War centenary has prompted a flurry of scholarly interest that has generated an exponential increase in the number of conferences and workshops devoted to the topic, the publication of the multi-volume Cambridge History of the First World War, and so on. Certain of the controversies that have engaged scholars and informed the historiography of the Great War have a resonance with a wider public. For instance, there have been public debates about whether Britain should have participated in the war, and whether the cost was worth it. Differences of opinion have been expressed as to how the war should be commemorated, but no one seems to dispute that the war should be remembered. Even the anti-war activists who have launched the “No Glory in the War” campaign and have criticized the size of the UK government’s budget for memorial events, plan to hold their own activities that highlight the suffering and devastation caused by the War.29 Their advocacy of activities such as the wearing of a black poppy or dandelions appear designed to counter what they regard as the sanitization of the memory of the war that enjoys primacy in the public consciousness.30 Certain campaigners have gone so far as to call for a halt to Great War commemorations because such ceremonies have conspicuously failed to end war.31 However, this conflates remembering the dead with learning lessons from the past. The conflation of commemoration and pedagogy is a commonplace in war remembrance. For instance, the conservative newspaper The Daily Telegraph sponsored the “Lest we Forget” campaign in 2012 that aimed to save British war memorials from apparent neglect. This initiative emphasized that memorials of the Great War were important for promoting national identity, and should be valued as part of the nation’s heritage.32 The national broadcaster has also assumed a role in promoting Great War remembrance. The BBC announced that it plans to broadcast 2,500 hours of radio, television, digital and online programming during the course of the centenary celebrations. Already 29  Annabelle Laferrère, “2014: Much More Than a Year of Commemoration, Lessons for the Future,” 15 February, 2014, www.nouvelle-esurope.eu/en/2014-much-more-year-comme moration-lessons-future. 30  Their site can be accessed at http://noglory.org/. 31  See, in particular, Ted Harrison, “Wearing a Red Poppy Was Once a Pledge of Peace but Now Sanitises the War,” The Guardian, 4 November 2016, http://noglory.org/index.php/ articles/580-wearing-a-poppy-was-a-pledge-of-peace-but-now-serves-to-sanitise-war. 32  Ross Wilson, Cultural Heritage of the Great War in Britain. Farnham (Surrey: Ashgate Press, 2013), 182.

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concern has been expressed that saturation media coverage of the war is likely to cause the onset of “battle fatigue” among audiences, or that school pupils might react negatively to over-exposure to the Great War. In effect, a fear was expressed that any interest generated by the commemorative activities might prove to be ephemeral or counter-productive. This amounted to recognition of the tension between commemorative and pedagogical imperatives. If this is a real concern, perhaps the centenary affords the interested public an opportunity to re-evaluate how it should remember the Great War? Should we ask, who and what we should commemorate, and in what spirit? And whether a place can be found in the UK’s commemorations for honoring those who objected to the war or acted as peacemakers?33 Whatever the thrust of public opinion on such matters, there is little doubt that the collective memory of the Great War is in a constant state of flux. For instance, a more sophisticated understanding of the nature of what was then known as “shell shock” – now as post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD – has resulted in a greater appreciation of the hardships endured by the Tommy on the front line. Likewise, there is now more sympathy for conscientious objectors, pacifists and others who were not prepared to support the war effort unconditionally. This bears out the point that even in stable democracies such as Britain, the legacy of wars has always been subject to contestation and revision. If the commemoration of the Great War in Britain and (much of) its erstwhile empire has been conspicuous, the same cannot be said of South Africa. The African National Congress (ANC) government has not sponsored any elaborate plans to commemorate the Great War centenary in South Africa. This is understandable as it arguably has far more pressing issues to deal with. However, the Post Office issued a set of stamps in a miniature sheet that depicts the principal campaigns in which the Union Defence Force (UDF) was involved, and pays tribute to those who lost their lives in the battle of Delville Wood and the sinking of the SS Mendi. These two events have come to be seen as defining moments in the experience of the Great War, with the tragic loss of lives of the Native Labor Contingent on the Mendi regarded as a black South African counterpart to the sacrifices of white UDF soldiers at Dellville Wood.34 However, in respect of memorial practices, the commemoration of 33  Adam Hochschild, “First World War: A Century On: Time to Hail the Peacemakers?” The Guardian, 28 July, 2014, http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jul/28/first-worldwar-century-anniversary-peacemakers. 34  Norman Clothier, Black Valour: The South African Native Labour Contingent, 1916–1918 (Pietermaritzburg: University of Natal Press, 1987), 175. For a treatment of the symbolic significance of Deville Wood, see Bill Nasson, Springboks on the Somme: South Africa in the Great War 1914–1918 (Johannesburg: Penguin, 2007), 219-242. For the politics


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these events has been dwarfed by another South African initiative. This was the introduction in July 1916 of the one-minute pause in routine activities at noon to pay homage to the Allied troops fighting and dying on the Western Front. This became the model for the Armistice Day silence ritual institutionalized in Britain, the other Dominions and eventually throughout the Empire.35 The commemoration of the Great War in South Africa was not unanimously embraced. This was because South Africa’s entry on the side of Britain had proved a divisive act that caused Afrikaner republicans to take up arms against the government of Louis Botha and even rally to the side of the Germans who then occupied South-West Africa (now Namibia). Botha crushed the rebellion and defeated the German forces in SWA. The divisive legacy of the Great War had a sequel when the Smuts government declared war on Germany in 1939. Volunteers, primarily from poor Afrikaner households, joined the UDF to fight in North Africa and other theatres of operations. The names of the Union’s fallen soldiers in the Second World War were generally added to memorials already bearing those of the Great War dead. As in many other countries, the memorialization of the Great War subsumed the Second World War. Tributes continued to be paid to the deceased of both wars annually even after South Africa became a Republic and withdrew from the British Commonwealth as the ruling National Party (NP) adopted the politically expedient course of action of distancing itself from its wartime association with Nazism. But the NP could never bring itself to declare 11 November a public holiday. Still, veterans of the World Wars and members of the South African Defence Force (SADF) promoted participatory practices of memory that included parades, wreath-laying ceremonies and the performance of the last post. Indeed, ex-serviceman’s organisations such as the Springbok Legion and the Military Order of Tin Hats (MOTHs) were instrumental in preserving these memorial practices as part and parcel of the SADF’s ceremonial culture. They, perhaps more than any political party, strove to keep the memory of the dead alive. The commemoration of the World Wars subsequently became conflated with the “Border War.” The conflict involved the SADF operating as a counter-insurgency force in Namibia against the South West Africa Peoples’ Organization’s armed wing, PLAN (Peoples’ Liberation Army of Namibia) and, later, waging a more conventional war against the Peoples’ Armed Forces for the Liberation of Angola (FAPLA) and Cuban forces in Angola, as well as of remembrance pertaining to the SS Mendi, see Albert Grundlingh, War and Society: Participation and Remembrance: South African Black and Coloured troops in the First World War, 1914–1918 (Stellenbosch: SUN Press, 2014), 115-136. 35  Nasson, Springboks on the Somme, 223.

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suppressing insurrection in the country’s townships. The SADF’s destabilization of neighboring states providing refuge for members of the ANC and the Pan-Africanist Congress (PAC)’s armed wings caused a swathe of death and destruction in the region. In statistical terms, the SADF lost a relatively small number of its members in the fighting. A memorial to honour the SADF dead was erected at Fort Klapperkop and their names were inscribed upon walls at this memorial site. Memorial services were held here on 31 May, the date on which South Africa declared itself a republic, and the 11 November ceremonies now became occasions on which tribute was paid to the dead of the World Wars, as well as the “Border War”. This was a stratagem designed to suggest resonance between these conflicts, that the fighting in Namibia and Angola was a continuation of the struggle to preserve the security of the “Free World” against the threat of communism – as opposed to Nazism. In fact, the “Border War” was actually waged to preserve apartheid. The ANC government has also recognised the sacrifice of those killed in the World Wars as significant in the making of the post-apartheid nation. The names of South Africans who fell in both World Wars have been included on the Wall of Names in Freedom Park, the flagship heritage project erected as a counter-monument to Voortrekker Monument that commemorates the covenanted conquest of the country by the forefathers of the white Afrikaners. The two memorial sites co-exist on two proximate kopjes (hills) outside of the country’s capital city of Pretoria. Whereas the Voortrekker Monument is an Afrikaner nationalist shrine undergoing reorientation, Freedom Park attempts to be all things to all people. It is “part place of propitiation, part sanctuary, and part war memorial.”36 Freedom Park’s homage to the dead of the World Wars did not raise so much as an eyebrow. However, its decision to omit the names of SADF members killed in the Angolan/Namibian conflict has engendered enormous controversy, a war of words that I have dubbed the Freedom Park “fracas.”37 The curator’s decision to ignore the representations of SADF veterans offended those who demanded the inclusion of the names of all those who had died during the Apartheid Wars, irrespective of which side they had fought on. They insisted that as a nation-building project, Freedom Park should not adopt an exclusionary approach to remembrance. When these pleas fell on deaf ears, lobby groups 36  Elizabeth Rankin, “A Janus-like Juncture: Reconciling past and present at the Voortrekker Monument and Freedom Park,” in Bronze Warriors and Plastic Presidents: Public Art in South Africa, 1999–2015, eds. Kim Miller and Brenda Schmahmann (Athens, OH: Indiana University Press, 2017), 3-28. 37  Baines, South Africa’s ‘Border War’, 155-170.


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rallied to raise funds for the SADF Wall of Remembrance that was erected in the grounds of the Voortrekker Monument Heritage Site (VTMHS). Since 2009 these self-appointed guardians of remembrance have staged a wreath-laying ceremony on 31 May (or the closest Sunday thereto) at the wall in tribute to SADF members who gave their lives in the service of their country between 1961 and 1994. However, a remarkable turn of events occurred on Sunday 25 May 2014. In what was billed as ‘the greatest show of unity and reconciliation among former sworn enemies’, veteran’s associations affiliated to the defunct SADF and liberation armies, as well as representatives of the SADF’s successor, the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) and the recently-created Department of Military Veterans, participated in an exercise in nation-building. The party held a wreath-laying ceremony at Freedom Park and then proceeded via the newly-constructed Reconciliation Road to the VTMHS to a second ceremony at the SADF Wall of Remembrance. The ceremony was jointly arranged by the curators of Freedom Park and the Erfennistigting, the heritage company that manages the VTMHS. This symbolic gesture was welcomed by commentators as a ‘burying of the hatchet’ between previously antagonistic parties. It was seen as an endorsement of the view that South Africans share a common history in which all who fought, suffered and died are victims of one sort or another. If collective remembrance is purely an instrument of dominant political elements in a society (as functionalists assert), then memorialization would be uncontroversial. The ANC government has tolerated the retention of (most) apartheid-era monuments, as well as the erection of ephemeral and countermemorials by constituencies of SADF veterans and other interest groups that have a stake in constructing an alternative version of the Apartheid Wars. In South Africa, war remembrance has provided an avenue for marginalised communities to challenge the state’s master narrative. Although the ruling elites have choreographed commemorative activity, there has been space for the subversion of the official script. There has been room for the co-existence of official and unofficial narratives, as well as official and counter-memories, for dissonant voices to join in the chorus about what is remembered.38 So what are the chances of negotiating a “truce” in the ongoing “memory war” being waged about South Africa’s divisive past? I am sceptical because a consensual history remains elusive and social cohesion equally so. There is no agreement as to whether bereaved families and loved ones should be accorded the right to remember the fallen because they defended the apartheid state. Arguably, if those who died for their beliefs are not remembered, their 38  Winter, “Commemorating War,” 320.

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sacrifices cannot have any meaning. And if many of the SADF soldiers killed were conscripts, it could be argued that they had no choice but to perform their national service and bear arms against their own country(wo)men; that they were as much victims as perpetrators. But even if this is conceded – and I am not persuaded that it should – does the democratic state have an obligation to officially honor the deceased or sanction acts of remembrance effectively recognising the deaths of SADF soldiers as sacrifices made for the apartheid regime? In other words, should we honour the dead irrespective of the white supremacist ideology they defended? These are tricky and emotive issues that must be approached with circumspection. The historian, Tzvetan Todorov, provides possible pointers for negotiating a way out of the impasse. He suggests that we must not fall into the trap of seeing ourselves as beholden to uphold a “duty of memory” irrespective of the cause represented by the deceased. Instead, he suggests that we commit ourselves to the “work of memory” that serves a just cause. He holds that such work must lead to “a [generalizable] principal of justice, a political ideal or a moral rule [that must be] legitimate in and of themselves and not because they derive from a memory that is dear to us.”39 This amounts to a commitment to an abstract, imagined community. In this way a shared narrative of the past, formulated publicly and reinforced by the sanction of political authorities may be constructed. And collective remembrance will buttress legitimacy and a common morality. Unfortunately, post-apartheid South Africa is a long way from constructing a consensual understanding of history, let alone a nation in the sense of a moral community. Hence we need to question the efficacy of memory work in providing healing for individuals and communities, especially the putative nation. South African efforts at nation building were based on the premise that “at the heart of [its] transition from apartheid to democracy is a formal commitment to remember the past.”40 This is captured in the preamble to the 1996 Constitution of South Africa which affirms the need to “recognize the injustices of our past” and to “honour those who suffered for justice and freedom. This commitment was pursued through the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC)’s healing paradigm and its restorative approach to transitional justice.”41 It included 39  Tzvetan Todorov, Hope and Memory: Lessons from the Twentieth Century (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 2003), 5. 40  Charles Villa-Vicencio, “Justice, Media and Memory: The South African Transition,” in Public Memory, Public Media and the Politics of Justice, eds. Philip Lee and Pridap Ninan Thomas (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012), 81. 41  Bronwyn Leebaw, “The Politics of Judging the Past: South Africa’s Truth and Reconcilia­ tion Commission,” in Historical Justice in International Perspective: How Societies are


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the erection of official memorial sites such as Freedom Park as a form of reparations or redress. Bronwyn Leebaw warns that such gestures aimed at suturing the nation’s wounds are likely to be confused with social consensus, or that “history will be reduced to the legitimation of political compromises.”42 In fact, South Africa never was nor has it become a community with shared values and goals. Rather, it is a contestatory or agonistic democracy in which reconciliation is an open-ended process rather than a goal.43 Given the contestation over South Africa’s conflicted past, there are those who hold that it best be forgotten in order for the country to move on. Is forgiving and forgetting possible, let alone beneficial to the parties involved?

The Case for Forgetting

Commemorative events may be said to “reboot” memory by repeatedly reconfiguring the relationship between remembering and forgetting. This analogy suggests that remembering and forgetting are not antithetical but rather in a constant state of flux as they are co-constitutive. It also entails questioning the assumption that remembering is a moral imperative whereas forgetting is, ipso facto, “bad” or “immoral”. And it begs the question of whether remembering is always preferable to forgetting? Individuals cannot live without memory; it is a necessary part of our existence. But, as Jorge Luis Borge’s story “Fumes the Memorious”44 reminds us, forgetting is an equally necessary part of our neurological and psychological functioning. According to Friedrich Nietzsche (1844–1900), it is impossible to cope without forgetting. He argued that the past is a burden; that remembering may wear us down, prevent us from functioning fully, and may even be pernicious. Thus, knowledge of the past may “rule over life,” by which I think he means that the accumulation of the past may overwhelm the present. In his essay “On the Uses and Disadvantages of History for Life” (1876), Friedrich Nietzsche put the case for of forgetting. Specifically, he recommended the forgetting of history, by which he meant antiquarianism with its Trying to Right the Wrongs of the Past, eds. Manfred Berg and Bernd Schaefer (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012), 277. 42  Ibid., 287. 43  Bashir Bashir and Will Kymlicka, “Introduction: Struggles for Inclusion and Reconciliation in Modern Democracies,” in The Politics of Reconciliation in Multicultural Societies, eds. Will Kymlicka and Bashir Bashir (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008), 2. 44  The story was first published in Spanish as “Funes el memorioso” in 1942. The first English translation appeared in 1954.

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tendency to fixate on detail rather than the broad contours of the past. Thus he reckoned that late 19th century European society had succumbed to the burden of history. He concludes his essay by observing that active or willed forgetting is as important as remembering, if health and happiness are to be attained. In his words: ‘the unhistorical and the historical are necessary in equal measures for the health of an individual, of a people and of a culture’.45 In other words, aggregations of individuals – be they collectives such as communities, societies, or even nations – have to learn to forget as much – or perhaps even more – than they remember. Until recently, Marc Augé’s work Oblivion was the most explicit defence of forgetting in the corpus of contemporary memory studies. For Augé there is an inextricable relationship between remembering and forgetting. He holds that oblivion throws our memories into relief and gives them shape and definition in the same way as the contours of the shoreline are framed by the sea.46 Forgetting is an active agent in the formation of memories, and it is because memory and oblivion are “complicit” with one another, that both are necessary to enable life.47 Auge insists it is forgetting that makes it possible for individuals and countries to move on and put their traumatic past behind them.48 Anne Whitehead concludes that ‘forgetting, considered in all of its com­ plexity, deserves to be taken seriously. Both because it is inseparable and not always sufficiently recognized aspect of memory itself, and because some measure of forgetting is a necessary prerequisite for personal and civic health.’49 In other words, a degree of forgetting is as important as remembering for allowing both the individual and the community to function in the aftermath of social and historical conflicts. The rhetoric scholar Bradford Vivian posits an alternate and affirmative conception of public forgetting that is compatible with the belief in the necessity of remembering.50 He argues for excising aspects of the collectively remembered past and introducing positive manifestations of forgetting in public affairs.51 In such instances, forgetting amounts to a public choice and not an act of omission. Vivian holds that such a qualitatively different kind of forgetting is 45  Frederick Nietzsche, Untimely Meditations (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997 [1876]), 63 cited in Anne Whitehead, Memory (London: Routledge, 2009), 87. 46  Marc Augé, Oblivion, trans. Marjolijn de Jager (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2004), 4. 47  Augé, Oblivion cited in Whitehead, Memory, 121. 48  Augé, Oblivion, 88. 49  Whitehead, Memory, 156-7. 50  Vivian, Public Forgetting, 7. 51  Ibid., 9.


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entirely appropriate in circumstances when remembering can do more harm than good. Thus forgetting represents ‘not merely a negation of memory, but a complementary response to the past that can yield ethical, spiritual, or political “goods” as commendable as those of remembrance’.52 However, contrary to Vivian, I am not persuaded that forgetting constitutes a viable strategy to enable divided societies to “begin again”. Rather, in order to break the deadlock in post-conflict societies, it is necessary to strike a balance or achieve an equilibrium in the fluid relationship between remembering and forgetting. It is not a zero-sum game.

The Virtues of Forgetting

David Rieff has made a major intervention in the debate about the relative merits of remembering and forgetting. His collection of polemical essays titled Against Remembrance,53 is a response to the advocates of the “duty to remember” in which Rieff explores the virtues of forgetting. Rieff is a journalist for The New York Times, and has reported on conflict situations in Africa, the Balkans, Central Asia, the Middle East and Latin America. He has a keen interest in history and is familiar with rationalisations for commemorating war. Drawing on extensive first-hand experience and knowledge of conflict, he contends that “collective memory deployed by communities, peoples and nations has led to war rather than peace, rancour rather than reconciliation, revenge rather than forgiveness.”54 He adds that “the invocation of historical memory serves to accentuate differences rather than bridge them.”55 Consequently, he would prefer to let bygones be bygones. In making his case, Rieff refers to (post-)conflict societies such as Bosnia and Ireland. These are situations where war or inter-communal/ethnic conflict is always a real possibility.56 For instance, he witnessed how Serbian nationalists invoked the Battle of Kosovo (1389) to justify their occupation of the Bosnian town and revenge attacks on Muslims. He shares the opinion of another journalist, Tim Butcher, that the “violence [in Bosnia] was too historically rooted

52  Ibid., 91. 53  This is the original title of the Irish edition of the book from 2011. The US edition goes by the title In Praise of Forgetting: Historical Memory and its Ironies (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2016). 54  Rieff, Against Remembrance, 23. 55  Ibid., 65. 56  Ibid., 84-85.

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ever to be resolved.”57 Likewise, Rieff believes that the Irish “troubles” are intractable. While he makes no mention of how the Ulster Loyalists invoke the Battle of Boyne (1690) to justify the sovereignty of the British Crown in Ireland, the resonance with Bosnia is remarkable. Recollections of these battles are revived periodically because politicians are able to manipulate and mobilize communities by abusing memory for nefarious purposes such as ethnic cleansing. Rieff reverses George Santayana’s often-cited adage: “He who forgets the past is condemned to repeat it.” He argues, instead, that it is precisely because we remember the past that we are condemned to repeat it – or, at the very least, rehearse past enmities. He insists that remembrance rekindles age-old antagonisms and inflicts new injuries on former enemies. He reckons that remembrance is not just strengthened by grief but sustained by the sense of victimhood, and this causes a spiral of grievance that creates antipathy rather than promotes healing and reconciliation.58 Accordingly, he insists that “[a] strong case can be made that what ensures the health of societies and individuals alike is not their capacity for remembering but rather their capacity for eventually forgetting.”59 Indeed, Rieff reckons that in certain contexts seemingly intractable “memory wars” can be defused by judicious forgetting. He cites post-Franco Spain as an example of a society that embraced amnesty and selective amnesia as a prerequisite for the political settlement that facilitated a peaceful transition to democracy. He notes that the so-called “Pact of Forgetting” that sought to honour neutral figures rather than Fascists or Republicans laid the framework for reconciliation. He explains that this practice was eventually institutionalised with the passage of the “Law of Historical Memory” that actually served as a law of historical forgetting.60 Omar Encarnacion’s observation that “the counterintuitive insight that democracy succeeded in Spain not in spite of the absence of confronting the past through trials and truth commissions but rather because of it”61 would appear to endorse Rieff’s argument. On the other hand, certain commentators regard the “model of impunity” that avoided direct confrontation with the Francoist repression as an act of

57  Tim Butcher, The Trigger: Hunting the Assassin Who Brought the World to War (London: Vintage 2014), 108. 58  Rieff, Against Remembrance, 83, 121. 59  Ibid., 56. 60  Ibid., 86. 61  Omar G. Encarnacion, Democracy without Justice in Spain: The Politics of Forgetting (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2014), 198.


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political expediency and a negation of the principles of transitional justice.62 However, to be fair to Rieff, he does not advocate amnesia, nor a blanket amnesty for crimes and human rights abuses committed by perpetrators, but he rejects “the moral absolutism of the human rights movement and its axiomatic belief that remembering – and the justice that goes with it – is always better than forgetting, and the impunity that usually accompanies it.”63 For Rieff it is important to exercise political judgment in balancing the need for remembering and forgetting. Unfortunately, he fails to provide guidance as to how we might negotiate the ethics of remembering and forgetting.

The Ethics of Remembering and Forgetting

Paul Ricoeur argues that there are just and unjust ways of remembering, as well as forgetting. Ethical memory is ‘oriented toward justice and the other, rather than the self’.64 It acknowledges the pain and the trauma of the other. The literary scholar (and novelist) Viet Tranh Nguyen holds that is not enough for winners to be magnanimous in victory as meeting the precondition for reconciliation between former enemies; it requires recognition of the victimhood of the other.65 This he dubs double ethical memory because it recalls both one’s own and the other’s position. He notes that this ‘will not happen unless we meet the conditions of a just memory or until we extend genuine forgiveness’. Thus ‘[o]nly through forgiveness of the pure kind,66 extended to others and ourselves, can we actually have a just forgetting and a hope for a new kind of story where we do not constantly turn to the unjust past.67 Hence a just forgetting begets forgiveness and a recalibrated (his)story. 62  Florence Vatan and Marc Silberman, “Introduction,” in Memory and Postwar Memorials: Confronting the Violence of the Past, eds. Marc Silberman and Florence Vatan (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014), 2. 63  Michael Ignatieff, “Better to Forget and Move On,” The Sunday Times, 10 April, 2016, http:// www.michaelignatieff.ca/assets/pdfs/Better%20to%20Forget%20and%20Move%20On_ Sunday%20Times.pdf 64  Paul Ricoeur, Memory, History, Forgetting (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2006), 89. 65  Viet Thanh Nguyen, “Just Memory: War and the Ethics of Remembrance,” American Literary History 25:1 (2013), 144-163. 66  Nguyen borrows the notion of pure forgiveness from Jacques Derrida who defines it as unconditional, or “not dependent on the repentance of the person or entity one might forgive.” See Jacques Derrida, On Cosmopolitanism and Forgiveness (New York: Routledge, 2002). 67  Viet Thanh Nguyen, Nothing Ever Dies: Vietnam and the Memory of War (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2016), 292.

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The philosopher Avishai Margalit regards forgiveness (and forgetting) as covering up rather than blotting out. According to Margalit, one forgives by actively disregarding the “sin” [read, offence], and not passively forgetting. In The Ethics of Memory, he holds that when a healthy remembering intersects with a healthy forgetting, and when forgiveness enables reconciliation, it is possible to live together by overcoming the resentment that recollections can produce.68 While forgiving does not automatically lead to forgetting, there can be no forgiving if forgetting has already occurred. This is because some form of remembering is necessary if forgiveness is to take place. As Hawhee and Vivian express it, “[w]e forgive not by forgetting but by remembering in purposefully redeeming ways, which are ultimately incompatible with the ostensible purposelessness of forgetting.”69 Until such time as we recognize that remembering and forgetting can be just in their own ways, and that both have redemptive and reconciliatory possibilities, we will be unable to come to terms with the past. Conclusion There is little doubt that a commitment to remember the war dead no matter the conflict enjoys almost universal acceptance. Concurrently, the principles informing human rights discourse and transitional justice have attained a global reach. But these two imperatives co-exist uneasily or are sometimes at odds in post-conflict societies (especially those rent asunder by civil war). The dissolution of national boundaries in terms of the spread of ideas has not altogether offset the wish of (sub-)national communities to recognize the loss of their own at the hands of an erstwhile enemy. Consequently, the pursuit of retribution can undermine the path of justice and reconciliation. And such tensions are frequently exacerbated by the tendency to conflate or confuse the commemorative and pedagogical imperatives of war remembrance. The transnational perspective of this chapter reveals that that there are both commonalities and differences in how societies approach the commemoration of the war dead. The cases of the United Kingdom and South Africa demonstrate that there are frequently clashes of opinion as to who should be remembered and how this should be done. In the final analysis, forgiving and forgetting can play a significant role in the healing of a society. 68  Avishai Margalit, The Ethics of Memory (Cambridge, MA.: Harvard University Press, 2002), 204. 69  Hawhee and Vivian, “On the Language of Forgetting,” 93.


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Works Cited Andrews, Molly, Charles Boyd-Jewitt and Nigel C. and Hunt, eds. Lest We Forget: Remembrance and Commemoration. Stroud, Gloucestershire: History Press, 2011. Augé, Marc. Oblivion. Transl. by Marjolijn de Jager. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2004. Baines, Gary. South Africa’s ‘Border War’: Contested Narratives and Conflicting Memories. London: Bloomsbury Press, 2014. Bashir, Bashir and Will Kymlicka. “Introduction: Struggles for Inclusion and Reconciliation in Modern Democracies.” In The Politics of Reconciliation in Multicultural Societies, eds. Will Kymlicka and Bashir Bashir, 1-24. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008. Bell, Duncan. “Introduction: Violence and Memory.” Millennium: Journal of interna­ tional Studies 38 (2009): 345-360. Bernard-Donals, Michael and Richard Glejzer. Between Witness and Testimony: The Holocaust and the Limits of Representation. Albany: SUNY Press, 2001. Booth, W. James. Communities of Memory: On Witness, Identity and Justice. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2006. Booth, W. James. “Kashmir Road: Some Reflections on Memory and Violence.” Millennium: Journal of international Studies 38 (2009), 361-377. Butcher, Tim. The Trigger: Hunting the Assassin Who Brought the World to War. London: Vintage, 2014. Butler, Judith. Frames of War. London: Verso, 2009. Clark, Laurie Beth. “Never Again and its Discontents.” Performance Research 16:1 (2011), 68-79. Clothier, Norman. Black Valour: The South African Native Labour Contingent, 1916–1918. Pietermaritzburg: University of Natal Press, 1987. Connerton, Paul. “Seven Types of Forgetting.” Memory Studies 1:1 (2008), 59-71. Derrida, Jacques. On Cosmopolitanism and Forgiveness (New York: Routledge, 2002). Edkins, Jenny. Trauma and the Memory of Politics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003. Encarnacion, Omar G. Democracy without Justice in Spain: The Politics of Forgetting. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2014. Graham, Brian and Yvonne Whelan. “The Legacies of the Dead: Commemorating the Troubles in Northern Ireland.” Environment and Planning D: Space and Society 25 (2007), 476-495. Grundlingh, Albert. War and Society: Participation and Remembrance – South African Black and Coloured Troops in the First World War, 1914–1918. Stellenbosch: SUN Press, 2014.

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Hawhee, Debra and Bradford Vivian. “Review Essay: On the Language of Forgetting.” Quarterly Journal of Speech 95:1 (2009), 89-104. Harrison, Ted. “Wearing a Red Poppy Was Once a Pledge of Peace but Now Sanitises the War.” The Guardian, 4 November 2016, http://noglory.org/index.php/articles/580wearing-a-poppy-was-a-pledge-of-peace-but-now-serves-to-sanitise-war. Hochschild, Adam. “First World War: A Century On: Time to Hail the Peacemakers?”, 28 July, 2014, http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jul/28/first-world-warcentury-anniversary-peacemakers. Hutchinson, John. “Warfare and the Sacralisation of Nations.” Millennium: Journal of International Studies 38 (2009), 401-417. Ignatieff, Michael. “Better to Forget and Move On.” The Sunday Times, 10 April, 2016, http://www.michaelignatieff.ca/assets/pdfs/Better%20to%20Forget%20and%20 Move%20On_Sunday%20Times.pdf. Laferrère, Annabelle. “2014: Much More Than a Year of Commemoration, Lessons for the Future.” 15 February, 2014, www.nouvelle-esurope.eu/en/2014-much-moreyear-commemoration-lessons-future. Leebaw, Bronwyn. “The Politics of Judging the Past: South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission.” In Historical Justice in International Perspective: How Societies are Trying to Right the Wrongs of the Past, eds. Manfred Berg and Bernd Schaefer. 265-290. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013. Liebman, Charles S. and Elizer Don-Yehiya. Civil Religion in Israel: Traditional Judaism and Political Culture in the Jewish State. Washington: Washington Press, 1983. Margalit, Avishai. The Ethics of Memory. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2002. Meral, Ziya. “A Duty to Remember? Politics and Morality of Remembering Past Atrocities.” International Political Anthropology 5:1 (2012), 29-50. Nasson, Bill. Springboks on the Somme: South Africa in the Great War 1914–1918. Johannesburg: Penguin, 2007. Nietzsche, Friedrich. Untimely Meditations. Translated by R.J. Hollingdale. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997 [1876]. Nguyen, Viet Thanh. “Just Memory: War and the Ethics of Remembrance.” American Literary History 25:1 (2013), 144-163. Nguyen, Viet Thanh. Nothing Ever Dies: Vietnam and the Memory of War. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2016. Quinn, Ben, Antoine Reverchon, Raffaello Masci and Joachim Käppner. “First World War: How Countries Across Europe Will Mark Centenary.” The Guardian, 16 January 2014, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jan/16/first-world-wareurope-centenary. Rankin, Elizabeth. “A Janus-like Juncture: Reconciling Past and Present at the Voortrekker Monument and Freedom Park.” In Bronze Warriors and Plastic


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Presidents: Public Art in South Africa, 1999–2015, eds. Kim Miller and Brenda Schmahmann, 3-28. Athens, OH: Indiana University Press, 2017. Reynolds, David. The Long Shadow: The Legacies of the Great War in the Twentieth Century. London: Simon and Schuster, 2013. Ricoeur, Paul. Figuring the Sacred: Religion, Narrative, and Imagination. Minneapolis: Augusburg Fortress, 1995. Ricoeur, Paul. Memory, History, Forgetting. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2006. Rieff, David. Against Remembrance and Other Essays. Dublin: The Liffey Press, 2011. Todman, Dan. “The Ninetieth Anniversary of the Battle of the Somme.” In War Memory and Popular Culture: Essays on Modes of Remembrance and Commemoration, eds. Michael Keren and Holger H. Herwig, 23-40. Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2009. Todorov, Tzvetan. Hope and Memory: Lessons from the Twentieth Century. Translated by David Bellos. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 2003. Vatan, Florence and Marc Silberman. “Introduction.” In Memory and Postwar Memorials: Confronting the Violence of the Past, eds. Marc Silberman and Florence Vatan, 1-11. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014. Villa-Vicencio, Charles. “Justice, Media, and Memory: The South African Transition.” In Public Memory, Public Media and the Politics of Justice, eds. Philip Lee and Pradip Ninan Thomas, 80-97. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012. Vivian, Brandon. Public Forgetting: The Rhetoric and Politics of Beginning Again. Philadelphia: Penn State University Press, 2010. Whitehead, Anne. Memory. London: Routledge, 2009. Wiesel, Eliezer. Night. Transl. by Marion Wiesel. London: Penguin Books, 2006. Wilson, Ross. Cultural Heritage of the Great War in Britain. Farnham, Surrey: Ashgate Press, 2013. Winter, Jay. Sites of Memory, Sites of Mourning: The Great War in European Cultural History. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995. Winter, Jay. “Commemorating War, 1914–1945.” In The Cambridge History of War, vol. 4: War and the Modern World, eds. Roger Chickering, Dennis Showalter and Hans Van de Ven, 310-326. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012. Yerushalmi, Yosef. Zakhor: Jewish History and Jewish Memory. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1996 [1982].

Chapter 3

Sacred Shrines of the Secular Age: War Memorials and Landscape in the Twentieth Century and Beyond Sam Edwards In March 2016, British tabloids were outraged when a video emerged of the BBC’s flagship television show – Top Gear – filming a sequence of car stunts within sight of the Cenotaph, the national war memorial. To be sure, the often controversial antics of the show’s previous presenters (most notably Jeremy Clarkson), together with the media swarm surrounding the new line-up (including Matt LeBlanc of Friends) meant that the press were primed for the merest hint of a headline. Even so, the on-going Centennial of the First World War, which had seen the conflict secure heightened visibility within British culture, ensured quick condemnation of what The Sun reported as a “disrespectful” act.1 Indeed, one former commander of British forces in Afghanistan, Colonel Richard Kemp, went much further, venting that: “It’s worse than doing a stunt in a cemetery and screaming round people’s graves … It’s a shocking desecration of one of our most sacred sites.”2 Much the same sentiment was expressed in 2009 when a university student taking part in an organized mass bar-crawl in Sheffield was photographed urinating on a war memorial in the city center. This time, The Daily Mail reported the local and national “revulsion” felt in the aftermath of this act of “desecration”, whilst a relative of one of those whose name is inscribed on the memorial was quoted as referring to the student in question as a “drunken idiot”.3 The numerous graffiti attacks 1  Dan Sales, Andy Hall and Tom Newton Dunn, “Clot Gear: BBC Motoring Show Accused of Disrespecting War Dead After Filming Cenotaph TV Stunt,” The Sun, March 14, 2016, accessed May 30, 2016, http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/showbiz/tv/6997690/Keep-it-downGeorge-Osborne-moans-at-Top-Gear-crew-as-they-film-new-series-outside-his-office.html. 2  Ibid. 3  See Chris Brooke, “Anger of WWI Veteran’s Family After Binge-Drinking Student Is Pictured Urinating on War Memorial,” The Daily Mail, October 16, 2009, accessed May 30, 2016, http:// www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1220579/Carnage-Shame-drunken-student-caught-uri nating-war-memorial-mass-pub-crawl.html See also: Chris Brooke, “Binge-Drinking Student Who Urinated on War Memorial is Spared Jail,” The Daily Mail, November 26, 2009, accessed May 30, 2016, http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1231130/Philip-Laing-Binge-drinkingstudent-urinated-war-memorial-spared-jail.html.

© Verlag Ferdinand Schöningh, 2019 | doi:10.30965/9783657788224_004


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perpetrated on the RAF Bomber Command Memorial in London have provoked similar anger. Dedicated in 2013, the memorial has already been defaced three times. In the aftermath of one attack, The Daily Express columnist, Stephen Pollard, opined that such acts of “desecration” (that word again) demanded a robust judicial response: “we must insist that those responsible for attacks on memorials are not merely punished but are given exemplary sentences. When they are found their sentences must reflect our anger.”4 There is, of course, a political dimension to these angry responses, a fact suggested by the extent to which the centre-Right tabloid press often lead the chorus. War memorials are political shrines that, at least in the twentieth century West, have tended to encode the values and ideals of the modern nation state: the so called “big words” famously critiqued by war poets such as Wilfred Owen (1893–1918) – honor, glory, duty, patriotism. But war memorials are not only political. As Jay Winter has written with reference to the commemorative outpouring that followed the slaughter of the Great War, war memorials were “as much existential as political, as much concerned with the facts of individual loss and bereavement as with art forms and with collective representations, national aspirations, and destinies.”5 With this in mind, this chapter explores the role of the war memorial as a sacred site in North America, Europe, and especially Britain; that is, as a site invested with cultural meaning, imbued with the symbolic presence of the warrior dead, and understood to “hint at something beyond.”6 At root, it is this latter fact that prompted many of the angry responses quoted above. For whilst the nineteenth century was the age of the great “confinement” – of children, of the poor, of the mentally ill, of the criminal – a development which likewise saw the dead controlled and contained in specific landscapes (cemeteries), the twentieth century saw, in contrast, the “return” of the dead. Or, rather, the cultural work undertaken to make sense of the mass death of 1914–18 and 1939– 45, together with the contemporary decline of organized religion, resulted in the sacred sentiment of the municipal cemetery being “released” into otherwise civic space. In towns and villages throughout Britain, France, Canada, Australia, the United States, Germany (to name just a few) the absent, bodiless 4  See Stephen Pollard, “We Must Throw the Book at Those Who Deface War Memorials,” The Daily Express, May 29, 2013, accessed May 30, 2016, http://www.express.co.uk/comment/express comment/403245/We-must-throw-the-book-at-those-who-deface-memorials. 5  Jay Winter, Sites of Memory, Sites of Mourning: The Great War in European Cultural History (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995), 79. 6  See Diane Barthel, Historic Preservation: Collective Identity and Historical Identity (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1996), 138. For more on the construction of sanctity, see Mircea Eliade, The Sacred and the Profane (New York: Harper & Row, 1961).

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and distant dead were commemorated at locations of local and national significance, an act which initiated a remarkable development in the contemporary relationship between war, memory and landscape. Since the time of the Ancients, war memorials have been erected on the sites of battles, the valorous moment securing for the monument its power and purpose. “Site-specific” Homeric battlefield trophies are of course still erected today.7 But the sacred capital of the modern war memorial is such that, in recent years, this relationship between site and symbol has been inverted. Indeed, due to the endeavours of the post-1918 period war memorials have now become so culturally powerful that they can create their own sanctity. Understood in these terms, the power and prevalence of war memorials in the modern West exposes an intriguing paradox. For whilst contemporary Western culture has to a large degree secularized, whilst the Western landscape has similarly been de-sacralized, and whilst the end of the Cold War had supposedly called forth the post-national age, the quotations above demonstrate that traditional religious feeling has not gone far. War memorials are the resurgent national shrines of the secular age, imbued with sacred sentiment and capable of converting almost any space into place, and any landscape into memoryscape.

Blood, Bodies and the Battlefield: Site-Specificity and the War Memorial

The idea of a war memorial – at least in the West – ultimately reaches back to the Ancients. The Spartans of Thermopylae were commemorated with a simple stone inscribed by the now famous words of Pericles (Tell them in Sparta, passerby, that here, obedient to their laws, we lie), whilst amongst the most important relics bequeathed by the warriors of Rome were the many monuments built in memory of their soldiers, and which now litter the peripheries of that once mighty Empire. As James Tatum has explained, even the great works of Classical literature – most notably Homer’s Illiad – were at root monuments to war; texts which interrogated the mourning and memorializing that follows battle.8 Such were the well-established precedents that later inspired the soldiers and statesmen of the long nineteenth century. Indeed, for the Georgians and Victorians, so many of whom understood themselves to be latter day 7  For a discussion of Site-specificity see Miwon Kwon, “One Place After Another: Notes on Site-Specificity,” October 80 (1987), 85-110. 8  See James Tatum, The Mourner’s Song: War and Remembrance from the Iliad to Vietnam (London: University of Chicago Press, 2003).


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Greeks and Romans, Classical forms provided much to imitate (especially amongst the agents of Britannia’s Empire). Take, for instance, the Corinthian column erected in 1843 in memory of Nelson’s Trafalgar triumph, or the statue dedicated to a toga-wearing George Washington in 1840, or the neoclassical Triumphal Arch commissioned by Napoleon in 1806 in the wake of his many victories, and ultimately completed in 1836. All interpreted the heroic actions of the present with reference to the styles and structures of the Classical past. Predictably, given all this interest in the Greeks and Romans, another idea bequeathed by the Ancients similarly was appropriated during the nineteenth century: that death in battle was glorious, and that the blood spilt had a qualitative effect on the landscape upon which it fell. Like the long since vanished Walls of Troy, therefore, the battlefields of the Victorian age were laden with cultural capital, an investment duly intensified – in the age of muscular Christianity – by the contemporary emergence of nationalism as a form of civil religion. Thus, amongst the political and military elites of the nineteenth century, long-established interest in Classical heroism joined with an emerging cult of Christian martyrdom to produce a uniquely powerful way of imagining the relationship between soldier, state, site and symbol. To die in battle for one’s country was now as noble as Leonidas at Thermopalye and as saintly as Christ’s passing at Golgotha. Within this formulation, the perished were worthy of remembrance due to both their heroism and their sacrifice, and the site at which the battle was fought thus became, by definition, sacred. Waterloo, for instance, soon entered the lexicon of famous battlefields; indeed, it was quickly paired with Marathon, and became a popular destination for those pilgrims, who wished to pay homage to the heroic past. Much the same would later happen at Gettysburg, albeit it on an even greater scale. The battlefield was popularized as North America’s Waterloo, and countless Homeric Trophies, many of which deliberately invoked Classical form and style (obelisks; heroic representations of Union and Confederate warriors), quickly overwhelmed the topography. So powerful did the site become, and so saturated with symbolism, that even regiments not present in 1863 later established memorials on the battlefield, clearly hoping to appropriate something of the sacred meaning through mere association.9 The historical significance of Waterloo and Gettysburg thus exerted – in symbolic terms – gravitational pull. People were drawn to the site, made sacred by martial sacrifice, and this symbolic investiture was expressed via monumental architecture, much of which deployed Classical form or Christian iconography to assert the landscape’s acquired difference. 9  See James Weeks, Gettysburg: Memory, Market and American Shrine (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2003), 61.

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On occasion, this quality of “difference” was even explored in art and poetry (the latter was yet another hint at the Classical precedents inspiring such activity). Tennyson’s noble Light Brigade turned the cold hills of Balaclava into a Christian “Valley of Death” and a Homeric “Mouth of Hell”, a landscape redolent with unfading martial “glory”.10 The body of Thomas Hardy’s Drummer Hodge, meanwhile, thrown “unconfined” into the dust of the South African veldt, similarly produced a change in the perception of place, turning an “unknown plain” into an “eternal” portion of “homely” Wessex.11 The bodies of George Armstrong Custer and the men of the 7th Cavalry, martyred on a grassy slope in the hot summer of 1876, duly sanctified the dusty Montanan soil.12 When war broke out in Europe in August 1914, therefore, a well-established commemorative grammar was ready and available, and all belligerents were primed to invest the landscapes of battle with symbolic meaning and political value. The very size and scale of the confrontations that soon followed only provided further impetus to this sanctification of landscape. For if a Sunday of carnage at Waterloo or three days of heavy fighting at Gettysburg could result in the establishment of what Edward Linenthal has referred to as “sacred ground”,13 then the intensity and duration of the fighting at Verdun or the Somme ensured that sanctification could be asserted even more forcefully. Indeed, this drive to assert the sanctity of the battlefield was further prompted by the extent to which the conflict had caused not just destruction, but desecration. This latter fact was powerfully explored in Lewis Milestone’s 1930 film adaptation of Erich Maria Remarque’s All Quiet on the Western Front, with one scene famously (and controversially) depicting an artillery attack on a village, during which the churchyard is pulverized. To escape from the shelling, the living seek cover in the graves of the dead, many of which have been blown open, their former residents strewn across the now desecrated land.

10  See Alfred Lord Tennyson, The Works of Alfred Lord Tennyson (Ware, Hertfordshire: Wordsworth Editions Limited, 1994), 408-409. 11  See Thomas Hardy, “Drummer Hodge,” accessed May 30, 2016, https://www.st-andrews. ac.uk/~pvm/HardyBWar/pracrit.html. 12   See Edward Linenthal, Sacred Ground: Americans and their Battlefields (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1991), 131-140. For a connected discussion of how landscapes of violence and tragedy can assume “special” qualities, see Kenneth Foote, Shadowed Ground: America’s Landscapes of Violence and Tragedy (Austin, Texas: University of Texas Press, 1997). 13  Ibid.


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This “death of landscape,”14 and the accompanying assault on the pastoral norms of peace, ensured that in the post-war period a key activity amongst both the victors and the defeated centred on careful and considered commemoration at the sites of battle. In this sense, the work of post-war memorial building represented an attempt to restore the devastated landscapes of northern France. But in another sense, such work also represented an effort to assert that the bloodletting of a million and more Drummer Hodge’s had produced a landscape of difference and distinction. Moreover, such qualitative difference was affirmed – and also constructed – via the establishment of two particular memorial forms: battlefield trophies established by units of the Allied armies (much like was the case at Gettysburg, half a century earlier); and the carefully planned commemorative programmes initiated by newly-created organizations like the Imperial War Graves Commission (IWGC), formed in 1917, and the American Battle Monuments Commission, established in 1923. Throughout Flanders and northern France veterans of the Allied armies built memorials to their fallen comrades on the sites of their battles. Meanwhile, new government agencies were created to ensure that no Tommy, Poilu or Doughboy would ever again be left “unconfined” or un-commemorated.15 In the course of this work, the idea emerged that whilst the war had devastated landscape and savaged nature, commemoration would restore it. For the IWGC, the key design concept centred on an idealized vision of the English country garden. Stone, statuary and shrubbery were all deployed to fulfil Rupert Brooke’s 1914 vision of the fallen British warrior resting in a “corner of England.”16 For the ABMC, meanwhile, a more formal and grandiose style was adopted, partly because fewer Americans died in battle, and so fewer would remain overseas. Keen not to be overshadowed by their British allies, the ABMC thus chose to consolidate their dead into a small number of large cemeteries. Even so, landscape design and horticulture were still deployed to create an Americanized version of the English garden, a place of sombre reflection and contemplation, replete with Gothic and Romanesque architecture.17 Industrialized combat was thus 14  See Samuel Hynes, A War Imagined: The First World War and English Culture (London: The Bodley Head, 1990). 15  For details about the many memorials built in France and Flanders after the war, see Rose E.B. Coombes, Before Endeavours Fade: A Guide to the Battlefields of the First World War (London: Battle of Britain Prints International, 1976). 16  See Philip Longworth, The Unending Vigil: A History of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, 1916–1967 (London: Constable, 1967). Mandy Morris, “Gardens ‘For Ever England’: Landscape, Identity and the First World War Cemeteries on the Western Front”, Ecumene 4 (4) (1997), pp. 410-434; Michael Heffermen, “For Ever England: the Western Front and the Politics of Remembrance in Britain”, Ecumene 2 (3) (1995), pp. 293-323. 17  For details of the ABMC’s post-1918 activities, see Elizabeth Grossman, ‘Architecture for a Public Client: The Monuments and Chapels of the American Battle Monuments

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memorialized via evocative celebrations of the rustic, rural and medieval. Throughout the 1920s and 1930s, thousands of pilgrims – veterans, families of the fallen – made emotional journeys to these now sacred landscapes, in doing so reasserting their value, worth and difference.

Absence and Atomization: War Memorials in the Age of Total War

The experience of 1914–18 thus intensified a process of landscape appropriation first consolidated – in a modern form – by the Victorians. The devastated and desecrated fields of the Western Front were restored, becoming managed landscapes of memory redolent with meaning (and monuments). Crucial to this development was an attempt to re-cultivate nature in order to make scarred landscapes sacred. But this was just one of the commemorative responses to the conflict; the other was almost the inverse. For the age of Total War had introduced a new and horrifying consequence to conflict – that the industrial technology of battle did not just kill; it could atomize, obliterate and disappear the body.18 In such a situation, rejuvenating green pastures in which the dead might repose could only achieve so much; what of the dead who – unlike Drummer Hodge – had left no remains? And what of the families of the fallen, so many of whom were now separated by time and tide from the landscapes of memory? The response to this challenge left a profound mark on the towns and villages of Europe, Australasia and North America: war memorials, thousands of which were erected in Britain alone during the 1920s. This was the largest programme of public architecture of its kind ever witnessed, and it resulted in the return of the dead. Not in the very literal manner so powerfully explored by Abel Gance’s film, J’Accuse (1919) – which concluded with scenes of fallen soldiers rising from the grave, and demanding restitution from the living – but in a symbolic sense. That is, the war memorials erected were to be tombs of the disappeared dead; markers of memory at which those loved and lost could be mourned. In France, this dynamic to post-1918 commemoration was particularly explicit: the memorials built were in fact defined as monuments aux morts – monuments to the dead – and in line with Catholic tradition, many were in effect municipal cavalries dedicated to those who fell for France and dominated Commission’, Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, XLIII, 2, (1984): 119-143. See also G. Kurt Piehler, Remembering War the American Way (Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1995), 98-99; Lisa Budreau, Bodies of War: World War I and the Politics of Commemoration in America, 1919–1933 (New York: New York University Press, 2010). 18  See Reinhart Koselleck, The Practice of Conceptual History (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2002), 319.


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by the names of those lost. Even those established in secular civic space often lingered on the moment of passing: heroic poilu, arms outstretched, frozen in the sacrificial act.19 Notable too was the way in which this act included a territorial claim: the dead were appropriated not just to the imagined and abstract – le patrie – but also to the real and regional – le pays. On occasion, this appropriation became actual. One of the great obstacles to the post-1918 construction of French national war cemeteries concerned the competing claims made on the dead, and the fact that on numerous occasions the graves of fallen were robbed by next of kin desperate to take their son, or husband, or brother home.20 Here is a powerful demonstration of what Graham Robb has eloquently explained about early-twentieth century France – that to a large degree it was a consolidated whole only in the minds of certain intellectuals, poets and politicians. In fact, the relationship between Paris and the Provinces was not unlike that of Imperial metropole and periphery, with residents of the latter stubbornly regional in mind and manners (and indeed often possessing a distinct dialect, undecipherable by those who inhabited the Parisian salons).21 Little wonder that the French military so favoured literally “entombing” their dead. Take, for instance, the giant Douaumont Ossuary in which are held the remains of 130,000 French and German soldiers killed during the fighting at Verdun. Such fortresses of the fallen not only ensured that the dead could guard the French borders for evermore; they also protected the dusty remains from acquisitive and bereaved family. The French experience is suggestive of the ways in which other cultures – separated from the fields of memory in a much more physical sense – would similarly respond to the challenge of post-war commemoration. For if it was a long way from Burgandy to Picardy, it was even further from Britain, or Canada, or Australia. Moreover, in stark contrast to French policy, in 1917 the British Imperial authorities made a landmark decision regarding the bodies of the dead. Without exception, all those killed at the Front were to be buried at or near where they died. Hence the extensive programme of cemetery building 19  For details of French war memorials, see Antoine Prost, “Les Monuments aux Morts, Culte républicain? Culte Civique? Culte Patriotique?” in Les Lieux de Memoire, Vol. I, La République, ed. Pierre Nora (Paris: Éditions Gallimord, 1984), 195-225; Jacques Bouillon and Michel Petzold, Mémoire Figée, Mémoire Vivante: Les monuments aux morts (Charenton-le-Pont: Citédis, 1999). 20  For details of post-1918 French commemoration, see Daniel Sherman The Construction of Memory in Interwar France (London: University of Chicago Press, 1999). See too Daniel Sherman, “Bodies and Names: The Emergence of Commemoration in Interwar France,” American Historical Review 103:2 (1998), 443-466. 21  See Graham Robb, The Discovery of France (London: Picador, 2007).

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outlined above; but hence too what Ken Inglis has referred to as the “homecoming” represented by post-1918 memorial building.22 In cities, towns and villages throughout the Empire the absent dead were brought home via structures that mourned their passing. Some were eternalized as ever-vigilant sentinels; some as warrior youth off to battle; and some as sainted saviours whose sacrifice had redeemed the sins of the living. Regardless of the specifics of form and style, many of these designs implicitly sought to restore – visually – the body of those obliterated or disappeared. Even where such corporeal resurrection was not quite so explicit, it remained implied or assumed. See, for example, the other popularly employed symbolism of post-1918 memorials: the Cross.23 See also, the central place of names in post-war commemorative culture: these were signifiers with intensified meaning precisely because the signified – the body – was gone. Thus, memorials carried the burden of names because the burden of bodies was too great to bear (the ossuary at Verdun notwithstanding), or because such bodies had dissolved into the ether. Understood in these terms, Kipling’s epigraph for all those slaughtered during the Great War – an epigraph which has since been applied to many later generations of British war dead – is powerfully suggestive of the commemorative ideas shaping remembrance in the age of Total War: “Their Name Liveth for Evermore.”24 This bodiless dynamic was of course explicitly present in the two structures dedicated in 1920 as national war memorials in Britain: the Cenotaph and the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior. The former was deliberately designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens (also the author of that cathedral to names, the Memorial to the Missing at Theipval on the Somme) as an “empty tomb” in the Classical style (that influence again), whilst the latter – its symbolic counterpart – offered a medieval grave to the unknown and ordinary Tommy. Put another way, one was a bodiless tomb, and the other entombed a nameless body.25 It 22  See Ken Inglis, “The Homecoming: The War Memorial Movement in Cambridge, England,” Journal of Contemporary History 27:4 (1992), 583-606. 23  For details about post-1918 British memorial building, see Alex King, Memorials of the Great War in Britain: The Symbolism and Politics of Remembrance (Oxford: Berg, 1998). 24  For a discussion of the importance of names in post-war commemorative culture, see Bob Bushaway,” Name upon Name; the Great War and Remembrance,” in Myths of the English, ed. R. Porter (Cambridge: Polity Press, 1992), 136-167; Thomas Laqueur, “Memory and Naming in the Great War,” in Commemorations: The Politics of National Identity ed. John R. Gillis (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1993), 150-167. Sam Edwards, “An Empire of Memory: Overseas British War Cemeteries, 1917-1983”, International Journal of Military History and Historiography, 38 (2018), pp. 215-286. 25  For details of these two memorials, see Neil Hansen, The Unknown Soldier: The Story of the Missing of the Great War (London: Corgi, 2007); David Crane, Empires of the Dead (London: William Collins, 2014).


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is amongst and between these two poles of meaning that the thousands of memorials erected in British towns and villages thus found their purpose. They were – necessarily – empty tombs that carried the names of those symbolically “interred” whose bodies were otherwise absent or atomized. It is this funereal quality to post-war memorial building that has been identified and asserted by Jay Winter. Whilst undoubtedly political in form and function, and whilst most certainly spaces in which the “imaginative” work of national community building was undertaken, the memorials erected in post-war Europe were also sites of grief, hurt, and loss.26 They were designed to bring the dead home, and their dedication ceremonies were to all intense purposes – funerals. Attended by clergy, with the mourning in Black, and with orations that offered eulogies to those who had departed never to return, memorial dedications thus exposed the melancholy at the very centre of post-war memorial culture. However, these ceremonies also exposed something else – a claim on the landscape. For tradition dictates that funerals are generally performed in spaces of designated or accumulated sanctity: churches, chapels, crematoria. To be sure, many post1918 war memorials were erected at just such locations, thereby allowing the soldier dead to rest with ancient forebears (the very object of the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior in Westminster Abbey). But many were not. Indeed, after the Great War, many war memorials in Britain, the United States and France were purposefully established in civic – rather than religious – space. The consequences of this decision were profound. For the dedication of a symbolic tomb to the bodiless dead on civic land enacted a claim and a conversion. The land was appropriated as different, “special”, and this difference was duly affirmed by ritual activity. The result was the sanctification of the secular, and the sacralization of the nation state. Through the use of Christian iconography (the Cross), Christian vocabulary (sacrifice), and Christian/Classical ritual (the warrior’s funeral), landscape distant from the site of battle was nonetheless imbued with the presence of the war dead. After 1918, therefore, the sacred memoryscapes of war were not just those carrying battlefield trophies or soldierly cemeteries. Rather, having returned home (like Odysseus) the distant and departed dead brought with them sacred sentiment and symbolism. Their ghostly presence, contingent on their names rather than their bodies, now performed the same symbolic work as the bones of Drummer Hodge in the Crimea of the 1850s. And this was the crucial shift in the cultural work performed by war memorials in the twentieth century: from achieving their sanctity because 26  Winter, Sites of Memory, 79. For memorials and monuments and the construction of the “imagined community” of the nation state, see Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities (London: Verso, 2002).

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they stood atop the very dust of the fallen on the specific landscape of battle, to actively constructing sanctity via the symbolic presence of those whose bodies were gone, but whose names lived for evermore. This shift uncoupled battle and battlefield, memory and landscape. Or, rather, this shift, which was produced and provoked by death on an industrial scale and across geographies increasingly distant from the metropole, meant that in the age of nationalism as civil religion landscapes other than the actual site of combat could now secure sacred status.27

Shrines of the Secular Age: War Memorials and the Sanctification of Landscape

The potential of this idea was once again first explored in the years after the First World War. Horrified by the desecration of nature that accompanied the fighting on the Western Front, elements of the post-war generation did not just seek to bury the bodies of the dead in green pastures designed according to national politics and persuasion; on occasion they similarly sought to catacomb the very memory of the dead.28 The pre-eminent British example of this process concerns the establishment of certain mountain landscapes as war memorials. As Jonathan Westaway has explained, the post-1918 efforts undertaken to appropriate Scafell Pile (the highest mountain in England), and Great Gable (its neighbour) as war memorials are indicative of Edwardian thought concerning how best to negotiate the war’s trauma and tragedy. In a culture with a heightened aesthetic appreciation of nature (demonstrated not just in the work of the war poets, but also by the use of pastoral propaganda), and a culture in which rugged mountain landscapes had long been valorized as expressive of national character and quality, the “sacralization” of Lakeland fells represented both act of homage and act of renewal.29 For by purchasing and then ceding these mountains to the National Trust as war memorials, a combination of climbers, mountaineers, and local gentry established a “spectral landscape” of memory in which the living could 27  For the idea of civil religion, see Robert Bellah, “Civil Religion in America,” Daedalus 96:1 (1967), 1-21. 28  For details of the role played by nature in post-war commemoration, see George Mosse, Fallen Soldiers: Reshaping the Memory of the World Wars (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1990), 107-125. See also Paul Fussell, The Great War and Modern Memory (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000), 231-269. 29  See Jonathan Westaway, “Mountains of Memory, Landscapes of Loss: Scafell Pike and Great Gable as War Memorials, 1919–1924,” Landscapes 14:2 (2013), 174-193.


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commune with the lost.30 Not in morbidity or via the questionable practices of “mediums” (the latter experienced a resurgence in the 1920s), but through muscular and contemplative engagement with the very landscapes the dead had enlisted to defend. Seen in this light, these were Fells both of, and for, the Fallen; this was spiritualism of the body (rather than that of simply the mind). Or, as Westaway, has it: these were mountain “cenotaphs”.31 Similar landscape cenotaphs were established elsewhere in the 1920s. Just south of Barrow in Furness, the landowner – the Duke of Buccleugh – donated Piel Castle and Island to the local community as a war memorial.32 In the English Peak District – another area associated with both pre-war and interwar demonstrations of muscular Christianity and class assertions of freedom – ramblers walked and thought, drawing physical and imaginative connections between bleak moorlands and blasted warlands.33 In the United States, Robert McCormick, publisher of the Chicago Tribune and veteran of the First Infantry Division renamed his Illinois country estate “Cantigny”, in honor of the battle there fought by the American Expeditionary Force in 1917. In due course, the estate would also be the site of a museum dedicated the First Infantry’s victories and veterans. In Germany, meanwhile, post-war valorization of Gothic “nature” produced so-called Heldenhaine, “surrogate military cemeteries (without graves) enclosed and separated from their surroundings”.34 Such groves provided a space for both remembrance and rejuvenation; nature herself as a “living memorial”. Combined, these activities ensured that by the time of the Second World War, two ideas of where to establish war memorials co-existed. The first idea, with roots in the age of the Ancients, privileged site-specificity: memorials were to be built at or on the battlefield, with the symbolic structures duly created securing their sanctity through association. The second idea, a product of the uncoupling of landscape and memory bequeathed by the Great War, allowed for the establishment of memorials at “other” locations: village greens, outside town halls, municipal and civic space, even mountains. These were sites of memory that secured their sanctity through the practices of mourning. As such, they both enabled and enacted the sanctification of landscape, a development that was only more explicitly constructed than was apparent 30  Ibid. 31  Ibid. 32  Ibid. 33  See Melanie Tebbutt, “Rambling and manly Identity in Derbyshire’s Dark Peak, 1880s1920s,” Historical Journal 49:4 (2006), 1125-1153. 34  Mosse, Fallen Soldiers, 87.

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at site-specific memorials. The post-1945 period duly saw both types of commemorative activity. At various locations throughout Europe, battlefields were memorialized, with the American military proving particularly active in this regard. Indeed, as Michael Snape has recently shown, American soldiers were very much “primed” to understand their role in Europe with reference to the rhetoric of righteousness, and thus they were also primed to find the sacred in military valour and victory.35 In the late summer of 1945, for example, one American General, Lucian K. Truscott, even commissioned a junior officer to embark upon a monument mission. In the space of three months, this officer succeeded in establishing memorial tablets at all of the beaches at which Truscott’s Third Infantry Division had landed between 1943 and 1944. These were classic battlefield trophies of the sought that Homer would have understood.36 And they were not alone. In Normandy, site of the Homeric “catalogue” of D-Day, units of the Allied military moved quickly to secure a place in post-war history. The veterans of the First Infantry Division erected a tall obelisk listing the names of their dead overlooking the killing grounds of bloody Omaha; the 1st Engineer Special Brigade established a solid marker in memory of their Fallen at Utah Beach; at Ste. Mere Eglise, Airborne troops established a stone commemorating the spot at which they had descended into battle; and at Pointe du Hoc, the entire battlefield won by a daring D-Day assault was later ceded to the US government as a space made sacred by the blood of American warriors.37 Just as had been the case at Gettysburg in the 1880s, some military units even employed memorials as a means to re-define their role in the war. Thus, at Utah Beach, veterans of the 90th Infantry would fund a memorial marker for placement on the beach, even though they had in fact not arrived in theatre until the fighting on the Norman beachhead was long since over. In time, the very passage taken by the liberating armies would be marked across the French and Belgian landscapes, first via a French-funded “Way of Liberty,” and later by the independent actions of Allied veterans’ organizations, who combined to 35  See Michael Snape, God and Uncle Sam: Religion and America’s Armed Forces in World War II (Woodbridge: The Boydell Press, 2015). 36  See United States Army Military History Institute (hereafter USAMHI), Lucian K. Truscott, Jr. photograph collection, United States 3rd Infantry Division’s Beachhead Monuments of World War II. See also, Sam Edwards, “Monument Missions: Remembrance, Reconstruction and Transatlantic Memory in Post-war Europe, c. 1945–1962,” in War Memories: Commemoration, Recollections and Writings on War, eds. Stéphanie Bélanger and Renée Dickason (Montreal: McGill-Queens University Press, forthcoming in 2017). 37  See Sam Edwards, Allies in Memory: World War II and the Politics of Transatlantic Commemoration, c. 1941–2001 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015), 94-97.


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commemorate in the decades after the war’s end, and duly marked the route of their European Odyssey.38 Elsewhere, the brutal and often barbaric nature of the European war also saw the establishment of various other memorial landscapes, all of which had been made sacred not by Allied arms, but by the blood of innocents. Perhaps most notable amongst such landscapes was Oradour-sur-Glane, a small village in the Haute-Vienne destroyed by the Waffen-SS in June 1944; 642 of the inhabitants – men, women and children – were massacred. After the war, Charles du Gaulle decreed that the village should be preserved in its devastation as a memorial to the occupation.39 The preservation of the destroyed and desecrated was a recurring theme in post-1945 memorial building, with damaged churches and cathedrals a popular target of those – like Winston Churchill – keen to explore the ritualization of ruins.40 Other landscapes of murder identified for conservation and commemoration included the death camps, such Auschwitz-Birkenau. If the atrocities of the Second World War in Europe ensured that post-1945 commemoration was often drawn to the scarred landscapes of destruction, the conflict also intensified another aspect of twentieth century Total War: bodily disappearance. This was, of course, the very terror realized by the bureaucracy of Nazi industrial slaughter, a bureaucracy that tasked itself with the administration of disappearance: bodies burnt, names erased, lives annihilated. The bureaucracy of Western military institutions ensured that for their members one aspect of this disappearance – the loss of the name – was at least denied. But in other respects, the war was similarly marked by a peculiar degree of bodily absence, particularly for those who fought and fell on sea and in the air. To be sure, the physical loss of sailor’s bodies was by no means new, and by no means unusual. Such loss had marked fishing communities for centuries, and was similarly a recurring theme in the aftermath of naval confrontations. To fight at sea was to risk death in (and by) an element which specifically lacked the very permanence so necessary to traditional conceptions of “entombing”. As Herman Melville wrote in that monument to the marine, Moby Dick:

38  Ibid., 105-111. 39  See Sarah Farmer, Martyred Village: Commemorating the 1944 Massacre at Oradour-surGlane (London: University of California Press, 1999). 40  See Sir Hugh Casson, Barbara Jones, Brenda Colvin, Jacques Groag, Bombed Churches as War Memorials (Cheam, Surrey: The Architectural Press, 1945). After the First World War Churchill had suggested that shell-scarred Ypres should be preserved in its state of destruction as a memorial.

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Oh! Ye whose dead lie buried beneath the green grass; who standing among flowers can say – here, here lies my beloved; ye know not the desolation that broods in bosoms like these. What bitter blanks in those black-bordered marbles which cover no ashes! What despair in those immovable inscriptions! What deadly voids and unbidden infidelities in the lines that seem to gnaw upon all Faith, and refuse resurrections to the beings who have placelessly perished without a grave. As well might those tablets stand in the cave of Elephanta as here.41 The very same “desolation” similarly caused anguish in the aftermath of the great naval battles of the Second World War (which saw far more fighting at sea than did the Great War). Fortunately, Naval tradition already offered a response to such disappearance: the dead were memorialized at the place of embarkation.42 It was this idea, now accentuated by the post-1918 uncoupling of landscape and memory, which duly provided the inspiration to those endeavouring to memorialise the sky warriors who, like Icarus, had their wings burned in the wide blue yonder. And there were many to memorialize: the Allied Strategic Bombing campaign waged between 1942 and 1945 would cost the lives of c. 160,000 Allied and Axis airmen. The memorials established at the war’s end, and over the subsequent decades, drew together many of the ideas so far discussed. Like the post-1918 cemeteries of the IWGC, many of the memorials established in Britain (to American and British and Commonwealth aircrew) found sustenance in evocations of the pastoral. Stained-glass windows featuring depictions of youthful airmen embarked upon their final flight to the ever after were particularly popular, and worked to join the rural landscapes from which so many had departed to the ethereal (and heavenly) skyscapes in which their sacrifice was made.43 Equally popular was the merging of meaning that accompanied the attachment of new names, or a new plaque, to the memorial established in the 1920s. In places, the names of fallen airmen were thus “grounded” with those of the earlier generation. In later years, this idea was developed further by the erection of entirely new memorials within sight

41  Herman Melville, Moby Dick, or The Whale (Penguin Books, London, 2003), 41. First published by Harper & Brothers, 1851. 42  Longworth, Unending Vigil, 82. 43   For information about such memorials, see David Beaty, Light Perpetual: Aviators Memorial Window (Shrewsbury: Airlife Publishing Limited, 1995); David Smith, Britain’s Aviation Memorials & Mementoes (Sparkford, Somerset: Patrick Stephens Limited, 1992).


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of the first. Here, the connection was deliberate; the latter memorial securing power and purpose from its connection with the old monument.44 Whilst many such memorials were, due to their design (stained-glass windows) or authorship (often involving local clergy), established in locations already recognized as sacred, others were erected on land lacking such symbolic investment: the airfield. To memorialize on the airfield in this way posed problems, for these were utilitarian landscapes in at least two senses. First, the vast majority of the airfields created during the 1940s involved the compulsory purchase of landscapes well used to plough and pasture; that is working landscapes, agricultural landscapes. Second, having been acquired by the War Office or Air Ministry, these landscapes were then converted via concrete into a militarized space, complete with barracks, hangers, and workshops. Yet despite such militarization, they still lacked the “acquired” qualities of the conventional battlefield: the enemy might occasionally attack, and at times accident or (mis)adventure would cause death. But these were not sites of battle readily made sacred by the blood of the fallen (as was the case with the Western Front, or the D-Day beaches). Further, the very nature of air combat provided additional problems. As more than one contemporary commentator observed, for the spectator, battle amidst the clouds so often had a final, instantaneous – and often frighteningly beautiful – quality. Indeed, Samuel Hynes (historian of the cultural response to the First World War and veteran of the Second) wrote that the striking thing about air war “is the speed, the finality, the god-awful neatness of it. So often there is little trace of what or who is lost.”45 This “god-awful” neatness, the absence of a terra-ferma battlefield, and the disappearance of the dead demanded an adequate commemorative retort; this was found by exploiting the opportunities bequeathed by the commemorative activities of the 1920s. The result was the drawing back to earth of the fallen sky warrior in order, paradoxically, to assert simultaneously his heavenly ascent. Put another way, the result was the sanctification of the airfield landscape via the establishment of yet more symbolic tombs to the absent dead of twentieth century Total War. In Britain, for instance, the 1980s and 1990s witnessed the dedication of hundreds of such structures amongst the former airfields of the USAAF and the RAF. As after 1918, many were specifically funerary in form and style (black granite, executed by local funerary masons), and many were unveiled within carefully choreographed rituals and ceremonies. Such rituals were often led by clergy (military or civilian), involved the presence of returning veteran-pilgrims, and witnessed eulogies to the dead as well as invocations 44  For details, see Edwards, Allies in Memory, 39-43 and 149-163. 45  Samuel Hynes, quoted in Tatum, The Mourner’s Song, 127.

3. Sacred Shrines of the Secular Age


of their continued ghostly presence upon the landscape that was now their terrestrial home.46 Such was the cultural power exerted by this activity that threats to these sacralized landscapes were even identified as potential acts of desecration. In 1992, for instance, plans to turn one former American airfield into a regional refuse tip provoked an outraged response from a local community in Norfolk, and from American veterans. One local critic wrote to the council to explain that the airfield was “really sacred ground to them [the veterans]”, whilst the niece of a former airmen wrote to say that the airfield “was the last ground hundreds of men ever walked upon … this land in my opinion, is consecrated.”47 The crucial issue revealed by these outbursts was that although somewhat distant from the bloody business of war, these landscapes had nonetheless been invested with the spirits of the dead, and thus had ceased to be ordinary or everyday. They were sacred spaces, rich in memory and watered with the tears of pilgrims. The twentieth century’s great scholar of memory, W.G. Sebald (1944–2001), powerfully affirmed just such a fact. Sebald, a German of the postwar generation who for many years lived amongst the East Anglian airfields of the bombing war, was often drawn to these places, finding in them echoes of a history they could never escape. Indeed, The Rings of Saturn is in many respects an extended eulogy to these ties of history and memory,48 whilst in The Natural History of Destruction Sebald confesses to wandering the ruined remains of air war and there sensing “the dead souls of those who didn’t come back and of those who perished in the fires.”49 Conclusion During the twentieth century (and beyond), the relationship between war, memory, landscape and national community was profoundly shaped and re-shaped by the age of Total War. Inheriting a Classically-inspired Victorian tradition of memorializing at the site of battle, those that endured the Great War commenced the work of commemoration by identifying the specific locations of heroic martial endeavour. What followed was the erection of countless commemorative markers to countless military units. Meanwhile, the agents of 46  Edwards, Allies in Memory, 149-163. 47  See Mrs Michael Barne to Mr Haslam (Norfolk Planning Office), 27 April 1992 and Carol Gerard to Mr Haslam, 24 January 1992. Norfolk Records Office, MC 615/59 783x7. 48  See W.G. Sebald, The Rings of Saturn (New York: New Directions, 1999), 38-40. 49  W.G.  Sebald, On the Natural History of Destruction (London: Hamish Hamilton, 2003), 77.


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Allied governments – especially the British and Americans – likewise turned their attention to commemorating at the site of combat, duly establishing numerous battlefield cemeteries. Whilst designed in accordance with distinct national ambitions and assumptions, all nonetheless found in the ideals of the “garden” and in the imagery of country churchyard a means to make right the “natural destruction” caused by the war. In place of dead landscapes would come vital landscapes of memory. And all drew their cultural power from the location: the site of battle was the site of sacrifice, and the sacred qualities of the landscape was a product of this act. The monumental and funerary architecture later erected thus merely confirmed a quality already understood to be present. For others, however, the war’s death and destruction also demanded another commemorative response, particularly in those nations distant from the fields in which the fallen had been interred. The result was – symbolically – the return of the dead. Having made their sacrifice in “foreign fields”, the dead – or, at least, their names – were remembered via memorials deliberately placed at the very center of their local and national communities. Sometimes, this meant the village churchyard, a location long privileged for such a purpose, for these were places where “memories last”.50 On many occasions though, war memorials were erected in civic space. In doing so, the structures built enacted an appropriation: the secular was made sacred; the site itself had no such meaning until the monument had been unveiled. In a handful of places, this uncoupling of landscape and memory even resulted in the dedication of nature as memorial; hence the donation of Scafell Pike to the National Trust in Britain, or the establishment of woodland heroes groves in Germany. These were the two commemorative concepts produced by industrial war, and bequeathed by the 1920s. Both saw new service after 1945. In Europe especially, battlefields were demarcated and then dedicated, whilst elsewhere destroyed villages (Oradour) and villages of destruction (Auschwitz) were preserved for posterity. Meanwhile, the atomization and obliteration caused by industrial war was experienced in a new and horrifying way by those who fought at sea, and especially in the sky. Up in the blue azure death came quickly, without warning, and often left little if any trace. In response to this, memorial builders invoked the precedents provided a generation earlier. Fallen sky warriors were brought “home”, buried in symbolic tombs, and then allowed to complete their heavenly resurrection. The result of this work of entombing

50  See J. Bartlett and K.M. Ellis, “Remembering the Dead in Northrop: First World War Memorials in a Welsh Parish,” Journal of Contemporary History 34:2 (1999), 232.

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was the sacralization not of the civic, but of the utilitarian: farmland became sacred land, invested with the ghostly presence of the dead. But what of that other idea bequeathed by the 1920s: landscape as memory? It is in Britain that this idea appears most persistent. After 1945, more National Parks were created, an act that certainly owed much to contemporary perceptions of the cultural value of the land, perceptions partly produced by wartime propaganda, by the 1940s campaign for national self-sufficiency, and by a sense that in the age of Auschwitz and the Atom, nature mattered. Hardly surprising then that in 1994, during the fiftieth anniversary, trees were planted as a D-Day memorial at Bushy Park near London, whilst a “Normandy Oak” (that most Germanic of trees) – likewise commemorating D-Day – is carefully protected and cultivated in the New Forest.51 Even more revealing, however, is the memorial landscape unveiled in May 2001 on the site of some old gravel-workings just to the north of Lichfield in Staffordshire. This is Britain’s National Memorial Arboretum. Originally conceived as a “living tribute” to British service men and women, the arboretum (an idea not that distant from that of heroes’ groves) now has almost 300 memorials to military units, civilian organizations and various voluntary bodies connected in some way to twentieth and twentyfirst century conflict. Like the act of appropriation performed by village and municipal memorials built in the 1920s, the landscape has been purposefully made sacred by the many structures it now contains. It is an old industrial site detached, distant and disconnected from the actual scenes of war; and yet it is now Britain’s pre-eminent sacred landscape of memory, a secular national shrine which marks the distance travelled over the last century. Church membership is declining, the role of religion in the everyday life of many Britons is conspicuous in its absence. Yet ceremony and ritual have not disappeared; war memorials are the shrines of the secular age, and they are the sacred architecture of increasingly resurgent national cultures which now rarely build churches, but which clearly still have religious sentiment to invoke and invest. Works Cited Anderson, Benedict. Imagined Communities. London: Verso, 2002. Barne, Mrs Michael to Mr Haslam, April 27, 1992. Norfolk Records Office, MC 615/59 783x7.

51  For the Normandy Oak, see Richard Mabey, The Ash and the Beech (London: Vintage, 2013), 98.


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Barthel, Diane. Historic Preservation: Collective Identity and Historical Identity. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1996. Bartlett, J. and K.M. Ellis. “Remembering the Dead in Northrop: First World War Memorials in a Welsh Parish.” Journal of Contemporary History. 34, 2 (1999): 231-242. Beaty, David. Light Perpetual: Aviators Memorial Window. Shrewsbury: Airlife Publishing Limited, 1995. Bellah, Robert. “Civil Religion in America.” Daedalus, 96, 1, (1967): 1-21. Bouillon, Jacques, and Michel Petzold. Mémoire Figée, Mémoire Vivante: Les monuments aux morts. Charenton-le-Pont: Citédis, 1999. Brooke, Chris. “Anger of WWI Veteran’s Family After Binge-Drinking Student Is Pictured Urinating on War Memorial”, The Daily Mail, October 16, 2009. Accessed May 30, 2016. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1220579/Carnage-Shame-drunkenstudent-caught-urinating-war-memorial-mass-pub-crawl.html. Brooke, Chris. “Binge-Drinking Student Who Urinated on War Memorial is Spared Jail”, The Daily Mail, November 26, 2009. Accessed May 30, 2016. http://www.dailymail. co.uk/news/article-1231130/Philip-Laing-Binge-drinking-student-urinated-warmemorial-spared-jail.html. Budreau, Lisa. Bodies of War: World War I and the Politics of Commemoration in America, 1919–1933. New York: New York University Press, 2010. Bushaway, Bob. “Name upon Name; the Great War and Remembrance”, in Myths of the English, ed. R. Porter, 136-167. Cambridge: Polity Press, 1992. Casson, Sir Hugh, Barbara Jones, Brenda Colvin, Jacques Groag. Bombed Churches as War Memorials. Cheam, Surrey: The Architectural Press, 1945. Coombes, Rose E.B. Before Endeavours Fade: A Guide to the Battlefields of the First World War. London: Battle of Britain Prints International, 1976. Crane, David. Empires of the Dead. London: William Collins, 2014. Edwards, Sam. Allies in Memory: World War II and the Politics of Transatlantic Commemoration, c. 1941–2001. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015. Edwards, Sam. “Monument Missions: Remembrance, Reconstruction and Transatlantic Memory in Post-war Europe, c. 1945–1962”, in War Memories: Commemoration, Recollections and Writings on War, edited by Stéphanie Bélanger and Renée Dickason. Montreal: McGill-Queens University Press, forthcoming in 2017. Edwards, Sam. “An Empire of Memory: Overseas British War Cemeteries, 1917-1983”, International Journal of Military History and Historiography, 38 (2018), pp. 215-286. Eliade, Mircea. The Sacred and the Profane. New York: Harper & Row, 1961. Farmer, Sarah. Martyred Village: Commemorating the 1944 Massacre at Oradour-surGlane. London: University of California Press, 1999. Foote, Kenneth. Shadowed Ground: America’s Landscapes of Violence and Tragedy. Austin, Texas: University of Texas Press, 1997.

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Fussell, Paul. The Great War and Modern Memory. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000. Gerard, Carol to Mr Haslam, January 24, 1992. Norfolk Records Office, MC 615/59 783x7. Grossman, Elizabeth. “Architecture for a Public Client: The Monuments and Chapels of the American Battle Monuments Commission”, Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, XLIII, 2, (1984): 119-143. Hansen, Neil. The Unknown Soldier: The Story of the Missing of the Great War. London: Corgi, 2007. Hardy, Thomas. “Drummer Hodge”. Accessed May 30, 2016. https://www.st-andrews. ac.uk/~pvm/HardyBWar/pracrit.html. Heffermen, Michael. “For Ever England: the Western Front and the Politics of Remembrance in Britain”, Ecumene 2 (3) (1995), pp. 293-323. Hynes, Samuel. A War Imagined: The First World War and English Culture. London: The Bodley Head, 1990. Inglis, Ken. “The Homecoming: The War Memorial Movement in Cambridge, England”, Journal of Contemporary History 27, 4 (1992): 583-606. King, Alex. Memorials of the Great War in Britain: The Symbolism and Politics of Remembrance. Oxford: Berg, 1998. Koselleck, Reinhart. The Practice of Conceptual History. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2002. Kwon, Miwon. “One Place After Another: Notes on Site-Specificity,” October 80 (1987): 85-110. Laqueur, Thomas. “Memory and Naming in the Great War”, in Commemorations: The Politics of National Identity, edited by John R. Gillis. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1993. Linenthal, Edward. Sacred Ground: Americans and their Battlefields. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1991. Longworth, Philip. The Unending Vigil: A History of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, 1916–1967. London: Constable, 1967. Mabey, Richard. The Ash and the Beech. London: Vintage, 2013. Melville, Herman. Moby Dick, or The Whale. Penguin Books, London, 2003. Morris, Mandy. “Gardens ‘For Ever England’: Landscape, Identity and the First World War Cemeteries on the Western Front”, Ecumene 4 (4) (1997), pp. 410-434. Mosse, George. Fallen Soldiers: Reshaping the Memory of the World Wars. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1990. Piehler, G. Kurt. Remembering War the American Way. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1995. Pollard, Stephen. “We Must Throw the Book at Those Who Deface War Memorials”, The Daily Express, May 29, 2013, accessed May 30, 2016. http://www.express.co.uk/


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comment/expresscomment/403245/We-must-throw-the-book-at-those-whodeface-memorials. Prost, Antoine. ‘Les Monuments aux Morts, Culte républicain? Culte Civique? Culte Patriotique? in Les Lieux de Memoire, Vol. I, La République, edited by Pierre Nora. Paris: Éditions Gallimord, 1984. Robb, Graham. The Discovery of France. London: Picador, 2007. Sales, Dan, Andy Hall and Tom Newton Dunn, “Clot Gear: BBC Motoring Show Accused of Disrespecting War Dead After Filming Cenotaph TV Stunt”, The Sun, March 14, 2016, accessed May 30, 2016 http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/ showbiz/tv/6997690/Keep-it-down-George-Osborne-moans-at-Top-Gear-crew-asthey-film-new-series-outside-his-office.html. Sebald, W.G. The Rings of Saturn. New York: New Directions, 1999. Sebald, W.G. On the Natural History of Destruction. London: Hamish Hamilton, 2003. Sherman, Daniel. The Construction of Memory in Interwar France. London: University of Chicago Press, 1999. Sherman, Daniel. “Bodies and Names: The Emergence of Commemoration in Interwar France,” American Historical Review, 103, 2, (1998): 443-466. Smith, David. Britain’s Aviation Memorials & Mementoes. Sparkford, Somerset: Patrick Stephens Limited, 1992. Snape, Michael. God and Uncle Sam: Religion and America’s Armed Forces in World War II. Woodbridge: The Boydell Press, 2015. Tatum, James. The Mourner’s Song: War and Remembrance from the Iliad to Vietnam. London: University of Chicago Press, 2003. Tebbutt, Melanie. “Rambling and manly Identity in Derbyshire’s Dark Peak, 1880s– 1920s”, Historical Journal, 49, 4 (2006): 1125-1153. Tennyson, Alfred Lord. The Works of Alfred Lord Tennyson. Ware, Hertfordshire: Wordsworth Editions Limited, 1994. Truscott, Jr. Lucian K. photograph collection, United States 3rd Infantry Division’s Beachhead Monuments of World War II, United States Army Military History Institute. Weeks, James. Gettysburg: Memory, Market and American Shrine. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2003. Westaway, Jonathan. “Mountains of Memory, Landscapes of Loss: Scafell Pike and Great Gable as War Memorials, 1919–1924”, Landscapes 14, 2 (2013): 174-193. Winter, Jay. Sites of Memory, Sites of Mourning: The Great War in European Cultural History. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995.

Chapter 4

“… where Liberty was fought for”: Civil War Memorials in England Sarah Betts In April 1786, two future American presidents, Thomas Jefferson (1743–1826) and John Adams (1735–1826), visited the West Midlands region of England. They were there as tourists of political history, eager to see, as Adams recorded in his diary, the “scenes where freemen had fought for their rights” during the Civil Wars of the previous century. The two most famous “scenes” in this part of the country, and the ones the two men visited, were Edgehill (the first major battlefield of the conflict), and the city of Worcester (the site of the first skirmish, and, more importantly, of the last battle of the wars in England in September 1651). At Worcester, Adams was appalled to find the local inhabitants “so ignorant and careless” of their history that, when visiting Fort Royal Hill, – the spot where the Royalist garrison of Charles II (1630–1685) were destroyed by Oliver Cromwell’s (1599–1658) army – he felt “provoked” to lecture them, asking, And do Englishmen so soon forget the ground where liberty was fought for? Tell your neighbors and your children that this is holy ground; much holier than that on which your churches stand. All England should come in pilgrimage to this hill once a year.1 In 1786 there was no great stone monolith of remembrance at Worcester, indeed, there were no physical reminders of the battle that had taken place there beyond a collection of personal memorials in the Cathedral to individuals who had lost their lives in the encounter, and the notable absence of the fort itself at Fort Royal Hill. However, Adams’s words on the appropriate use of a site of memory of war, do provide an interesting starting point from which to consider war remembrance in England. This chapter will examine memorials, predominantly in the form of erected monuments, to the civil wars in England. It will consider the manner and extent to which they are presented 1  “Diary of John Adams,” accessed June 1, 2016, https://www.masshist.org/digitaladams/archive/ popup?id=D44&page=D44_3.

© Verlag Ferdinand Schöningh, 2019 | doi:10.30965/9783657788224_005


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and used as sites of memory. In doing this the essay naturally touches upon their place in the afterlife of the wars in English thought and culture, but it also endeavors to place these memorials into three wider contexts. The first is the framing of a local or regional event and memorial within a history of national or even international significance. The second context is that of general practices of remembrance and erecting and using war memorials in England, particularly in the period since the two world wars of the twentieth century. Finally, of course, the memorials must be studied against the complex backdrop of remembering a civil war, where the retrospective “othering” of opposing sides is problematic because of the shared “national” past and future of the combatants (a future which in itself is complicated by its present immediacy for the memorializers).

Living Memory and Reminding the Survivors

“Lest We Forget”, “Their Names Shall Live Forever”, these are the most prolific of the commemorative mantras and sentiments which have adorned monuments and underscored services and ceremonies of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries in England and elsewhere, in the wake of the two World Wars. The very purpose of these memorials is to honor the sacrifice of the dead of the past through proclamation and the subsequent provocation of gratitude and respect within the memorializers of the present day, with the ultimate intention of perpetuating these feelings amongst their descendants. The erection of these memorials, and the ceremonies and practices of remembrance held around them serve to build, even if only for the temporary duration of a short ritual process, a sense of collective identity within communities on local, national or even international levels. There is a definite sense of right and wrong transposed onto the former conflict and a congregational (if solemn) celebration of the present and future which that conflict has enabled. There is also an expectation that survivors of the commemorated event will play a leading role in the communal ritual, one that combines both that of chief mourner, and of a living, mobile accessory to the permanent monumental structures and carvings. Thus, they pay tribute to fallen comrades whilst at the same time receiving tribute from succeeding generations. Whilst many conflicts in which English soldiers have been lost since 1945 have been controversial, the manner in which the war dead and veterans should be venerated through memorial and ceremony has been less so, and since the Great War, a Rhetoric of Remembrance has been a broad (publicly) political consensus.

4.  “ … where Liberty was fought for ”


Although the last Civil War battle on English soil occurred at Worcester in 1651, conflict continued in other parts of the United Kingdom, and nominal war was still being waged by the Royalists in exile throughout the Interregnum of the 1650s. When the wars could finally be said to be over when the new King, Charles II was invited and welcomed back to his Kingdom in 1660, the official rhetoric was one of forgetting rather than remembering. One of the first legislative acts of the Restoration regime, acquiesced to by the King before he even set foot on English soil was the passing of An Act of Free and Generall Pardon Indempnity and Oblivion which promised and ordered the universal “bury[ing of] all Seeds of future Discords and remembrance of the former [conflict]… in utter Oblivion”.2 With a few specified exceptions, the agreement formally protected those who had prospered under Cromwell as they entered into a new era of Monarchy. But state decree did not guarantee the universal acceptance of a “forgive and forget” stance amongst the vying agenda of interested parties. For the Royalists who had lost and suffered during the war, for example, ‘forgetting’ the transgressions of their former enemies in this manner risked simultaneously obscuring their own service records and consequently diminishing their attainment of satisfactory gratitude and reward. In terms of memorializing the large-scale military action of the war, it did not fit with the positive, Greek-epic style, homecoming vibes of the Restoration to draw attention to less glorious times for the Stuart dynasty. The great ships of the Parliamentarian fleet, ‘unfortunately named’ after their military victories, Naseby, Marston Moor, Worcester, Dunbar etc. were hastily renamed after the King and his family on the literal eve of the Restoration as they waited in harbor in the Netherlands to bring Charles home. As the flagship, Naseby, was re-designated the Royal Charles, the glorified memory of Royalist defeat was very deliberately obliterated.3 To consolidate the new regime, Charles II and his government did instigate commemorative days, but, again, these did not specifically recall the military action of the wars, but rather celebrated the Restoration, Charles’s own ‘miraculous’ escape from the Battle of Worcester, and the canonization of his martyred father, Charles I (1600–1649). In the immediate aftermath of the Civil Wars there were, of course, as in Worcester Cathedral, memorials to specific individuals. Some memorials were monumental, others were literary. Many were partisan, and did, often quite overtly, make reference to the wars, and thus, through these private media, 2  “Act of Indemnity and Oblivion 1660,” accessed June 1, 2016, http://www.british-history.ac.uk/ statutes-realm/vol5/pp226-234. 3  Patrick Little, “Cromwell, Charles II, and the Naseby: The Ship of State,” History Today 60:9 (2010), 10-16.


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offered an outlet for public commemoration within the confines of the official oblivion. Like the royal anniversary days mentioned above, the emphasis was upon laudation rather than recrimination thus circumventing the rhetoric of the general ‘indemnity’. Sometimes the subjects of such memorials were still living, such as that to “Loyall Duke” of Newcastle (1592–1676) commander of the Royalist Army in the North of England until disastrous defeat at Marston Moor near York in 1644 led to a continental exile which lasted until the Restoration, and whose biography, written and published by his wife, Margaret (1623–1673) in 1667,4 described the “Actions and Sufferings” of her husband, whom she claimed to be the “most Loyal” Royalist soldier in such lavish terms as to provoke Samuel Pepys to declare that it “shews her to be a mad, conceited, ridiculous woman, and he an asse to suffer her to write what she writes to him, and of him.”5 More often, and more effectively, memorials of the Civil War were cleverly constructed around the dead. In his study of differing modes of elite funerals in the late seventeenth century, Ralph Houlbrooke has observed that the relative pomp and processes of funerals could serve to display or downplay Civil War records of the deceased and their families. He cites the grand heraldic funeral of Sir John Stawell of Somerset in 1662 as a reminder, through “ceremonial celebration” of his “courageous [wartime] leadership” for the Stuart cause, and consequent favor and restoration of fortunes.6 Ceremony, dress and mourners combined to create a living memorial to the wars, honoring the departed soldier (albeit that he had not actually died upon the battlefield) and emphasizing for his heirs the significance of his actions as both an example to be followed and as a source of current and future prosperity for the family. Tombs provided more lasting memorials, sometimes in the form of great monuments and others in the form of plaques. Some memorials would reference the military service of the deceased merely by mentioning their army rank, wartime allegiance or site of action, but, as Nigel Llewllyn observed in his study of post-Reformation English funerary monuments, inscriptions were often lengthy and designed to serve as “didactic” and “historical documents”, just as much as the literary biographies or ceremonies mentioned above.7 Even when inscriptions were shorter, and even though they officially memorialized 4  Margaret Cavendish, The Lives of William Cavendishe, Duke of Newcastle, and of his wife Margaret Duchess of Newcastle (London: Publisher Unknown, 1872). 5  “Diary of Samuel Pepys,” accessed June 2, 2016, http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1668/03/18/. 6  Ralph Houlbrooke, “‘Public’ and ‘Private’ in the Funerals of the Later Stuart Gentry: Some Somerset Examples,” Mortality 1:2 (1996), 166-168. 7  Nigel Llewellyn, Funeral Monuments in Post-Reformation England (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000), 347-349.

4.  “ … where Liberty was fought for ”


specific individuals, rather than the causes or battles of the war, language and didactic tone could be inflammatory and controversial. The stone epitaph to Sir Charles Lucas and Sir George Lisle, Royalists who were executed following the surrender of the siege of Colchester during the Second Civil War in 1648, is perhaps the most prominent example from this period, and the controversy of the memorial itself was remembered for generations afterwards. Initially buried in St Giles’s Church very privately, they became renowned Royalist ‘Martyrs’ and were, in more clement times, later magnificently honored by a large marble slab describing how the two, “valiant Captains … who for their eminent Loyalty to their Soverain, were … by the command of Sir Thomas Fairfax (1612–1671), the General of the Parliament army, in cold blood barbarously murdered.” Nineteenth-century writers and antiquarians recorded how, There is a tradition in Colchester, that George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham, who married Lord Fairfax’s only daughter, finding that this epitaph reflected upon the memory of his father-in-law, applied to Charles II. to have it erased. The King mentioned the Duke’s desire to Lord Lucas; when his Lordship replied, that he would readily obey his Majesty’s commands, provided his Majesty would allow an inscription to be placed in room of that removed, to the following effect: “That Sir Charles Lucas and Sir George Lisle, were barbarously murdered for their loyalty to King Charles I.; and that his son, King Charles II., ordered the memorial of their loyalty to be erased.” Upon which just reproof, it is said, the King, instead of ordering the obliteration of the inscription, gave direction that the characters might be more deeply engraven than at first.8 Whilst, typical in its praise of the valor, loyalty and sacrifice of its subjects, the memorial is unusual in so openly and specifically disparaging their opponent, however the persistence of the local ‘tradition’ surrounding the wording is worth noting as it does demonstrate the embedded afterlife in local community consciousness that can be generated by the erection and engraving of physical memorials, perhaps over ceremonial, and certainly over literary ones.

8  Thomas Cromwell, History and Description of the Ancient Town and Borough of Colchester in Essex, Vol. I, (London: W. Simkin and R. Marshall, 1825) 229-230. The story can also be found in, for example, Louisa Stuart Costello, “Sketches of Legendary Cities and Towns,” Bentley’s Miscellany 18 (1845), 64 and, Walter Money, The First and Second Battles of Newbury and the Siege of Donnington Castle During the Civil War, A.D. 1643–6 (London: W. Simkin and R. Marshall, 1881), 74-75.


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Unless they were actually killed on the Battlefield it was not uncommon for the deceased to have designed their own monuments and epitaphs.9 One such, that of former Parliamentarian commander and MP Colonel John Birch (1615–1691) in the church at Woebley in Herefordshire, provides an excellent example of key tropes which can be observed in the more general war memorials created in England and elsewhere in more recent times. Close to the altar, and extending from floor to ceiling, the monument comprises a full-length figure of a soldier (presumably meant to depict Birch), mounted upon a large altarlike pedestal with a large plaque describing his “Courage, Conduct, Wisdom and Fidelity”, and his “asserting and vindicating [of] ye Laws ye Liberties of His Country in War, [as well as] promoting [of] its Welfare and Prosperity in Peace”. Historians of war memorials have tended to discuss large-scale outdoor public monuments, however, like Birch’s, many war memorials, even more modern ones that commemorate battles or wars rather than specific individuals, can be found in cathedrals, churches and chapels. In fact, visitors to any Anglican church in England will discover monuments, at least to the two World Wars but often to other conflicts in which local people or parishioners, or the families of local parishioners, have participated in some way. Amongst the roll of honor of local dignitaries, monuments in these places of worship can be read almost as record of the military history of the region in which it is situated and its people. Again, like Birch’s these memorials become incorporated into the very fabric of the building although in scale they range from a small commemorative plaque, to large wall-covering installations, to entire side chapels of symbolism, rolls of honor and remembrance. Thematically Birch’s memorial is representative of the future shape and turn of war memorials, both in terms of the military garb of the effigy, and in terms of the wording which links past and present through discussion of core ideals of liberty, law and justice, fought for in the past and inherent in the healthy flourishing of present (and future) communities, societies or nations which were rhetorically both rescued/ restored, and created, by that fighting. Of course, the examples of memorials discussed thus far were all created within living memory of the 1640s. In spite of the inherent call for ‘memory’ within the processes and practices of ‘commemoration’, studies of war memorial culture in England, particularly in relation to the Civil Wars which are now more than three and a half centuries ago, must grapple with the complex nature of the relationship between the concepts of ‘memory’ and ‘history’. In his influential work on the topic, Pierre Nora differentiated between “real 9   Edward Parry, “Monumental History: Funerary Monuments and Public Memory,” Archaeologia Cambrensis 160 (2011), 226.

4.  “ … where Liberty was fought for ”


memory”, a “primal” bond between past and present, and the “self-conscious”, construction or “organization” of the past in the present which is inherent in “critical history”.10 Passage of time and constructed history erode memory, he argued, and “sites of memory” (cultural, material or spatial arenas in which present interacts with past) seek to artificially re-integrate a particular articulation of “memory” into meaningful “everyday experience”.11 In contrast Raphael Samuel returns to classical mythology and learning to remind us that memory is in fact the “mother” and very foundation of history.12 The notion of “war” is in itself very much one of historical interpretation around the more certain memory of an event, whereby that event is labelled ‘war’ as opposed to ‘rebellion’, ‘revolution’ ‘uprising’ or ‘insurrection’. In this context war memorial sites can be read as points where ‘memory’ ignites an encounter with the past, while ‘history’ perpetuates the communal experience and understanding of that past and its commemoration. For war veterans (both military and civilian), experience of conflict provides ‘real’ memories which, even if that ‘memory’ presents itself as a traumatic amnesia, is in itself experienced on a primal level as well as within the confines of the socially constructed rhetoric of the current political and/or cultural climate. Historians have noted the desire to commemorate and memorialize as the ‘near universal response’ of contemporaneous and surviving communities to the cultural trauma of the First World War, and then again in response to the increasingly mechanized, and therefore dehumanized and brutal, warfare of the twentieth century.13 Likewise the American Civil War memorials found across the USA were predominantly lobbied for and/or constructed within living memory. In all of these cases the participation of veterans in building or ‘consecrating’ these sites is welcomed as giving the ‘history’ perpetuated there an air of authenticity, respect, and significance, the stamp of ‘real memory’. In the case of the English Civil War, more formal, and many informal, memorials to the fighting were not created until after this ‘authentic’ link to the past was gone. In tracing “memorial concepts”, “from antiquity to the present”, Alan Borg noted that modern memorial tropes “did not spring 10  Pierre Nora, “Between History and Memory: Les Lieux de Mémoire,” Representations 26 (1989), 7-24. 11  Pierre Nora, “General Introduction: Between Memory and History,” in Realms of Memory, ed. Pierre Nora (New York: Columbia University Press, 1992), 2. 12  Raphael Samuel, Theatres of Memory: Past and Present in Contemporary Culture, vol. 1 (London: Verso, 1996), 1-14. For more recent exploration and summary of the History v memory debate see Geoff Cubitt, History and Memory, (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2007). 13  Kate Tiller, Remembrance and Community: War Memorials and Local History (Ashbourne: British Association for Local History, 2013), 5.


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from a void … [but rather that memorializers were, and are,] consciously drawing upon existing traditions. [Thus,] To understand the present it is necessary to look back into the past.”14 Here however it is necessary to consider memorials from a fresh perspective, not of the impact of the past on the present, but of the present upon the past. This study does not exclusively seek to assess the motivations of individuals and communities to critically ‘historicize’ the past through memorials, but also to marry these considerations with observations upon the manner in which memorializers in modern England apply commemorative techniques practiced in relation to recent and ‘really’ remembered wars to the memorialization of civil wars which have been both passively and actively mnemonically obscured by the passage of nearly 400 years.

Triumph, Mourning and Warning: Past, Present and Future

By their very nature, all war memorials grapple with the relationship between past, present and future. In doing so, they fall into four categories. Firstly, there are those that are triumphant about the present and/or future as a result of the past, often celebrations of the protection of local, national or international ‘freedom’/ ‘liberty’, or integrity of custom and or/identity. In this memorial language, this protection was fought for and achieved by the actions and sacrifice of past lives or generations to, and for, the benefit of their familial, national and cultural descendants in the present (i.e. the time of the memorial construction) and in the future. Although exultant ‘nationalistic’ war memorials have been considered as increasingly culturally outdated and even distasteful in the West since the mass bloodshed of the Great War, it is worth noting that glorifying motifs such as ‘Victory’ and ‘Nation’ have been mollified or/and conflated with those such as ‘Freedom,’ ‘Democracy,’ and ‘Peace’ in terms of identifying the worthy result of the past sacrifice for future generations.15 Secondly there are memorials that mourn loss in, or of, the past. Such memorials dwell upon the giving of life, particularly in youth, and consequently tend towards ‘naming’, or notable inability to ‘name’, and the humanizing of the conflict.16 Others dwell upon a lost, suppressed, or oppressed, past way 14  Alan Borg, War Memorials: From Antiquity to the Present (London: Leo Cooper, 1991), x-xi. 15  I. F. W. Beckett, “Military Commemoration in Britain: A Pre-History,” Society for Army Historical Research 370 (2014), 147-159. Jay Winter, Sites of Memory, Sites of Mourning: The Great War in European Cultural History (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995), 103-105. 16  Daniel J Sherman, “Bodies and Names: The Emergence of Commemoration in Interwar France,” The American Historical Review 103:2 (1998), 443-466.

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of life, they are often created at times of national difficulty or regime change, particularly in the light of independence movements. Perhaps most notable in this manifestation of the motif, and an interesting point of comparison for this present study, are the memorials which perpetuate the romance of the ‘Lost Cause’ and ‘honor’ of the Confederacy in the American Civil War.17 Both types of mourning memorial seek to invoke empathy and solemn reflection and consequently sympathy, admiration and even emulation, in its present-day and future consumers. A third type of memorial invokes the horror and despair rather than the glory of the past to warn those in the present and future of past times which they do not wish to re-visit. Sometimes that past is the cause for which a war was fought, at other times it is merely war in itself that is to be avoided. The final category of war memorial is the largest, and consists of those which construct some combination of the other types. English Civil War memorials fall into these broad categories, although naturally the modes and motivations behind the commemorative motifs of war memorials, are of course dependent upon the nature and agenda of memorializers themselves, be they individuals or communities. While modern memorials celebrate events or even entire conflicts, as has already been observed, seventeenth-century Civil War memorials were more likely to pay tribute to specific named individuals, usually of the social and/or military elite. Partly this was of course due to the politically sensitive and even volatile contemporary situation, but there were other factors. One, that should not be underestimated is the structure (or rather lack thereof) of the Civil War armies. England did not have a standing army until the immediate aftermath of the Civil Wars, so there was no professional military mechanism by which to formally recognize and commemorate the general war dead of the campaign. Unlike later conflicts, therefore, memorials in the shape of monuments and museums funded, created and maintained by individual regiments are lacking.18 Thus it was up to both the means and inclinations of individual soldiers (or former soldiers) to create memorials to fallen comrades, such as that erected on the Wigan Road in the late 1670s by the High Sheriff of Lancashire, Alexander Rigby of Burgh, in memory of his commanding officer, Sir Thomas Tyldesley, who had fallen there when the two had been fighting for the King back in 1651. Similarly, the nature of the Civil Wars in England as opposed to international conflict, or even the American Civil War where the sides were clearly demarcated geographically, meant that local allegiances were often divided. Because 17  Gaines Foster, Ghosts of the Confederacy: Defeat, the Lost Cause, and the Emergence of the New South 1865 to 1913 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1987). 18  Beckett, “Military Commemoration in Britain,” 147-159.


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not all locals had fought for the same cause, memorializing them as an act of collective identity was problematic, especially whilst ideological passions still ran high. Consequently the relatively speedy erection of a ‘memorial in every town’ which can be witnessed in the commemoration of the two World Wars, or, to some extent, the Boer War in England, or the American Civil War in the US, was not established for the English Civil War.19 It is worth noting that again, as with the establishment of memorial days, two events that did elicit such a response in the fore-memory of the conflict were the ‘martyrdom’ of Charles I, and the ‘miraculous’ escape of Charles II from the Battle of Worcester, neither of which were directly military instances of the wars. The escape from Worcester is particularly interesting in this regard as such memorials are really commemorating a confrontation which didn’t happen between the fugitive king and his enemies, but in terms of memorial culture it is a good illustrative example of the circumstances required for public commemoration, as both the new King and his regime (who redressed the disastrous defeat at Worcester and his haphazard flight to exile as a triumph through literary publication, paintings, rewards and souvenirs) and the individuals and families who helped him perpetuated the story. As Hugh Collinson observed in his study of English monument culture, official recognition and celebration provided a rhetorical mechanism that enabled the Worcester escape families and their descendants to commemorate the battle of Worcester, specifically through the escape story which they exulted upon dedicated and funerary monuments for generations to come.20 Although outside of the mechanisms of official regimental or stateorganized/sanctioned commemoration, there were groups with a special interest in memorializing the conflicts of the 1640s. Even once living memory of the period had died, many monuments were still focused around individuals. One category of especially invested memorializers, for which this is particularly true is obviously that of descendants of Civil War combatants. Edward Parry has argued that publicly recalling ancestral participation in wider historical events through a descendant’s funeral monument could be used to imbue an individual’s memory and reputation with a national importance which in turn can reflect on the local and national profile of both family and locality.21 An excellent example he explores is the tomb of Theophilus Salwey (d. 1760) at St. Lawrence’s Church in Ludlow in Shropshire which reads, 19  Tiller, Remembrance and Community, 5. 20  Hugh Collinson, Country Memorials: Their Families and Houses (Plymouth: David and Charles, 1975), 59-61. 21   Edward Parry, “Monumental History: Funerary Monuments and Public Memory,” Archaeologia Cambrensis 160 (2011), 219.

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In Memory of THEOPHILUS SALWEY ESQ who was the eldest Son of EDWARD SALWEY ESQ a Younger son of Major RICHARD SALWEY who in the last Century Sacrificed all and everything in his Power in support of publick Liberty and the Opposition to Arbitrary Power the said THEOPHILUS SALWEY married MARY the Daughter and Heiress of ROBERT DENNETT of Walthamstow in the County of Essex Esq but left no Issue by her Obiit the 28th April 1760 Aet 61 Pro Rege Saepe Pro Republica Semper22 As Parry notes, “It is Theophilus Salwey’s grandfather, Major Richard Salwey whose virtue is recalled in 1760 not his recently deceased grandson” who basks in the reflected glory of his ancestor’s “vital” role in national history.23 What Parry does not reflect upon is the cursory acknowledgement that Theophilus himself leaves “no Issue” of his own. For Theophilus then his own legacy must be drawn from his past rather than his present or future. His monument serves as a memorial to the Civil Wars in which his grandfather served. It is a triumphant memorial celebrating the principles for which Major Richard fought as underpinning the freedoms and government enjoyed in the time which Theophilus is now departing, a celebration of the ideological perpetuation of a family on a local and national level in spite of its failure to perpetuate itself bodily. Families with Civil War connections did not only commemorate the conflict upon funeral monuments. The family of the eminent Royalist commander, Sir Bevil Grenville, eagerly recounted and promoted the memory of their ancestor, his deeds and ideologies, and the battles he saw action in through a variety of monuments. His grandson, George, who served Queen Anne was created “Baron Lansdowne” in reference to Sir Bevil’s mortal wounding at the Battle of Lansdowne Hill outside Bath in 1643. With the succession due to pass to the Hanoverian line, Lansdowne’s future position was uncertain and he used monuments to attempt to reassert his family’s public place at the heart of English history. In 1713, he placed the first memorial on the site of the Battle of Stratton on Stamford Hill in Cornwall in 1643. Though partisan, and 22  “For the King often, for the Republic always.” 23  Parry, “Monumental History,” 231.


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aggrandizing of the family connection, the memorial was significant in that it is definitely a commemoration of the battle itself rather than to a specific death noting, “In this place ye Army of ye Rebells under ye command of ye Earl of Stamford received a signall overthrou by ye valor of Sr Bevill Granville & ye Cornish Army on Tuesday ye 16th of May 1643.” Although a brief inscription it implies a definite debt of gratitude for the piece and hierarchy of the times in which George Granville lived to the actions and sacrifices of Grenville and the Cornish in defeating “Rebellion.” It also reiterates the significance of Cornwall and its local men (of which Bevil Grenville was one) to a wider cause and national story with ideological undertones. The following year, the year of the old Queen’s death, he installed a mural monument to the family chapel in the parish church of Kilkhampton in Cornwall where his grandfather was buried inscribed with the following, Here lyes all that was mortall of the most noble & truly Valiant Sr Bevill Granville of Stowe in the County of Cornwall, Earl of Corbile & Lord of Thorigny & Granville in France & Normandy, descended in a direct line from Robert second son of ye Warlike Rollo first Duke of Normandy who after having obtained diverse signall Victoryes over ye Rebells in ye West was at length slain with many Wounds at the Battle of Lansdowne July ye 5th 1643. He was born ye 23d day of March 1595 and was deposited with his Noble & Heroick ancestors in this Church ye 26th of July 1643. He Marry’d the most Virtuous lady Grace daughter of Sr George Smith of ye county of Devon by whom he had many Sons Eminent for their Loyalty & firm adherence to ye crown & church And severall Daughters Remarkable Examples of true Piety. He was indeed an excellent person whose activity interest & Reputation was ye foundation of what had been done in Cornwall & his temper & affections so Publick that no accident which happen’d could make any impressions in him and his Example kept others from taking any thing ill or at least seeming so to do. Inamor’d A brighter Courage & a gentler disposition were nevar Marry’d together to make ye most chearfull

4.  “ … where Liberty was fought for ”


& innocent conversation. Vid. Earl of Clarendon’s History of ye Rebellion. To ye Immortall memory of his Renown’d Grandf’ther this Monument was erected by ye Right Hon.bl George,Lord Landsdowne Treasurer of ye Household to Queen Anne & one of Her Majesty’s most Hon.ble Privy Counsel & in ye year of Our Lord 1714 With its references to Norman descent (which Sir Bevil’s children had highlighted by changing the family name from Grenville to Granville), to specific actions in the Civil Wars and to the glowing epitaph written by Edward Hyde in his seminal History of the conflict, Lansdowne placed his family firmly into a context of national history, at the same time this national history is given a local significance by the description of Grenville’s roots in Cornwall and Devon, and the wider implications of the role played by his military action in the West Country. The sadness of the loss of this great man is lessened by his immortality both in heaven as good and heroic man, but also on earth through the perpetuity of his virtues and loyalty to crown and church in the persons of his descendants, most notably of course, the erector of the monument himself. Finally, the church mural was followed by a more public commemoration, a freestanding stone monolith erected in 1720 on Lansdowne Hill where Grenville had fallen in 1643. Covered in family heraldry and dedicated to the fallen hero, it is still very much a memorial to the individual, but its placing on the battlefield has made it more of a monument to the battle itself. Again it recalls the debt of the then-current society to the action at Lansdowne not just by highlighting the death of Lansdowne’s Grandfather, but also by incorporating the arms of his uncle John and cousin George Monck (1608–1670) who had been two key protagonists in the Restoration of Charles II. Thus the monument looks back towards the Civil War, and then forward from this event but backwards from the time of erection to the Restoration of the Monarchy and finally “Forward” to the newly erected monument’s present where George Granville’s hereditary talent for Royal Service was being underused by King George I (1660–1727). The placing of the monument outside again looks back to the time when the landscape was a battlefield and forward to generations who will see the monolith as a part of that historic landscape. Now maintained and, managed by English Heritage, the piece was initially restored and added to by generations of Granville relatives. In 1777, “Pursuant to the Will of … Bernard Granville of Calwich” an inscription of Clarendon’s references to the battle and again to the character of Sir Bevil was added, and it was later “restored by Court Granville” in 1828. Although it was placed upon Granville land


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and initially maintained by their private money, the position of the battlefield on a hill gives it a public presence, enhanced now by its placing on the register of national monuments in the 20th century, through the conjunction of public footpaths which today make it a popular dog walking area and by the placing of historical interpretation boards about the battle at the viewpoints around the monument as part of a marked “Battlefield Trail.” The idea of recognizing English Civil War battle leaders and battlefields as requiring a monument of national significance has been enhanced, and increasingly led, by a different type of ‘special interest’ group for the perpetuating of ‘memory’ of the conflict, the ‘historical’ association or society. Historian Peter Sherlock wrote of memorial culture that monuments tell “posterity what should be known about the past” and in the centuries since the 17th century, the idea of history that “should” be known or marked in some way has burgeoned amongst these groups.24 Originally there were not such formal ‘groups’, however the practice can be recognized in the revival of antiquarianism in the 18th century, something to which the development of war memorials in England has been attributed.25 An early example of antiquarian war memorialization is also less formal than the typical monolithic and/or inscribed monument. In 1742, on the centenary of Edgehill, ‘gentleman’ architect, Sanderson Miller, a keen antiquarian and consequent pioneer in the gothic revival architectural movement, constructed in the grounds of his own house, Radway Grange a mock-medieval castle with octagonal tower in the style of the genuinely medieval, ‘Guy’s Tower’ at Warwick Castle. Conscious of the proximity of his house to the site of the first grand-scale confrontation of the Civil Wars, Miller’s tower not only overlooked the battle, but was marked the spot which legend dictated had witnessed the raising of the King’s standard at the start of the battle. Easily visible from the surrounding locale, the ‘castle’ became a pub in 1822 and remains so today. From its early days when Richard Jago’s 1767 poem, Edge Hill, offered as much a celebration of the tower itself as of the land which it surveys and the historical battle and bloodshed that occurred there, to the interpretation boards as part of the local ‘Battlefield Trail’ that can be found in the garden of the pub today, this unusual memorial has been significantly integrated into both the topographical and historical landscape of the Battlefield.26 Thus, apart from the roundabout reference to the presence of King Charles I, 24  Peter Sherlock, Monuments and Memory in Early Modern England (London: Ashgate, 2008) 3. 25  Beckett, “Military Commemoration in Britain,” 150. 26  Richard Jago, Edge Hill or the Rural Prospect Delineated and Moralised (London: J. Dodsley, 1767).

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the structure is not dedicated towards the memory of a particular individual, but rather to the occurrence of history and all involved in a particular military occurrence, to the significance of this locally-staged event within the wider fabric of the historicized country or nation. Although more traditional in form, these concerns have driven the erection and reception of many of the memorials to the English Civil Wars that have been constructed from the nineteenth century onwards.

“England’s Green and Pleasant Land”: Sites of Memory and Civil War

As observed above, a challenge in collective remembrance of the Civil War is the complexity of creating a unifying sympathy or empathy within the memorializers for a unified group or cause which is the subject of the memorialization. However, one of the unique features of the Civil War within English commemorative cultures is that it is one of only a handful of conflicts fought upon English soil. It is therefore possible to create locally sustainable memorial monuments and practices around the Battlefields in a way that is not possible for traditional military action abroad. The individual passions for promoting and embracing such sites of history discussed above have developed into a pattern of Civil War Memorialization that essentially amounts to a sort of popular performed antiquarianism that engages with the past through socio-culturally accepted and expected displays of interaction with, and appreciation of, locality. Within the memorialization of history, memorializers must negotiate the line between ideological and human commemoration. As the gulf of time between the Civil Wars and the present has opened, this has increasingly been approached by a desire to forget the notion of human sides so the battle becomes not one between Cavalier and Roundhead but between Englishman and War. Battlefield walker and enthusiast, Donald Featherstone summarized, Rest assured, none of us ever walks a battlefield, least of all one fought over by our own countrymen, without an awareness of that inestimable factor, common to all fields of war – that they are hallowed by the courage of self-sacrifice of the soldiers who fought upon them.27

27  Christopher L. Scott, Alan Turton, and Eric Gruber von Arni, Edgehill, The Battlefield Reinterpreted (Barnsley: Pen and Sword, 2004) 176.


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Because modern memorials to the Civil Wars are tied to the actual places of conflict they are treated similarly to other battlefields and graveyards, as a site of mourning, a place for solemn respect and ceremony rather than recriminations. The unity of the memorializers and the landscape is considered crucial for an authentically historically aware and respectful remembrance, and so interests group have lobbied not only for construction of memorials, or for the identification and preservation of battlefields, but for interpretation at, and public access to, those memorials and sites. In the 1930s, a memorial was constructed at Naseby, where 1645 had witnessed the most decisive victory for the Parliamentarians, partly with the intention of replacing a 19th century Battle Memorial Obelisk, mocked for generations for “commemorating the battle on a spot on which the battle was not fought” and thus rendering the battle not “correctly commemorated,” although there was still anger that the memorial might be disrespectfully “demolished.”28 Throughout the 1970s and ‘80s tensions raged at suggestions that motorway construction would cut through the battlefield and its heritage.29 The Battlefield of Stratton, and the war memorial constructed there are on private land, but the local authorities have ensured public footpath access both to the memorial in the walls of Bevill House, and to an interpretive board mounted on a brick plinth within a fenced off pen on the battlefield itself. Local history and re-enactment societies are allowed full access to the battlefield annually for commemorative ceremonies and skirmishes. It seems that public access, even if limited only to a particular point or view, to a particular day (such as an anniversary), and/or to a particular community within the ‘general public’, is crucial to the true honoring of the event, the site and its military significance in terms of it human cost. It is a place to remember ancestors and reflect upon the horrors of war. For the present English mentality war is tragic rather than glorious. Certainly this attitude owes something to the popular distaste for war following the two World Wars, both, it was hoped, ‘wars to end all wars.’ Of course, even though living memory of the twentieth century conflicts is diminishing, generational memory is still very much alive in the form of specifically identifiable family connections, pilgrimages can be made to battlefields 28  C.H. Reich, “Naseby Memorials,” The Times, June 10 1936; also Our Special Correspondent, ‘The Battle of Naseby: A Second Memorial’, The Times, May 29 1936, 11. 29  Michael Horsnell, “Battle of Edgehill: Unveiling of a Memorial”, The Times, December 21 1974, 2, Michael Baily, “Naseby’s Second Battle Revives Cromwell’s Spirit”, The Times, August 23 1984, 26, Hugh Clayton, “Battlefield Road Protest”, The Times, 21 August 1982, 3, Mark Sullivan and C.R. Rowley, “Naseby’s New Battle”, The Times, 22 September 1984, 9, Max Hastings, “Naseby’s New Battle”, The Times, 27 September 1984, 11, Anon, “Naseby’s New Battle”, The Times, 17 September 1984, 13.

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with an individual human face and name attached to it – even, and perhaps especially when visiting the mass graves of the unidentified soldiers in northern France. This is not the case for the English Civil War, in fact it is worth noting that, because of the more dominant culture of genealogical documentation and awareness in the migrant nation of the USA, the only descendants of combatants (who were not celebrated figures) who pilgrimage to a 17th century battlefield in any significant numbers because of a specific family connection, are Scottish-Americans whose ancestors were deported as prisoners of war from Worcester and who visit the battle site en route to see the highland origins of their forefathers.30 It is also not the case for other armed conflicts with British involvement because the lack of conscription outside of the World Wars takes away the universality of family service. Remembrance services for wars in Britain, most notably the November ‘Remembrance Sunday’ service, but including those for the English Civil Wars as well, commemorate the soldiers of all wars. As recent anniversary events for battles of the two World Wars have demonstrated, perhaps surprisingly, involvement of military personnel in public commemoration heightens this quasi-neutrality of remembrance, with new generations of soldiers descended from both sides united by a shared military experience, more than they are divided by old political or ideological concerns. As military archaeologist, Martin Brown has observed, this common military-ancestry is even more evident in commemorating older conflicts with which the present-day soldier identifies with on a ritualistic, technical or empathetic level rather than a scholarly or politicized one.31 Again, the geographical proximity of the Civil War is significant, with significant portions of some of the Battlefields now occupied by the forces or the Ministry of Defence and soldiers, if not actually involved in the conservation, at least responsible for the preservation of the sites where their forbears fought.32 Most significant amongst these is that of Edgehill, already mentioned as a site of particular interest to historians of the Civil Wars, where the bulk of the battlefield lies within Ministry of Defence land. Within what was bitterly described in 1950 as “an army dump surrounded by barbed wire” lies a 1949 stone pillar commemorating the battle and specifically marking the site where local tradition held that the fallen had been buried.33 The Birmingham Archaeological Society had 30  For this point I am grateful to the staff at The Commandery museum in Worcester for a discussion about visitor footfall and engagement with civil war history of the museum which is housed in the buildings of the Royalist headquarters for the battle in 1651. 31  Martin Brown, “Whose Heritage? Archaeology, Heritage, and the Military,” Cultural Heritage, Ethics and the Military, ed. Peter Stone (Woodbridge: Boydell, 2011), 130-131. 32  Ibid., 129. 33  Anonymous, “Signposting of Battlefields,” The Times, August 3 1950, 3.


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lobbied for the monument back in the 1930s, hoping it would be erected in time for the Battle’s 300th anniversary, however plans were delayed by the war. In the aftermath of the war however, the plan was revived and then marked ‘urgent’ by the plans to permanently enclose the land for military use. Respect for the dead, and for the national historical significance, combined with fear that restricting public access would kill of the local traditions and memory surrounding the site that Warwickshire County Council not only erected this monument to literally set that memory in stone but also unveiled an identical memorial at the side of the road between Kineton and Edgehill on the publicly accessible side of the perimeter of the compound.34 The road is fairly quiet, and the monument rather small and not particularly splendidly situated within a small layby, but there is an open access wreath laid at this monument during an annual commemoration march, before the congregation processes on to the battlefield itself for a service, and further wreath-laying. The organizers of the event, The Sealed Knot re-enactment society, are allowed to use the site, and are able to have a members-only service on the M.O.D compound with access to the original memorial. Not only do they allow access, but current and uniformed army soldiers also actively participate in the ritual, saluting the memorial to the fallen of Edgehill, wreath and flag laying and joining the congregational prayers. Fittingly for a battle for which contemporaries on both sides have claimed victory, both sides are solemnly commemorated. The preference of neutrality over partisanship in War Memorials to the Civil Wars has become generally accepted in ceremonial practice, but in the proposition, and the erection, of monuments there has been partiality and even controversy. Partly this is inherent in the types of groups who lobby for and construct them, i.e. local history or antiquarian societies, civic authorities, family history groups or societies dedicated to particular individuals such as John Hampden, Charles I ‘the Martyr’ or Oliver Cromwell, who have a natural penchant for a particular aspect of one or other of the causes represented on the battlefield, or a specific group (not necessarily even a whole army) who fought there. A recent example of this can be found in a ‘regimental’ memorial to ‘The Blewcoats’ constructed at Naseby in 2012 featuring a colored image of the troop’s flag and inscribed,

34  Battlefields Trust Website, accessed May 20, 2016, http://battlefieldstrust.com/; Our Correspondent, “Memorial to Battle of Edgehill,” The Times, October 24, 1949, 2. Anonymous, “Battle of Edgehill: Unveiling of a Memorial,” The Times, October 19, 1949, 7.

4.  “ … where Liberty was fought for ”


“THE BLEWCOATS THE BATTLE OF NASEBY 14T JUNE 1645 “THEY STOOD LIKE A WALL OF BRASSE” NEAR THIS SPOT PRINCE RUPERT’S BLEW REGIMENT OF FOOTE STOOD TO THE LAST IN DEFIANCE OF THE PARLIAMENTARIAN ARMY IN RECOGNITION, WE DEDICATE THIS STONE TO THEIR BRAVE SACRIFICE GIVEN 10TH JUNE 2012 BY PRINCE RUPERT’S BLEW REGIMENT OF FOOTE THE SEALED KNOT SOCIETY Founded in 1968, The Sealed Knot is the oldest re-enactment society in Britain and is a registered educational charity who are involved numerous re-enactments, historical talks and demonstrations, and living history events every year. Although their name originates from a Royalist resistance group of the Interregnum years in the 1650s, the organization is keen to advertise that “the present society in NOT politically motivated and has no political affiliation or ambitions whatsoever” and that they believe that “understanding our local history helps build a sense of community for all”.35 There are regiments from both side of the wars represented within the group, and they are key organizers and participants (with the English Civil War Society) at the various commemorative marches and services held around the country each year, which always stipulate honoring both sides. The Blewcoats memorial is clearly partial, but in focusing upon courage and sacrifice rather than ideology, the modern ‘Blewcoats’ create a sense of ancestry, of bonding between past and present through commemorative memorialization and re-enactment. In this post-world-war era of the ‘democratization’ of both history and war memorialization, of the public recognition of ‘ordinary men’, the dedication of monuments to a particular hero has at times been more controversial. No personality more so than Oliver Cromwell. The ideological passions 35  “Sealed Knot Website,” Accessed on 21 May 2016, http://www.thesealedknot.org.uk/.


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and confrontations surrounding the memorialization of Cromwell in the Nineteenth Century has been well documented by scholars such as Raphael Samuel and Blair Worden.36 The leading role played by The Cromwell Association (founded in 1937) in lobbying for, erecting and maintaining plaques and monuments memorializing the Civil Wars has continued the controversy, although Cromwell’s relative significance (to other leaders and to ordinary soldiers on both sides at his military engagements) rather than his political and particularly religious legacy was now the primary focus of debate.37 The issue has been raised in relation to Naseby, and to Worcester, but proved most inflammatory at Marston Moor, on the road between York and Harrogate, where the New Model Army under the leadership of Fairfax and Cromwell had inflicted a devastating defeat upon Royalist Army of Prince Rupert (1619–1682) and the Duke of Newcastle in 1644. In the summer of 1939, the proposed inscription on the new memorial, an initiative of “The Cromwell Association of London, in conjunction with the Harrogate branch of the Yorkshire Archaeological Association”, provoked complaint from the thenLord Fairfax, that it attributed the defeat of “the forces of Prince Rupert” to “the leadership of Oliver Cromwell supported by David Leslie”, with no mention of the Fairfaxs. In a letter, publicly reported in The Times, Fairfax stated that whilst he “quite realize[d] and appreciate[d]” Cromwell’s role, he felt that the piece gave him such primacy of significance, that he no longer felt he could subscribe to either the monument or the Cromwell Association “if that is the way they propose the facts of history in the future”.38 Co-sponsors of the monument from the Yorkshire Archaeological society agreed, stating that they could not neglect the memory of the Yorkshireman Fairfax, “for Cromwell, who was not a Yorkshireman, and who was inferior to Fairfax” in the battle, and asked the Association to simplify the inscription to refer “only to the battle and not to any individual”.39 Ultimately the wording was not changed, but the dedication ceremony on 2 July, took pains to laud the monument as something of far wider significance than merely a tribute to Cromwell, or to the local families involved with participants congratulating each other on the “most public-spirited piece

36  Blair Worden, Roundhead Reputations: The English Civil Wars and the Passions of Posterity (London: Allen Lane, 2001), 215-242. Raphael Samuel, Island Stories: Unravelling Britain, Theatres of Memory vol. 2 (London: Verso, 1998), 366. 37  Mr Isaac Foot, “Mr A. Russell-Smith,” The Times, August 7 1951, 6. 38  Our Correspondent, “Memorial to Cromwell to Marston Moor: Lord Fairfax’s Protest,” The Times, June 27 1939, 11. 39  Our Correspondent, “Marston Moor Memorial: Change in Inscription Possible,” The Times, June 29 1939, 16.

4.  “ … where Liberty was fought for ”


of work “in deservedly commemorating” one of the most fateful battles ever fought on English soil.40 On the eve of the Second World War, the Englishness of the conflict resonated with the memorializers. Isaac Foot of the Cromwell Association said in his speech that the memorial was “for the sake of the present generation. [For] There was a close association between …[what would probably soon be required from the British Nation]… and a country which had passed through the disciplinary experience of Naseby and Marston Moor” and credited the battle with “saving” representative institutions in England and inaugurating constitutional monarchy.41 Reporting this, The Times underlined the point still further, The unveiling of a memorial on the site of the battlefield of Marston Moor on Saturday should serve to commemorate not only great men and noble deeds, but perhaps even to remind a preoccupied world of the spirit in which Englishmen have always fought for the things which they believe really to matter … Both sides were inspired by the highest ideals that men can have … we should appreciate the spirit in which the battle was fought alike by CROMWELL’S East Anglicans, FAIRFAX’S Yorkshiremen, LESLIE’S Scots, and RUPERT’S Cavaliers … The battle too, was conducted as far as could be with humanity and courtesy. The bitter differences of that wet July day have long been settled, and from the settlement our tolerant constitution has emerged.42 The purpose of this monument then was to unite Englishmen, to fit the commemoration of the 17th century conflict into a framework of war remembrance familiar to the (British) populous of 1939, and to use that structure of thought for thinking about war, ideologies of freedom and sacrifice for the greater and future good to create a new war-ready nation. Certainly this reverberated with Foot and the Cromwell Association, who wrote to The Times in June 1944, quoting these words and sentiments back and citing a “belief” that “these reminders are more than ever necessary to-day” and announcing a commemorative service to be held at the memorial on the anniversary of the battle of 2 July.43

40  Our Correspondent, “If Cromwell Lived Now,” The Times, July 3 1939, 11. 41  Ibid., 11. 42  Anon, “Marston Moor,” The Times, July 03 1939, 15. 43  Isaac Foot, “Letter to the Editor,” The Times, June 23 1944, 5.


Sarah Betts

Kinship, Commemorative Practices and Memorializing Memorializers

Scholars of war commemoration, most notably Jay Winter have highlighted the centrality of a sense of ‘kinship’, familial, national, ethnic, cultural, experiential, to the practice of commemoration.44 This is particularly observable in attitudes towards war memorials whether as sites of triumph, mourning or warning or some mixture of the three. It is observable both in the erection and inscription of monuments, and in their use as a site of active memorialization and it is observable as much in commemoration of the Civil Wars that happened hundreds of years ago, as in that of the Second World War which is still within living memory. To some extent it is even more recognizable in Civil War commemoration, because one of the key layers of ‘kinship’ constructed in these commemorations is in the mode of memorialization itself. Just as structural and ceremonial traditions of war memorials in the twentieth century borrowed familiar features from earlier cultures and societies, so, as individuals and groups have attempted to retrieve, restore or concoct an essential Englishness from the more distant past, have they used the now familiar postworld-war motifs of commemoration to give the past some immediacy and some future significance. The 1944 service at the Marston Moor memorial was not the last of its kind, and the Sealed Knot now have a 2nd of July memorial march and service centered around the monument as a permanent fixture on their annual calendar, along with an increasing number of other similar events held at other civil war memorials around the country. Local dignitaries are often invited to the service, and there is usually a religious official, as these services are still universally Christian ones. The sense of Englishness is enhanced, as prayers are interspersed with hymns, usually “God Save the Queen” or “Jerusalem” or both. The motion of the march, the presence of uniforms (or at least of historical military dress) and weaponry which is presented and/or lowered as a mark of respect, give these services a sense of funeral-like solemnity and immediacy but also recall the great model of the English war memorial service, that of Remembrance Sunday at the Cenotaph, universally familiar through tradition and television. This accepted ‘model’ service is again recalled in the minutes of silence and in the wreath-laying. The prayers and silence observances are usually dedicated first to those (on both sides) who fought or lost their lives at the particular commemorated event or war, but are always broadened to embrace 44  Jay Winter, Remembering War: The Great War between Memory and History in the Twentieth Century, (Yale: Yale University Press, 2006), 136-145.

4.  “ … where Liberty was fought for ”


‘all soldiers in all wars’. Although more common on memorial days, flower tributes can be found at many of the Civil War Memorials at all times of the year, some will have cards, perhaps dedicated to an individual soldier or group of soldiers – one visit to Marston Moor for example found one bouquet dedicated to “Rupert and Buoy” in memory of Prince Rupert’s famous poodle who was killed in the conflict, whilst another (clearly from a different visitor) was dedicated to all “the men of Cheshire” who died there. Wreath laying is of course not a new Memorial tradition, but it is notable that so ingrained is the model of Great War remembrance in memorial culture that a large number of floral tributes at Civil War memorials will be of poppies. The embracing of later conflicts into the World War Remembrance services has been appropriated to extend backwards to pre-dating conflicts, starkly clear at Nantwich in Cheshire, where an annual commemoration of the 1644 battle involves a wreath laying service at the Great War Memorial in lieu of a specific monument in the Town Square. The association through war memorial usage of the Civil War with the two World Wars itself imbues the seventeenth-century events with a historical and ideological significance which the post-world-war mentality of remembrance in Britain feels compelled to commemorate. As illustrated above in the examples of Theophilus Salwey or the Granville family memorializers have always sought an element of memorialization themselves in their commemorative work. However, this post-war mind-set of a duty to remember war has intensified desire both to memorialize and be seen to do so. Local councils, out of increased cultural duty to “heritage” and desire to generate tourism revenue, have increasingly supported a revitalization in local campaigns to provide commemorative memorials and interpretative boards at key Civil War sites. Council support is usually well-advertised on the inscriptions, and the contributions of local dignitaries promoted. The memorial plaque to the 1645 Battle of Rowton Moor in Cheshire, merely mentions the date and occurrence of the battle whilst the rest of the plaque is swamped in recording names of patrons, the plaque’s unveiling by the Duke of Westminster, and most prominently that it was ‘Erected by Rowton Parish Council During the Divided Loyalties Campaign in 1995’. Essentially it is almost more a memorial to the 350th anniversary heritage ‘battle’ to commemorate a war, than it is one to the actual war of the 1640s. The promotion of the historical significance of the original battle by the commemorative one imbues the original event with a significance worthy of commemoration and as such, the commemoration deserves itself to be commemorated. The Battle of Worcester Society, founded in 2003 with the aim ‘to protect, preserve and promote the heritage of the Battle of Worcester’, have in their efforts harnessed the words of John Adams from 1786 to argue that ‘it is a matter of civic shame … that no fitting memorial yet exists to the thousands


Sarah Betts

that died’ there.45 Their ‘core’ endeavor is to erect ‘a suitably imposing monument … in honor of the fallen on both sides’, and they have had some success in recent years in realizing some of their ambitious program of commemorative monuments. However, the first memorial, a Virginian Oak and attendant plaque planted on Fort Royal Hill in 2009 commemorated not the battle itself, or the lives of those that fell there, but instead memorialized the visit of the two American memorializers in 1786. Works Cited British History Online, “Act of Indemnity and Oblivion 1660.” Accessed June 1, 2016, http://www.british-history.ac.uk/statutes-realm/vol5/pp226-234. Massachusetts Historical Society, “Diary of John Adams.” Accessed June 1, 2016, https:// www.masshist.org/digitaladams/archive/popup?id=D44&page=D44_3. Diary of Samuel Pepys, “Diary of Samuel Pepys.” Accessed June 2, 2016, http://www. pepysdiary.com/diary/1668/03/18/. Anonymous. “Battle of Edgehill: Unveiling of a Memorial.” The Times, October 19, 1949. Anonymous. “Naseby’s New Battle.” The Times, 17 September 1984. Baily, Michael. “Naseby’s Second Battle Revives Cromwell’s Spirit.” The Times, August 23 1984. Beckett, I F W. “Military Commemoration in Britain: A Pre-History” Society for Army Historical Research 370 (2014), 147-159. Borg, Alan. War Memorials: From Antiquity to the Present, (London: Leo Cooper, 1991). Brown, Martin. “Whose Heritage? Archaeology, Heritage, and the Military”, in Peter Stone (ed.), Cultural Heritage, Ethics and the Military. Woodbridge: Boydell, 2011. Cavendish, Margaret. The Lives of William Cavendishe, Duke of Newcastle, and of his wife Margaret Duchess of Newcastle, London: Publisher Unknown, 1872. Clayton, Hugh. “Battlefield Road Protest.” The Times, August 21, 1982. Collinson, Hugh. Country Memorials: Their Families and Houses. Plymouth: David and Charles, 1975. Costello, Stuart. “Sketches of Legendary Cities and Towns” Bentley’s Miscellany 18 (1845): 62-73. Cromwell, Thomas. History and Description of the Ancient Town and Borough of Colchester in Essex, Vol. I. London: W. Simkin and R. Marshall, 1825. Cubitt, Geoff. History and Memory. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2007. 45  “Battle of Worcester Society.” Accessed 3rd May 2016 http://www.thebattleofworcester society.org.uk/.

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Foster, Gaines. Ghosts of the Confederacy: Defeat, the Lost Cause, and the emergence of the New South 1865 to 1913. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1987. Hastings, Max. “Naseby’s New Battle.” The Times, September 27 1984. Horsnell, Michael. “Battle of Edgehill: Unveiling of a Memorial.” The Times, December 21 1974. Houlbrooke, Ralph. “‘Public’ and ‘private’ in the funerals of the later Stuart gentry: some Somerset examples” Mortality 1:2 (1996), 163-176. Jago, Richard. Edge Hill or the Rural Prospect Delineated and Moralised. London: J. Dodsley, 1767. Little, Patrick. “Cromwell, Charles II, and the Naseby: The Ship of State” History Today 60 9 (2010): 10-16. Llewellyn, Nigel. Funeral Monuments in Post-Reformation England. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000. Money, Walter. The First and Second Battles of Newbury and the Siege of Donnington Castle During the Civil War, A.D. 1643–6. London: W. Simkin and R. Marshall, 1881. Nora, Pierre. ‘General Introduction: Between Memory and History’, in Pierre Nora (ed.), Realms of Memory. English Translation New York: Columbia University Press, 1992. Nora, Pierre. “Between History and Memory: Les Lieux de Mémoire.” Representations 26 (Spring, 1989): 7-24. Our Correspondent. “Marston Moor Memorial: Change in Inscription Possible.” The Times, June 29 1939. Our Correspondent. “Memorial to Cromwell to Marston Moor: Lord Fairfax’s Protest.” The Times, June 27 1939. Our Correspondent. “Memorial to Battle of Edgehill” The Times October 24 1949. Parry, Edward. “Monumental history: funerary monuments and public memory” Archaeologia Cambrensis 160 (2011): 219-234. Samuel, Raphael. Island Stories: Unravelling Britain, Theatres of Memory Volume II. London: Verso, 1998. Samuel, Raphael. Theatres of Memory: Past and Present in Contemporary Culture Volume I. London: Verso, 1996. Scott, Christopher L., Alan Turton, and Eric Gruber von Arni. Edgehill: The Battlefield Reinterpreted. Barnsley: Pen and Sword, 2004. Sherlock, Peter. Monuments and Memory in Early Modern England. London: Ashgate, 2008. Sherman, Daniel J. “Bodies and Names: The Emergence of Commemoration in Interwar France” The American Historical Review 103 2 (April 1998): 443-466. Sullivan, Mark and C.R. Rowley, “Naseby’s New Battle”, The Times, 22 September 1984. Tiller, Kate. Remembrance and Community: War Memorials and Local History. Ashbourne: British Association for Local History, 2013.


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Winter, Jay. Sites of Memory, Sites of Mourning: The Great War in European Cultural History. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995. Winter, Jay. Remembering War: The Great War between Memory and History in the Twentieth Century. Yale: Yale University Press, 2006. Worden, Blair. Roundhead Reputations: The English Civil Wars and the Passions of Posterity. London: Allen Lane, 2001.

Chapter 5

Patriotic Nationalism and Valorous Masculinity: The National Monument for the Prussian Wars of Liberation Christopher Goodwin We step more quietly than our ancient parents. We recognize them as expeditious natural-men who, through exercise, are indeed superior to us in physical strength, but are, after all, men like us. We show their picture to our children. They are delighted by the lively German men, their courage, their strength and toughness. They ask us: Why are we not like this? – Johann Christoph Friedrich GutsMuths, 17931

These words reflected a growing sentiment among some German intellectual and patriotic circles near the close of the eighteenth century. Drawing on a long history of fractured political existence, especially the impotence in enforcing territorial sovereignty of individual German states during the Thirty Years War, many harkened back to the ancient German tribes and the successful defenses against Roman incursions. Yet most remained comfortable with, or tacitly acknowledged, the validity of Madame de Staël’s contemporary characterization of Germans as “naturally literary and philosophical.”2 After Napoleon’s comprehensive defeat of the Prussian army at Jena-Auerstedt in 1806, many reformers sought to challenge this idea.3 Over the next nine years, 1  Johann Christoph Friedrich GutsMuths, Gymnastik für die Jugend: Enthaltend eine praktische Anweisung zu Leibesübungen (Schnepfenthal: Verlag der Buchhandlung der Erziehungsanstalt, 1793), 64-65. “Wir treten dann ruhiger neben unsre Ureltern. Wir erkennen in ihnen rasche Naturmenschen, die uns an körperlicher Stärke durch Übung zwar überlegen, übrigens aber Menschen wie wir sind. Wir zeigen ihr Bild unsern Kindern. Sie freuen sich der raschen deutschen Männer, ihres Muthes, ihrer Stärke und Härte. Sie fragen uns: warum sind wir nicht so?” Author’s translation. 2  Madame de Staël, De l’Allemagne (Paris: Firmin Didot, 1852), 17. “Elle est naturellement littéraire et philosophique.” Author’s translation. 3  For a comprehensive discussion of the military aspects of the wars, see Michael V. Leggiere, Napoleon and the Struggle for Germany, 2 vols. (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2015).

© Verlag Ferdinand Schöningh, 2019 | doi:10.30965/9783657788224_006


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patriots and nationalists created a popular movement in which “valorous masculinity” contributed to the defeat of the French and the removal of national shame. Reformers and much of the public believed that the institution of reforms throughout the military and society aimed at instilling a willingness to serve and die for the nation had liberated the German lands from external oppressors. The Prussian National Monument for the Wars of Liberation (Preußisches Nationaldenkmal für die Befreiungskriege) was indicative of the culmination of patriotic nationalism and gender ideals that became widespread during the struggles against Napoleon. Ordered by the King of Prussia, architect Friedrich Schinkel (1781–1841) constructed the Romantic neo-Gothic monument shortly after the war between 1818 and 1826. The massive, 18 meter-tall monument was planned on a space roughly the shape of a Greek cross; the hill became known as the Kreuzberg.4 Twelve sculptures punctuate the sides of the monument, representing individual battles from the Wars of Liberation. Each sculpture depicts a member of the royal family or a prominent general donning various German, Prussian, and Greek military clothing, weaponry, and symbolism. The Iron Cross adorns the inscription under each genius (sculptured representation), and is the crowning feature of the highest spire. It is not a coincidence that Schinkel was the original designer of the Iron Cross in 1813.5 Veterans were able to relive the experiences and traumas of the war, and the population at large could view a visual representation of sacrifice and pride. More subtly, the monument exemplified the dual purposes of the preceding era of reform: patriotic-nationalism and gender identity. Concerned with royal legitimacy, the monarchy was depicted in a variety of patriotic-nationalist orientations that sought broad appeal. Whether the viewer was inclined to ancient Germanic traditions or the more recent patriotic militia involvement, the monument portrayed the interests and loyalties of broad swathes of the population. Equally prominent was the depiction of gender ideals in a clear endorsement of valorous masculinity. The men were represented with all the characteristics of ancient Greek physical beauty, and were accoutered with the instruments of war that had so recently liberated the German lands. Prussian womanhood, exemplified in the form of Queen Louise, is shown in chaste simplicity, dignified and supportive. The Tzarina Alexandra shows a softer side,

4  Hans A. Pohlsander, National Monuments and Nationalism in 19th Century Germany (Oxford: Peter Lang, 2008), 190. A Greek cross has arms of equal length; though it resembles the shape of the Iron Cross, the groundplan was not based on the new iconic symbol. 5  Ibid., 191.

5. Patriotic Nationalism and Valorous Masculinity


presenting an olive branch over the inscription of the battle at Waterloo.6 The participation of the entire royal family mirrors the new bourgeois values of valor and unity. The emphasis is no longer the stern and autocratic father modelled after Frederick the Great, but a patriotic family that invites the participation of all its members in the defense of the nation. The National Monument served not just as a memorialization of victory and sacrifice, but as a permanent rallying point for the ideals of the era.7 The Prussian reformers had propagated valorous masculinity as the only cure for the woes of French occupation and subservience. They alleged that this new brand of masculinity held the power to unify the disparate German peoples, and to transform the “naturally literary and philosophical” into warriors who would throw off the shackles of a resurgent France armed with the levée en masse. The trauma of occupation and the jubilance of victory could be, in the form of the National Monument and other memorials, relived and reexperienced in the future as a symbol of strength. Although valorous masculinity was the vehicle of delivery for victory, its purpose as a unifying device was a prerequisite for combating the French.

The National Monument as a Symbol of Patriotic-Nationalism

According to the crown prince, Friedrich Wilhelm IV, the National Monument was to be a Prussian memorial, rather than German.8 This was consistent with 6  For a longer exposition on femininity in relation to patriotism, see Karen Hagemann, “Female Patriots: Women, War, and the Nation in the Period of the Prussian-German Anti-Napoleonic Wars,” Gender and History 16:2 (2004), 397-424; For the less dominant conception of femininity during the time period, see Karen Hagemann, “’Heroic Virgins’ and ‘Bellicose Amazons’: Armed Women, the Gender Order and the German Public during and after the Anti-Napoleonic Wars,” European History Quarterly 37:4 (2007), 507-527. 7  It should be noted that the idea of “rallying point” is valid in several ways, most notably along military lines and patriotic/nationalist. As a specifically political representation of the monarchy during the period of the Restauration, however, it failed due to the absence of a promised constitution on the part of the king. See Thomas Nipperdey, “Nationalidee und Nationaldenkmal in Deutschland im 19. Jahrhundert,” Historische Zeitschrift 206:3 (1968), 541. 8  Pohlsander, National Monuments, 190. This was reflected even in the name of the monument, by reference to Befreiungskriege, or “wars of liberation.” The monarchical interpretation was that the wars were liberations from external forces, namely France. This was in opposition to liberal characterizations of Freiheitskriege, or “wars of liberty” which included both external and internal sources of constraints or tyranny. See Karen Hagemann, “Occupation, Mobilization, and Politics: The Anti-Napoleonic Wars in Prussian Experience, Memory, and Historiography,” Central European History 39:4 (2006), 581. For a wider view, see Katherine Aaslestad and Karen Hagemann, “1806 and Its Aftermath: Revisiting the Period of the


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his pragmatic views of German unity that he would later display as king.9 It is, therefore, not surprising that his sculptural representation was a Prussian soldier. Yet he was portrayed as a Landsturm insurrectionary militiaman, rather than as a member of the traditional Prussian army, as he had actually been during the wars. Though Friedrich Wilhelm was a staunch Prussian conservative, he was also a Romanticist, and was inclined toward the entire panoply of Germanic heroic history. This explains his deep interest in the National Monument project’s overall Romantic design, but it is especially apparent in the sculptures. Prince William, the brother of the reigning king, wore Greek armor in his genius. Likewise, the king himself appeared as Hercules, and General von Blücher was depicted in Greek armor. Prince William, son of the King, wore Greek armor as well, but carried a shield that brandished the Prussian coat of arms. Prussia was represented further by Baron Bülow as a Landwehr soldier, Ludwig Yorck in Greek armor waving a Prussian banner, and Queen Louise, carrying a scepter with an Iron Cross and Prussian eagle. Yet Prince William, brother of the king, was featured again, this time in old German armor, destroying a dragon representing France.10 The monument may have indeed skewed toward a Prussian persuasion, but the patriotic and nationalist ideals of Germany, forged during the Wars of Liberation, appear too frequently to discount. Any inquiry into German nationalism during the Napoleonic era must first contend with its amorphous and heavily fractured geopolitical and regionalcultural nature. This was a practical consequence of the fragmentation of the German polities, which included the “major” German states of Austria and Prussia, but also hundreds of smaller, autonomous, and semi-autonomous entities loosely configured into the Holy Roman Empire. On a more fundamental level, however, fragmentation was a result of various loyalties and ideologies that arose from hundreds of years of regional identity formation, interspersed with cosmopolitan self-identifications based on ancient and contemporary European ethnic groups and states. The population aligned loyalty across several levels: family, city, regional-state, country, and national-ethnic. Napoleonic Wars in German Central European Historiography,” Central European History 39:4 (2006), 547-579. 9  See Abigail Green, Fatherlands: Building and Nationhood in Nineteenth-Century Germany (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001), 78. The king was more interested in balancing the power of the German Confederation internally, but also against France. 10  See Michael Nungesser, Das Denkmal auf dem Kreuzberg von Karl Friedrich Schinkel (Berlin: Bezirksamt Kreuzberg von Berlin, 1987). This book contains a plethora of pictures and information directly concerning the monument, and is the standard work on its architecture.

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“Patriotic-nationalism” is a useful and accurate term for describing nationalist sentiments and ideologies during this era, though “patriotism” and “nationalism” individually are applicable when referring to specific ideologies or loyalties.11 Karen Hagemann notes that historians writing in English tend to describe the early period of German nationalism as “nationalist,” a term fraught with negative connotations in German historiography.12 A nationalist orientation, however, is the tendency toward “absolute priority to the values of the nation over all other values and interests.”13 As will be shown, this was only the case for certain groups during the time period. Even for some groups that are easily labeled nationalistic, as opposed to simply patriotic, the nation itself was rarely the sole concern. The more ambiguous term “national movement” merely obfuscates the terminology and history.14 By focusing on the nation, historians ignore a majority of the population who were definitively bound to an existing political state, and whose loyalties are more accurately labeled “patriotic” in the conventional sense. Though “patriotic-national” aggregates several ideologies and loyalties that were sometimes inherently divergent, such an amalgamation is profitable for highlighting the interconnections on a larger scale that would be lost with a narrower focus. A careful balance of breadth and specificity highlights four main categories of patriotic-nationalism: provincial particularism, conservative Prussian patriotism, German liberalism, and Romantic nationalism. Provincial particularism was the most traditional of the various ideologies, both in the lineage of its adherents, as well as its place in the social structure of Prussia. The Altständischen, or the agricultural  Junker Estates, wished a return to the days of aristocratic power over provincial domains, unimpeded

11  Karen Hagemann, “Of ‘Manly Valor’ and ‘German Honor’: Nation, War, and Masculinity in the Age of the Prussian Uprising Against Napoleon,” Central European History 30:2 (1997), 187. See especially, Karen Hagemann, “Männlicher Muth und Teutsche Ehre”: Nation, Militär und Geschlecht zur Zeit der Antinapoleonischen Kriege Preussens (Paderborn: Ferdinand Schöningh, 2002), 28-31. For non-Prusso-centric loyalties, see Michael Rowe, “France, Prussia, or Germany? The Napoleonic Wars and Shifting Allegiances in the Rhineland,” Central European History 39:4 (2006), 611-640; Ute Planert, “From Collaboration to Resistance: Politics, Experience, and Memory of the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars in Southern Germany,” Central European History 39:4 (2006), 676-705. 12  Ibid., 187, n2. 13  Miroslav Hroch, “From National Movement to the Full-Formed Nation: The Nation Building Process in Europe,” in Becoming National: A Reader, eds. Geoff Eley and Ronald Grigor Suny (New York: Oxford University Press, 1996), 62. 14   Ibid. Hroch prefers “national movement” as a means of circumventing the term “nationalist.”


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by the King of Prussia.15 The gradual erosion of noble power since the Great Elector’s regency created a reactionary force that clung to its rights, often in the face of monarchical or princely intrusion, though some medieval constructs such as hereditary serfdom (Erbuntertänigkeit) and the “complete ownership of the peasant” (Leibeigenschaft) remained realities in Prussia.16 Nevertheless, the Estates needed the monarchy as a political and military bulwark against foreign aggression, though they also hoped to reassert themselves as a semiautonomous body in relation to the king. Conservative Prussian patriotism was somewhat less socially defined than provincial particularism and had grown in tandem with the state’s expanding governmental bureaucracy and positions. Unlike the aristocrats, conservatives equated national and monarchical interest through the Enlightenment idea of a rational state.17 Their main goal was to reestablish the legitimacy of the state through internal stabilization in order to eventually remove French domination. While conservative loyalty generally ended at the borders of Prussia, their public vocabulary was often vague; references to “nation” or “national spirit” invoked the emotions of many non-conservatives, but no emphasis was placed on a Kulturnation, a conception of the nation as bound by shared religion, language, traditions, and culture. Conservatives could thus publicly straddle the line between patriotic and nationalist, and gain the support of both in the quest for political stability. Liberal German nationalism developed at least partially in response to the fragmented political complexion of the Central European states. In contrast to the conservatives, liberals considered Germany “One Nation, One People, One State,” defined through a feeling of unity and completeness: Germany constitutes a whole [emphasis original], that is extinguished from no German breast, and it is not based merely on similarity of customs, languages, and literature … but rather on the memory of commonly savored rights and freedoms, commonly won glory and succeeded perils, on the remembrance of a closer connection that the fathers linked, and that only lives in the yearning of the grandchildren.18 15  Walter M. Simon, “Variations in Nationalism during the Great Reform Period in Prussia,” American Historical Review 59:2 (1954), 314. 16  Matthew Levinger, Enlightened Nationalism: The Transformation of Prussian Political Culture, 1806–1848 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000), 23. 17  Ibid., 67. 18  Wilhelm von Humboldt, Wilhelm von Humboldts Gesammelte Schriften, vol. 11, Königlich Preussischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, ed. (Berlin: B. Behr’s Verlag, 1903), 98. “… Eine Nation, Ein Volk, Ein Staat …” Second quotation, ibid., 97. “… Deutschland ein

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Wilhelm von Humboldt identified the significance of culture, but of even greater importance were rights and freedoms. This was characteristic of the German liberals, and indeed many of their ideas for reform were focused on increased rights, political participation, and equality.19 Liberal nationalists came mostly from the ranks of the bourgeoisie, a social class grounded in state administration, culture, and education.20 This third class lacked the economic dominance of the provincialist aristocrats and the political power of conservative patriots. Thus an expansion of rights and societal participation was a compelling motive for a group that lacked a strong basis in inherited tradition. Their background in cultural pursuits linked well with the idea of a Kulturnation; but, as Humboldt made clear, rights and freedoms were accentuated in the liberal conception of Germany. Perhaps the most distinctive form, Romantic nationalism’s importance in the realm of propaganda belied the fact that it was composed of a very small segment of the developing bourgeois class. The Romantics included many educated intellectuals beset by a tremendous sense of isolation and hopelessness. The demographic explosion that began in the middle of the eighteenth century ensured difficulty in finding employment, an acute blow for a group that prided itself on a sense of careerism.21 The Romantics also experienced social ostracism due to their intellectual elitism, and their tenuous social position had a clear demarcation from the noble class, but no explicit lower boundary.22 This isolation created a need for distinction through recognition of their individual genius, but it also engendered a longing for companionship, or the need to be part of a whole. Joseph Freiherr von Eichendorff described the idealized form that balanced the individual and the national community: Ganzes ausmacht, aus keiner deutschen Brust vertilgen, und es beruht nicht bloss auf Gemeinsamkeit der Sitten, Sprache und Literatur … sondern auf der Erinnerung an gemeinsam genossene Rechte und Freiheiten, gemeinsam erkämpften Ruhm und bestandene Gefahren, auf dem Andenken einer engeren Verbindung, welche die Väter verknüpfte, und die nur noch in der Sehnsucht der Enkel lebt.” Author’s translation. 19  Stefan Berger, Inventing the Nation: Germany (New York: Oxford University Press, 2004), 30. 20  Hagen Schulze, Der Weg zum Nationalstaat: Die Deutsche Nationalbewegung vom 18. Jahrhundert bis zur Reichsgründung (Munich: Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag, 1985), 60. 21  Henri Brunschwig, Enlightenment and Romanticism in Eighteenth-Century Prussia, Frank Jellinek, trans. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1974), 156. Sheehan shows an increase of the population of Prussia of 37% during the period 1750–1800, see James J. Sheehan, German History, 1770–1866 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1989), 75. Nipperdey traces the population growth from 1816–1865 at 87%, see Thomas Nipperdey, Deutsche Geschichte, 1800– 1866, vol. 1 Bürgerwelt und starker Staat (Munich: C. H. Beck, 2013), 103. Careful attention is required in separating increases due to territorial enlargement from increased birth rates, though the increase is found throughout Europe during the time period. 22  Braunschweig, Enlightenment and Romanticism, 119.


Christopher Goodwin

“The great community of the state will not be served by an internally changed person. Rather, he will lovingly serve with an unbroken peculiarity and his entire soul, in the manner that he wishes and is able to.”23 The emphasis on peculiarity was intimately tied with cultural expressions, and Romanticism was naturally aligned with a historic and linguistic conception of Germany. Rather than culminating in a particular political state, heritage produced the Volksgeist embodied by the people, and thus the nation existed wherever the Volk resided.24 More so than in liberal conceptions, the Romantics sowed the seeds of the future völkisch identity movement seen in fairy tales of the brothers Grimm and other, more overt, revolts against modernity.25 Patriotic nationalisms varied greatly in appearance and substance, yet a unifying framework for historical analysis remains possible. The modularity, or distinct packaging, of patriotic-national concepts was applicable throughout wide swathes of society, but transposition was only possible through an absence of conflict between abstract ideals.26 These ideals or methods are referred to as “modules” that, once defined, could be transposed to other interest groups with little modification. The most obvious module for the period was hostility toward France. Groups may have held different visions of a future political structure, but propaganda or ideas put forth concerning the need to remove the French were often indistinguishable, at least in generalized form. Likewise, a gender hierarchy module favorable to men was ubiquitous among patriotic-national groups. While the motivation for particular end goals of specific interest groups may have varied, such as the relative power of the monarchy or the eventual creation of a fully-fledged nation-state, all patrioticnationalist groups either eventually held the same ideals or methods that led to an objective or did not consider differences antithetical to their own particular ambitions. Matthew Levinger has identified “harmony” among various Prussian political groups as a consistently present and necessary prerequisite 23  Quoted in Hans Kohn, “Romanticism and the Rise of German Nationalism,” Review of Politics 12:4 (1950), 465, n35. “So wird auch der grossen Genossenschaft des Staates mit innerlich ausgewechselten Gesellen nicht gedient, sondern der der liebste sein, der ihr, weil mit ungebrochener Eigentümlichkeit, aus ganzer Seele dient, wie er eben kann und mag.” Originally in Eichendorff, Sämmtliche Werke, vol. X, 341. Author’s translation. 24  Simon, “Variations in Nationalism,” 316. 25  Among Brothers Grimm tales, for example, the apparent or interpretive xenophobia in “Rumpelstiltskin,” “Cinderella,” and “Briar Rose.” “The Jew Among Thorns” and “A Good Bargain” highlight anti-Semitism and the Christian nature of the German people. 26  For the basic theory on modularity, see Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism, rev. ed. (London: Verso, 2006), 4.

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for this process.27 Special interests might differ, but a common unity among patriotic-nationalist groups existed through a harmonious modularity of ideals and practices. By defining the interaction of these modules, a generalized framework of nationalism in Prussia during the Wars of Liberation takes shape. The formation of the nation-state’s harmonious modules does not rest upon the static and ephemeral word “imaginary,” but rather through the active process that Benedict Anderson labels “imagining.” At the heart of the process lies the construction of a solidarity between disparate peoples and groups.28 In a land of millions it is impossible to become acquainted with each individual, yet a sense of fellowship develops in place of isolation. The imagining of association takes place along many lines, but patriotic nationalisms emphasize regional/local spatial, state, nation, vernacular, and shared customs. This creates a “horizontal comradeship” that can transcend vertical hierarchies of status such as class, or less apparent sources of differentiation such as dialect.29 Differences are not entirely expunged, but explicit self-interest is interrupted for the benefit of a wider group. One of the clearest examples is the provincial particularist adoption of patriotic-national rhetoric. Self-interest dictated the reduction of power of the monarchy, yet provincialists purposely propagated an increased sphere of royal influence, at least into other areas of society. Thus they harnessed their historical membership in the Prussian officer corps to both help create and bind themselves to a patriotic-national horizontal conception of Prussian/German identity. Though contributing to the removal of the French was a boon to the provincialists, methods that resulted in perpetual increased monarchical power were not. As group interest takes precedence, sovereignty becomes imperative. Anderson’s formulation of the nation “as an imagined political community … imagined as both inherently limited and sovereign,” however, does not entirely align with the nebulous nature of German political entities.30 A more specific definition of sovereignty is required, namely as a form of “supreme authority,” rather than as a state-based political idea. “Polity” is more indicative of the areas in which groups strove for supreme authority. This is most apparent in the case of provincial particularists, who wanted to regain supreme authority over their regions from the power of the monarch. At the same time, this can be distinguished as authority over internal matters, in contrast to the goal of conservatives striving for supreme authority against the dictates of foreign 27  Levinger, Enlightened Nationalism, 48. 28  Anderson, Imagined Communities, 6. 29  For a discussion of horizontal comradeship, see ibid., 7. 30  Anderson, Imagined Communities, 6.


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powers, as well as over the regions within its borders. For liberal and Romantic nationalists, the scale shifted to include national, rather than merely state, borders. Harmony with respect to supreme authority existed between groups due to the primacy of the external French threat, with all groups recognizing that only a nation-state could establish sovereignty. Eric Hobsbawm’s focus on the congruity of the political and national unit suffers from the same overemphasis on political unity, though his clearer bifurcation of “state” and “nation” is an essential idea.31 For provincial particularists and conservatives, the political nature of the state was a very apparent and real concept, and the context of hundreds of years of practice in statecraft. Their actions and motivations were thus underpinned by traditional practicality. In contrast, liberals and Romantics were well aware of the improbability of constructing a German state, and focused instead on the nation as a living organism unbound from political reality. Hobsbawm asserts that the nation can be understood as existing a posteriori; this must be juxtaposed with the converse proposition that a state exists as an a priori element.32 Congruency between the state and national units could not exist during this time period. In the face of French aggression, however, the need to harness the emotions, and especially the soldiers, of the German lands provided a harmonizing factor to the disjunction between nation and state. Nevertheless, Hobsbawm’s criteria for the appellation of “state” remain pertinent, and serve as necessary, though not sufficient, conditions for the classification of a nation. The first, a national literary and administrative vernacular, is essential from both a practical and traditional standpoint. Hobsbawm specifically ties this to a “long-established cultural elite,” but in the case of Prussia, this requirement must be slightly modified.33 The state bureaucracy had only truly begun to come into its own politically and socially under the auspices of Frederick the Great in the second half of the eighteenth century.34 Although German was increasingly used in practical affairs such as business and law, most notably in the Allgemeines Landrecht für die Preußischen Staaten in 1794, the language of court under Frederick remained French. At the same time an intellectual literary elite produced the basis for a German language tradition that rivaled the French and English.35 While both groups can be considered 31  Eric J. Hobsbawm, Nations and Nationalism since 1780: Programme, Myth, Reality (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990), 9. 32  See ibid. 33  Ibid., 37. 34  Sheehan, German History, 69. 35  Ibid., 161. See especially John T. Waterman, A History of the German Language, rev. ed. (Long Grove, IL: Waveland Press, 1991), 163-175. Waterman discusses the advent of New

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part of an educated elite, in practice they were separate groups. Rather than forming as an outgrowth of a long-established vernacular, nationalism provided an increased impetus for emphasizing the language’s short literary and administrative tradition and promulgating its usage. Hobsbawm’s second and third criteria – a rich and impressive history and proven military capability, respectively – were indispensable in the construction of nationhood, but were more interdependent in Prussian/German nationalism.36 A history of military capabilities was linked to the sustainability of a nation, and therefore necessary for any present or future existence of a state or nation. Especially in the Prussian case, the “long and storied history” was intimately linked with the military past, and at times became inseparable, or even coterminous, in the minds of nationalists. Provincial particularists could harken back to the historic legacy of the East Prussian lands and the closely associated religious crusades and military campaigns against the indigenous peoples. The close association of the nobility with Prussian officership continued this martial tradition. Conservatives looked back on hundreds of years of constructing Prussia from the minor state of Brandenburg to its present status as a larger central European power. Fundamental to this construction was the military and its reputation through successive wars. While liberals and Romantic nationalists certainly appropriated Prussian history and military capacity, their timeline extended to the Roman era and the feats of Arminius at the Teutoburg Forest. Although Hobsbawm links history to an existing state, it was not an essential attribute.37 A common literary and administrative vernacular played another important role, however, in aiding the transmission of factual and mythical history to the present generation. The formation and solidification of a common memory of history prompted a unification of past and present during the Wars of Liberation. Anthony D. Smith notes that nationalists’ objectives are “not academic, but social,” and history and myths “make up the vision of the golden age that must inspire present regeneration.”38 This necessarily means that the transmitted historicity is less important than the effect the story has in unifying society and providing lessons to be incorporated by the people of the present. Thus while Arminius indeed contributed to stymying Roman incursions into Germania, the idea of freedom from external oppressors was a more important High German circa 1800, focusing on the contributions of Romanticism to German philology, standardized orthography, and standardized pronunciation. Integral to these developments were published dictionaries and cultural icons such as the Grimms. 36  Hobsbawm, Nations and Nationalism, 37-38. 37  Ibid., 37. 38  Anthony D. Smith, “The Origins of Nations,” in Becoming National, 121.


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and pertinent lesson in light of present-day French hegemony. Symbolizing the German past and present further linked individual Germans to history and memory, providing an observable anchor for the imagining of communal origins. Not only did these include the National Monument, national cemeteries, rituals, and festivities that visually substantiated myth and memory, but they also invited the participation of those it was directed toward.39 Direct participation by most societal groups contributed to a national identity based primarily on a horizontal comradeship. It did not erase distinctions such as class or gender, but muted these attributes in the context of national belonging. The construction of the “French Other” catalyzed the idea of German exclusivity. Although the surrounding lands and peoples, or some minority populations within Prussia and Germany served as monikers of “non-German,” the French became the preferred model of what Germans were not. While this would eventually be distilled into specific characteristics, especially along gender lines, emotional appeals could serve to divide external and internal: The French name must become a revulsion in your borders and a curse inherited from child to grandchild … The foreign and [your] own will be separate for eternity! The French and Germans will be separate! Not by mountains, not by rivers, not by Chinese and Caucasian walls, but through the insurmountable wall constructed by a burning hate between both peoples.40 Arndt drew a parallel between barbarians and the French by alluding to the Great Wall of China and the Gates of Alexander, ancient and colossal

39  George L. Mosse, The Nationalization of the Masses: Political Symbolism and Mass Movements in Germany from the Napoleonic Wars through the Third Reich (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1975), 7. Also, George L. Mosse, “National Cemeteries and National Revival: The Cult of the Fallen Soldiers in Germany,” Journal of Contemporary History 14:1 (1979), 1-20; Christopher Clark, “The Wars of Liberation in Prussian Memory: Reflections on the Memorialization of War in Early Nineteenth-Century Germany,” Journal of Modern History 68:3 (1996), 550-576; Nipperdey, “Nationalidee und Nationaldenkmal,” 529-85. 40  Arndt, Geist der Zeit, vol. 3, 417. “… der Name Franzos muß ein Abscheu werden in deinen Gränzen, und ein Fluch, der von Kind auf Kindeskind erbt … Geschieden werde das Fremde und Eigene auf ewige Zeit! Geschieden werde das Französische und Teutsche! Nicht durch Berge, nicht durch Ströme, nicht durch chinesische und kaukasische Mauern, nein durch die unübersteigliche Mauer, die ein brennender Haß zwischen beiden Völkern aufführt.” Author’s translation.

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barriers erected to thwart barbarian invasions.41 Nationalism acquired a relational dimension of exclusivity. More specifically, what Prasenjit Duara terms a “hardening of boundaries” occurred through stricter delimitations of who constituted a German.42 Although an exact definition of German identity was not fully formed, it became ever clearer that Germans wanted to differentiate themselves from the French, or even portray the French as a binary opposition. This was a much more fundamental identification of Germany, one which much of the population could accept, in contrast to the troublesome question of political boundaries. Equally important, however, was a self-definition through inclusivity, namely through the labeling of unique national characteristics and the rejection of historical civilizational analogues. Similar to the process of exclusion above, fluid boundaries and relationships hardened to create a less universal identity. German identity had hitherto been dependent on imitation of others’ national characteristics: We have proved with history the characteristics of the Germans as an original people [Urvolk], and as such one that has the right, in contrast with other branches that have been torn away from it, to designate itself simply the people … There is little left that is German at this time among the Germans … It is the relationship of the original people of the modern world to the progress of the development of the genesis of this world, that the former is stimulated by the incomplete and superficial residual endeavors of foreign countries … to profounder elaborative creations. Because it without a doubt takes times from stimulus to creation, it is clear that such a time period leads to the original people appearing almost entirely blurred or equal to the foreign countries … Germany finds itself in such a time period now.43 41  The allusion to the Gates of Alexander is more literary than historical, as was often the case with Romantic authors. The history of the wall(s) is subject to much scholarly debate, including its existence. 42  Prasenjit Duara, “Historicizing National Identity, or Who Imagines What and When,” in Becoming National, 169. 43  Johann Gottlieb Fichte, Reden an die deutsche Nation (Berlin: Realschulbuchhandlung, 1808), 208-09. “… in der Geschichte nachgewiesen die Grundzüge der Deutschen, als eines Urvolks und als eines solchen, das das Recht hat, sich das Volk schlechtweg, im Gegensatze mit andern von ihm abgerissenen Stämmen zu nennen … daß dermalen unter den Deutschen selber wenig Deutsches mehr übrig sei … Das war im ganzen das Verhältnis des Urvolks der neuen Welt zum Fortgang der Bildung dieser Welt, daß das erstere durch unvollständige und auf der Oberfläche verbleibende Bestrebungen des Auslandes erst angeregt werde zu tiefern … zu entwickelnden Schöpfungen. Da von


Christopher Goodwin

Many others simply bemoaned that “the German nation could not have a character in the sense of other nations … because they had generalized and refined themselves into a ‘World-People.’”44 The most obvious example of the cosmopolitanism of German identity involves French customs, mannerisms and language, and the prominence of this imitation probably contributed to the polar swing described above.45 Yet Germans also hoped to imitate the American political unification in the face of a plurality of small states, England economically, the Netherland’s anti-tyrannical patriotism, and the Italians’ imaginative culture and compatriotism against Napoleon.46 Like many other contemporary peoples the Greeks and Romans were held as the unachievable models of antiquity. While German self-identity remained extremely fluid throughout the nineteenth century, and the Greek and Roman ideal never fully discarded, German nationalism during the Wars of Liberation did generally follow Madame de Staël’s advice that “the patriotism of nations should be selfish.”47 Although language and culture continued to be ranked as civilizational achievements, patriotic nationalist groups aspired for Germans to be more than “naturally literary and philosophical.”48 The preceding characteristics highlight the attributes of a nation, but only as a static and historical paradigm. Symbolism could link myth, memory, and history with the present, but its acceptance could only be compelling if it were somehow transformative. Thus nationalists hoped to link the past with the present for the attainment of national renewal and growth in the future, a time when “the newborn assumes the likeness of his [ancient] father, a new golden age … an igniting age that will be prophetic, miraculous and wound-healing, of comforting and eternal life.”49 The present subjugation of the German lands der Anregung bis zur Schöpfung es ohne Zweifel seine Zeit dauert, so ist klar, daß ein solches Verhältnis Zeiträume herbei führen werde, in welchen das Urvolk fast ganz mit dem Auslande verflossen und demselben gleich erscheinen müsse … In einem solchen Zeitraume befindet sich nun gerade jetzt Deutschland.” Author’s translation. 44  Bogumil Goltz, Die Deutschen: Ethnographische Studie (Berlin: O. Janke, 1860), 3. “Die deutsche Nation kann keinen Charakter im Sinne der andern Nationen haben, da sie sich … zu einem Welt-Volke generalisiert und geläutert hat.” Author’s translation. For a later perception, see Friedrich Meinecke, Weltbürgertum und Nationalstaat: Studien zur Genesis des deutschen Nationalstaates (Munich: R. Oldenbourg, 1911). 45  James, German Identity, 15. 46  Ibid., 21-29. 47  Madame de Staël, De l’Allemagne (Paris: Firmin Didot, 1852), 16. “… mais le patriotisme des nations doit être égoïste.” Author’s translation. 48  Ibid., 17. “Elle est naturellement littéraire et philosophique.” Author’s translation. 49  Novalis, “Die Christenheit oder Europa,” in Novalis: Schriften, vol. 1 (Berlin: Reimer, 1826), 204. “Das Neugeborne wird das Abbild seines Vaters, eine neue goldne Zeit … eine

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was an impediment to this future renewal and growth. Napoleon’s hegemonic ambitions had dispelled most of the initial enthusiasm of those who had greeted his ascendancy, including the political liberalism associated with the French Revolution. Though Napoleon had consolidated German territories, his actions clearly showed his primary intent of removing any threat to France’s eastern border. Economic sanctions, the loss of much productive land, and war indemnities prevented economic growth, and therefore the prospect of future competition for French Continental hegemony. Under Napoleon, Prussia would become a vassal state serving as a source of economic extraction and a military buffer against the Slavic lands of the east, and the Volksgeist chained to a fractured existence. The patriotic nationalists promised a transformative future in which the French were rolled back to their borders, along with everything that their domination entailed. Patriotic nationalists, through reforms and propaganda, presented an alternate vision of objective reality: Prussia and Germany as lands that could and would be saved through a collective effort with reformed masculinity as its vanguard. Removing the French was essentially a military question, a task that required creating and harnessing the necessary military strength. This demanded the mobilization of a large army from the 8.8 million Prussians and approximately 15 million Germans of other states, but this was impossible if soldiers were bound solely to regimental pride and the public was apathetic to supporting another “war of princes.”50 Only through the instillation of valorous masculinity could the state and nation marshal the number of soldiers needed, but more importantly, the creation of the kind of dedicated soldier who “was a noble man and true citizen of his Fatherland, and who would do everything that brings this Fatherland and its beloved Volk honor, freedom, and glory [Preis und Lob], at home and in foreign lands.”51 The objective reality that the nationalists propagated was a hegemonic masculinity based on valor that would be appropriated throughout society. profetische wunderthätige und wundenheildende, tröstende und ewiges Leben entzündende Zeit sein.” Author’s translation. 50  Sheehan, German History, 75. This is based on statistical figures for 1800, and thus not reflect the transfer of territories following defeat. Nevertheless, the figure of 23-24 million remains accurate. 51  Ernst Moritz Arndt, Kurzer Katechismus für teutsche Soldaten, nebst zwei Anhängen von Liedern (1813), 7. “… der Soldat ein edler Mensch und treuer Bürger seines Vaterlandes ist und alles thut, was diesem Vaterlande und seinem geliebten Volke Ehre, Freiheit, Preis und Lob bringt daheim und in der Fremde.” Author’s translation. The Kurzer Katechismus was a propaganda pamphlet written by Arndt, a Romantic nationalist, commissioned by Heinrich Friedrich Karl vom und zum Stein, a reformer in the Prussian government, for distribution to soldiers. See Hagemann, “Of ‘Manly Valor,’” 209.


Christopher Goodwin

German patriotic nationalism during the Wars of Liberation was based on an imagined community that was constructed using the past as a model for future prosperity and change through the creation of a new objective reality in the present. All patriotic national groups imagined a community that expanded beyond their immediate and individual borders and that was characterized by a broadened horizontal fellowship. Each group could point to a rich past and its polity, state, or nation that linked them to the broader whole; only the chronologic and spatial scales differed. Through symbolization of myths, history, and memory, the past was linked with the present, but a present filled with trauma and suffering. Past glories were propagated as reflections of a future destination, but this was only possible if the proper lessons were drawn. Valorous masculinity was submitted as the necessary and sufficient objective reality to link past, present, and future. The versions of patriotic nationalisms certainly differed in end goals, which was something that would come to a head following Napoleon’s defeat. Nevertheless, while France remained a threat, the harmonious convergence of method and immediate objectives provided a version of nationalism that appealed to virtually every member of the populace that hoped for an end to French hegemony. How did all of this align with patriotic-nationalism’s later memorialization in the National Monument? The king, as Hercules, was not portrayed as an enlightened despot of the previous age, but as a powerful demi-god defending his people. His son was garbed in militia clothing, rather than that of the Prussian army. The king’s brother wears old German armor, linking the distant past with the present. Harmonization of ideals and ideology appears in two major forms: exclusivity against the French and an appeal to Greek standards. The slaying of the dragon, France, shows clearly the enemy, his power, and the need to overcome it. Furthermore, six, fully half, of all the genii are clothed in Greek armor. The monument clearly contains a bent toward the monarchy and Prussian generals, but otherwise incorporates other elements of patriotic-nationalism. The prominence of Greek idealism is a further harmonization. While there was little consensus concerning the exact constitution of Germany, the German people, or the place of Prussia in Central Europe, all favored comparisons to that most ancient of civilized Europeans, the Greeks.

The National Monument as a Signifier of Gender Ideals

Thus, patriotic-nationalists posited an objective reality predicated on the formation, teaching, and widespread acceptance of valorous masculinity. Yet “widespread acceptance” within Prussia remains ambiguous, and must be

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defined both theoretically and empirically. While gender relations and the construction of gender itself are highly fluid, some forms and structures enter the realm of normativity, or the nearly ubiquitous idea that they are “just the way things are” or “normal,” and any divergence is abnormal. “Normal” forms are referred to as hegemonic within society, or within a group in society. The theory of hegemonic masculinity scrutinizes maleness in relation to womanhood, but also differing conceptions of masculinity between men.52 Gender power structures are an integral component of gender history, but especially in dealing with hegemony. Nevertheless, relational power structures will be analyzed only insofar as they pertain to the process of acceptance of valorous masculinity. More specifically, this includes the agency of women in fomenting and perpetuating this brand of masculinity. Of overarching significance is the role of patriotic nationalism in the formation of the hegemonic ideal. A “harmony of idea” existed among the patriotic nationalist groups as to the specific shape of valorous masculinity. Differences of method were mitigated in the pursuit of a martial infusion into the male population to defeat the French. Valorous masculinity became hegemonic through a process outlined by R. W. Connell as normalization, and “cultural consent, discursive centrality, institutionalization, and the marginalization or delegitimation of alternatives.”53 At the societal level, hegemony is possible only through a correspondence between the cultural archetype and an institutional force.54 This power may be primarily politically based, but it may also be more informal personal relationships, voluntary organizations, intellectual groups, or other areas that do not rely on coercive legal powers. The Prussian government worked in tandem with such informal institutions to construct the ideal man. Discursive centrality, therefore, need not specifically refer to source, but rather a multiplicity of media forms or methods of propagation focused on a single idea. The treatises of Romantic intellectuals appear significantly different from income tax reform laws until one considers that both shared the underlying motive of a single participatory masculinity. Cultural consent is a prerequisite for the acceptance and assumption of the hegemonic form, and a lack of consent can lead to delegitimization, either to the ranks of abnormality or to marginality. Marginality is not synonymous with abnormality, though both may correspond 52  John Tosh, “Hegemonic Masculinity and the History of Gender,” in Masculinities in Politics and War: Gendering Modern History, Stefan Dudink, Karen Hagemann, and John Tosh, eds. (Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press, 2004), 42. 53  R. W. Connell, “Hegemonic Masculinity: Rethinking the Concept,” Gender and Society 19:6 (2005), 846. 54  Raewyn Connell, Der gemachte Mann: Konstruktion und Krise von Männlichkeiten, 4th ed. (Cambridge, UK: Polity Press, 2015), 131.


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in relation to a specific form, such as homosexuality during this time period. Patriotic nationalist groups actively sought both the marginalization and abnormalization of alternate forms. In particular, this included any actions or beliefs that seemed to originate from France, such as behavior at the royal court. Delegitimization connotes that a legitimate form exists; this was much less of a concern for nationalists because much of society felt that many attributes of masculinity had already lost legitimacy during the French invasion. Through the efforts of patriotic nationalists, both within and outside the government, valorous masculinity became fully normalized during the Wars of Liberation. Hegemony, however, does not imply statistical or numerical superiority of practitioners in comparison to non-hegemonic or subordinate masculinities. As John Tosh notes, this leads to both numerical and political consequences.55 The first implies that hegemony is not equated with practice, but rather the beliefs of men generally. Heroically dying in battle for the nation was statistically unlikely during the Wars of Liberation, but the ideal became ingrained in masculinity for generations afterward.56 As such, many patriotic-national groups extolled the virtue of a willingness to sacrifice one’s life, and proportionately less on actually doing so. On a more general level, most men never fought against the French, yet the Bürger als Nationalkrieger concept was intimately linked with manliness and a burgeoning sense of the need for increased political rights. The political component provides another fundamental aspect of hegemony, namely as consisting of the traits and ideals that cement the power of the ruling classes.57 In effect, dominant political and social authorities, under the auspices of self-interest, would logically support masculine attributes that provide or protect the legitimacy for their stature and rank. While this is a contentious idea that may not be representative of every hegemonic form of masculinity, it is characteristic of the masculinity that developed in Prussia. This cynical view is misleading, however, and it is also clear that nonpolitically dominant groups advocated the pro-monarch hegemonic form of masculinity. From a practical standpoint, a widespread adherence to valorous masculinity would increase the strength of the military, which in turn would 55  Tosh, “Hegemonic Masculinity,” 48. 56  Gunther E. Rothenberg, The Art of Warfare in the Age of Napoleon (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1980), 81-2. Losses were proportionally less in battles than during the wars of Frederick the Great, hovering consistently between 20-26 percent in large battles. Even in comparison to French and Allied losses during pitched battles, Prussian casualties were consistently 10-20 percent lower than other participating nations, with the exception of Austria. Furthermore, these statistics include soldiers who survived their wounds, and permanent casualties were an even smaller proportion. 57  Ibid.

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also bolster political institutions. Thus valorous masculinity and patrioticnational groups mutually reinforced each other and simultaneously became more dominant in their respective spheres. Non-hegemonic forms of masculinity were driven toward or outside the bounds of respectability.58 Valorous masculinity was the amalgamation of the new traits assigned to men: “‘aggressivity,’ ‘activity,’ ‘force,’ ‘creativity,’ ‘passion,’ ‘courage,’ ‘strength,’ and ‘gallantry.’”59 Yet this was not a call for hyper-masculinity, but an attempt to harmonize the rationality of the Enlightenment with the passion of the Romantics. Thus, while “true courage is won … it ripens through dangers and struggles,” writers maintained that “there risked the foolhardy, where the daring of the rational ceased.”60 Though strength was an essential attribute of a man, the spirit took precedence over the body and “through his courage, he is still more respected and feared, than through his strength.”61 Strength was used as a physical differentiator between males and females, or in a more general sense of mental fortitude or perseverance in moral matters. Creativity reinforced feelings, passions, reason, and willpower, which were all necessary for the production and sustainment of force and activity.62 In many ways, these were the corresponding opposite characteristics of women, but they were by no means considered universal traits of all men, especially following the military defeat at Jena: Nature wanted you to be men; you must despise yourself if you are not. A lofty goal has been placed upon you … Men will be unworthy themselves and shame will cover them if you don’t reach it, if you don’t, at the very least, strive with all strength to fulfill it. Important business has been assigned to you; only as powerful men will you carry it out with honor … The Fatherland sets its faith in men; men must be its representative and guardian, the caregiver of its welfare, the promoter of its glory.63 58  For further explication on this process more generally and the idea of “respectability,” see George L. Mosse, Nationalism and Sexuality: Respectability and Abnormal Sexuality in Modern Europe (New York: Howard Fertig, 1985). 59  Hagemann, “Of ‘Manly Valor,’” 204. 60  Friedrich Ehrenberg, Der Charakter und die Bestimmung des Mannes (Leipzig: Büschel in Elberfeld, 1808), 227. “Der wahre Muth wird erworben; er reift unter Gefahren und Kämpfen.” The second quotation at ibid., 240. “Der Tollkühne wagt da, wo das Wagen des Vernünftigen aufhört.” Author’s translation. 61  Ibid., 227. “Durch seinen Muth ist er noch mehr geachtet und gefürchtet, als durch seine Stärke.” Author’s translation. 62  Ibid., 12-13. 63  Ibid., 2. “Die Natur hat gewollt, daß Sie Männer seyen; Sie müssen sich selbst verachten, wenn Sie es nicht sind. Ein erhabenes Ziel ist Ihnen aufgestellt; sie sind ihrer selbst


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Masculinity carried traits that extended throughout the many domains of life and that were not explicitly soldierly. Nevertheless, in the context of the Wars of Liberation, patriotic nationalists inseparably linked them with military purposes and the acquisition of valor. Martial masculinity was most easily applicable to soldiers of the standing army, the Waffenmann. For the officer corps, the opening of positions (gleiche Ansprüche) beyond the nobility to the bourgeois class was a defining moment for the reformers, who considered the noble monopoly the source of decay in the military.64 Unlike the perceived effeminization of the nation through the court nobility, reformers targeted the officer class for their static, pre-French Revolution and arrogantly aristocratic military beliefs and methods. The immediate implication of the reduction of noble privilege was a bourgeois infusion into the artillery and line infantry.65 This provided some of the leadership roles that the middle class sought, and reinforced the position of education and merit over birth. The nobility was undoubtedly unhappy about this encroachment unwürdig, Schande wird sie bedecken, wenn Sie es nicht erreichen, wenn Sie sich nicht wenigstens aus allen Kräften bestreben, ihm nachzukommen. Wichtige Geschäfte sind Ihnen aufgetragen; nur als kräftige Männer werden Sie dieselben mit Ehre vollführen … Auf Männer setzt das Vaterland sein Vertrauen; Männer müssen seine Vertreter und Beschützer, die Pfleger seiner Wohlfahrt, die Beförderer seines Ruhmes seyn.” Author’s translation. 64  E.  von Conrady, Leben und Wirken des Generals der Infanterie und kommandirenden Generals des V. Armeekorps Carl von Grolman, vol. 1 (Berlin: Ernst Siegfried Mittler und Sohn, 1894), 159. Karl von Grolman, a key reformer under Scharnhorst’s military reorganization, is quoted, “These many protrusions through occupation of the officer positions were now to be thoroughly remedied, and that happened through the decree of August 6, 1808 which, by means of sufficient education, there was equal entitlement to advancement to officership between nobles and the middle classes.” Original: “Diesen vielfachen Überständen bei Besetzung der Offizerstellen sollte nun gründlich abgeholfen werden, und das geschah durch die Verordnung vom 6. August 1808, welche bei zureichender Bildung dem Adel sowie dem Bürgerstande gleiche Ansprüche zur Beförderung zum Offizier gab …”. Author’s translation. See also, Gordon A. Craig, Politics of the Prussian Army, 1640–1945 (London: Oxford University Press, 1955), 43-44. It should be noted that there were politically reactionary rebuffs on the part of conservatives who felt that many of the social changes in the military were reminiscent of French revolutionary ideology. This assertion certainly contained some truth, especially given the euphoria from many sectors of society concerning the increase of political rights stemming from the French Revolution. Reformers tapped into these sentiments, but also maintained a distance from close association with French ideals, and propaganda further differentiated the two, sometimes fairly, but also at times consciously misleading. 65  Peter Paret, Yorck and the Era of the Prussian Reform, 1807–1815 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1966), 264-66.

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on their privilege, and some nobles complained or even resigned over what many perceived were unnecessary French influences.66 Greater change occurred in the enlisted corps through the end of foreign recruitment in 1807 and the legal reforms in the War Article for NCOs and Common Soldiers in 1808.67 Perhaps most important was the implementation of universal conscription “regardless of birth,” with the justification that “as sons of the Fatherland, it was their great profession and duty, to protect and defend it.”68 The law also ushered in reforms concerning punishments, banning caning, running the gauntlet, and other corporal punishments.69 Though the law mentioned the “Fatherland,” the king was explicitly invoked a multitude of times, both as the supreme authority of soldiers, but also as the entity to which loyalty should be directed. The acceptance of “king and fatherland” as the primary loyalty of soldiers was a key victory for patriotic national groups. Religiosity was heavily intertwined with the loyalty of the Waffenmann conception of masculinity. The propaganda of Ernst Moritz Arndt is indicative of this connection, especially in those tracts published specifically for the professional soldiers. In the poem, “Who is a Man,” God figures prominently: Who is a man? One that can pray And trusts in God the Lord; When all breaks, he worries not: The pious are never afraid. This is the man who can die For God and Fatherland He keeps going until the grave With heart and mouth and hand 66  Mark Hewitson, “Princes’ Wars, Wars of the People, or Total War? Mass Armies and the Question of a Military Revolution in Germany, 1792–1815,” War in History 20:4 (2013), 471. It should be noted that resignations were especially a result of the assigning of German regiments to the French army, though differences in military philosophy surely played a part. 67  Ibid., 133. 68  Friedrich Wilhelm III, Kriegs-Artikel für die Unteroffiziere und gemeinen Soldaten, den 3ten. August 1808 (Königsberg: 1808), 3 “ohne Unterschied”; Ibid. “… als Söhne des Vaterlandes ihren hohen Beruf und ihre Pflicht, dasselbe zu beschützen und vertheidigen.” Article 1. Author’s translation. 69  Ibid., 4. Article 3.


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So, German man, so, free man, With God the lord to the war! For God alone can be your aide, From God comes fortune and victory.70 Arndt clearly established his position of the relationship between God and royalty in his Short Catechism for Soldiers: God seated kings and princes, and placed the sword and scepter in their hand, so that they could administer justice, shelter and protect their Volk, drive off foreign enemies from them, and should stand and struggle until death for their Fatherland. Men, whoever so laudably and powerfully reigns … should be held as holy and inviolable, because they are the image of God on earth.71 As this came from a propaganda pamphlet distributed by the king’s army, the emphases on country, God, and king were forceful, though Arndt himself subscribed to a more Romantic persuasion of nationalism. The end of foreign recruitment, universal conscription, military reforms aimed at human dignity, and propaganda all contributed to the move away from regimental loyalty. Due in part to the political realities of dynastic warfare, common soldiers often felt detached from the sovereign’s goals and incentives for war. In its place, camaraderie and regimental pride created the loyalty that bound monetarilymotivated mercenaries and the apathetic, conscripted citizenry. Though such loyalty would remain strong in Germany long into the future due to regional recruitment, the devotion of the Prussian soldier was now nation- or state-oriented.

70   Ernst Moritz Arndt, Gedichte: Vollständige Sammlung (Berlin: Weidmannsche Buchhandlung, 1860), 270-271. “Wer ist ein Mann? Wer beten kann/ Und Gott dem Herrn vertraut;/ Wann alles bricht, er zaget nicht:/ Dem Frommen nimmer graut … Dies ist der Mann, der sterben kann/ Für Gott und Vaterland,/ Er läßt nicht ab bis an das Grab/ Mit Herz und Mund und Hand … So, deutscher Mann, so, freier Mann,/ Mit Gott dem Herrn zum Krieg!/ Denn Gott allein kann Helfer sein,/ Von Gott kommt Glück und Sieg.” Author’s translation. 71  Arndt, Kurzer Katechismus für teutsche Soldaten, 2-3. “Könige und Fürsten hat Gott gesetzt und ihnen das Schwerdt und Scepter in die Hand gegeben, daß sie die Gerechtigkeit verwalten, ihr Volk beschirmen und schützen, fremde Feinde von ihm abtreiben und für ihr Vaterland bis in den Tod stehen und streiten sollen. Herren, welche so löblich und mächtig regieren mit dem Scepter und Schwerdt, sollen heilig und unverletzlich gehalten werden, denn sie sind ein Ebenbild Gottes auf Erden.” Author’s translation.

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The standing Prussian army was too small to wage war effectively against France, but a solution was found in the concept of the Bürger als Nationalkrieger. The Peace of Tilsit (1807) had pared down the Prussian army from 235,000 to 63,000 men, and then only 42,000 under the Treaty of Paris a year later.72 By 1813 Prussia could field 280,000 men, a number that would have been impossible without the 120,000 men of the Landwehr, the national citizen militia.73 This amounted to 16 percent of all males, but 45 percent of those between 18 and 45 years of age, a fact that was not overlooked by propagandists.74 Prussia, with a relatively small population, could not sustain a massive standing army after the reduction of territory and population, thus precluding a true levée en masse, but a self-sustained militia swelled the ranks. The concept of a popular war was borrowed from France for its ability to enlarge the military, but also for the idea of soldiers with greater morale and purpose and a society that supported it. The calls for defending the fatherland and self-sacrifice fell on a large segment of the population that would eventually return to civilian life, and carry such values with it. Nevertheless, Karen Hagemann has identified the variations in propaganda that targeted different portions of the population, based upon their primary motivations for fighting: citizenship and legal rights, emotive nationalism, and God and king.75 The first major variation of the civilian version of valorous masculinity focused on the citizen in uniform. As the ultimate test of manliness, fighting for the nation proved the worthiness of the militiaman for citizenship. Yet citizenship did not necessarily equate to greater rights. Indeed, the idea of the citizen in uniform itself held two variations, a form for the educated middle classes, and one for everybody else. Liberal nationalists held a strong preference for the civilian in uniform due to its emphasis on the fatherland, but also through its linkages with legal citizenship. The Romantics were also attracted to the idea of a citizen in uniform because of emotional calls for German unity associated with it. Nevertheless, educated authors expounded on the enhancement of rights through citizenship and soldiering among themselves, whereas the propaganda directed to the general population focused on the duties of 72  Ute Frevert, A Nation in Barracks: Modern Germany, Military Conscription and Civil Society (Oxford: Berg, 2004), 10. 73  Craig, Politics of the Prussian Army, 60-61. See also, Hewitson, “Princes’ War,” 455. The order for a general militia was promulgated by the king on 23 March in the “Verordnung über die Organisation der Landwehr.” See Generalstab, Das preußische Heer der Befreiungskriege, vol. 2 (Berlin: Ernst Siegfried, 1914), 405-06. 74  Hagemann, Revisiting Prussia’s Wars, 180. 75  The following variations and categorizations were identified and most thoroughly analyzed in Hagemann, Revisiting Prussia’s Wars, 130-156.


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citizenship without an emphasis on rights.76 The propaganda pamphlets promoted that the prosecution of the people’s war was “an honor and duty of all German men,” done in the name of “the Fatherland and for freedom:”77 Only through honest, free, honorable men will the Fatherland be rescued … No vanity, no ambition, no greed, no lasciviousness will belong here. For why do you hate and detest the French so much? Because they are greedy, lascivious, predatory and cruel, because they don’t struggle for justice and freedom … Those thieving, lascivious, and greedy slaves deserve the wicked despots who rule with an iron scepter. Because really, if you dare not to be better than they, you will forever remain their servants.78 Such sentiments contained rousing emotional appeals for freedom from servitude, but never specific rights that such freedom granted. The French, however, were always characterized as unwilling to fight for freedom, as they were “superficial” and “shallow,” and thus not manly.79 The young war hero, the second variant, was characterized primarily by intra-generational conflict and emotion. The Romantics defined the young war hero trope as a solution for their need to communally bond and alleviate a desperate sense of loneliness, though the influence of emotional appeal on young liberal nationalists should not be discounted. Similar to the citizen in uniform, the defense of the fatherland was a duty of every man, but there was a Romantic emphasis on individual attainment of honor.80 It was the task of young men, as individuals, to build a German community, something they believed the older generation had failed to do, and which had led to Germany’s dishonor. Members of this group were committed to the Volk nation, and though many served as volunteers in the Prussian militia, they did not swear

76  Ibid., 148. 77  Ernst Moritz Arndt, Was bedeutet Landsturm und Landwehr, nebst einer Aufforderung an teutsche Jünglinge und Männer zum Kampfe für Teutschlands Freiheit (1813), 13. Also, ibid., 16. 78  Arndt, Kurzer Katechismus, 27. “Nur durch redliche, freie, ehrenfeste Männer wird das Vaterland gerettet werden … da muß keine Eitelkeit, keine Ehrsucht, kein Geiz, keine Wollust gehört werden. Denn warum hasset und verabscheuet ihr die Franzosen so sehr?… weil sie geizig, wollüstig, räuberisch und grausam sind, weil sie nicht für Recht und Freiheit … in den Streit ziehen … Jene diebischen, wollüstigen und habsüchtigen Sklaven aber verdienen den verruchten Despoten, der sie mit eisernem Scepter beherrscht. Denn wahrlich waget ihr nicht besser zu seyn als sie, ihr bleibet ihre Knechte in Ewigkeit.” Author’s translation. 79  Hagemann, “Of ‘Manly Valor,’” 194. 80  Hagemann, Wars against Napoleon, 149.

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allegiance to the king or to any individual state.81 The main features of the generational divide were a less serious view on war and a move toward the mythic: The militia exercises must become true festivities. They can begin with ceremonious processions, musical art and chanting like to accompany them, and dance and cheerful game conclude … If yearly … a part of the militia is selected for conscription [als Heerbann], in this manner, after a decade, an entire Volk is reborn manly, nationalistic, and feels its power.82 Although the above refers specifically to militia training, many of the clubs established had an explicit military dimension. Much of Friedrich Jahn’s Deutsches Volkstum was dedicated to the education and training of German men, particularly in maintaining discipline and order, wearing matching uniforms, and various physical exercises to prepare the body for the rigors of combat. Actual military conflict was seen as an extension of the brotherly community. As with much Romantic nationalist thought, the harmonious convergence of opposites was a central tenet and ideal. This is visible in the “festivity” of war, but is also apparent in the quest for individual death for the fatherland buttressed against the memorialization of the “unknown soldier.” The Christian militiaman was the most common variant of civilian martial masculinity, and the most traditional in values. The most significant difference in this variant was the localized limitation of loyalty: The Christian militiaman fought for his family, the king, and Prussia. While the previous two categories emphasized “protection” as an attribute of a man, many of the men were young and unmarried. Thus, war was a test to prove manliness and suitability for marriage. This was not the case for the Christian militiaman, who more often already had a family that had suffered directly or indirectly from the French occupation. Defense of the existing family was, therefore, the major initial draw. One of the most popular songs for soldiers and militiamen was “Song of the Prussians,” which expressed family virtues and sacrifice:

81  Berger, Inventing the Nation, 38. The Lützow rangers are the most notorious example. 82   Friedrich Ludwig Jahn, Deutsches Volkstum (Breslau: Ferdinand Hirt, 1935), 63-64. Originally published in 1810. “Die Landwehrübungen müssen wahre Festlichkeiten werden. Mit feierlichen Aufzügen können sie anfangen, Tonkunst und Gesang mögen sie begleiten und Tanz und fröhliches Spiel beschließen … Wenn nun alljährlich … ein Teil der Landwehr als Heerbann ausgewählt wird, so ist nach einem Jahrzehnt ein ganzes Volk männlich und vaterländisch und seine Kraft fühlend wiedergeboren.” Author’s translation.


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And his widow weeps, and orphans struggle To hold their hands aloft to God, He fell for us! Nothing can bring him back; But brothers lend heart and ear; They appear with council and deed, Whenever poor widows, poor orphans weep, And such men honor the Fatherland.83 The subtitle of the song is also telling: “The King called, and all, all came.” The song incorporated the motto of the Christian militiaman, “With God, for King and for Fatherland.”84 The “fatherland,” though using the same vocabulary as the other groups, explicitly referred to Prussia. The Christian militiaman was the most common variant because it fit the life and traditional loyalties of a major portion of the population. The Prussian state and king emphasized this variant primarily for practical political reasons. The government made a conscious effort throughout the time period to build loyalty directly to the king, specifically through linking him with religion and by portraying him as the head father figure of the extended Prussian family. While it is clear that each variation held key differences, both in the ideas propagated and the recipients of the messages, all considered the expulsion of the French the primary goal. A variation of masculinity existed that appealed to virtually any man that resented the French occupation. The Christian militiaman trope, the most common variant in practice, was directed toward the less wealthy classes and peasants, and older men with established families were more likely to subscribe to its values and goals. The emerging middle class was primarily concerned with increased rights and liberal nationalism promised enhanced citizenship for those who fought. Young intellectuals were drawn to the heroic and emotive imagery of the Romantics, who promised brotherhood and companionship to a group that felt ostracized and isolated. Although not every man fought, the potential existed through the standing army, the

83  Karl Heun, Lied der Preussen: Der König rief, und alle, alle kamen, mit Begleitung des Forte Piano und der Guitarre (Hamburg: Rudolphus, 1820), 2. “Und seine Wittwe weint, und Waisen ringen/ Zu Gott die Hände hoch empor,/ Er fiel für uns! nichts kann ihn wieder bringen;/ Doch Brüder leihen Herz und Ohr;/ Sie sind es, die mit Rath und That erscheinen,/ Wenn arme Wittwen, arme Waisen weinen,/ Und solche Menschen ehrt das Vaterland.” Author’s translation. The song appeared in 1813/14 under the pseudonym Heinrich Clauren. 84  Ibid., 1. “… mit Gott, für König und Vaterland.” Author’s translation.

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Landwehr militia, or the Landsturm insurrectionary units that theoretically incorporated all men from age fifteen to sixty.85 Each variation constructed an imagined community that linked its adherents, but was not prohibitively exclusive toward other patriotic nationalisms. Apropos to this point was the major role of Romantic intellectuals in the formation of propaganda. Their insistence on a culturally and ethnically based nationalism was not the most common form of patriotism, yet they monopolized much of the propaganda produced. The government itself published most of the Romantic pamphlets and songs, though the group as a whole did not adhere to such a comprehensive concept of the nation. Thus, while Romantics adopted state-based patriotic language when necessary, the Prussian government eventually cooperated in synthesizing national feeling. The most prominent example was King Friedrich Wilhelm’s speech “To my Volk,” intended to appeal to all Germans, rather than just Prussians, to rise up against the French.86 All variations promoted the ideals of family and the masculine value of protection, whether the family was already established or as a test for future worthiness for marriage. Again, the government took significant steps to portray the state as an extended family, with the king as the patriarchal father.87 Within the military, the generational divide was rarely cause for concern; because the standing army leadership held the experience of age, most soldiers followed the Christian militiaman archetype, and the Romantics and liberals more often served in the militia. Religious devotion cut across all three variations, but was more mystical and miraculous among the Romantics.88 The past was used as an ideal model for each group, but lacked significant controversial aspects because only the time scale differed markedly. Though not subscribing to an explicit völkisch identity, at the most basic level, Germans were well aware that they were, in fact, German.89 Although other loyalties, such as confession or state-patriotism were significant, a Prussian experienced little cognitive dissonance associating with both ancient Germanic history and the more recent exploits of Frederick the Great. One or the other may have been more significant, depending on the national patriotic orientation 85  Generalstab, Heer der Befreiungskriege, vol. 2, 312. The age requirement was specified in the §23 of the Verordnung über den Landsturm of 21 April 1813. See also, Thomas Hippler, Citizens, Soldiers and National Armies: Military Service in France and Germany, 1789–1830 (London: Routledge, 2008), 199. 86  The entire speech is reproduced in ibid., 403-04. The king specifically singled out Brandenburgers, Prussians, Silesians, Pomeranians, and Lithuanians. 87  Hagemann, “Of ‘Manly Valor,’” 207. 88  Peter Gay, Why the Romantics Matter (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2015), 16. 89  Sheehan, “State and Nationality in the Napoleonic Period,” 54.


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of the individual, but the entire spectrum of time became valid as a source of communal history. Looking toward the future, prosperity was predicated almost exclusively on the removal of the French, thus circumventing the contentious issue of the geopolitical situation of the German lands. Aside from the initial destruction caused by the invasion, everyday economic life was disrupted. The blockade of British goods and the Continental System, which extended French hegemony to the economy, increased prices and taxes.90 While Arndt poetically proclaimed that “as far as the German tongue sounds … the entire Germany it will be,” Georg Herder was closer to the reality that the “mass of the German people … who only know of the separation of the various regions and who think of unification as something quite foreign to them, must be brought together by a conqueror’s power.”91 There was no doubt in any party, whatever the literary contributions of the Romantics, that the unification of Volk and state was politically unrealistic, and the removal of the French became the prerequisite for all envisioned futures. The nationalists and patriots employed nationalism as a vehicle to propagate and establish the hegemony of valorous masculinity as an obtainable objective reality. Normalization occurred through the widespread and insistent emphasis from all sectors on martial masculinity. This began within the family, as shown by the following scene, in which a young man leaves for war: The father looks at him with pleasure, “Go there, for freedom and for justice!” The mother presses him to her chest, “Go there, and avenge your lineage!” The maiden glows and speaks: “Go, young war hero, go, And if you do not fall fighting, Return victorious, or never!”92 90  Martin Kitchen, A History of Modern Germany: 1800 to the Present, 2nd ed. (Chichester, UK: Wiley-Blackwell, 2012), 11. 91  Ernst Moritz Arndt, Gedichte, 234. “So weit die deutsche Zunge klingt … Das ganze Deutschland soll es sein!” Author’s translation. The second quotation, in English, can be found in Kitchen, Modern Germany, 10. It originally appeared in an unpublished, untitled manuscript written by Georg Herder, Kritik der Verfassung Deutschlands (it was titled upon publication by Georg Mollat in 1893). 92  Schlachtgesänge und Vaterlandslieder für deutsche Jünglinge (Berlin: Friedrich Braunes, 1813), 8. “Der Vater schaut auf ihn mit Lust,/ ‘Zieh hin für Freiheit und für Recht!’/ Die Mutter drückt ihn an die Brust,/ ‘Zieh hin und räche dein Geschlecht!’/ Die Jungfrau glüht und spricht:/ ‘Zieh’, Heldenjüngling, zieh’,/ Und – fällst du, kämpfend, nicht -/ Kehr’ siegend, oder – nie!’” Author’s translation.

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This song was intended for the “young war hero” trope, but was easily applicable to the other variants of martial masculinity. The father, with his emphasis on freedom and justice, is indicative of liberal values, while the mother links war against the French with vengeance for the family and its values. German female purity also features, notably in the maiden, referred to as a  Jungfrau, synonymous with virginity. The “nation” or “state” was an abstract concept that was built from the foundation of something far more tangible, the immediate family. The Volk family was portrayed as an extended bourgeois family, headed by the father, King Friedrich Wilhelm, and the mother, Queen Louise.93 While the idea of “king as patriarch” has a long history, especially in Prussia, the conscious modeling of the loving bourgeois family was intended to inspire actual loyalty, rather than just duty. Direct parallels exist in the National Monument in the form of Prince Frederick William IV, portrayed as a Landsturm militiaman, and Queen Louise as a dutiful supporter of valor. The royal family, as the centerpiece of the monument, shows the emerging conception of a unified and patriotic family, willing to send its sons to war for the nation. Queen Louise, in flowing robes of female simplicity and chastity, is also featured with the Prussian eagle, a standard bearer of martial valor. Cultural consent was established through the democratization of honor in the military, symbolization, and myth. The Iron Cross became the most explicit military symbol of a broad-based system of honor within the hegemonic conception of masculinity. On 10 May 1813, King Wilhelm declared that the Volk was “enduring the irresistible evils of an iron time,” ceased the awarding of other medals, and established the Iron Cross.94 The award could be earned by both officers and enlisted without regard to class, a move away from the aristocratic monopoly of honor.95 That it was legally the only honor to be awarded for the duration of the war increased its value as a symbol of valor across all classes of soldiers:

93  Karen Hagemann, “A Valorous Volk Family: The Nation, the Military, and the Gender Order in Prussia in the Time of the Anti-Napoleonic Wars, 1806–15,” in Gendered Nations: Nationalisms and Gender Order in the Long Nineteenth Century, eds. Ida Blom, Karen Hagemann, and Catherine Hall (Oxford: Berg, 2000), 194. 94  Quoted from Friedrich Wilhelm’s “Urkunde der Stiftung des eisernen Kreuzes” in Friedrich Förster, Geschichte der Befreiungskriege: 1813, 1814, 1815, vol. 1 (Berlin: Gustav Hempel, 1864), 152. “… das Volk die unwiderstehlichen Uebel einer eisernen Zeit ertrug.” Author’s translation. See also, Christopher Clark, Iron Kingdom (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2006), 375-76. 95  Hagemann, “Gendered Images,” 658.


Christopher Goodwin

No longer do I want to glorify gold and silver; The gold and silver sink down to trinkets, Because gravely from the somber Fatherland Instead of gold and silver, iron has arisen. He who has strength of arm, go, to prove it, An iron sword to swing without shame, To carry it home with cut-up edges, And for this to receive a cross of iron.96 The award became the most easily recognizable symbol of the German military until 1945. The National Monument was itself made of cast iron, “the metal with which the enemy was vanquished and the freedom of Prussia won.”97 The Iron Cross appears numerous times on the monument, most prominently beneath each genii. Together, German simplicity and martial valor were welded to patriotism and valorous masculinity. The role of discursive centrality in the promotion of hegemonic masculinity can only be understood through the recognition that multiple centers existed; most important, the basic message from each source remained the same. Although Romantic authors wrote many of the publications of government propaganda, these authors also wrote for their own audience. This provided a chance to elaborate on their ideas of a pan-German Volk. Liberal nationalists spread the message of increased privileges and rights, especially tied to citizenship. Church officials preached for charity and the connection between the fatherland and the king. Every group spoke, wrote, or painted for the particular interests that they had invested themselves in. Yet the idea of valorous masculinity remained the proposed solution to the paramount concern of the French. Discursive centrality did not arise from a single source, but rather from a single message. Symbols, myths, festivities, paintings, charitable work, and erected monuments such as the National Monument all pointed toward 96   Originally from Friedrich Rückert’s, under the pseudonym Freimund Reimar, “Geharnischten Sonette,” reproduced in Friedrich Adami, Schicksalswende Preußen, 1812/13 (Paderborn, GE: Europäischer Geschichtsverlag, 2015), 417. Reproduction of the original from 1924. “Nicht mehr das Gold und Silber will ich preisen;/ Das Gold und Silber sank herab zum Tande,/ Weil würdiglich vom ernsten Vaterlande/ Statt Golds und Silbers ward erhöht das Eisen./ Wer Kraft im Arm hat, geh’, sie zu beweisen,/ Ein Eisenschwert zu schwingen ohne Schande,/ Es heim zu tragen mit zerhaunem Rande,/ Und dafür zu empfahn ein Kreuz von Eisen.” Author’s translation. 97  Raff, Sprache der Materialien, 90. “… aus dem Metalle zu errichten, mit welchem der Feind bezwungen und die Freiheit Preussens errungen worden war.” Author’s translation.

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martial valor that had saved Germany in the past or was rescuing Germany in the present. Institutionalization occurred, in addition to state-printed propaganda and monuments, through reforms in the standing army, the construction of militias and adjunct defense forces, and citizenship legalities. Humane reforms within the military promoted the idea that soldiers were respected by officers and the state, as well as conveyed dignity to bear arms. The Landwehr and Landsturm provided a sphere for wide civilian male participation in the war effort, but also showed that it was the duty of every man to defend the nation; this was a notion that was quite distinct from solely defending or fighting for the interests of the sovereign. The willingness to fight for the nation was a prerequisite for male citizenship.98 Yet an unwillingness to fight also held dire consequences, specifically the corresponding loss of citizenship rights, business trading rights, and the ability to hold public office for life.99 Those who deigned to remain separate from the national community, therefore, faced not just the scorn of those around them, but also institutional retribution. Because citizenship was intimately tied to entering manhood, the legal system held large sway over the suitability of a man to conform to the new, valorous gender role. While marginalization and delegitimization of alternative masculinities certainly occurred explicitly in the context of patriotic nationalisms, it is more closely connected to individuals. Conformity, at its basic level, is a choice on the part of an individual. Society can, to a large degree, set the parameters for masculinity. In Prussia during the Napoleonic Wars, these parameters were set throughout society by various groups. When these parameters were in conflict, “valor” became the overriding unifier. Indeed, the hegemonic form of masculinity was unlikely to absorb any conflicting tenets. Characteristics became applicable only when they could contribute to valor. The diverse population could not have assumed this brand of hegemonic masculinity unless such diversity existed. Yet institutionalized hegemony can only present as much compulsion as society is willing to bear. Society as a whole, however, accepted valorous masculinity in its several forms, and contributed to its enforcement. Nevertheless, society itself is not an entity with choice. It is composed of individuals, each of whom must decide to either conform or decline. Although the weight of conformity is certainly a compelling force, it cannot abolish the 98  Karen Hagemann, “The First Citizen of the State: Paternal Masculinity, Patriotism, and Citizenship in Early Nineteenth-Century Prussia,” in Representing Masculinity: Male Citizenship in Modern Western Culture, Stefan Dudink, Anna Clark, and Karen Hagemann, eds. (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007), 81. 99  See King Friedrich Wilhelm’s “Nähere Bestimmung der Verordnung vom 9. Februar 1813,” in Generalstab, Heer der Befreiungskriege, vol. 2, 388-89.


Christopher Goodwin

agency of individuals. Rather, patriotic-nationalism provided a host of motivations at the societal and individual levels to enact change. Furthermore, through the absorption of non-conflicting ideologies and beliefs, it melded itself through its variations to many of the prevailing characteristics of society. It did not enforce valorous masculinity “from the top down,” but manifested itself as a confluence of the past, present, and future along the lines of both the individual and society. Conclusion Though the monarchy intended for the National Monument to specifically represent Prussia, its features were more indicative of the patrioticnationalism created during the Wars of Liberation. The architecture was a direct consequence of the intellectual Romantic movement, but especially its extension upward into the royal family, specifically in the person of Prince Friedrich Wilhelm. The genii expressed a predilection for Greek affinity and ideal beauty, notions characteristic of Germany as a whole during the time period. Landsturm and Landwehr representations were indicative of a new widespread belief in collective defense of the homeland, a concept in which geographic boundaries may lie beyond the Prussian borders. Appeals to the ancient and medieval German past showed the growing belief in a communal memory of ethnic history. Likewise, the gender changes that stemmed from patriotic-nationalism are readily apparent in the monument. The men valorously defend the state or nation, while chaste women support this endeavor and promote peace once victory has been attained. Whatever the original ideological intentions for the monument, the experiences of veterans and the public could view it along several lines. Conservatives saw the focus on Prussian heroes, while nationalists could take pride in the pan-German elements. Whichever persuasion the viewer subscribed, it represented a collective effort of the community to rid themselves of external dominance. Questions might linger concerning the geographic boundaries and composition of the German community, but major strides had been made regarding who did not belong. It would be many decades before this idea of exclusivity was fully expounded, but a precedent existed for unity. The emphasis on military service, now ingrained deeply into masculinity, would serve Prussia well during the Wars of German Unification.

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Works Cited

Primary Sources

Anon. Schlachtgesänge und Vaterlandslieder für deutsche Jünglinge. Berlin: Friedrich Braunes, 1813. Adami, Friedrich. Schicksalswende Preußen, 1812/13. Paderborn: Europäischer Geschichtsverlag, 2015. Arndt, Ernst Moritz. Gedichte: Vollständige Sammlung. Berlin: Weidmannsche Buchhandlung, 1860. Arndt, Ernst Moritz. Geist der Zeit. Vol. 3. Berlin: 1813. Arndt, Ernst Moritz. Kurzer Katechismus für teutsche Soldaten, nebst zwei Anhängen von Liedern. 1813. Arndt, Ernst Moritz. Was bedeutet Landsturm und Landwehr, nebst einer Aufforderung an teutsche Jünglinge und Männer zum Kampfe für Teutschlands Freiheit. 1813. Conrady, E. von. Leben und Wirken des Generals der Infanterie und kommandirenden Generals des V. Armeekorps Carl von Grolman. Vol. 1. Berlin: Ernst Siegfried Mittler und Sohn, 1894. Ehrenberg, Friedrich. Der Charakter und die Bestimmung des Mannes. Leipzig: Büschel in Elberfeld, 1808. Fichte, Johann Gottlieb. Reden an die deutsche Nation. Berlin: Realschulbuchhandlung, 1808. Förster, Friedrich. Geschichte der Befreiungskriege: 1813, 1814, 1815. Vol. 1. Berlin: Gustav Hempel, 1864. Generalstab. Das preußische Heer der Befreiungskriege. Vol. 2. Berlin: Ernst Siegfried, 1914. Goltz, Bogumil. Die Deutschen: Ethnographische Studie. Berlin: O. Janke, 1860. GutsMuths, Johann Christoph Friedrich. Gymnastik für die Jugend: Enthaltend eine praktische Anweisung zu Leibesübungen. Schnepfenthal: Verlag der Buchhandlung der Erziehungsanstalt, 1793. Heun, Karl. Lied der Preussen: Der König rief, und alle, alle kamen, mit Begleitung des Forte Piano und der Guitarre. Hamburg: Rudolphus, 1820. Humboldt, Wilhelm von. Wilhelm von Humboldts Gesammelte Schriften. Vol. 11. Königlich Preussischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, ed. Berlin: B. Behr’s Verlag, 1903. Jahn, Friedrich Ludwig. Deutsches Volkstum. Breslau: Ferdinand Hirt, 1935. Meinecke, Friedrich. Weltbürgertum und Nationalstaat: Studien zur Genesis des deutschen Nationalstaates. Munich: R. Oldenbourg, 1911. Novalis. Novalis: Schriften. Vol. 1. Berlin: Reimer, 1826. Staël, Madame de. De l’Allemagne. Paris: Firmin Didot, 1852. Wilhelm III, Friedrich. Kriegs-Artikel für die Unteroffiziere und gemeinen Soldaten, den 3ten. August 1808. Königsberg: 1808.


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Secondary Sources

Aaslestad, Katherine and Karen Hagemann. “1806 and Its Aftermath: Revisiting the Period of the Napoleonic Wars in German Central European Historiography.” Central European History 39:4 (2006), 547-579. Anderson, Benedict. Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism Rev. ed. London: Verso, 2006. Berger, Stefan. Inventing the Nation: Germany. New York: Oxford University Press, 2004. Blom, Ida, Karen Hagemann and Catherine Hall, eds. Gendered Nations: Nationalisms and Gender Order in the Long Nineteenth Century. Oxford: Berg, 2000. Brunschwig, Henri. Enlightenment and Romanticism in Eighteenth-Century Prussia. Translated by Frank Jellinek. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1974. Clark, Christopher. Iron Kingdom. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2006. Clark, Christopher. “The Wars of Liberation in Prussian Memory: Reflections on the Memorialization of War in Early Nineteenth-Century Germany.” Journal of Modern History 68:3 (1996), 550-576. Connell, R. W. “Hegemonic Masculinity: Rethinking the Concept.” Gender & Society 19:6 (2005), 829-859. Connell, Raewyn. Der gemachte Mann: Konstruktion und Krise von Männlichkeiten. 4th ed. Cambridge, UK: Polity Press, 2015. Craig, Gordon A. The Politics of the Prussian Army, 1640–1945. London: Oxford University Press, 1955. Dudink, Stefan, Anna Clark, and Karen Hagemann, eds. Representing Masculinity: Male Citizenship in Modern Western Culture. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007. Dudink, Stefan, Karen Hagemann and John Tosh, eds. Masculinities in Politics and War: Gendering Modern History. Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press, 2004. Eley, Geoff and Ronald Grigor Suny, eds. Becoming National: A Reader. New York: Oxford University Press, 1996. Frevert, Ute. A Nation in Barracks: Modern Germany, Military Conscription and Civil Society. Oxford: Berg, 2004. Gay, Peter. Why the Romantics Matter. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2015. Green, Abigail. Fatherlands: Building and Nationhood in Nineteenth-Century Germany. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001. Hagemann, Karen. “Female Patriots: Women, War, and the Nation in the Period of the Prussian-German Anti-Napoleonic Wars.” Gender and History 16:2 (2004), 397-424. Hagemann, Karen. “‘Heroic Virgins’ and ‘Bellicose Amazons’: Armed Women, the Gender Order and the German Public during and after the Anti-Napoleonic Wars.” European History Quarterly 37:4 (2007), 507-527. Hagemann, Karen. ‘Männlicher Muth und Teutsche Ehre’: Nation, Militär und Geschlecht zur Zeit der Antinapoleonischen Kriege Preussens. Paderborn: Ferdinand Schöningh, 2002.

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Hagemann, Karen. “Occupation, Mobilization, and Politics: The Anti-Napoleonic Wars in Prussian Experience, Memory, and Historiography.” Central European History 39:4 (2006), 580-610. Hagemann, Karen. “Of “Manly Valor” and “German Honor”: Nation, War, and Masculinity in the Age of the Prussian Uprising Against Napoleon.” Central European History 30:2 (1997), 187-220. Hagemann, Karen. Revisiting Prussia’s Wars Against Napoleon: History, Culture and Memory. Translated by Pamela Selwyn. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2015. Hewitson, Mark. “Princes’ Wars, Wars of the People, or Total War? Mass Armies and the Question of a Military Revolution in Germany, 1792–1815.” War in History 20:4 (2013), 452-490. Hippler, Thomas. Citizens, Soldiers and National Armies: Military Service in France and Germany, 1789–1830. London: Routledge, 2008. Hobsbawm, E J. Nations and Nationalism Since 1780: Programme, Myth, Reality. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990. Kitchen, Martin. A History of Modern Germany: 1800 to the Present. 2nd ed. Chichester, UK: Wiley-Blackwell, 2012. Kohn, Hans. “Romanticism and the Rise of German Nationalism.” The Review of Politics 12:4 (1950), 443-472. Leggiere, Michael V. Napoleon and the Struggle for Germany. 2 vols. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2015. Levinger, Matthew. Enlightened Nationalism: The Transformation of Prussian Political Culture, 1806–1848. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000. Mosse, George L. “National Cemeteries and National Revival: The Cult of the Fallen Soldiers in Germany.” Journal of Contemporary History 14:1 (1979), 1-20. Mosse, George L. Nationalism and Sexuality: Respectability and Abnormal Sexuality in Modern Europe. New York: Howard Fertig, 1985. Mosse, George L. The Nationalization of the Masses: Political Symbolism and Mass Movements in Germany from the Napoleonic Wars Through the Third Reich. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1975. Nipperdey, Thomas. Deutsche Geschichte, 1800-1866. Vol. 1. Bürgerwelt und starker Staat. Munich: C. H. Beck, 2013. Nipperdey, Thomas. “Nationalidee und Nationaldenkmal in Deutschland im 19. Jahr­ hundert.” Historische Zeitschrift 206:3 (1968), 529-585. Nungesser, Michael. Das Denkmal auf dem Kreuzberg von Karl Friedrich Schinkel. Berlin: Bezirksamt Kreuzberg von Berlin, 1987. Paret, Peter. Yorck and the Era of the Prussian Reform, 1807–1815. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1966. Planert, Ute. “From Collaboration to Resistance: Politics, Experience, and Memory of the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars in Southern Germany.” Central European History 39:4 (2006), 676-705.


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Pohlsander, Hans A. National Monuments and Nationalism in 19th Century Germany. Oxford: Peter Lang, 2008. Raff, Thomas. Die Sprache der Materialien: Anleitung zu einer Ikonologie der Werkstoffe. Münster: Waxmann, 2008. Rothenburg, Gunther E. The Art of Warfare in the Age of Napoleon. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1980. Rowe, Michael. “France, Prussia, or Germany? The Napoleonic Wars and Shifting Allegiances in the Rhineland.” Central European History 39:4 (2006), 611-640. Schulze, Hagen. Der Weg zum Nationalstaat: Die deutsche Nationalbewegung vom 18. Jahrhundert bis zur Reichsgründung. Munich: Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag, 1985. Sheehan, James J. German History, 1770-1866. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1989. Simon, Walter M. “Variations in Nationalism During the Great Reform Period in Prussia.” American Historical Review 59:2 (1954), 305-321. Waterman, John T. A History of the German Language. Rev. ed. Long Grove, IL: Waveland Press, 1991.

Chapter 6

“They Did Their Bit” – British Animal Welfare Societies and the Memorialization of War Animals since the Anglo-Boer War Chelsea A. Medlock For hundreds of years leading up to the modern era, the memorialization of well-known individuals was not an unusual sight in Britain. With the advent of industrialization and total war, the focal point of societal memory shifted to include national remembrance for the average soldier. As this shift gained national traction, animal welfare organizations across the Empire attempted to push this transformation of imperial memory to also encompass the memorialization of the nameless, faceless animals who had been expended during modern conflicts. These efforts by a variety of welfare societies can be seen as a direct outgrowth of the changing memorialization trends that began after the Franco-Prussian War (1870/71) and the Anglo-Boer War (1899–1902). Since the war in South Africa, British societies have attempted to refocus the public’s attention on the memorialization of war animals alongside the remembrance of the human cost of total war.1 Beginning with the War Horse Memorial in Port Elizabeth (1905), British societies have pushed for the public remembrance of war animals, especially war horses. The memorials constructed by these societies were a way to draw attention to the need for animal welfare in society and war as well as a way to give animals a public voice and memory. Along with the memorial in Port Elizabeth, British animal welfare societies erected memorials throughout the Empire, including the Royal Society for the Prevention of Animals’ (RSPCA) Memorial in Kilburn (1920s), the Animals in War Memorial located in Hyde Park (2007), the Animals in War Memorial in Canberra (2009), and the Animals in War Memorial in Ottawa (2012). These memorials, while different in imagery and focus, display a connectivity among the animal societies that transcends imperial and temporal boundaries. This chapter will explore the role of British animal welfare societies in the remembrance and 1  On the role of animals, particularly horses, in that conflict see: Frank Jacob, “Vom kriegsentscheidenden Faktor zum Sinnbid antiquierter Kriegsführung – Pferde im Burenkrieg und im Russisch-Japanischen Krieg,” in Pferde in der Geschichte: Begleiter in der Schlacht, Nutztier, literarische Inspiration, ed. Frank Jacob (Darmstadt: Büchner, 2016), 198-232.

© Verlag Ferdinand Schöningh, 2019 | doi:10.30965/9783657788224_007


Chelsea A. Medlock

commemoration of modern war and the establishment of postmodern sites of memory for societies and individuals to remember the animal face of war, duty, and sacrifice. One of the most notable trends in animal war memorials is the diminishing emphasis on displayed utility as the memorials transformed from a public service to a service of memory. Britain’s first debate regarding animals began in 1800 with a bill to outlaw bull-baiting. The proposal was aimed at eliminating the sport and the accompanying gambling from lower class life.2 The law was laughed at by members of parliament and The Times pronounced it to be a monstrous failure; it would be another twenty-two years before the first British legislation passed thru Parliament. The Martin’s Act of 1822 made it a punishable offense to “wantonly beat, abuse, or ill-treat” horses and other livestock.3 4 Two years later, Reverend Arthur Broome (1779–1837) called a meeting of like-minded humanitarians, including Colonel Richard Martin (1754–1834) and William Wilberforce (1759– 1833), to discuss the possible creation of an organization whose sole purpose would be to protect animals from cruelty.5 Broome founded the SPCA in 1824; the society was later renamed the Royal in 1840 when Queen Victoria became the society’s patron.6 Martin’s Act was expanded during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, culminating in the Protection of Animals Act in 1911. This law expanded the protection coverage to all animals, punishing the guilty with a fine, but not imprisonment.7 The 1911 Act remained the guiding force for animal welfare in Britain until it was replaced with the 2006 Animal Welfare Act.8 With its creation the RSPCA opened the door for the establishment of other animal welfare societies in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, such as the Blue Cross, the People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals, and the Brooke. Prior to the Franco-Prussian War, most animal welfare societies rarely commented on the wastage of war animals; the societies focused on domestic prosecution, education, and legislation. Little was done to better the circumstances 2  Hilda Kean, Animal Rights: Political and Social Change in Britain since 1800 (London: Reaktion Books, 1998), 31. 3  Harriet Ritvo, The Animal Estate: The English and Other Creatures in the Victorian Age (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1987), 125. 4  Kean, Animal Rights, 32-34. 5  Clive Hollands, Compassion is the Bugler: the Struggle for Animal Rights (Edinburgh: MacDonald Publishers, 1980), 15. 6  Kean, Animal Rights, 35. 7  “Protection of Animals Act of 1911,” 18 August 1911. The UK Statute Law Database, accessed December 1, 2010. www.statetuelaw.gov.uk/content.aspz?activeTextDocId=1069356. 8  “Animal Welfare Act of 2006,” 8 November 2006. The UK Statute Law Database. www.statetuelaw.gov.uk/content.aspz?activeTextDocId=2926439, accessed 1 December 2010.

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of war horses and other war animals, especially during the Crimean War, mainly because these societies lacked infrastructure, funding, and widespread public support.9 However, during the Franco-Prussian War, the RSPCA, in particular, wrote to the French and the Prussian armies asking them to euthanize horses in an organized fashion, to save them from extended suffering on the battlefield. This was the first attempt by any welfare organizations to become active in military affairs.10 Yet, until 1914, few countries, including Britain, attempted to implement humane treatment policies for war animals, despite pleas from societies like the RSPCA.11 During the Anglo-Boer War, the RSPCA and other societies were relegated to supporting war horses from afar: spreading the idea of soldier-horse bonding in war and equating war horses to comrades for soldiers in battle; these activities can be seen it the publications of the RSPCA during this period.12 After the conflict and the catastrophic waste of horse flesh, animal welfare societies intensified their public pressure on the military to reform its wartime practices as well as allow the societies an active role in future war efforts. At the outbreak of the Great War, the RSPCA, as well as other organizations, were barred from “extending its operations to the seat of war” and advised to focus on its work at home by the Army Council.13 The War Office believed that the services and support of animal welfare organizations were unnecessary in the European conflict.14 However, as the conflict escalated in size, the Army Council approached the RSPCA for aid. The RSPCA Fund for Sick and Wounded Horses was approved by the Army Council on November 5, 1914; the Society received a letter asking for further assistance to the Army Veterinary Corps in the forms of veterinary supplies and the training of new recruits.15 These supplies included items such as stabling supplies, medical supplies, engines, laboratory equipment, carcass economizer supplies, ambulances [both

9  Edward G. Fairholme and Wellesley Pain, ed., A Century of Work for Animals: The History of the RSPCA, 1824–1924 (London: John Murray, 1924), 204. 10  Ibid. 11  Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, The Animal World, September  1870, 216-17. 12  Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, The Animal World, December  1902, 181. 13  Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, The Animal World, September  1914, 163. 14  Ibid., 163. 15  Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, The Animal World, December  1914, 207.


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horse-drawn and motorized], humane killers, and farrier supplies.16 During the First World War, the Blue Cross organized and maintained war animal hospitals for war-effected animals (particularly the French) on the western front. This organization worked independently of the military and the RSPCA.17 After the Armistice, the RSPCA and other animal welfare organizations called for donations for the care of war horses toiling as part of the armies of occupation and those animals casted18 to locals immediately after the throughout Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.19 The societies worked during the interwar years on spreading animal welfare policies and efforts as well as saving war horses during the 1930s, particularly the creation of the Old War Horse Fund [later renamed the Brooke] by Dorothy Brooke in Cairo in 1931.20 During the Second World War, British animal welfare societies continued to raise funds to support the war efforts of British troops and Allied troops, the Greek army, the Finnish army, and later the Soviet army.21 In addition to fundraising, many organizations also focused on helping domestic animal victims of air raids as a way to focus on animal welfare and the war effort.22 Jay Winter notes that the first “memory boom” occurred from the 1890s to the 1920s and focused on “memory as the key to the formation of identities, in particular national identities, although social, cultural, and personal identities were also in mind,” while the second “memory boom” occurred in the 1960s and 1970s and focused on healing and confronting the horrors of the Second World War and the Holocaust.23 According to Winter, as the first “memory boom” gave way to the second “memory boom” after the Second World War, the focus shifted in remembrance and commemoration to also include civilians. A major divergence from this theory can be found in the memorials to 16  L.J.  Blenkinsop, Major-General, and Lieutenant-Colonel J.W. Rainey, History of the Great War based on Official Documents: Veterinary Services (London: HMSO, 1925), 56-57; Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, The Animal World, November 1914, 194; RSPCA, Annual Report, 1915, (London: 1916), 11-12. 17  Carmen Smith, The Blue Cross At War. Based on the Annual Reports of Our Dumb Friends’ League (Windsor, Berkshire, UK: Reedprint, 1990), 5-9. 18  Casting is the British term for the liquidation of war animals, specifically horses, from the military. 19  Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, The Animal World, December 1918, 141. 20  Dorothy Brooke, For Love of Horses: The Diaries of Mrs. Geoffrey Brooke (Oxford: Isis Publishing, 1995), 1. 21  Arthur Moss, Valiant Crusade: The History of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (London: Cassell, 1961), 124-125. 22  Frederick Montague, Let the Good Work Go On (London: Hutchinson and Co., 1947), 93-95. 23  Jay Winter, Remembering War: The Great War Between Memory and History in the Twentieth Century (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2006), 18.

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animals in war; these memorials began from a place of victim-remembrance and expanded to include work of animals in war.24 Winter asserts that memory develops and is transformed through its initial construction, its adaption by society over time, and how society circulates those memories. Collective memory changes over time as society changes and, thus, in many ways is a social construct. According to Winter, memory is always “socially framed” by both the individual and the group. He goes on to conclude that because of this fact, “all war memorials have a ‘shelf life,’” and thus, their purpose, functions, and meanings are not static. Memorials have a form of social agency or are a force that influences the agency of society.25 Winter argues that war memorials have a type of “social agency” all their own; however, it is tied up with society’s cultural memory of those events and monuments.26 “Commemoration is the collective representation of a shared view of a past worth recalling,” and it is society, or at least aspects of society, that determine the parts of history worth remembering. Prior to the twentieth century, commemoration of war was private and focused on the individual. This focus changed with the Great War, when “war had become everyone’s business,” not just local and regional.27 Winter states that collective memory is most notably shaped by memory agents, or individuals, groups, and objects that push society to navigate different versions of events and, therefore, different versions of memory and remembrance.28 Unlike traditional memorials, war animal memorials emphasize sight as well as memory. Edward Fairholme, Secretary of the RSPCA, wrote that “the mind of a nation is of slower growth than the mind of the individual. Our ancestors were blind to the sufferings of animals because they had never been taught to see them …”29 Hilda Kean asserts the importance of human sight and the success of animal welfare organizations in Britain. This emphasis on sight took the form of drawings, sketches, illustrations, paintings, and later, photographs and memorials to illustrate to the general population the evil of animal suffering and by doing so, hoped to alter the moral status of animals. She contends that these organizations used sight as a way to redefine human-animal relations and bring to the forefront for the public the suffering of animals in British Society, particularly 24  Ibid., 6. 25  Ibid., 22, 31, and 140. 26  Ibid., 138-139. 27  Efrat Ben-Ze’ev, Ruth Ginio, and Jay Winter, ed., Shadows of War: A Social History of Silence in the Twentieth Century. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010), 20. 28  Ibid., 25-26. 29  Edward G. Fairholme and Wellesley Pain, ed., A Century of Work for Animals: The History of the RSPCA, 1824–1924 (London: John Murray, 1924), 102.


Chelsea A. Medlock

of war animals.30 Memorials represented the culmination of these principles as they would be permanent sites of memory and education. Public memorials, as we think of them today, are a relatively recent phenomenon. According to Arnold Whittick, there exist four types of memorials: the memorial which expresses mainly death, sorrow and mourning; the memorial which expresses religious belief and takes the form of thanksgiving to God; the memorial which expresses mainly triumph and victory; and the memorial which expresses mainly the spirit of life, of re-creation and revival, the value to the living of that for which men fought and for which sacrifice was made. Here is also a sense of gratitude.31 The majority of the war memorials seen after the Great War, including those to animals, fall into the first and fourth categories; these two types of memorials are linked during the Great War and that memorials involving war animals use aspects of both of these types of memorials to bring attention to the plight of war animals, especially war horses. Since the Civil War, many memorials have grown out of a desire for a “permanent record of the dead.”32 Many of these memorials expressed an “indebtedness of the living to the fallen and the near universality of loss.”33 Here is where the importance of war animal memorials lie; most emphasize gratitude and indebtedness to the sacrifice of animals in service. In October 1919, The Animal World chided British society for focusing solely on victory and the human cost of the war. The magazine reminded its readers that both soldiers and civilians owe the “army of animals” a debt that should not be sidelined by armistice celebrations and mourning: They [war animals] suffered the same hardships, the same terrors, the same agony and frequently the same bloody death as their masters, and this without the power to convey what they felt, but always, naturally, taking second place to the human in comfort, medical attention and consideration generally. What can we do to show our gratitude! Surely

30  Hilda Kean, “Moment of Greyfriars Bobby: the Changing Cultural Position of Animals, 1800–1920,” A Cultural History of Animals, in the Age of Empire, ed. Katherine Kete (New York: Berg, 2007), 29. 31  Arnold Whittick, War Memorials (London: Country Life Limited, 1944), 6. 32  Ibid., 1. 33  Winter, Sites of Memory, 85-86.

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by making life as easy as possible for those of our dumb army who return.34 It was during the nineteenth and early decades of the twentieth centuries that the types and locations of animal commemoration began to change: from private pet cemeteries (like the one on the north side of Hyde Park) to statues in public to celebrate special animals (such as the Brown Dog Statue in Battersea Park). It is from this latter type of commemoration that the memorials to unnamed animals arose (such as memorials to working animals and war animals). This trend for the creation of generalized animal memorials was coupled with the rise of the unknown warrior or soldier phenomenon of this period.35 Finally, it was during the first memory boom that there was a movement for memorials to be of “social service.” This did not always materialize in human memorials, but almost always did in animal ones until contemporary times when animal memorials were erected for the sake of the animals.36 In other words, early memorials incorporated varying degrees of public utility until the late twentieth century when memorials began to deemphasize service and act as stand-alone sites of memory. One of the first cases of war-animal memorialization is the war horse memorial in South Africa. Following the debacle of the Anglo-Boer War, a war memorial was erected in Port Elizabeth in 1905 to the equines lost in the war; it was the first of its kind in the Empire. Compared to military statues, which to accentuate the human elements of the war and, in many cases, the gallantry of war, this memorial illustrates compassion in war, human animal bonds, and the animal face of war. The memorial depicts a soldier watering his charger and carries the following inscription, “The greatness of a nation consists not so much in the numbers of its people, or the extent of its territory – as in the extent and justice of its compassion.”37 The Animal World covered the unveiling of the War Horse Memorial in Port Elizabeth and published this photograph to highlight both the memorial’s functions of utility and remembrance. The memorial sets on top of public watering troughs muck line those constructed by the Metropolitan Drink Foundation and Cattle Trough Association throughout 34  Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, The Animal World, October  1919, 112. 35  Kean, “The Moment of Greyfriars Bobby,” 33-35. For more information on the history of memory and the rise of the tomb of the unknown warrior, see the works of Jay Winter and George Mosse. 36  Whittick, War Memorials, 4. 37  Jilly Cooper, Animals in War: Valiant Horses, Courageous Dogs, and Other Unsung Animal Heroes (Guilford, CT: Lyons Press, 2002), 209-212.


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Great Britain. The imagery of the memorial is one of compassion and gratitude for the war horses. The horse is the focus of this statue with the soldier kneeling below the animal, a stance that is not required for the watering of horses. One can contrast this representation of horses with the horses of the Carabineers Memorial. In the Carabineers Memorial, the horses are on duty, waiting patiently for their riders to return. One can see from an early time the differing priorities of military and animal welfare memorials in the depiction of war horses. Unfortunately, the horse memorial was vandalized in April of 2015 by suspected members of the Economic Freedom Fighters, who forcibly removed the solder from the statue, though the EFF denies any connection. It is believed that the statue was defaced to protest British imperialism and its lasting historical effects.38

Fig. 6.1

Horse Memorial located in Port Elizabeth, South Africa39

38  SABC News. “EFFF denies toppling ‘Horse Memorial’ in Port Elizabeth.” SABC News. 7 April, 2015. http://www.sabc.co.za/news/a/fbbc850047ed61888339f74405f77b26/EFFundefined deniesundefinedtopplingundefined%E2%80%98HorseundefinedMemorial%E2%80% 99undefinedinundefinedPortundefinedElizabeth-20150704; Pillay, Deneesha. “Historic Statue in PE Toppled.” HealdLive. 7 April, 2015. http://www.heraldlive.co.za/historicstatue-pe-toppled. 39  N JR ZA, “File: Horse Memorial-002.jpg.” Wikimedia Commons. 5 August 2009. https:// commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Horse_Memorial-002.jpg.

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The memorial to the Carabiniers, which was unveiled on June 23, 1906 on the Chelsea Embankment shows four cavalry horses in the foreground and two soldiers ascending a rocky path in the background; a third soldier waits behind, holding the four horses.40 In this memorial, the war horses here are just objects or scenery in the composition to highlight the activities of the soldiers, in direct contrast to the Port Elizabeth Memorial.

Fig. 6.2

Carabiniers Memorial from the Anglo-Boer War located in Chelsea, London, England41

The Great War had a profound effect on the policies and endeavors of many animal welfare societies. With more than a million war animals involved in the British military alone, organizations such as the RSPCA followed public commemoration trends during the interwar years and actively chose to include the creation of war animal memorials in their domestic activities. In its 1920 Annual Report, the RSPCA wrote that

40  James Gildea, Colonel, For Remembrance and in Honour of Those Who Lost Their Lives in the South African War, 1899–1902: Lest We Forget (London: Eyre and Spottiswoode, 1911), 126 and 139. 41  Chelsea Medlock, Carabiniers Memorial at Chelsea Embankment, London, UK, 2013.


Chelsea A. Medlock

In the belief that there is a widespread public desire to commemorate the services of the many animals which were sacrificed in the Great War, [the] Society is closely associating itself with an endeavor to erect a national memorial. […] It is hoped that the Memorial will serve a twofold purpose – to commemorate in a lasting manner the sacrifice of the animals in the war and to benefit the living animals in some practical way.42 The following year, the Society reported that their proposed memorial would be located at the corner of Hyde Park and that the Metropolitan Drinking Fountain and Cattle Trough Association would be working in conjunction with the Society to erect the memorial, which would take the form of a commemorative drinking fountain to the “silent martyrs of the Great War”.43 By 1924, however, the RSPCA found itself under intense criticism from the government and the public over the desired erection of a war memorial to animals. Newspapers poked fun at the endeavor, stating that the memorial would laud the sacrifice of goldfish in the war, among other undeserving creatures. The RSPCA was accused of sentimentalism and minimizing the sacrifice of soldiers in the war. The Society wrote in response to the criticism that “every soldier who has seen a hundred horses slaughtered by a single shell in a town square in France will understand the motive for a memorial and that in Whitehall with it.”44 The RSPCA also was forced to fend off rumors that its desired cenotaph to war animals served no purpose to the greater community. After years in limbo, the construction of a RSPCA memorial began in Kilburn and was designed to be an animal welfare clinic. The War Memorial Dispensary was formally opened on November 10, 1932, in Kilburn.45 The memorial consisted of a large plaque and two tablets that hang on either side of the clinic’s entryway. The plaque, which hangs above the clinic’s entrance, portrays an angel (the symbol of victory) surrounded by a menagerie of war animals including horses, bullocks, dogs, camels, and pigeons.

42  Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Annual Report, 1920 (London: RSPCA, 1919–1921), 158. 43  Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Annual Report, 1922 (London: RSPCA, 1922–1924), 155; Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, The Animal World, December 1924, 147. 44  Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, The Animal World, March 1924, 30-31. 45  Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, The Animal World, December 1932, 178-182.

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Fig. 6.3

Front of the RSPCA Memorial Hospital in Kilburn, London, England46

Fig. 6.4

Close-up Image of the Tableau on the RSPCA Memorial in Kilburn47

46  Chelsea Medlock. Animal War Memorial Dispensary, Kilburn, UK. 2011. 47  Ibid.



Fig. 6.5

48  Ibid.

Chelsea A. Medlock

Image of the Left Tablet on the Front of the Kilburn Memorial48

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Fig. 6.6

49  Ibid.

Image of the Right Tablet on the Front of the Kilburn Memorial49



Chelsea A. Medlock

The two memorial plates bear the following inscriptions: This building is dedicated as a memorial to the countless thousands of God’s humble creatures who suffered and perished in the Great War of 1914–18. Knowing nothing of the cause, looking forward to no final victory, filled only with love, faith and loyalty, they endured much and died for us. May we all remember them with gratitude and, in the future commemorate their suffering and death by showing kindness and consideration to living animals.” And “This tablet records the deaths by enemy action, disease or accident of 484,143 horses, mules, camels and bullocks and of many hundreds of dogs, carrier pigeons and other creatures, on the various fronts during the Great War. It also records the fact that, in France alone, 725,216 sick and wounded animals were treated in the veterinary hospitals provided by the R.S.P.C.A.50 During this same period, the People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA), founded in 1917, purchased a medical caravan for free animal welfare around Great Britain as a memorial to the lost war animals of 1914–1918.51 The PDSA would later play a more active role in war animal welfare and memorialization during the Second World War. The RSPCA Memorial can be contrasted with two other interwar-period monuments; the Cavalry Memorial in Hyde Park and the 58th London Division Memorial in France; both of these memorials were constructed to remember the sacrifice of British soldiers during the war. The Cavalry War Memorial in Hyde Park, designed by Adrian Jones and erected in 1924, is dedicated to all of the units that served but it makes no reference to their mounts. The memorial depicts a mounted St. George slaying a dragon and stands in stark contrast to the images of war horses constructed by animal welfare societies.52 The Cavalry Memorial is a combination of three parts: St. George, the scenes of cavalry horses on the plate, and the memorial wall. Depictions of war horses abound on the memorial, most notably as St. George’s war mount and the lines of cavalry horses galloping and trotting into battle around the base of the memorial. This time, war horses are a prominent aspect of the statue, though not the focus. The depictions of the horses still remain secondary to the humane 50  Arthur Moss, Valiant Crusade: The History of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (London: Cassell, 1961), 127-128. 51  M.E.  Dickin. The Cry of the Animal: an Account of the Foundation and International Work of the People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals (2nd ed. London: P.D.S.A. House, 1950), 37. 52  Brereton,  J.M.  The Horse in War. New York: Arco Publishing, 1976, 143.

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combatants of the war and their sacrifice in battle, as seen by the sizes and positions of St. George and memorial wall.53

Fig. 6.7 Cavalry Memorial located in Hyde Park, London, England53

53  Ian Bruce, “File: Cavalry Memorial, Hyde Park.jpg.” Wikimedia Commons. 2008. https:// commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Cavalry_Memorial,_Hyde_Park.jpg.


Chelsea A. Medlock

The only military monument that mirrors the imagery of the animal welfare memorials is the 58th London Division memorial in France. In the 1920s, Henri Gauquie designed and built a war memorial at Chipilly in France to commemorate the 58th London Division that fought during the Battle of Amiens in 1918. His monument depicts a British gunner cradling the head of a dying war horse. This statue is very reminiscent of Fortunio Matania’s “Goodbye, Old Man,” a painting commissioned by the Blue Cross in 1917.

Fig. 6.8

Image of the 58th Division Memorial located in Chipilly, France54

54  Chris Weekes, “58th Division Chipilly.” My Family at War. http://familyatwar.co.uk/index. php/home/memorials/. Accessed 30 January 2017.

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Fig. 6.9


Fortunio Matania’s “Goodbye, Old Man”55

55  Fortunino Matania, “Goodbye, Old Man,” The Blue Cross (1916). www.bluecross.org.uk.


Chelsea A. Medlock

Unlike many British war memorials, a number of Australian war memorials were dedicated to their beloved Walers, as all of the Australian mounts were left in the Middle East after the war due to shipping and quarantine issues. One of the first Australian war horse memorials constructed was the Waler memorial in Adelaide, South Australia. This memorial was erected in 1923 and was dedicated to the Australian war horses left behind. The memorial consists of a stone water trough and plaque.

Fig. 6.10

Horse Memorial located in Adelaide, South Australia56

In 1950, another memorial was unveiled in Sydney, commemorating the war horses/Walers of the Desert Mounted Corps. The inscription reads “suffered wounds, thirst, hunger and weariness almost beyond endurance but never failed. They did not come home. We will never forget them.”57 The memorial depicts a Light Horseman standing with three Walers in the desert, much like the Anglo-Boer War memorial on Chelsea Embankment; however, this memorial highlights the horses as much as the soldier, displaying them in historical context. The monument displays on outward emphasis on utility, much like other military sites of the early twentieth century. 56  State Library of South Australia, “War Horse Memorial 1914–1918 [B35794],” State Library of South Australia. 1923. http://collections.slsa.sa.gov.au/resource/B+35794. 57  A.T.  Yarwood, Walers: Australian Horses Abroad (Victoria, AU: Melbourne University Press, 1989), 184.

6.  “ They Did Their Bit ”

Fig. 6.11


Walers of the Desert Mounted Corps Memorial located in Canberra, Australia58

Most societies finished memorial dedications by the mid-1920s; however, after news spread of welfare “atrocities” committed against former British war horses in Egypt, many societies leapt into action to resolve the crisis. In doing so, a few minor examples of memorialization and remembrance occurred regarding these retired war horses. In 1931, Dorothy Brooke opened an animal welfare fund dedicated to rescuing casted war horses still alive in Cairo; this project was named the “Old War Horse Fund” and later led to the creation of the Brooke Hospital and welfare society. Using funds raised abroad, Brooke and the local RSPCA purchased the Cairo Manure Company and established the Old War Horse Memorial Hospital in 1934 as a living dedication to the service and sacrifice of war horses.59

58  Mary McGuinness, “Australian War Horses Remembered,” History Services Blog. April 2015. http://historyservicesnswblog.blogspot.com/2015/04/australian-war-horses-remem bered.html. 59  Dorothy Brooke, For Love of Horses: Diaries of Mrs. Geoffrey Brooke, ed. Glenda Spooner (London: Isis Large Print Books, 1960), 17-99; Brereton, Horse in War, 140.


Fig. 6.12

Chelsea A. Medlock

Dorthy Brooke, Cairo, 1934–35, displaying purchased veteran war horses60

As World War II escalated in 1939, new memorials were established in remembrance of war animals. In particular, the PDSA created the Dickin Medal for the bravery of animals in service. The organization also established the Mascot Club as a registry for military pets of service men. Finally, the PDSA purchased another fleet of treatment caravans as a form of memorial to animals after the Second World War.61 The society wrote in a 1945 pamphlet that “The loyalty of most of these dumb ones will never be known. At the tomb of the Unknown Warrior we keep in memory the thousands of brave, unknown men who fought and died for us. Our War Memorial is also a tribute to the Unknown Animals who gave their lives in service for us, or were innocent victims in our war – not theirs.”62 These memorials affirm the importance of utility as well as commemoration, much like the RSPCA memorial in Kilburn. After the close of the Second World War, few war memorials were constructed to the memory of animals until the establihsment of the animal rights movement and the emphasis on the “animal turn” in societial conscienceness in the 1980s and 1990s. At the turn of the twenty-first century, numerous memorials to animals in war were erected throughout the former British Empire, including in Great Britain, Australia, and Canda. These monuments were influenced by the work of the animal rights movement and new socio-cultural 60  The Brooke. “Dorothy Brooke in Cairo with abandoned war horses.” The Brooke. http:// www.thebrooke.org/about-us/our-history/dorothy-brooke, accessed 11 August 2015. 61  Montague, Frederick. Let the Good Work Go On. London: Hutchinson and Co., 1947. 62  People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals, The PDSA from 1939 to 1945 (London: PDSA, 1945), NA.

6.  “ They Did Their Bit ”


attitudes toward human-animal relationships, which are easily observed on social media with the rise of viral animal commemoration posts. Contemporary war-animal memorials focus less on utility and more on memory and public awareness. The Animals in War Memorial, erected in 2004 on the east side of Hyde Park in London, was constructed of Portland stone and bronze and is made up of three interlocking designs: two bronze pack mules, a wall of “war experience,” and two bronze statues of a dog and a horse. The mules symbolize the struggle of animals in war, while the outer horse and dog act as war witnesses and hope for the future of animals in war. The wall contains images of various species of war animals, arranged in a “line of ghostly silhouettes representing the animals lost in conflicts”, and three inscriptions that read, “This monument is dedicated to all the animals that served and died alongside British and Allied forces in wars and campaigns throughout time … They had no choice … Many and various animals were employed to support British and Allied forces in wars and campaigns over the centuries, and as a result millions died. From the pigeon to the elephant, they all played a vital role in every region of the world in the cause of human freedom … Their contribution must never be forgotten.”63

Fig. 6.13

West Side of the Animals in War Memorial, Hyde Park, London, England64

63  A  nimals in War Memorial, www.animalsinwar.org.uk. Accessed 21 January 2010; Animals in War Memorial: The Monument, www.animalsinwar.org.uk/index.cfm?asset_id=1374. Accessed 21 January 2010; Greene, Holly Jean. “Destination: London, England at the Animals in War Memorial,” Holly’s Useful and Unique Pet & Vet News   https://hollyshealthypetblog.wordpress.com/2011/07/19/destinationlondonengland-atthe-animals-in-war-memorial. Accessed 25 June 2015; “Animals in War Memorial,” Animals in War Memorial Fund http://www.animalsinwar.org.uk. Accessed 25 June 2015. 64   Iridescenti, “File: Animals in War west.jpg.” Wikimedia Commons. 1 October 2007. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Animals_in_War_west.jpg.;


Chelsea A. Medlock

Fig. 6.14

East side of the Animals in War Memorial, Hyde Park, London, England65

Fig. 6.15

North Side of the Animals in War Memorial, Hyde Park, London, England66

Iridescenti, “File: Animals in War east.jpg.” Wikimedia Commons. 1 October https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Animals_in_War_east.jpg. 65   Iridescenti, “File: Animals in War west.jpg.” Wikimedia Commons. 1 October https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Animals_in_War_west.jpg.; Iridescenti, “File: Animals in War east.jpg.” Wikimedia Commons. 1 October https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Animals_in_War_east.jpg. 66   DonJay, “File: Animals in War north.jpg.” Wikimedia Commons. 29 June https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Animals_in_War_north.jpg.

2007. 2007. 2007. 2006.

6.  “ They Did Their Bit ”


Above, we can see the multi-faceted design of the memorial. It continues the tradition of focusing public memory on animal sacrifice and human debt; however, it also emphasizes the importance of animals in the achievement of “human freedom” around the world. Onlookers are encouraged, through the design of the memorial, to explore the space and to interact with the structure on a personal level. Unlike the Kilburn Dispensary, the Animals in War Memorial exists, not for assemblies, but for the sake of memory only, meaning that the space does not incorporate any obvious utility. Another contemporary example is the Animals in War Memorial, which is located at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra. Like Hyde Park, this memorial focuses exclusively on the war horse itself, depicting the image of a shattered horse. The brokenness of the statue symbolizes not only the loss of animal lives but also the effects of war on animals. The statute incorporates the only surviving piece of the original Desert Mounted Corps memorial, previously located in Egypt until it was destroyed during the Suez Canal conflict in the 1950s. The head of the original memorial was returned to Australia and later used by a contemporary artist to create the new memorial, unveiled in 2009. The original horse head was modelled after the only horse to return to Australia for the Middle East, Sandy the charger of Major General William Bridge, who died in 1915. Sandy’s head is currently on display at the Australian War Museum in Canberra.67 The final instance of contemporary war-animal memorialization is the Animals in War Memorial located in Ottawa, Canada; this monument was constructed in 2012 and commemorates the Canadian war animals employed since the Anglo-Boer War. Located next to the Canadian Memorial to the Anglo-Boer War, this memorial is comprised of a medical service dog, gazing at three bronze reliefs, each of which describe the role of various war animals. The site is also stamped with hoof and paw prints to signify the impressions left by the service of war animals on society and on our memory. Like the Animals in War memorial in London, the Canadian monument is both interactive and educational while actively discarding the early trend of utility.68

67  Australian War Memorial. “Animals in War Memorial.” Australian War Memorial. www. awm.gov.au. Accessed 21 September 2015; Damein Larkins, “War Memorial Honours Animals Great and Small.” News Online. 21 May 2009. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2009-05-21/ war-memorial-honours-animals-great-and-small/1690680. Accessed 21 September 2015. 68  C TV News. “New Monument Honours War Contributions of Animals.” CTV News. 3 November 2012. http://ottawa.ctvnews.ca/mobile/new-monument-honours-war-contri butions-of-animals-1.1023339.


Fig. 6.16

Chelsea A. Medlock

Animals in War Memorial, Ottowa, Canada69

These memorials highlight the incorporation of war animals into our collective memory of war. All of the memorials focus on the service and sacrifice of animals in war while not critiquing the continued militarization of animals in society. At present, the purpose of most war animal memorials is to remind the public of the importance of animals in war and society and establishing a historical narrative for the public that gives agency to human-animal relations. Many of these memorials, past and present were met with criticism early on it their development and construction. Most oppositional components of the public believed that the memorials were unnecessary, given the continuing need for human memorials. While animal veteranization trends are noticeable within a majority of the public’s sentiments about the employment of animals in war, debates continue to rage over the extent and method of the memorialization of animal veterans, routinely playing out in opinion columns and on social media. While memorialization and public remembrance are not novel concepts prior to the Great War, the specific displays of collective memory changed after 1918 to incorporate mass culture, national memory, and collective grieving. Animal welfare societies during this period were not immune to the evolving trends of the first memory boom; the message and imagery contained within their memorials remained one of gratitude, martyrdom, and education. This message remained constant during the twentieth and twenty-first centuries; however, what did change was the minimization of public utility in war animal memorials as their construction moved away from public sight and service to 69  Linda Cassidy, “Animals in War and a Trifecta post, History, Outfits and Linkups.” A Labour of Life. 21 April 2016. http://www.alabouroflife.com/2016/04/animals-in-war-and-trifectapost.html.

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formal remembrance and commemoration. These cites of memory are now exclusively dedicated to the memory of war animals, following the general theme of human memorials since the nineteenth century. What makes the memorials constructed by animal welfare societies extraordinary is their nationalistic and inclusive messages from the beginning; they have remained important examples of the changing use of memory agents to alter the socio-cultural meaning of memorials and, thus, the meaning of human-animal relations. Works Cited “Animal Welfare Act of 2006,” 8 November 2006. The UK Statute Law Database. www. statetuelaw.gov.uk/content.aspz?activeTextDocId=2926439. Accessed 1 December 2010. “Animals in War Memorial,” Animals in War Memorial Fund http://www.animalsinwar. org.uk. Accessed 25 June 2015. “Cavalry Memorial by Adrian Jones.” Victorian Web: Literature, History, and Culture in the Age of Victoria. http://www.victorianweb.org/sculpture/jones/1.html. Accessed 10 August 2015. “Protection of Animals Act of 1911,” 18 August 1911. The UK Statute Law Database www. statetuelaw.gov.uk/content.aspz?activeTextDocId=1069356. Accessed 1 December 2010. Animals in War Memorial, www.animalsinwar.org.uk. Accessed 21 January 2010. Animals in War Memorial: The Monument, www.animalsinwar.org.uk/index.cfm?asset_ id=1374. Accessed 21 January 2010. Australian War Memorial. “Animals in War Memorial.” Australian War Memorial. www. awm.gov.au. Accessed 21 September 2015. Ben-Ze’ev, Efrat, Ruth Ginio, and Jay Winter, ed. Shadows of War: A Social History of Silence in the Twentieth Century. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010. Blenkinsop, L.J., Major-General, and Lieutenant-Colonel J.W. Rainey, History of the Great War based on Official Documents: Veterinary Services. London: HMSO, 1925. Brereton, J.M. The Horse in War. New York: Arco Publishing, 1976. Brooke, Dorothy. For Love of Horses: Diaries of Mrs. Geoffrey Brooke. Ed. Glenda Spooner. London: Isis Large Print Books, 1960. Bruce, Ian. “File: Cavalry Memorial, Hyde Park.jpg.” Wikimedia Commons. 2008. https:// commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Cavalry_Memorial,_Hyde_Park.jpg. Cassidy, Linda. “Animals in War and a Trifecta post, History, Outfits and Linkups.” A Labour of Life. 21 April 2016. http://www.alabouroflife.com/2016/04/animals-inwar-and-trifecta-post.html.


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Cooper, Jilly. Animals in War: Valiant Horses, Courageous Dogs, and Other Unsung Animal Heroes. Guilford, CT: Lyons Press, 2002. CTV News. “New Monument Honours War Contributions of Animals.” CTV News. 3 November 2012. http://ottawa.ctvnews.ca/mobile/new-monument-honours-warcontributions-of-animals-1.1023339. Dickin, M.E. The Cry of the Animal: an Account of the Foundation and International Work of the People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals 2nd ed. London: P.D.S.A. House, 1950. DonJay. “File: Animals in War north.jpg.” Wikimedia Commons. 29 June 2006. https:// commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Animals_in_War_north.jpg. Fairholme, Edward G., and Wellesley Pain, ed. A Century of Work for Animals: the History of the RSPCA, 1824–1924. London: John Murray, 1924. Gilbert, Charles Webster. “Animals in War Memorial.” Australian War Memorial. 2009. https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/ART93929/. Gildea, James, Colonel. For Remembrance and in Honour of Those Who Lost Their Lives in the South African War, 1899–1902: Lest We Forget. London: Eyre and Spottiswoode, 1911. Greene, Holly Jean. “Destination: London, England at the Animals in War Memorial,” Holly’s Useful and Unique Pet & Vet News https://hollyshealthypetblog.wordpress. com/2011/07/19/destinationlondonengland-at-the-animals-in-war-memorial. Accessed 25 June 2015. Hollands, Clive. Compassion is the Bugler: the Struggle for Animal Rights. Edinburgh: MacDonald Publishers, 1980. Iridescenti. “File: Animals in War east.jpg.” Wikimedia Commons. 1 October 2007. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Animals_in_War_east.jpg. Iridescenti. “File: Animals in War west.jpg.” Wikimedia Commons. 1 October 2007. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Animals_in_War_west.jpg. Jacob, Frank. “Vom kriegsentscheidenden Faktor zum Sinnbid antiquierter Kriegsführung – Pferde im Burenkrieg und im Russisch-Japanischen Krieg,” in Pferde in der Geschichte: Begleiter in der Schlacht, Nutztier, literarische Inspiration, ed. Frank Jacob, 198-232. Darmstadt: Büchner, 2016. Kean, Hilda. “Moment of Greyfriars Bobby: the Changing Cultural Position of Animals, 1800-1920.” A Cultural History of Animals, in the Age of Empire. Ed. Kete, Katherine. New York: Berg, 2007. Kean, Hilda. Animal Rights: Political and Social Change in Britain since 1800. London: Reaktion Books, 1998. Landow, George P. “The Carabiniers Memorial: Adrian Jones.” The Victorian Web. 2001. http://www.victorianweb.org/sculpture/jones/4.html. Larkins, Damein. “War Memorial Honours Animals Great and Small.” News Online. 21 May 2009. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2009-05-21/war-memorial-honours-animalsgreat-and-small/1690680.

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Matania, Fortunino. “Goodbye, Old Man.” The Blue Cross. 1916. www.bluecross.org.uk. McGuinness, Mary. “Australian War Horses Remembered.” History Services Blog. April 2015. http://historyservicesnswblog.blogspot.com/2015/04/australian-war-horses -remembered.html. Medlock, Chelsea. Carabiniers Memorial at Chelsea Embankment, London, UK. 2013. Medlock, Chelsea. Animal War Memorial Dispensary, Kilburn, UK. 2011. Montague, Frederick. Let the Good Work Go On. London: Hutchinson and Co., 1947. Moss, Arthur. Valiant Crusade: The History of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. London: Cassell, 1961. NJR ZA. “File: Horse Memorial-002.jpg.” Wikimedia Commons. 5 August 2009. https:// commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Horse_Memorial-002.jpg. People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals, The PDSA from 1939 to 1945 (London: PDSA, 1945). Pillay, Deneesha. “Historic Statue in PE Toppled.” HealdLive. 7 April, 2015. http://www. heraldlive.co.za/historic-statue-pe-toppled. Ritvo, Harriet. The Animal Estate: The English and Other Creatures in the Victorian Age. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1987. Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, The Animal World. March 1924. Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Annual Report, 1915. London: 1916. Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Annual Report, 1920. London: RSPCA, 1919–1921. Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Annual Report, 1922. London: RSPCA, 1922–1924. Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. The Animal World. September 1870. Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. The Animal World. December 1902. Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. The Animal World. September 1914. Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. The Animal World. December 1914. Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. The Animal World. November 1914. Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. The Animal World. December 1918. Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. The Animal World. October 1919. Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. The Animal World. December 1924. Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. The Animal World. December 1932.


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SABC News. “EFFF denies toppling ‘Horse Memorial’ in Port Elizabeth.” SABC News. 7 April, 2015. http://www.sabc.co.za/news/a/fbbc850047ed61888339f74405f77b26/ EFFundefineddeniesundefinedtopplingundefined%E2%80%98Horseundefined Memorial%E2%80%99undefinedinundefinedPortundefinedElizabeth-20150704. Smith, Carmen. The Blue Cross At War. Based on the Annual Reports of Our Dumb Friends’ League. Windsor, Berkshire, UK: Reedprint, 1990. State Library of South Australia. “War Horse Memorial 1914–1918 [B35794].” State Library of South Australia. 1923. http://collections.slsa.sa.gov.au/resource/B+35794. The Brooke. “Dorothy Brooke in Cairo with abandoned war horses.” The Brooke. http:// www.thebrooke.org/about-us/our-history/dorothy-brooke. accessed 11 August 2015. Weekes, Chris. “58th Division Chipilly.” My Family at War. http://familyatwar.co.uk/ index.php/home/memorials/. Accessed 30 January 2017. Whittick, Arnold. War Memorials. London: Country Life Limited, 1944. Winter, Jay. Remembering War: The Great War Between Memory and History in the Twentieth Century. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2006. Yarwood, A.T. Walers: Australian Horses Abroad. Victoria, AU: Melbourne University Press, 1989.

Chapter 7

Identity and Memory at First World War British Imperial Memorials on the Western Front Hanna Smyth The British imperial memorials of the First World War’s Western Front are stunningly evocative: they are set in stone as perennial testaments to those who died, those who missed them, and the emerging nations who lost them. Yet in addition to being monolithic representations of unified national identities, as they are popularly conceived today, these memorials are sites of hybridity at which a mix of identities intersect. The British dominions and undivided India were in a unique position of quasi-autonomy and commemorative agency during the construction of these memorials in the 1920s–1930s. All had greater voices than colonies and had participated in the war in proportionally large numbers, all had their independence and imperial relationship affected by the war, and all were linked by the shared institution of the Imperial War Graves Commission (IWGC) for commemoration, rather than having full agency over their own remembrance. These commonalities enable a nuanced comparison. Unity of empire and unity of sacrifice were concepts bound up in unity of remembrance for these countries. Differing from bilateral comparisons of nation-states’ First World War commemoration, the duality of the dominions’ and India’s situation is intriguing: they were distinct entities, yet enmeshed within the IWGC, regarding the material culture of their battlefront memorialization. Four British imperial memorials form useful case studies to examine how identity and memory were expressed, distinguished, and elided along multiple axes. The national memorials of Australia, Canada, South Africa, and India in France were tangible manifestations of each country’s balance between national and imperial identity; additionally, each had to arrive at a decision regarding the balance between individual and collective commemoration, mainly through decisions regarding inscribing the names of their missing. The memorials at Villers-Bretonneux (Australian), Vimy (Canadian), Delville Wood (South African), and Neuve Chapelle (Indian), allow a comparative study of where these four countries located themselves along these continuums. It is tempting to view the relationship between dominion and imperial identity as a dichotomy, and thus the expression of one as a suppression of the

© Verlag Ferdinand Schöningh, 2019 | doi:10.30965/9783657788224_008


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other; however, affinities to Britain were often incorporated within, not repudiated by, the national identities newly asserted by the dominions and India. There was also tension and overlap between three types of identity forged by the war: unifying national identity, identity based on shared experiences of the war’s personal impact, and factional identities based on internal divisions. An additional complicating factor for these countries’ blurred lines of identity and nationality was their population demographics in relation to their war service. High proportions of “Canadians”, for example, were actually British-born, or were first-generation but from British families.1 Thus, in the complex new era of war remembrance that followed the First World War, these “national” monuments could not represent singular cohesive national identities of their respective dominions. To comprehend the various meanings ascribed to these sites, they must be understood as sites of hybridity, at which perceptions of them were filtered through multiple lenses of overlapping and conflicting identities. These distinct and very different countries were subsumed under the umbrella of the IWGC in creating their material culture of remembrance on the battlefields, yet almost all had a national memorial constructed on the Western Front with which they were heavily involved. Of the five British dominions during the war and its aftermath, three feature in this chapter: Australia, Canada, and South Africa. New Zealand has been omitted because unlike the others, it did not concentrate its Western Front remembrance at a single site: instead, its remembrance is diffused across memorials at seven sites, with the names of New Zealand missing distributed among them based on geography. Newfoundland, by contrast, does have a single site at which its remembrance is concentrated: Beaumont-Hamel, at which the Newfoundland Regiment suffered catastrophic losses on the first day of the Battle of the Somme. However, the fact that Newfoundland later became the tenth province of Canada, rather than a separate independent nation, reduces its scope for comparable analysis with this chapter’s other case studies. Conversely, India, while not technically a dominion during the war or the interwar period, is included because it does have a national site – Neuve Chapelle – and shared with the dominions the 1  The number of British-born dominion men who voluntarily enlisted in the initial stages of war was highly disproportionate to the dominions’ general populations. 50% of the men who joined the first surge of enlistment in Australia had been born in Britain (and British-born Australians ultimately accounted for 21% of the Australian Imperial Force); similarly, nearly 50% of South African volunteers had been born in Britain. 20% of enlistees in the New Zealand forces were British-born, and so were 66% of Canada’s initial contingent. See Bill Nasson,“Delville Wood and South African Great War Commemoration,” English Historical Review 119, 480 (2004), 63; Mark David Sheftall, Altered Memories of the Great War: Divergent Narratives of Britain, Australia, New Zealand and Canada (London: I.B. Tauris, 2010), 51-52; Jay Winter, Remembering War: The Great War Between Memory and History in the Twentieth Century (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2006), 169.

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experience of navigating the complex stance between national and imperial commemoration in the 1920s and 1930s. Of these countries, Canada was the first to transition from colony to dominion: the British North America Act of 1867 created the Dominion of Canada. This was followed by Australia in 1901 and South Africa in 1910. This meant that at the war’s outbreak, these countries governed their own internal affairs but still fell under British rule in terms of foreign policy, including the declaration of war. India, in contrast, did not become a dominion until 1947. Since 1858, the British Raj had wielded British crown rule over three-fifths of the subcontinent, while the remainder was governed by more than 560 principalities. The “India” of the First World War also encompassed what are today known as Pakistan and Bangladesh. Particularly for Australia, Canada, and South Africa the war and its aftermath instigated and witnessed important steps on the road to independence. At the Paris Peace Conference, which resulted in the 1919 Treaty of Versailles, the dominions and India had their own representatives. However, while their signatures do appear on the final treaty, they are indented, subsumed under the signature of the British Prime Minister, who signed on behalf of the entire Empire. The treaty also paved the way for the creation of the League of Nations, in which these countries held separate seats. In 1926, the Imperial Conference in London confirmed their status as self-governing dominions under the British Crown, and the 1931 Statute of Westminster gave legal form to this declaration. It is also worth noting that on the Royal Charter of Incorporation for the Imperial War Graves Commission, dated May 21, 1917, the Principal Secretary of State for India and a representative from each of the dominions were appointed to the very limited membership of the IWGC.2 The Imperial War Graves Commission (changed in 1960 to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission), was founded by Fabian Ware (1869–1949) in 1917. Too old to be a soldier, he was serving with the British Red Cross when he began recording and caring for graves, a task that was given official recognition in 1915 with the designation of the Graves Registration Unit.3 This organization then became the IWGC. Several British architects, notably including Edwin Lutyens (1869–1944), Reginald Blomfield (1856–1942), and Herbert Baker (1862–1946), became particularly associated with the Commission, creating both the standard cemetery architectural features that the IWGC is well known for today – such as the Cross of Sacrifice and the 2  “Royal Charter of Incorporation,” CWGC. 3  For further information on Fabian Ware and the creation of the CWGC, see David Crane, Empires of the Dead: How One Man’s Vision Led to the Creation of WWI’s War Graves (London: William Collins, 2013).


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Stone of Remembrance – as well as specific designs for hundreds of memorials and cemeteries in the war’s aftermath.

Fig. 7.1 Cross of Sacrifice with Stone of Remembrance in the background, Lapugnoy Military Cemetery, France (Imperial War Graves Commission), 2016

The founding principle of the IWGC was equality. Unlike France, Germany, and America, Britain enacted a strict non-repatriation policy for its First World War fallen. Bodies would not be brought home, and this placed responsibility squarely on institutional rather than individual shoulders, as the IWGC and its constituent governments served as intermediaries between the dead and their families. The distance between the Western Front and Britain was significant enough to mean that many families would never visit their loved ones’ IWGC sites in France or Belgium, but this was exacerbated even further for India and the dominions, separated from these commemorative locations by thousands of miles. No matter how wealthy, parents were not permitted to pay for their sons to be repatriated; no matter how influential in society, every member of the imperial dead would receive a uniformly sized headstone, or became part of a uniform collective in the lists of names on memorials.4 4  One of the exceptions to this rule of the equality principle was the matter of religious diversity, which was recognized and differentiated in the material culture of IWGC remembrance. I explore this in my PhD research, particularly in relation to multi-faith Indian commemoration

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To what extent the First World War was “unprecedented” continues to be debated by scholars, but an unequivocal truth is that never before had countries been faced with bodies and missing people to deal with on such a vast scale, combined with a non-repatriation policy and an emphasis on individual identity in remembrance.5 Other methods of handling war dead, including ossuaries (e.g. historically in France) and mass graves (e.g. how Germany buried its First World War losses on the Western Front, partly due to constraining factors associated with being the defeated party) were quickly deemed unacceptable for British and imperial commemoration. No, every body had to have its own “six feet of ground”,6 and furthermore, every single person, whether found or missing, had to have their name carved in stone, somewhere.7 If this could not be on their headstone, it would be on a memorial to the “missing”, a term whose newness and specificity in this context is indicated by its encasement in quotation marks throughout IWGC documents from the time.8 The first memorial in focus, Delville Wood, is the South African national memorial, dedicated to all South African soldiers who fought in all theatres of the war. The Battle of Delville Wood was the first major engagement of South African forces on the Western Front. It was a pyrrhic victory, with South African casualties extremely high. The battle was part of the Somme offensive and occurred in July 1916. The Delville Wood memorial consists of an arch flanked by a semicircular stone wall, capped by identical buildings imitating a famous house of the Cape Colony’s first governor.9 It was paid for by public subscription, and designed by Herbert Baker, a British IWGC architect.10 Three aspects of the memorial warrant particular attention as reflections of South African identities in relation to Britain. Firstly, the arch has a bilingual in Western Front cemeteries. For a thorough history of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, see Philip Longworth, The Unending Vigil: A History of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission 1917–1984 (London: Leo Cooper, 1985). 5  For context and counterpoint to the dominion and India focus of this chapter, see Jay Winter’s major work Sites of Memory, Sites of Mourning: The Great War in European Cultural History (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995), particularly Chapter 4 “War Memorials and the Mourning Process”, 78-116. 6  W G 219 Pt 1, “4 March 1919”. This and all of the following archival documents referenced are from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) Historic Archive in Maidenhead, UK, accessed November 2015–May 2016. 7  As with any idealistic principle, in reality there were exceptions – including, problematically, instances of a lack of individual naming for non-white combatants and labour corps members commemorated in non-Western Front theatres. 8  For one of many examples, see WG 219/8, “17 March 1924”. 9  “Delville Wood: The Memorial,” South African Commemorative Museum Trust. 10  Ibid.; G.  Kingsley Ward and Edwin Gibson, Courage Remembered: The Story Behind the Construction and Maintenance of the Commonwealth’s Military Cemeteries and Memorials of the Wars of 1914–1918 and 1939–1945 (London: H.M.S.O, 1995), 159.


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inscription in English and Afrikaans, to the dead who “at the call of duty made the Great Sacrifice”. The dual languages reflect the complicated political situation and history of British and Dutch colonialism in South Africa. Secondly, unique among all imperial memorials on the Western Front, this memorial is highly unusual for bearing no names. The missing of South Africa are commemorated individually by name on British memorials, instead of on their separate national memorial. Considering that parts of South Africa were fighting against the British less than three decades prior, in the Second Anglo-Boer War, this unusual decision might appear to call particular attention to the question of South African agency vis-à-vis British control over decisions concerning dominion remembrance. However, the decision to have no names on the Delville Wood memorial, and instead have them alongside British names on other memorials, was made entirely by South African representatives rather than the IWGC. Letters dated May 16-17, 1924 relay that “the Delville Wood Committee at Pretoria” handed down this verdict.11 This raised a consideration that distinguished Delville Wood from the Vimy, Villers-Bretonneux, and Neuve Chapelle memorials: it meant that now, unlike the others, it was not a memorial to the missing. The IWGC warned the Delville Wood Memorial Committee that it must be understood that if the names of the missing are not engraved on the Delville Wood Memorial, then that memorial ceases to fulfill, from the Commission’s point of view, the purpose of a Memorial to the Missing, and the Commission’s contribution to the cost of the Delville Wood Memorial can consequently not be made.12 The memorial took on an explicitly broader scope: it was not a memorial just to the missing, nor just to the fallen, nor just to South Africans on the Western Front. It was designated as a memorial for all South Africans who served in all theatres of the war.13 Thirdly, the arch is crowned by a sculpture of two men and a horse, created by British artist Alfred Turner. The sculpture depicts Castor and Pollux “clasping hands in friendship” and is a “symbol of all the peoples of South Africa who are united in their determination to defend their common ideals”.14 Castor and Pollux were Greek mythological twins, and their twinship here represents equality between the two “white races” of the South African Union, British 11  W G 1049/1 Pt 2, “16 May 1924” and “17 May 1924”. 12  W G 1049/1 Pt 2, “29 April 1924”. 13  “Cemetery Details: The South Africa (Delville Wood) National Memorial,” CWGC. 14  “Delville Wood: The Memorial,” South African Commemorative Museum Trust.

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and Afrikaner.15 Aside from the blatant omission of Black South Africans from this symbolism, also conveniently omitted is that in Greek mythology, Castor and Pollux had different fathers, meaning that Pollux was half-divine whereas Castor was only mortal. Approached with this knowledge in mind, the sculpture seems to privilege one of the South African “races” over the other, and based on the circumstances it may be read as an assertion of British superiority. The demarcation between dominion and British identity is less distinct here, since Britishness is being portrayed as an integral part of South African identity, instead of an opposing force to react against. In contrast to the namelessness of Delville Wood, a significant feature of this chapter’s second case study, the Canadian national memorial at Vimy, is the inscribed names of Canada’s more than 11,000 soldiers who went missing in France.16 The battle of Vimy Ridge began on April 9, 1917, and cost Canada more than 3,500 people out of 10,600 total Canadian casualties. Vimy is seen as a potent symbol of Canadian identity, since it was a tactical success achieved by all four divisions of the Canadian Corps fighting together for the first time and under Canadian command. It continues to provoke passionate debate regarding its significance to Canadian independence and nationhood.17 The Vimy Memorial is the concept of Walter Allward (1876–1955), a Canadian sculptor, who won the design competition of the Canadian Battlefields Memorials Commission. Positioned at the height of Vimy Ridge, the twin stone pylons tower over the surrounding battlefield plain, surmounted on a massive base inscribed with the names of the missing. Uniquely among the four memorials examined here, Vimy presents a strong national identity through its guide program: bilingual Canadian university students are brought to France in four-month shifts to interpret the memorial for visitors. Despite the fact that it is located in France and is associated with the IWGC, Vimy is a Canadian National Historic Site and has been maintained by the Canadian government since 1938.18 The extent to which control over Vimy was held directly by Canada or subsumed by the IWGC was a hotly contested and very delicate subject even ten years before 15  “Cemetery Details.” 16  The missing of Canada, Australia, India, and South Africa in Belgium are listed by name on the Menin Gate and Tyne Cot memorials in Ypres. 17  See for example Geoffrey Hayes et al, Vimy Ridge: A Canadian Reassessment (Waterloo: Wilfred Laurier University Press, 2007), and Pierre Berton, Vimy (Toronto: McLelland & Stewart, 1986). 18  The exception to this was the German occupation of the ridge in WWII; see Jacqueline Hucker, “‘Battle and Burial’: Recapturing the Cultural Meaning of Canada’s National Memorial on Vimy Ridge,” The Public Historian 31, 1 (2009), 104.


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Fig. 7.2

Vimy Memorial, 2016

the memorial was built: documents in a rare “CONFIDENTIAL” file in the IWGC archives reveal rather frantic telegrams and letters exchanged between IWGC members regarding Vimy, in advance of a meeting of the Anglo-French Mixed Committee [for First World War monuments] in June 1926. Two sensitive issues were at play. First, Canada was agitating strongly for autonomy in its dealings with the French regarding Vimy: in an unsigned letter between IWGC officials, the author writes it was difficult to put into a telegram what I wanted to say. We are up against the whole political difficulty with Canada who wish to deal with the French as an independent Government not only in this matter [Vimy] but in all others. A strong party in Canada strongly objects to being associated with Great Britain in any treaty or agreement with the French.19 Yet ironically, the IWGC’s Canadian representative, Lieutenant-Colonel H.T. Hughes, occupied a starkly different position: He “of course does not represent 19  ACON 56, “17 June 1926”.

7. Identity and Memory at First World War


this point of view but rather the maximum imperial spirit of Canada.”20 Second, the IWGC was desperate to avoid criticism from the French regarding the proposed designs of various memorials, including Vimy, on the basis of objections of general principle concerning the erection of sumptuous monuments by a foreign government on French territory in the existing state of French finances, which precludes them from honouring their own dead, who exceed ours in numbers, in any appropriate or similar form.21 The proposed Vimy memorial seemed to be particularly vulnerable to this criticism, perhaps because at 110 meters above the Douai Plain (mostly due to the height of Vimy Ridge relative to the landscape) it was poised to be one of the highest war memorials in the country. Construction work had begun on Allward’s winning twin-pylon design the previous year. Fabian Ware, in a letter to Hughes labeled “Very Confidential”, wrote rather desperately I am in a position of great difficulty which you will appreciate – I have discussed the matter secretly and have no official knowledge that the question of Vimy will be raised at this meeting and certainly shall do all in my power to prevent its coming up. Indeed I am doing my utmost for reasons you will appreciate to prevent any French official criticism of any of the monuments of any part of the Empire.22 Another concomitant IWGC letter echoes him, discussing more obliquely “the difficulty as regards Canada” and that “it will be practically impossible to prevent the question of Vimy being raised at the meeting, although you will observe it is not mentioned in my reports.”23 Although this author is still searching the archives for the minutes of that meeting, the soaring height of the Vimy memorial visible today gives some indication of its result. Less dramatically, IWGC documents also shed light onto how individual identities were inscribed onto the Vimy memorial. Intended to become components of a very permanent fixture, these individual names and identities were remarkably unstable and shifting as the plans for the monument proceeded apace. Questionnaires were sent out to next-of-kin for soldiers to be 20  Ibid. 21  ACON 56, “19 June 1926”. 22  ACON 56, “17 June 1926, by Fabian Ware”. 23  ACON 56, “19 June 1926”.


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commemorated on the memorial, and these were sometimes returned with corrections made to name spellings;24 and long-hidden secrets came to light when soldiers’ real names were matched with the assumed names they had fought under.25 Queries regarding these matters were regularly “despatched to the Canadian authorities in Ottawa” for resolving,26 but in some cases the great distance between Britain and Canada altered the chain of responsibility for commemoration. This was the case in July 1929, when the IWGC wrote to an unknown contact in France asking for help with confusion over yet another aspect of individual identity: The contractors [for inscribing the names on Vimy] see that there are certain regimental numbers over a million in the drawings, and feel that there must be a mistake somewhere. They have asked me if I can get this confirmed, that such a large number is correct. I suggest that we take as a test case Private J.A. Bell 1066094 … are you in a position to confirm it? You will appreciate the sole reason for my writing to you is that you are near and can give me a quicker answer. The proper authorities to whom I should apply are obviously the Canadian office from whom I received the lists and instructions, but that would mean a considerable delay.27 The largest individual sculpture on the monument highlights specifically Canada’s sorrow: the 30-tonne Mother Canada mourning her fallen sons stands in perpetual grief overlooking the empty tomb at the base of the monument.28 However, alongside this display of a unified conception of Canada there are a multitude of allegorical sculptures on the monument, representing Canada’s shared identity with Britain and France based on common values and experiences. This demonstrates the degree to which Canada’s newly asserted national identity was still proudly founded on its ties to Britain. The memorial’s pylons are topped by anthropomorphized Peace and Justice, and other stone figures built into the monument embody Hope, Sacrifice, Charity, Faith, Honor, Knowledge, Truth, and “Bearing the Torch”.29 The triumphant idealism of these figures provides a counterpoint to a second type of figural sculpture on the 24  W G 219/10/1 “6 August 1930”, “24 May 1930”, “30 April 1930”, “19 May 1930”, “14 February  1930”, “9 September 1929”. 25  W G 219/10/1 “18 August 1930”, “22 April 1930”. 26  W G 219/10/1 “17 March 1930”. 27  W G 219/10/1 “13 July 1929”. 28  “Design and Construction of the Vimy Monument,” Veterans Affairs Canada. 29  Laura Brandon, “History As Monument: The Sculptures on the Vimy Memorial,” Canadian War Museum.

7. Identity and Memory at First World War


Fig. 7.3 Mother Canada sculpture, Vimy Memorial, 2016

memorial. This latter type represents a shared experience of loss and the requisite desire for peace: groups of sculptures depict “Sympathy for the Helpless”, “Mourning”, and “The Breaking of the Sword”, and silent cannons are draped in sculpted laurel and olive branches to symbolize victory and peace. The verticality that characterizes the Vimy memorial, with its twin pylons, is also a distinctive feature of the Australian national memorial at Villers-Bretonneux. Flanked by stone walls listing the missing, the monument’s most striking feature is its 30-meter tower. A design competition was launched in Australia in 1925 to find an architect for the “Great Overseas Memorial” at Villers-Bretonneux;30 it was only open to Australian architects who had either served “with the sea or land forces of the British Empire” or had children who had done so.31 The original winner was Australian architect William Lucas,

30  W G 857/3/2 Pt 1, “Great Overseas Memorial”. 31  W G 857/3/2 Pt 1, “National War Memorial” p. 1.


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but under very contentious circumstances the commission was later given to British IWGC architect Edwin Lutyens.32 The presence or absence of names on the memorial was a decision in frequent flux for almost a decade. In 1922 it was suggested that if Australia was unprepared to divide its missing between multiple memorials and alongside British names, that Amiens would be the best place to commemorate them if a single “Australian” site was needed.33 However, it was acknowledged that “of all the Australian operations on the Western Front”, it was Villers-Bretonneux which had “most impressed the public imagination”.34 The debate over dividing Australian names was still raging two years later: controversy arose during the planning for the Menin Gate memorial, when Australia threatened to withdraw permission to have Australian names on the monument.35 Along with Tyne Cot, the Gate was intended to be an “Empire Memorial”, with inclusions of dominion and Indian names (divided chronologically between the two memorials).36 However, Australia was determined to collect all its missing, lost in France and Belgium, by name on one memorial at Villers-Bretonneux, so its proposed solution to the Menin Gate conundrum was to have some names repeated on the two memorials.37 This was ultimately rejected because it violated the IWGC’s policy of having only a single site of individual named commemoration for each fallen soldier.38 By 1930 it was agreed that Australia’s Belgian missing would be listed on Menin Gate and Tyne Cot, leaving only its missing in France to be listed at Villers-Bretonneux; a total which, at the time, was estimated to be 18,557 names.39 Exemplifying the vagaries of estimations, accuracy, and record-keeping in this postwar context, the total number of names of Australians missing in France was finally discerned to be 10,982, which were inscribed on the memorial.40 In the ensuing years since its unveiling, dozens of Australian “missing” have since been identified and received

32  For a more detailed treatment of the circumstances surrounding Lucas’ failed memorial, see Katti Williams, “Sublime Ruins: William Lucas’ Project for the Australian WWI War Memorial at Villers-Bretonneux, France,” Melbourne Art Journal 11, 12 (2008–2009), 65-85, and her forthcoming PhD thesis from the University of Melbourne. 33  W G 857/3/2 Pt 1, “30 August 1922”. 34  W G 857/3/2 Pt 1, “30 August 1922”. 35  W G 219/2/1 Pt 2, “8 May 1924”. 36  W G 219/2/1 Pt 2, “29 July 1927” and “17 November 1926”. 37  W G 219/2/1 Pt 2, “3 May 1924”. 38  W G 219/2/1 Pt 2, “8 May 1924”. 39  W G 857/3/2 Pt 1, “December 1930”. 40  “Cemetery details: Villers-Bretonneux Memorial,” CWGC.

7. Identity and Memory at First World War


individual burials, reducing the number of missing officially commemorated on the Villers-Bretonneux Memorial to 10,738 as of January 2017.41 The importance of Villers-Bretonneux as a location and memorial for Australia was recognized both by the IWGC and in the dominion itself. Fabian Ware commented that the design decisions for the monument were “entirely a decision for Australia herself”,42 and money from Australia helped to rebuild the village.43 Romain Fathi has argued that the whole site of Villers-Bretonneux, including the eponymous village, acts as a performative space at which Australian identity is articulated: it is a “valuable microcosm in which to understand the significance of extraterritoriality in Australia’s war memorialisation”.44 He also affirms the interplay of distance as a factor influencing Australian relationships with war-forged identity: When [the memorial] was built, its physical manifestation confirmed and embodied a time in history most Australians did not see for themselves, it validated narratives and gave them a reality. The monumental aspect not only paid tribute to the dead, it was also to be seen by others, an injunction to remember for the centuries to come what had happened on that ground. Being seen is one of the means of confirming and affirming one’s existence.45 This concept of “being seen” to affirm existence also applies to the discussions concerning which battlefields would be listed on the memorial. To set in stone Australia’s participation in these engagements was to solidify and assert the reciprocity of their importance: Australia to the battle outcome and the battle to Australian identity. Various lists were circulated, but the final decision was allocated to the Australian Prime Minister.46 The Villers-Bretonneux memorial inscription also provided another means by which to manifest and reinforce identity. Of the four countries examined here, Australia was the only country without linguistic divisions as a significant demographic factor. Canada, particularly its Quebec and New Brunswick 41  “Cemetery details: Villers-Bretonneux Memorial,” CWGC. 42  W G 857/3/2 Pt 1, “21 July 1930”. 43  W G 857/3/2 Pt 1, “17 May 1928”; see also Romain Fathi, ‘“Do Not Forget Australia’: Australian War Memorialisation at Villers-Bretonneux,” (Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Paris/University of Queensland PhD thesis, 2015), chapter 3 “A school or nothing: the Education Department of Victoria and post-war aid to Villers-Bretonneux,” 81-106. 44  Fathi, ‘“Do Not Forget Australia,” 3. 45  Fathi, “Do Not Forget Australia,” 169. 46  W G 857/3/2 Pt 3, “16 March 1938”.


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provinces, had a significant francophone population; both English and Afrikaans were spoken in South Africa; and in India a multiplicity of languages were widely spoken, including Urdu, Hindi, and Punjabi. (This list has enumerated official or quasi-official languages, but of course each country also contained dozens if not hundreds of other languages and dialects, brought by immigrants from other countries or spoken by its aboriginal peoples or original populations). Thus, of the four, Australia would have had the only ostensibly legitimate claim to construct a monolingual memorial. However, it chose to reinforce its identification with France – one which the Australians felt much more deeply than the French47 – by including a French version of its inscription.48 In contrast, with a quatra-lingual inscription India’s memorial was the most linguistically diverse. Indian commemoration on the Western Front became concentrated in one memorial: the “Indian Memorial” at Neuve Chapelle. (Due to protestations from Pakistan, midcentury this site was renamed simply “the Neuve Chapelle Memorial”).49 This decision was reached over the protests of the Indian government, who stated that “Indian opinion, except among Mahommedans, appeared to favour separate memorials rather than collective ones”.50 The designer of the memorial, British IWGC architect Herbert Baker, had the unenviable task of creating a structure that commemorated Hindu, Muslim, and other Indian soldiers in a way that allowed for differentiation of names by religion yet united them on a single memorial, while choosing symbolism that would satisfy all religions yet privilege none. The site was chosen by the India Office, and the final design consisted of a sanctuary with a “pierced stone railing” reminiscent of Buddhist shrines at Bodh Gaya and Sanchi, backed by a solid wall inscribed with names of the missing.51 At the centre of the railing was a 30-foot-high stone column flanked by tigers and capped by a lotus and crown.52 Baker explained that although parts of the design had been adapted from his earlier proposal for a Hindu monument, he “ha[d] thought a good deal about the best symbol to represent all-Indian sentiment and have selected a column, such as those by which the Emperor Asoka marked his royal progresses through India 47  Fathi, “Do Not Forget Australia,” 28. 48  This ran into difficulties and had to be altered to redress possible confusion arising from its direct translation, which had had ‘tombes’ and ‘tombés’ in the same line. (WG 857/3/2 Pt 3, “4 February 1938”). 49  W G 861/2 Part 2 “28 June 1966”. 50  W G 909/7 “Undated memo”. 51  Add 1/1/99 “7 October 1927”. 52  Add 1/1/99 “7 October 1927”.

7. Identity and Memory at First World War

Fig. 7.4


Neuve Chapelle Memorial, 2016

and on which he inscribed his edicts.”53 Ironically, an incongruity of the design was that Asoka’s reign predated the founding of both Sikhism and Islam by centuries.54 However, there is no mention of anyone from India or Britain viewing this as problematic. The Neuve Chapelle Memorial commemorates Hindu and Muslim missing soldiers by name. This differed from other theatres of the war, where, in a break from the equality principle, the decision was often taken to commemorate rank-and-file missing by number.55 The men are grouped according to religion, with Hindu and Muslim names mirroring each other on the flanking wings of the memorial. Religious beliefs also played a role in determining whether the memorial would feature a roofed enclosure; it was decided that “a closed building is not considered a suitable form for a Memorial to commemorate the Missing of three different faiths”, that this would be particularly contradictory to Hindu beliefs, and that an open plan would be more widely 53  S DC 43 “29 June 1923”. 54  W G 861/2/4 “19 February 1926”. 55  W G 437/4/1 “17 March 1926”, WG 219/16 Part 1 “31 October 1925”, among others.


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acceptable.56 However, the wall includes two small chattris. A central component of the memorial is the inscription on the column: “God is one, His is the Victory” in English, Arabic, Hindi, and Gurmukhi. There was much debate over the selection of these languages and the order that they should be arranged.57 Great care was taken to ensure that the vernacular inscriptions were correct: Ali Risa was commissioned to complete the translations, and made over 100 drafts before arriving at a final version.58 However, as one IWGC official astutely remarked, it would be a very rare visitor to Neuve Chapelle who was fluently literate in all four languages.59 Another, albeit smaller, monumental structure enclosed within the Neuve Chapelle memorial space is one that is more frequently associated with IWGC cemeteries, appearing at every one with over 1,000 burials. This is the Stone of Remembrance, a secular yet altar-like block inscribed with a short quotation. Rudyard Kipling (1865–1936), the renowned English poet who himself had lost a son in the war, was responsible for choosing the inscription to appear on the Stone. Intended to be a material representative of both a tomb and an altar, the Stone honored the memory of all those who fell, known and unknown. Its inscription, “Their name liveth for evermore”, taken from Ecclesiasticus 44:14 of the King James Bible, is well known today; lesser known is that its final form was likely dictated by a deference to Hindu beliefs. Stones of Remembrance all over the world, including cemeteries on the Western Front, therefore carry this hidden reminder that the war was fought by those of many faiths. Due to the importance of cremation in Hinduism, any suggestion of the presence of a body – “here lies” rather than “here fell”,60 or references to a “grave” instead of “resting place”61 – is anathema. John Keegan mentions that Kipling “adapted” the Stone’s inscription to avoid giving offense to Hindus;62 since the inscription is in fact a direct Biblical quote, it seems certain that the adaptation Keegan refers to is the removal of the verse’s first half, which reads in full “Their bodies are buried in peace; but their name liveth for evermore”. Since the Stone was planned to appear in multiple sites with a Hindu presence, including Neuve Chapelle, the first half’s reference to the physical presence of 56  W G 219/19 Part 1 “April 1923”. 57  W G 861/2/4 “8 December 1926”, “19 November 1926”, among others. 58  W G 861/2/4 “23 February 1927”. 59  W G 861/2/4 “8 July 1925”. 60  W G 861 “26 March 1925”. 61  W G 861/2/4 “7 April 1925”. 62  John Keegan, “There’s Rosemary for Remembrance,” The American Scholar 66, 3 (1997), 342. This is echoed by Longworth, Unending Vigil, who mentions the quote “omitted a previous phrase which might have offended Hindus” (37).

7. Identity and Memory at First World War


bodies would have been deemed unacceptable. However, it is also worth noting that Kipling’s son John went missing in the war, and therefore was not a “body buried in peace” either; this may have also been an influential factor in the selection.63 These monuments cannot be fully understood if they are divorced from the landscapes surrounding them. Intangibly, it is the location of these monuments that is a crucial factor that imbues the memorials with an aura of sacred space; and tangibly, some of them remain surrounded by battlefield landscapes that have been preserved to considerable extents.64 Both factors indelibly shape how people conceptualized and responded to these monuments during the interwar period, and continue to do so today. Each of the four memorials considered here were built upon battlefields significant to their respective countries, due to the fact that these pieces of earth were sites of great loss, great victory, or both.65 These particular battles were focal points for the formation of national identities for these countries, but did not necessarily immediately become the sole loci for each country’s war remembrance.66 There were three reasons for this: firstly, domestic 63  See also Charles Chenevix Trench, The Indian Army and the King’s Enemies 1900–1947 (London: Thames & Hudson, 1988), 43. 64  Jeremy Foster, “Creating a Temenos, Positing ‘South Africanism’: Material Memory, Landscape Practice and the Circulation of Identity at Delville Wood,” Cultural Geography, 11 (2004), 269, 274; Hucker, “Battle and Burial,” 101-103; David W. Lloyd, Battlefield Tourism: Pilgrimage and the Commemoration of the Great War in Britain, Australia, and Canada 1919–1939 (Oxford: Berg, 1998), 1; John Schofield, Combat Archaeology: Material Culture and Modern Conflict (London: Duckworth, 2005), 45; Jonathan Vance, Death So Noble: Memory, Meaning, and the First World War (Vancouver: UBC Press, 1997), 60. For greater detail on this topic in relation to the Vimy Memorial, see Natalie Bull and David Panton, “Drafting the Vimy Charter for Conservation of Battlefield Terrain,” Association for Preservation Technology International Bulletin 31, 4, Managing Cultural Landscapes (2000), 5-11, which includes the full text of the charter. 65  For further readings on battlefields as secular sacred spaces, see Thomas Chambers, Memories of War: Visiting Battlegrounds and Bonefields in the Early American Republic (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2012); Keir Reeves et al. (eds), Battlefield events: landscape, commemoration and heritage (New York: Routledge, 2016); Bruce Scates, Return to Gallipoli: walking the battlefields of the Great War (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006); Jonathan Spielvogel, Interpreting Sacred Ground: the rhetoric of national Civil War parks and battlefields (Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2013); Ahenk Yilmaz, “Memorialization on War-Broken Ground: Gallipoli War Cemeteries and Memorials Designed by Sir John James Burnet,” Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians 73, 3 (2014), 328-346. 66  For example, Teresa Iacobelli argues that it was at first the 2nd Battle of Ypres to which special meaning for Canada was attached: “Canadian newspapers wrote of it as a baptism by fire, as the first true test of the Canadians, and one that its soldiers passed


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commemoration, particularly in the form of national memorials, and including the selection of “Unknown Soldiers” for symbolic tombs in subsequent decades, has also been substantially significant to these countries’ relationships with their war memories.67 Second, it was often not until later in the memorialization process on the Western Front that single sites were settled upon to represent each country. For example, the open design competition for Canada’s monument called for a design that would be repeated at eight Western Front locations associated with Canadian participation; it was not until the winning design by Walter Allward was chosen that this was reduced to one site, Vimy, due to the striking nature and originality of his design.68 Third, the Western Front was not the only theatre of the war, and for some countries, their emerging sense of nationalism also became tied to their experiences on other fronts. Among this chapter’s countries, this was particularly the case for Australia: it was not on the Western Front but rather at Gallipoli where the national ANZAC myth was formulated.69 In addition to November 11, most countries have an additional specific day of First World War remembrance at their memorials based on a relevant anniversary: for example, for Canada it is the Western Front date of April 9, when the battle for Vimy Ridge began. gloriously … however, in the postwar national memory 1915 would come to be completely overshadowed by the 1917 Battle of Vimy Ridge.” Teresa Iacobelli, “Creating Memory: Commemoration, Popular Media and Evolving Narratives of the Great War,” unpublished conference paper (First World War Commemoration & Memory conference, Manchester, February 2016), 2. 67   Katrina Bormanis, “The Monumental Landscape: Canadian, Newfoundland, and Australian Great War Capital and Battlefield Memorials and the Topography of National Remembrance,” Concordia University PhD thesis, 2010, chapter 4 (“What Remains: Repatriating and Entombing the Australian and Canadian Unknown Soldiers of the Great War in Canberra and Ottawa”, 282-337). See also Ken Inglis, Sacred Places: War Memorials in the Australian Landscape (Victoria: Melbourne University Press, 1998). 68  Some of the other seven contending sites still received memorials. For example, the second-place design in the Canadian competition went on to be constructed as the St Julien ‘Brooding Soldier’ memorial, a Canadian monument yet not ‘national’ in the same sense that Vimy is. 69  Substantial literature exists on Gallipoli, ANZAC, and the digger myth. See for example Tanja Luckins, The Gates of Memory: Australian People’s Experiences and Memories of Loss and the Great War (Freemantle: Curtin University Books, 2004); W.F. Mandle, Going It Alone: Australia’s National Identity in the Twentieth Century (Ringwood: A. Lane, 1978); McLeod, Jenny, Gallipoli (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015); Bruce C. Scates, “Manufacturing Memory at Gallipoli,” in War Memory and Popular Culture: Essays on Modes of Remembrance and Commemoration, ed. Michael Keren and Holger H. Herwig, (Jefferson: McFarland, 2009), 57-75; Graham Seal, Inventing ANZAC: The Digger and National Mythology (St. Lucia: University of Queensland Press, 2004); Alistair Thomson, Anzac Memories: Living with the Legend (Melbourne: Oxford University Press, 1994).

7. Identity and Memory at First World War


Interestingly, for Australia it is April 25, a day that holds double significance: it is the anniversary of both the Gallipoli landings (1915) and the day that Australia ostensibly liberated Villers-Bretonneux (1918).70 The Australian case particularly demonstrates the degree to which this war prompted an elastic sense of identity: spanning continents, and creating links between disparate physical spaces and the groups of people who attached deep meaning to them. Although the Vimy, Villers-Bretonneux, Delville Wood, and Neuve Chapelle memorials also share sites with formal burials in IWGC cemeteries, the preserved landscapes surrounding them also mean that the landscapes themselves are burial grounds. This is particularly the case at Delville Wood, where it has been estimated that more than a hundred bodies remain undiscovered and unidentified in the earth.71 The emotional resonance of these memorial sites, amplified by the fact that they are usually closely associated with formal and informal burial grounds, sanctifies them as secular sacred spaces. As Katrina Bormanis argues, the dominion memorials particularly fall under the “fields of care” framework set out by Kenneth Foote, in which five characteristics are used to quantify sanctified sites.72 As Bormanis explains them in the context of the Australian, Canadian, and Newfoundland dominion memorials, these characteristics are as follows: Firstly, such sites are clearly demarcated from the milieu that surrounds them, and all bear some marker indicating the specifics of what occurred there. Secondly, these sites are nearly always immaculately kept for at least several years, if not decades, or even centuries. Thirdly, in sanctifying a site, a transfer of ownership usually occurs, whereby custody of the site shifts from private to public hands. Fourthly, these sites, once consecrated, invite ongoing ritualized commemorative activity, usually in the form of perennial memorial ceremonies or pilgrimages. Fifthly, once 70  Romain Fathi argues, however, that April 25 was not the most significant date for the Australians at Villers-Bretonneux, but was chosen for commemoration due to its coincidence with the Gallipoli anniversary: “Australian national interventions [in shaping commemorative practices] thus transcended historical realities and recrafted traditional local collective remembrance. Romain Fathi, “‘A Piece of Australia in France: Australian Authorities and the Commemoration of Anzac Day at Villers-Bretonneux in the Last Decade,” in Nation, Memory and Great War Commemoration: Mobilizing the Past in Europe, Australia and New Zealand, ed. Shanti Sumartojo and Ben Wellings (Oxford: Peter Lang, 2014), 278. 71  Foster, “Creating a Temenos,” footnote 83. 72   This premise forms the central argument of the thesis. Bormanis, “Monumental Landscape,” working from Kenneth E. Foote, Shadowed Ground: America’s Landscapes of Violence and Tragedy (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2003).


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sanctified, a site frequently gathers layers of meaning that usually (but not always) bear some relational kinship to the original commemorative enterprise.73 Beginning with their unveilings, in 1926 (Delville Wood), 1927 (Neuve Chapelle), 1936 (Vimy) and 1938 (Villers-Bretonneux), some of these memorials became pilgrimage destinations, within a broader trend of mass battlefield tourism in the postwar decades.74 Pilgrimages served to rehearse and perpetuate a shared perception of the war. The distinction between “pilgrim” and “tourist” was generally defined (at least by the pilgrims) in terms of the war’s personal impact: pilgrims were those who had a connection to the site, either through battle experience or the loss of a loved one there.75 An exception to this is Neuve Chapelle and India: it was noted that very few visitors from India were making the trip, and that an initiative to write a souvenir book for the Neuve Chapelle memorial had met with very little interest from the Indian public.76 In stark contrast, major pilgrimages occurred to Vimy for its unveiling in 1936 and to Delville Wood in 1952.77 However, it is Australia’s memorial that caters most specifically to living visitors rather than remembrance of the dead: as Fathi explains, “The tower [of the Villers-Bretonneux memorial] is for the living, not the missing. It has no allegoric statue surmounting it for commemorative purposes; it is an observation tower, within a memorial, the function of which is sightseeing and battlefield tourism”.78 As the IWGC completed its cemeteries and memorials in the 1920s-30s, Western Front visits by bereaved families changed in focus: the primary site of connection with their dead shifted from the site of death (as closely as could be pinpointed) to the site of

73  Bormanis, “Monumental Landscape,” 11-12. 74  Foster, “Creating a Temenos,” 271; Lloyd, Battlefield Tourism, 13-48, 133-179, 181-215; Nasson, “Delville Wood,” 81; Sheftall, Altered Memories, 208 note 69; Vance, Death So Noble, 69; Bart Ziino, A Distant Grief: Australians, War Graves, and the Great War (Crawley, AUS: University of Western Australia Press, 2007), 172, 174, 182. 75  Lloyd, Battlefield Tourism, 46; Caroline Winter, “Tourism, Social Memory and the Great War,” Annals of Tourism Research 36, 4 (October 2009), 615-616. 76  W G 861/2/3/11 Pt 2, “25 September 1929”. 77  See for example WG 1049/1 Pt 5, “5 February 1951”; John Hundevad, Guide book of the pilgrimage to Vimy and the battlefields, July-August 1936 (Ottawa: Published on behalf of the Vimy Pilgrimage Committee by the Canadian Legion of the British Empire Service League, 1936); Herb Morden, The Vimy pilgrimage, July 1936: experiences, impressions and some random jottings (Vancouver: H. Morden, 1936). 78  Fathi, “Do not forget Australia,” 120.

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commemoration.79 Often these were proximal, yet, due to cemetery consolidations and the vast geographic areas encompassed by memorials to the missing, often they were not. Since both types of sites are associated with death, these visits are couched within a long tradition of “dark” or “thana-” tourism.80 The phenomenon of First World War battlefield visits is not consigned to the past, although the terminology has changed. Jennifer Iles examines contemporary battlefield tourism to First World War Western Front sites from a sociological perspective, demonstrating the endurance of this impulse and the relevance it implies for both the war and specifically the sites being visited.81 Her work indicates that attempting to distinguish between “pilgrims” and “tourists” is not a relevant question to be asking in contemporary analysis, since very few people see themselves as “pilgrims”; there is such a blurry line of definition between the two terms that they are indistinguishable today except in their effect upon how people self-conceptualize. However, in the interwar period, this distinction was a valid and discrete one, although not wholly unproblematic. The temporal proximity to the war in the 1920s-30s compared to today meant that interwar visitors had living memory of the conflict, and had embedded its impact within their individual identities. Today, if visitors have a personal connection to a site it is due to the loss or service of a relative that they will almost certainly never have met. During the interwar period, many people were visiting these memorials and their landscapes to give a tangibility and reality to their loss. Faced with faraway burials or no one at all to bury, these imperial memorials served as anchors, tethering what for many was an abstract inexpressible loss to a tangible expression of it. Domestic commemorative material culture was of course also tangible, but the locations of these battlefield memorials gave them a uniquely powerful resonance. The memorials, with their emphasis on the missing, represented the “presence of absence”82 for losses that were doubly invisible. The missing themselves were vanished without trace, and the distances between the dominions and the memorials meant that for mourning 79  Simon Gregor, “Changing Spaces, Fading Landscapes: Battlefield pilgrimage 1914–1929” (unpublished conference paper, Globalising and Localising the Great War Graduate Conference, Oxford, March 2016; based on PhD thesis in progress, University of Wolverhampton). 80  For an introduction to this topic, see Bormanis, “Monumental Landscape,” chapter 3.0 “Thanatourism or Dark Tourism” (241-246), and its associated bibliography. 81  See particularly Jennifer Iles, “Recalling the Ghosts of War: Performing Tourism on the Battlefields of the Western Front,” Text and Performance Quarterly 26, 2 (2006), 162-180. 82  This term is used in relation to First World War memory by Nicholas Saunders, “Introduction,” in Nicholas Saunders (ed) Matters of Conflict: Material Culture, Memory and the First World War (London: Routledge, 2004).


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families, the names carved in stone could live large in people’s imaginations but were not physically accessible.83 The ability of memorials to facilitate a connection with and representation of the missing was eloquently articulated at the unveiling of the Menin Gate memorial, which includes alongside British names those of Australians, Canadians, South Africans, and Indians missing in Belgium: at which it was famously remarked “They are not missing, they are here”.84 The role of distance in First World War dominion mourning and cultures of commemoration has been explored in the Australian context by Bart Ziino in his 2007 work A Distant Grief. 85 His work focused on graves rather than memorials, but the two are intertwined in a complex relationship; his arguments that the home and battle fronts were intimately connected in remembrance, and that there were tensions between institutional and individual management of dominion mourning exacerbated by the vast physical distance between “home” and the Western Front, are highly applicable to dominion memorials both including and beyond the Australian context. A failed proposal regarding the construction logistics for the Villers-Bretonneux memorial presents an unusual example of this intimate connection between “home” and Western Front memory sites: with the memorial’s stones coming from Australia, it was proposed that the memorial be temporarily erected there in order to test the exact measurements of the monument.86 This would have created a more visual and tangible tie between these two geographically disparate spaces. The Villers-Bretonneux memorial is also unique in its material emphasis upon creating connections with other locations. The “Australian” narrative of the war is reinforced with a plaque pointing to other Australian Western Front battlefields and the capital Canberra, and a map pinpoints the Western Front locations of Australian divisional memorials. When considering the formation of dominion remembrance, most scholarly works take a nationalist approach.87 This is valid and necessary; these me83  The importance of the names carved in stone of Canadians was eloquently fictionalized in Jane Urquhart’s The Stone Carvers (Toronto: McLelland & Stewart, 2001), 347: “There is absolutely nothing like the carving of names … nothing like committing to stone this record of someone who is utterly lost.” 84   Oft-quoted (with multiple variations), e.g. in Peter Liddle, Passchendaele in Perspective: The Third Battle of Ypres (London: Leo Cooper, 1997), 477. 85  Ziino, Distant Grief. 86  W G 857/3/2 Pt 1, “22 March 1928”. 87  See for example Foster, “Creating a Temenos,”; Hayes et al, Vimy Ridge; Vedica Kant, India and the FWW: ‘If I die here, who will remember me?’ (New Delhi: Lustre, 2014); Andrew Prescott Keating “The Empire of the Dead: British Burial Abroad and the Formation of National Identity,” University of California-Berkeley PhD thesis, 2011; Janet L. Lermitte,

7. Identity and Memory at First World War


morial sites were and continue to be used as stark reinforcements of national identity, and host commemorative rituals that perform this identity. However, it is crucial to avoid painting the 1920s-30s creation of these memorials with too broad of a nationalistic brush. Despite the emerging nationalism that the war either engendered or was used to reinforce, Britain and the empire remained part of these “national” identities; there were also arguably no single “national” identities for these memorials to represent at the time of their construction, because during the war and its aftermath each country was in the throes of extensive societal divisions and inequalities. Respect for the soldiers and their sacrifices helped knit together national identity, but could not dissipate internal divisions which fragmented ideals of national unity along linguistic, cultural, racial, and experiential lines; and shared battle experiences, even ones that later became enshrined in national mythologies like Vimy and Gallipoli, could not nullify internal divisions. A set of examples will indicate the scale of this phenomenon. Veterans’ groups competed for membership and control over how the war was interpreted,88 and rival political groups appropriated soldier symbolism to advance their own causes.89 Loss or service, or the lack thereof, was used to commend or shame individuals.90 Tensions arose over the domestic commemoration of South Africa’s dead, reflecting the ongoing hostility between Afrikaners and Anglo-South Africans.91 The war also sharply divided English and French Canada. French immigration to Canada had mainly occurred during previous centuries, whereas British immigration was more strongly ongoing. Thus “Returning to Vimy Ridge: Canada’s Narrative of Battle and Remembrance,” University of British Columbia MA dissertation, 2010; Lloyd, Battlefield Tourism; Luckins, Gates of Memory; Matthew Stuart Smith, “The Relationship Between Australians and the Overseas Graves of the First World War,” Queensland University of Technology MA thesis, 2010; Shashi Tharoor, “India looks back on the First World War,” Fletcher Forum of World Affairs 39, no. 1 (2015): 77-82; Thomson, Anzac Memories; Vance, Death So Noble; Hugh Tinker, “India in the First World War and after,” Journal of Contemporary History 3, 4 (1968), 89-107; Linda Wade, “By Diggers Defended, by Victorians Mended: Searching for Villers Bretonneux,” University of Wollongong PhD thesis, 2008; Ziino, Distant Grief. Note that Australia and Canada have extensive historiographies on this subject, while less has been written on First World War remembrance for India and South Africa. 88  Lloyd, Battlefield Tourism, 202; Dan Todman, The Great War: Myth and Memory (London: Hambledon Continuum, 2005), 116; Vance, Death So Noble, 127. 89  Sheftall, Altered Memories, 167; Vance, Death So Noble, 231. 90  The former was notably the case for South African politician Percy FitzPatrick, who instigated the Delville Wood memorial (Nasson, “Delville Wood,” 65-66), while the latter was true for William Lyon Mackenzie King, Canadian prime minister for several terms in the 1920s–1940s (Vance, Death So Noble, 124). 91  Nasson, “Delville Wood,” 71.


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many French Canadians felt that they were more loyal to Canada than British Canadians, whose obligations they saw as split.92 This rift was especially evident in the conscription crisis, which resulted in the Military Service Act of 1917.93 There was also continuing discrimination against certain ethnic and racial groups, particularly in both Canada and South Africa. Japanese Canadians fought and died in the war but were still denied the right to vote in Canada for another 13 years. During the war 7,762 “resident enemy alien” Canadians were sent to internment camps and thousands of those were used as forced labor, because they had previously been immigrants from the Central Power countries.94 4,000 Canadian soldiers were of Indigenous descent and fifty of them were decorated for bravery during the war, yet they returned home to a country that still treated them like second-class citizens and denied them the benefits afforded to white veterans.95 The 70,000 Black South Africans of the Native Labor Corps did not receive a British War Medal, while their white officers did, and the loss of 650 Black South Africans when their ship the SS Mendi went down have until recently been overlooked in commemoration in favor of Delville Wood, a site primarily of White South African losses.96 Although all four countries are now independent nations and the “nationalism” discourses have concomitantly changed, there is continuity in the fact that today these memorials are still emblems of national identity yet are not symbols with which all segments of their populations necessarily identify. These memorials are situated within the wider context of countries transfixed, to varying degrees, by the war’s memory; at state, community, and individual levels. Why does this war resonate so deeply? The centenary has prompted a period of heightened remembrance, but the roots of this phenomenon go much deeper. The First World War occupies a unique position in these countries’ collective relationships with the past, and the enduring permanence of their Western Front memorials casts them as sites of memory sharing center stage during the centenary. How Australia, Canada, India, South Africa, and broadly the former British Empire responded to the war during the centenary will undoubtedly become rich fodder for future academics; but meanwhile, 92  Sheftall, Altered Memories, 97-98; Vance, Death So Noble, 10. 93  Lloyd, Battlefield Tourism, 183; Sheftall, Altered Memories, 92-97. 94  Bohdan Kordan, Enemy Aliens, Prisoners of War: Internment in Canada during the Great War (Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2002), 5. 95  “Aboriginal Contributions During the First World War,” Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada. For further information, see also Timothy Winegard, For King and Kanata (Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press, 2012). 96  “SS Mendi Archaeological Desk-Based Assessment,” Wessex Archaeology, 64401.1 (April 2007), 41; Nasson,“Delville Wood,” 58, 65.

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the war and its centenary is being interpreted and re-understood now, and the extent of its cultural significance demands contemporary critical scholarly engagement. In the meantime, a few clues to an explanation for its distinctive relationship with the present can be offered. Its unique relevance and emotional clout in Britain and its former empire is due to several factors: its broad scale, popular perceptions of its futility, and its distance in time from the present. By examining the four case studies of Villers-Bretonneux, Vimy, Delville Wood, and Neuve Chapelle, it becomes clear that the traditional dichotomies of national-imperial and individual-collective were not and are not clear-cut at British imperial memorials on the First World War’s Western Front. Australia, Canada, South Africa, and India incorporated elements of their British identities within their newfound national self-conceptions as embodied in their memorials, yet in each case decision-making agency was a complicated balance between the Imperial War Graves Commission and representatives from the dominion in question. Behind the projected unity of these “national” sites lay disjunctions in these countries’ identities caused by the war, either through differing experiences of it or based on internal divisions, frequently over war-related issues. Thus, these monuments were significant representations of multiple identities, with complex and shifting relationships. In consequence, these memorials held varying meanings, reflecting different aspects of grief, experience, and memory for each person. To comprehend how they were perceived through time, we must understand these monuments as sites of hybridity, at which a mix of identities – personal and collective, national and imperial – have intersected. Works Cited

Unpublished Primary Sources

All of the below are from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) Historic Archive in Maidenhead, UK, accessed November 2015-May 2016.

ACON 56 – 17 June 1926. IWGC letter about Canadian autonomy in dealing with France. – 17 June 1926, by Fabian Ware. Aim to avoid criticism of Empire memorials. – 19 June 1926. Sensitive concerns about the Vimy memorial. Add 1/1/99 – 7 October 1927. Arrangements for Unveiling Ceremony [Neuve Chapelle]. SDC 43 – 29 June 1923. Explanation by architect Herbert Baker about Neuve Chapelle design.


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WG 219– 4 March 1919. Letter to Fabian Ware from Australian High Commissioner. Part 1 WG 219/2/1 – 3 May 1924. Letter to Fabian Ware from Australian Prime Minister. Part 2 – 8 May 1924. Reply to Prime Minister Bruce re: duplicating names. – 17 November 1926. IWGC Director of Records confirming nationalities to be commemorated on Menin Gate. – 29 July 1927. There are 90,000 names of missing ‘soldiers of the Empire’. WG 219/8 – 17 March 1924. Memo from IWGC Director of Records: “Memorials to the ‘Missing’, Dominion Forces”. WG 219/10/1 – 13 July 1929. Question re: Canadian regimental numbers higher than 1 million. – 9 September 1929. Corrections to Canadian name spellings for Vimy. – 14 February 1930. Corrections to Canadian name spellings for Vimy. – 17 March 1930. Letter about procedure for resolving Canadian name uncertainties. – 22 April 1930. Amendments to Vimy names due to assumed names revealed. – 30 April 1930. Corrections to Canadian name spellings for Vimy. – 19 May 1930. Corrections to Canadian name spellings for Vimy. – 24 May 1930. Corrections to Canadian name spellings for Vimy. – 6 August 1930. Corrections to Canadian name spellings for Vimy. – 18 August 1930. Amendments to Vimy names due to assumed names revealed. WG 219/16 – 31 October 1925. Memorials to Indian “Missing” in East Africa. Part 1 WG 219/19 – April 1923. Letter from India Office to IWGC re: Neuve Chapelle design. Part 1 WG 437/4/1 – 17 March 1926. Memo to Director of Records re: Helles Memorial. WG 857/3/2 – “Great Overseas Memorial: results of competition”, unknown news clipping, 1926/7. Part 1 – “National War Memorial, Villers-Bretonneux, France, Architectural Competition: Conditions Regulating Submission of Designs”, Oct 1925, 7 pages. – 30 August 1922. Memo from IWGC Director General recommending Amiens for Australian names. – 22 March 1928. IWGC Vice Chairman’s Notes, “Conference with William Lucas”. – 17 May 1928. Letter from Australia House re: Villers-Bretonneux. – 21 July 1930. Letter from Fabian Ware re: Villers-Bretonneux. December 1930. Response from Queensland re: Villers-Bretonneux inquiry. WG 857/3/2– 4 February 1938. Letter to French embassy re: VB inscription translation. Part 3 – 16 March 1938. List of battles for VB memorial from Australian PM. WG 861 – 26 March 1925. Indian Memorials memo from Director of Records. WG 861/2 – 28 June 1966. Letter from Office of High Commissioner for Pakistan.

7. Identity and Memory at First World War


Part 2 WG 861/2/3 – 25 September 1929. Letter to Field Marshal William Birdwood. /11, Part 2 WG 861/2/4 – 7 April 1925. Letter to Kipling re: Neuve Chapelle inscriptions. – 8 July 1925. Letter regarding Neuve Chapelle inscriptions. – 19 February 1926. Letter regarding Neuve Chapelle design. – 19 November 1926. Letter to Herbert Baker re: Neuve Chapelle languages. – 8 December 1926. Letter to Herbert Baker re: Neuve Chapelle languages. – 23 February 1927. Letter from Ali Risa. WG 909/7 – Undated memo from India Office to IWGC re: treatment of Indian Graves in France. WG 1049/1 – 29 April 1924. Letter from IWGC to Delville Wood Memorial Committee re: costs. Part 2 – 16 May 1924. Letter from Delville Wood Memorial Committee regarding nonames decision for Delville Wood. – 17 May 1924. Letter from IWGC Director of Works re: no-names DW decision. WG 1049/1 – 5 February 1951. Letter from IWGC Chief Admin Officer re: DW pilgrimage. Part 5

Published Primary Sources

Unpublished Secondary Sources

Hundevad, John. Guide book of the pilgrimage to Vimy and the battlefields, July-August 1936. Ottawa: Published on behalf of the Vimy Pilgrimage Committee by the Canadian Legion of the British Empire Service League, 1936. Morden, Herb. The Vimy pilgrimage, July 1936: experiences, impressions and some random jottings. Vancouver: H. Morden, 1936. “Royal Charter of Incorporation.” Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC). 21 May 1917.Accessed May 2016. .

Bormanis, Katrina. “The Monumental Landscape: Canadian, Newfoundland, and Australian Great War Capital and Battlefield Memorials and the Topography of National Remembrance.” Concordia University PhD thesis, 2010. Accessed May 2016 at . Fathi, Romain. “‘Do Not Forget Australia’: Australian War Memorialisation at Villers-Bretonneux.” Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Paris/University of Queensland PhD thesis, 2015. Accessed via personal communication and used with permission. Gregor, Simon. “Changing Spaces, Fading Landscapes: Battlefield pilgrimage 1914– 1929.” Unpublished conference paper. Oxford: Globalising and Localising the Great


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War Graduate Conference, March 2016. Accessed via personal communication and used with permission. Iacobelli, Teresa. “Creating Memory: Commemoration, Popular Media and Evolving Narratives of the Great War.” Unpublished conference paper. Manchester: First World War Commemoration & Memory conference, February 2016, 1-7. Accessed via personal communication and used with permission. Janet L. Lermitte, “Returning to Vimy Ridge: Canada’s Narrative of Battle and Remembrance,” University of British Columbia MA dissertation, 2010. PDF first accessed February 2013 from the University of British Columbia. Prescott Keating, Andrew. “The Empire of the Dead: British Burial Abroad and the Formation of National Identity.” University of California-Berkeley PhD thesis, 2011. Accessed May 2016 via ProQuest Theses. Smith, Matthew Stuart. “The Relationship Between Australians and the Overseas Graves of the First World War.” Queensland University of Technology MA thesis, 2010. Accessed May 2016. . Wade, Linda. “By Diggers Defended, by Victorians Mended: Searching for Villers Bretonneux,” University of Wollongong PhD thesis, 2008. PDF first accessed February 2013 via Inter-Library access request placed when the author was a student at the University of British Columbia.

Published Secondary Sources

“Aboriginal Contributions During the First World War.” Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada. Accessed May 2016. . Berton, Pierre. Vimy. Toronto: McLelland & Stewart, 1986. Bull, Natalie, and David Panton. “Drafting the Vimy Charter for Conservation of Battlefield Terrain.” Association for Preservation Technology International Bulletin 31, 4, Managing Cultural Landscapes (2000): 5-11. Brandon, Laura. “History As Monument: The Sculptures on the Vimy Memorial.” Canadian War Museum. Accessed May 2016. . “Cemetery Details: The South Africa (Delville Wood) National Memorial.” Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Accessed May 2016. . “Cemetery Details: Villers-Bretonneux Memorial.” Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Accessed May 2016. .

7. Identity and Memory at First World War


Chambers, Thomas. Memories of War: Visiting Battlegrounds and Bonefields in the Early American Republic. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2012. Crane, David. Empires of the Dead: how one man’s vision led to the creation of WWI’s war graves. London: William Collins, 2013. “Delville Wood: The Memorial.” South African Commemorative Museum Trust. Accessed May 2016. . “Design and Construction of the Vimy Monument.” Veterans Affairs Canada. Accessed May 2016. . Fathi, Romain. “‘A Piece of Australia in France: Australian Authorities and the Commemoration of Anzac Day at Villers-Bretonneux in the Last Decade.” In Nation, Memory and Great War Commemoration: Mobilizing the Past in Europe, Australia and New Zealand, ed. Shanti Sumartojo and Ben Wellings, 273-290. Oxford: Peter Lang, 2014. Foote, Kenneth E. Shadowed Ground: America’s Landscapes of Violence and Tragedy. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2003. Foster, Jeremy. “Creating a Temenos, Positing ‘South Africanism’: Material Memory, Landscape Practice and the Circulation of Identity at Delville Wood.” Cultural Geography 11 (2004): 259-290. Hayes, Geoffrey, et al. Vimy Ridge: A Canadian Reassessment. Waterloo: Wilfred Laurier University Press, 2007. Hucker, Jacqueline. “‘Battle and Burial’: Recapturing the Cultural Meaning of Canada’s National Memorial on Vimy Ridge.” The Public Historian 31, 1 (Winter 2009): 89-109. Iles, Jennifer. “Recalling the Ghosts of War: Performing Tourism on the Battlefields of the Western Front,” Text and Performance Quarterly 26, 2 (2006): 162-180. Inglis, Ken. Sacred Places: War Memorials in the Australian Landscape. Victoria: Melbourne University Press, 1998. Kant, Vedica. India and the FWW: ‘If I die here, who will remember me?’. New Delhi: Lustre, 2014. Keegan, John. “There’s Rosemary for Remembrance.” The American Scholar 66, 3 (1997): 335-348. Kordan, Bohdan. Enemy Aliens, Prisoners of War: Internment in Canada during the Great War. Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2002. Liddle, Peter. Passchendaele in Perspective: The Third Battle of Ypres. London: Leo Cooper, 1997. Lloyd, David W. Battlefield Tourism: Pilgrimage and the Commemoration of the Great War in Britain, Australia, and Canada 1919–1939. Oxford: Berg, 1998. Longworth, Philip. The Unending Vigil: A history of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, 1817–1984. (London: Leo Cooper, 1985). Luckins, Tanja. The Gates of Memory: Australian People’s Experiences and Memories of Loss and the Great War. Freemantle: Curtin University Books, 2004.


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Mandle, W.F. Going It Alone: Australia’s National Identity in the Twentieth Century. Ringwood: A. Lane, 1978. McLeod, Jenny. Gallipoli. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015. Nasson, Bill. “Delville Wood and South African Great War Commemoration.” English Historical Review 119, 480 (February 2004): 57-86. Reeves, Keir, et al., eds. Battlefield events: landscape, commemoration and heritage. New York: Routledge, 2016. Saunders, Nicholas. “Introduction.” Matters of Conflict: Material Culture, Memory and the First World War, ed. Nicholas Saunders, 1-4. London: Routledge, 2004. Scates, Bruce. “Manufacturing Memory at Gallipoli,” in War Memory and Popular Culture: Essays on Modes of Remembrance and Commemoration, ed. Michael Keren and Holger H. Herwig, 57-75. Jefferson: McFarland, 2009. Scates, Bruce. Return to Gallipoli: walking the battlefields of the Great War. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006. Schofield, John. Combat Archaeology: Material Culture and Modern Conflict. London: Duckworth, 2005. Seal, Graham. Inventing ANZAC: The Digger and National Mythology. St. Lucia: University of Queensland Press, 2004. Sheftall, Mark David. Altered Memories of the Great War: Divergent Narratives of Britain, Australia, New Zealand and Canada. London: I.B. Tauris, 2010. Silvestri, Michael. Ireland and India: nationalism, empire, and memory. New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2009. Spielvogel, Jonathan. Interpreting Sacred Ground: The Rhetoric of National Civil War Parks and Battlefields. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2013. “SS Mendi Archaeological Desk-Based Assessment.” Wessex Archaeology, 64401.1 (April 2007). Accessed May 2016. . Tharoor, Shashi. “India Looks Back on the First World War.” Fletcher Forum of World Affairs 39, 1 (2015): 77-82. Tinker, Hugh. “India in the First World War and After.” Journal of Contemporary History 3, 4 (1968): 89-107. Thomson, Alistair. Anzac Memories: Living with the Legend. Melbourne: Oxford University Press, 1994. Todman, Dan. The Great War: Myth and Memory. London: Hambledon Continuum, 2005. Trench, Charles Chenevix. The Indian Army and the King’s Enemies 1900–1947. London: Thames & Hudson, 1988. Urquhart, Jane. The Stone Carvers. Toronto: McLelland & Stewart, 2001. Vance, Jonathan. Death So Noble: Memory, Meaning, and the First World War. Vancouver: UBC Press, 1997.

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Ward, G. Kingsley, and Edwin Gibson. Courage Remembered: The Story Behind the Construction and Maintenance of the Commonwealth’s Military Cemeteries and Memorials of the Wars of 1914–1918 and 1939–1945. London: H.M.S.O, 1995. Williams, Katti. “Sublime Ruins: William Lucas’ Project for the Australian WWI War Memorial at Villers-Bretonneux, France.” Melbourne Art Journal 11, 12 (2008–2009): 65-85. Winegard, Timothy. For King and Kanata. Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press, 2012. Winter, Caroline. “Tourism, Social Memory and the Great War.” Annals of Tourism Research 36, 4 (October 2009): 607-626. Winter, Jay. Remembering War: The Great War Between Memory and History in the Twentieth Century. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2006. Winter, Jay. Sites of Memory, Sites of Mourning: The Great War in European Cultural History. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995. Yilmaz, Ahenk. “Memorialization on War-Broken Ground: Gallipoli War Cemeteries and Memorials Designed by Sir John James Burnet.” Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians 73, 3 (2014): 328-346. Ziino, Bart. A Distant Grief: Australians, War Graves, and the Great War. Crawley, AUS: University of Western Australia Press, 2007.

Chapter 8

The Construction of a Memorial Space: The Gallipoli Campaign and Spatial Remembrance Frank Jacob Introduction Gallipoli was probably Great Britain’s most terrible military experience since the glorious victory of Trafalgar.1 In an attempt to break up the stalemate of trench warfare on the Western Front, the military leadership in London decided to land troops on the Gallipoli peninsula in April 1915, since a naval breakthrough at the Dardanelles had failed a month before. The expectations were high, but, even after reinforcements had been sent for a second attempt to drive the Ottoman forces back from the shores in August, the campaign failed to gain any noteworthy ground and therefore the troops had to be evacuated in January of the following year. Frankly speaking, the campaign was a disaster and ever since historians have tried to explain why it was doomed to fail.2 For the focus of the present chapter it is unnecessary to recount the whole campaign, since it is the construction of a memorial space on the Gallipoli peninsula that is of interest here. It is therefore rather important to deal with the “materiality of the battlefield,” because during the campaign, as archaeologist Antonio Sagona and classicist Christopher J. Mackie remark, “a rugged piece of land, remote and overlooking the Aegean Sea, was quickly and dramatically turned into a scene of intense conflict on 25 April 1915.”3 Especially in the case of the ANZAC (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) soldiers, the Gallipoli experience was determined by the geographical setting of the peninsula, and since the Australian troops were landed at the wrong spot, they

1  For a detailled discussion see the forthcoming analysis by the author: Frank Jacob, Gallipoli 1915/16: Britanniens bitterste Niederlage (Paderborn: Schöningh, 2019) (forthcoming). 2  Tim Travers, “Command and Leadership Styles in the British Army: The 1915 Gallipoli Model,” Journal of Contemporary History 29:3 (1994), 403-442 argued for a lack of British leadership. 3  Antonio Sagona and C. J. Mackie, “Introduction,” in ANZAC Battlefield: A Gallipoli Landscape of War and Memory, eds. Antonio Sagona, Mithat Atabay, C. J. Mackie, Ian McGibbon, and Richard Reid (Melbourne: Cambridge University Press, 2016), 1-2.

© Verlag Ferdinand Schöningh, 2019 | doi:10.30965/9783657788224_009


Frank Jacob

particularly suffered from the disadvantages created by the specific landscape.4 Science journalist Samir S. Patel is right when he highlights that “[t]here are a few things you can’t understand about the World War I battlefield at Gallipoli until you stand on it.”5 It was this specific space that not only “during the prolonged stalemate, grew familiar, even intimate,”6 but would also become essential for the construction of an Australian spatial remembrance located on foreign soil. It was the Australian “nationalist mythology [that] has allowed little room in [Gallipoli’s] treatment for any emphasis other than the patriotic,”7 and the phenomenon of its memory can be traced back to the shores of the Gallipoli peninsula in 1915. The geography of the place, i.e. its spatiality, therefore has been, as Elizabeth Rechniewski calls it, decisive within the creation of the “epicenter of Australian memory.”8 In contrast to other foreign troops that were involved in the campaign, like the German officers who in their memories and reports would rather refer to the weakness of their Ottoman allies and the bad condition of their army,9 the Australian memory, probably because the enemy, due to its rather advantageous position on the Gallipoli peninsula, was experienced differently, focused on the experience of the specific landscapes. The present chapter will analyze this focus in two steps. First, it will show how the ANZAC soldiers remembered their experience and what role the geography of the place played for this process of remembrance. In the second step, it will be shown that the spatial component is still important for the collective memory of Australia, especially during ANZAC Day on April 25, when the landing of the troops is remembered by Australians around the globe.

The Spatial Memory of a Military Disaster

The British author, poet and veteran John Masefield (1878–1967) described the Gallipoli peninsula to a wider public immediately after the campaign and 4  A geographical description of the Gallipoli Peninsula is provided by John Masefield, Gallipoli (New York: The Macmillan Company, 1916), 4-8. 5  Samir S. Patel, “Anzac’s Next Chapter,” Archaeology 66:3 (2013), 53. 6  Ibid. 7  A. Candan Kirişci, “The Face of the ‘Enemy’: The Image of the Adversary in Turkish Literary Works about Gallipoli,” Journal of New Zealand Literature:  JNZL 33 (2015), Part 2: New Zealand and the First World War, 160-181. 8  Elizabeth Rechniewski, “Quand l’Australie invente et réinvente une tradition: L’exemple du débarquement de Gallipoli (Avril 1915),” Vingtième Siècle: Revue d’histoire 101 (2009), 123. 9  See fro example: Oberst Bronsart von Schellendorf to Herrn von Marschall, Constantinopel, April 25, 1914, German National Archives, Military Archives (Bundesarchiv, Militärarchiv), Freiburg im Breisgau, BArch MArch N247/40 RH61/1088.

8. The Construction of a Memorial Space


highlighted the terrain, especially the “sea shore … with abrupt sandy cliffs rising from the sea to a height of from one hundred to three hundred feet.”10 He also, highlighting British heroism, emphasized that “[t]hese hills and the ground commanded by them were the scenes of some of the noblest heroism which ever went far to atone for the infamy of war.”11 This sparse landscape was transformed by the war. The German officers who were stationed in the Ottoman Empire, together with their local colleagues, began to prepare the peninsula for an invasion, long before the British, French, and ANZAC forces left for their campaign. It was therefore hardly a surprise that the geography of the place was further harshened by military adjustments. Masefield therefore demands his readers to imagine the hills entrenched, the landing mined, the beaches tangled with barbed wire, ranged by howitzers and swept by machine guns, and [the soldiers] three thousand miles from home, going out before dawn, with rifles, packs, and water bottles, to pass the mines under shell fire, cut through the wire under machine gun fire, clamber up the hills under the fire of all arms, by the glare of shell-bursts in the withering and crashing tumult of modern war, and then to dig themselves in a waterless and burning hill while a more numerous enemy charge them with the bayonet.12 It was the bitter feeling invoked by the landscape that forced the soldiers to get closer together, and a unity was formed by the geography that was hard to break again. The shared experience of sparseness for those who landed on the shores of the peninsula can therefore not be taken seriously enough. Richard Hayes McCartney later describes this bitter experience of the ANZAC forces in a poem: Australian and New Zealand Parks Bronze monuments will tell, In flaming words, to future age: “At Gallipoli they fell!” Tho, lo, before bare-headed crowd From shaft and pillar cried 10  Masefield, Gallipoli, 6. 11  Ibid., 9. 12  Ibid., 9-10.


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Fig. 8.1 The Rough Terrain at Gallipoli, Australian War Memorial, H04043

The Spirits: – “Brothers, we are here!” Alas, no man replied. Ah, surely grim despondency And bitterness was there.13 The ANZAC forces must have felt abandoned, especially since they were falsely landed at a spot where their chances for a move forward was limited by the geography. They were literally trapped, with Ottoman soldiers sitting and waiting on the higher ground for any movement from the forces at the shores. There was not only the danger of Ottoman bullets in the air, but also “a tangle of gullies and ridges that is eroding away, bleeding its yellow sludge into the Aegean every time the rains come.”14 The shared experience became the foundation for a shared identity as ANZAC soldier, which would be important for the overall collective Australian identity. It was the experience of the First World War that offered a radical departure for the Australians made comprehensible then and now by reference to that landscape; this was particularly so with combat on the Western Front and at Gallipoli on the Dardanelles, 13  Richard Hayes McCartney, Gallipoli (New York: Charles C. Cook, n.y. [1916]), 104. 14  Les A. Carlyon, Gallipoli (London et al.: Bantam Books, 2003), 15.

8. The Construction of a Memorial Space


understood as a narrative of violence, war and catastrophe, both tragic and egalitarian.15 The ANZAC soldiers became known as “Diggers,” as their war experience was particularly marked by this act, which then again was related to the landscape they were fighting in.16 The identity of the ANZAC soldiers therefore was inseparably related to the spatial dimension of their existence as participants in the battle for the Dardanelles and, to a lesser extent, in those on the Western Front.

Fig. 8.2 Trench Digging at Gallipoli, Australian War Memorial, H03930

More than 150 soldiers after the war contributed to the so-called ANZAC Book, which serves as a token of memory for those who survived the Gallipoli campaign and remembered the harsh situation as it was related to the landscape of the peninsula. It was the war correspondent and historian Charles E. W. Bean (1879–1968) who was involved in the creation of the book, which was published in 191617 and contains writings and illustrations of ANZAC soldiers who had been in Gallipoli. The book was supposed to be sold for the benefit of patriotic funds that were connected to the ANZAC case. William Birdwood (1865–1951), who commanded the ANZAC forces at Gallipoli, highlighted the value of the contents of the ANZAC Book, and emphasized “the circumstances under which the contributions have been prepared, in small dug-outs, with

15  Peter H. Hoffenberg, “Landscape, Memory and the Australian War Experience, 1915–18,” Journal of Contemporary History 36:1 (2001), 111. 16  Ibid., 112. 17  D.A.  Kent, “The ANZAC Book and the ANZAC Legend: C.E.W. Bean as Editor and Image-Maker,” Historical Studies 21 (1985), 376-390.


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shells and bullets frequently whistling overhead.”18 He also made clear that the name ANZAC would always be related to the shore the troops were landed at: I was asked by General Headquarters to suggest a name for the beach where we had made good our first precarious footing, and then asked that this might be recorded as “Anzac Cove” – a name which the bravery of our men has now made historical, while it will remain a geographical landmark for all time.19 The ANZAC Book would help to share the soldiers’ experiences and forever connect the landscape of the Gallipoli peninsula with the Australian collective memory, of why a landscape so far away from home became so essential for the memory discourse of the First World War. The book provided an insight into the experiences of those “who have so willingly fought and given their lives for their King and country’s sake,” and, as Birdwood remarked, “if any copy of this little book should happen to survive to fall into the hands of our children, or our children’s children, it will serve to show them to some extent what their fathers have done for the Empire, and indeed for civilisation, in days gone by.”20 One of these ANZAC soldiers describes the landing, which was accompanied by the danger of being hit by bullets. The landscape was consequently hostile from the start and when the surrounding hills open on us, and machine-guns, hidden in gullies or redoubts, increase the murderous hail. Oars are splintered, boats are perforated. A sharp moan, a low gurgling cry, tells of a comrade hit. Boats ground in four or five feet of water owing to the human weight contained in them. We scramble out, struggle to the shore, and, rushing across the beach, take cover under a low sandbank.21 To take cover was essential in the stalemate that followed in the months afterwards until the forces were withdrawn again. Of course, there were attempts made to achieve the goal of the military planners, i.e. the taking of the Gallipoli peninsula, yet they were never more than failed attempts from their start. 18  W. R. Birdwood, “Introduction,” in The Anzac Book, written and Illustrated in Gallipoli by the The Men of Anzac (London et al.: Cassel and Company, 1916), ix. 19  Ibid. 20  Ibid., x. 21  A Man of the Tenth (i.e. A. R. Perry), “The Landing,” in The Anzac Book, written and Illustrated in Gallipoli by the The Men of Anzac (London et al.: Cassel and Company, 1916), 2.

8. The Construction of a Memorial Space


Many soldiers were wounded and then could only wait for a change of their situation.22 The war had become routine, and the waiting became an essential part of that routine, leading to boredom due to which many soldiers could only sit in a hideout and smoke.23

Fig. 8.3 Typical Accommodation on Gallipoli, Australian War Memorial, H03942

The small dug-outs became the homes of the soldiers in a hostile landscape, on a peninsula reigned by the enemy and in a foreign country almost none of the soldiers had heard about before the war began. The soldiers were, in this context, not only plagued by the enemy and the weather, with its high temperatures in the summer and cold storms in the winter, but also by fleas and ants, as a poem by ANZAC soldier George L. Smith highlights: The fleas they wander nightly, as soon as I’ve undressed, And after many weary hunts I’ve had to give them best. As the ants have also found it, there is very little rest In my cosy little dug-out on the hill.24 The descriptions of the landscape of Gallipoli as they were provided by Bean, Masefield, and the many ANZAC soldiers resembled, as American historian Peter H. Hoffenberg correctly remarks, the “ways in which their own continent had once been represented by explorers, map-makers and photographers.”25 22  Ted Colles, “Beachy,” in The Anzac Book, written and Illustrated in Gallipoli by the The Men of Anzac (London et al.: Cassel and Company, 1916), 35-40. 23  H. G. Garland, “My Lady Nicotine,” in The Anzac Book, written and Illustrated in Gallipoli by the The Men of Anzac (London et al.: Cassel and Company, 1916), 142-143. 24  George L. Smith, “My Anzac Home,” in The Anzac Book, written and Illustrated in Gallipoli by the The Men of Anzac (London et al.: Cassel and Company, 1916), 107. 25  Hoffenberg, “Landscpape,” 113.


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The landscape of the peninsula in a way turned out to be seen as a mirror of the landscape at home. Soldiers began to identify with it and to claim it as their own. It is that experience, that fantasy, which is responsible for the importance of Gallipoli to the Australian tradition of remembering the First World War, and the related “rituals and monuments anchor the Australian ceremonial landscape, their reference to overseas death reaffirming the sacrifices made in later foreign wars.”26 The ANZAC myth was therefore artificially created in the aftermath of the war, and therefore criticized by some authors as well.27 It was politicians from all parties that “struggled to claim the memory of the Anzac and to create a hero out of the common Australian soldier”28 and to establish a legend that linked the past of the country, and the exploration of the Bush, with the war experience of so many soldiers so far away from home. Gallipoli was consequently transformed from being one of the most terrible defeats of the British Empire to a site for Australia’s national monuments abroad. The “language [of the post-war discussion] naturalized the battlefields with an Australian sense of place across time and borders, or outside the traditional and confining limits of history itself,”29 centering the collective memory of the Australian nation on the events at Anzac Cove between April 1915 and January 1916. The collective memory of the nation could easily relate to the experience of the Australian soldiers on Ottoman soil, as the landscape and its sparseness resembled parts of the homeland so well. The modern combat experience was therefore simply added to a tradition that existed before the First World War and mythically integrated Gallipoli as a place for national memory in the future. The Australians were sent to conquer a space that was as hostile as their own continent, which is why the identification of the ANZAC forces with the place as such was rather an easy task. They simply walked in the footsteps of their ancestors, regardless of the fact that they did so far away from home. Hoffenberg correctly remarks that “[t]he desolation, fear and isolation of No Man’s Land and the trenches were reminiscent of the Outback fantasy, a return not only in space, but also in time, or social development”30 and that 26  Ibid., 114. 27  Jane Ross, The Myth of the Digger: The Australian Soldier in Two World Wars (Sydney: Hale & Iremonger, 1985); Alistair Thomson, “Passing Shots at the Anzac Legend,” in A Most Valuable Acquisition: A People’s History of Australia Since 1788, vol. 1, eds. Verity Burgmann and Jenny Lee (New York: Penguin, 1988), 190-204 and Alistair Thomson, ANZAC Memories: Living with the Legend (New York: Oxford University Press, 1994). 28  Hoffenberg, “Landscpape,” 116. 29  Ibid. 30  Ibid., 118.

8. The Construction of a Memorial Space


“[t]he beach-head at Gallipoli became, in this interplay of history and myth, a new penal colony, a mirror through time of the first settlement at Botany Bay and the larger Australian Outback itself.”31 The literary works about Gallipoli were essential in creating a specific Australian identity that seemed to be so different from those of other soldiers from different countries, who nonetheless shared the same experiences as the young men from down under. Regardless of this reality, the poems and novels seemed to argue that it was a different reality for the men whose ancestors had claimed the Australian Bush for themselves, who had explored and conquered the Australian continent before: “For physical beauty and nobility of bearing they surpassed any men I have ever seen; they walked and looked like the kings in old poems.”32 As a continuation of the past, the image of the ANZAC soldier at Gallipoli would be the base for the future of the way that the collective memory would imagine its soldiers abroad. It was probably especially important to create such a myth, because many Australians could only mourn over memorials with the names of their children instead of being able to bury them. The landscape at Gallipoli had demanded a heavy human toll, and many bodies were lost on hostile ground. The journey of the soldiers therefore remained unfinished, something that would be important for the remembrance of the ANZAC experience on the peninsula until today. This journey was never completed, as the soldiers’ bodies remained in the Ottoman Empire and later Turkey, which is why so many young Australians visit the place to share the experience of their ancestors who died for the Australian nation on foreign shores, before they in a way complete it by returning to their home country afterwards. Gallipoli was the birthplace of the Australian nation, which is why, due to nationalist interpretations of the own past, it will always hold a special place within the collective memory of the nation state. The “foundation moment”33 of the Australian state was consequently retroactively linked to the landing of the ANZAC forces on the Gallipoli peninsula, which is why ANZAC Day on 25 April is the central date for national memorial services. The First World War was therefore chosen to represent the “mythic origins”34 of independent Australia. By the bones of the deceased soldiers that became part of the landscape of the Gallipoli peninsula it was made part of Australia,35 and of its collective memory. The First World War therefore not 31  Ibid., 119. 32  Masefield, Gallipoli, 25-26. 33  Hoffenberg, “Landscpape,” 127. 34  Ibid. 35  Ken S. Inglis, “ANZAC and the Australian Military Tradition,” Current Affairs Bulletin 64:11 (1988), 4-15.


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only created the military tradition of the country, but also laid the foundations for the national mourning related to and commemoration of a place so far from home. This foreign place eventually served and still serves as “analogies to and continuities with the landscape of the past.”36 Bean, when later describing the Australian post-war mission to Gallipoli, highlights that one object of the expedition was to help complete this memorial [Australian War Memorial, F.J.] by collecting, while they could still be obtained there, relics of the occupation of Gallipoli. It had always been in the mind of many Australian soldiers that records and relics of their fighting would be preserved in some institutions in Australia, and to several of us it had seemed that a museum housing these would form the most natural, interesting, and inspiring memorial to those who fell.37 While the graves of the known soldiers on the Gallipoli peninsula had received a headstone by 1924, many, “owing to the difficulty of identifying the remains as those of any one body … were marked by no headstone but covered only by the green lawn of the plot, the lines of these graves being sometimes marked by rosemary.” Bean also highlights that many soldiers’ remains were simply lost: “The names of those whose individual graves were not known, and of those who were not found or who were buried at sea from the hospital ships or transports, were carved on stone memorials.”38 What Bean and his colleagues would eventually bring back to Australia were supposed to be used as exhibits for the later Australian War Memorial (AWM) in Canberra. This memorial was, according to the Australian war historian, supposed to “impress the visitor with the feeling: ‘Here is their spirit, in the heart of the land they loved; and here we guard the record which they themselves made.’”39 The AWM, by providing “society’s official voice its transcendant tone,”40 would be important to conserve the collective identity of Australia, to further stimulate nationalism, and to preserve the Gallipoli myth over the decades to come.41

36  Hoffenberg, “Landscpape,” 131. 37  C. E. W. Bean, Gallipoli Mission (Canberra: Australian War Memorial, 1948), 5. 38  Ibid., 341. 39  Ibid., 346. 40  Mick Taussig, “An Australian Hero,” History Workshop 24 (1987), 113. 41  Ibid., 111. Also see: Fabrice Virgili, “L’Australian War Memorial à Canberra,” Vingtième Siècle. Revue d’histoire 101 (2009), 197-200.

8. The Construction of a Memorial Space


Gallipoli Commemoration Today

As of today there are many myths and legends related to the history of the ANZAC forces who participated in the Gallipoli campaign.42 On ANZAC Day, thousands of Australian ‘pilgrims’ hit the shores of the Turkish peninsula and thereby create some kind of “annual invasion” that in a way peacefully reenacts the Australian landing of 1915.43 For those who reached the peninsula after so many years, it symbolizes some kind of journey that is solely completed by their own existence at this specific place on this specific date. They took the same steps as their ancestors and eventually reached those parts of the landscape the former could not during the war. Regardless of the fact that other battlefields caused more Australian casualties in the First World War, e.g. Fromelles and Pozières,44 it was Gallipoli that became the dominant campaign in the Australian memory, and it there resembles “where the test of manhood and of a nation’s right to exist was thought to be,”45 although the place was not even in Australia. By visiting the landscape of the Gallipoli Peninsula, the visitors are becoming part of a sacred community, an imagined community46 that has been created by legends and myths about the place and their ancestors who died there, trying to take the high ground from the enemy. Australian writer Les A. Carlyon emphasizes that “[e]veryone who comes here tries to paint pictures on the empty landscape, to bring it back the way it was,” and that the “[y] oung Australians come here for one, maybe two, days in the European spring and wander these hills trying to discover their past, to unearth truths about an Australian nation, white and rustic and British, that no longer exists and is not coming back.” For all those visitors, Carlyon continues, “Gallipoli … is a country of the mind” and “[e]veryone who comes here sees the story the way they want to see it.”47 The Gallipoli campaign is an honorable story of war, unrelated to the Armenian Genocide, involving German, Ottoman, British, French, as well as ANZAC soldiers, who could commemorate the events and even make fun about the stories with their former enemies.

42  Peter Hart, Gallipoli (Oxford/New York: Oxford University Press, 2011), 452-462. 43  Carlyon, Gallipoli, 18. 44  Peter Fitzsimons, Fromelles and Pozières: In the Trenches of Hell (Sidney: Random House Australia, 2015). 45  Carlyon, Gallipoli, 19. 46  Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism, Revised Edition (London: Verso, 2016). 47  Carlyon, Gallipoli, 20-21.


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Fig. 8.4 Anzac Cove Memorial, Photo by Jorge Láscar

It took, however, more than 50 years before the landscape, usually referred to as the ANZAC Area, became part of the Turkish National Park Service, when the Gallipoli Peninsula National Historic Park was opened in 1973 and put on the UN List of National Parks and Protected Areas. The area of almost 6,000 hectares was expanded in 1996, and has been called the Gallipoli Peninsula Peace Park since then, to cover more 33,000 hectares, since many historic sites related to the campaign of 1915/16 had lain out of the initial area.48 It was the founder of modern Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk (1881–1938), who had served as an officer in the Ottoman Army during the defense of Gallipoli, who initiated the establishment of memorials on the peninsula for all the soldiers that had lost their lives there. Since then, thousands of people have visited the Gallipoli Peninsula Historical National Park and the Çanakkale (the Turkish name for Gallipoli) region for several reasons every year: (1) For the 1915 Çanakkale land and sea wars, and for the historical and cultural resources (2) For the natural resources of the national park (3) For the ceremonies of March 18, April 25, and August 10.49 In 2004 more than 200,000 people visited the area, more than twice as many people as a decade before. It is estimated that more than 1 million people visited the park between its opening in 1996 and 2004. Especially during ANZAC Day, many Australians can be seen wandering across the peninsula and participating in the official ceremonies. 48  David Cameron and Denise Donlon, “A Preliminary Archaeological Survey of the ANZAC Gallipoli Battlefields of 1915,“ Australasian Historical Archaeology 23 (2005), 133; Abdullah Kelkit, Sezgin Celik and Hayriye Eşbah, “Ecotourism Potential of Gallipoli Peninsula Historical National Park,” Journal of Coastal Research 26:3 (2010), 563. 49  Ibid., 566 27.

8. The Construction of a Memorial Space


As well as artifacts, trenches, forts and war graves of the different nationalities involved in the Gallipoli campaign, the park also hosts close to 50 Turkish war memorials, e.g. the Sergeant Yahya Memorial, the 57th Infantry Regiment Memorial, and the Havuzlar Memorial, and more than 30 Commonwealth or French memorials and war cemeteries, e.g. the Helles Memorial, the Lone Pine Memorial and Cemetery, and the Anzac Cove Memorial.50 The area has been designated as a national park to provide a space for mourning for friends, who had just fought on different sides during the First World War. The memorial therefore covers all battlefields and all sites of relevance, not only those related to the Ottoman Army. It therefore provided a memorial that would serve all in the spirit of international friendship, an important achievement at that time, since it also stimulated battlefield tourism from abroad, especially from Australia, where a generation of soldiers’ descendants was waiting to wander the tracks their ancestors had left on the Gallipoli peninsula. It is consequently not surprising that the number of Australians visiting the park on ANZAC Day has steadily increased51:52 Year

Approximate Number of Visitors for the ANZAC Day memorial service

1995 1999 2002 2005

4,500 8,500 15,000 20,00052

It is especially young backpackers from Australia who seem to be interested in visiting this specific site of Australian mourning abroad. As Australian sociologist Brad West remarks, “we do not typically associate young people in their 20s and 30s with patriotic rituals, yet it was Australian backpacker travelers in this cohort who first started visiting the Gallipoli battlefields en masse as tourists and who continue to constitute the vast majority of visitors.”53

50  Ibid. For a detailed description of the park see: Gallipoli Peninsula Peace Park International Ideas and Design Competition, compiled by the Gallipoli Peninsula Peace Park Office – Middle East Technical University, (Ankara, Turkey: Bademli 1997). 51  Cameron and Donlon, “A Preliminary Archaeological Survey,” 133. 52  Other sources name 30,000. Brad West, “Enchanting Pasts: The Role of International Civil Religious Pilgrimage in Reimagining,” Sociological Theory 26:3 (2008), 261. 53  Ibid., 261.


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An important role for the creation of a collective memory is played by the experiencing of a sacred place or landscape, which is needed as some kind of pilgrimage. By visiting a place that is considered holy or sacred within a collective national memory, the visitor fulfils some kind of sacred task as well. West defined these pilgrims, with reference to Maurice Halbwachs’ (1877–1945) work The Legendary Topography of the Gospels in the Holy Land (1941)54, to be part of an [i]nternational civil religious pilgrimage, for example, involves visiting historical sites abroad that are sacred to the traveler’s nation. It is a distinct ritual containing some universal characteristics of pilgrimage but is also shaped by contemporary social forces such as national identity, tourism, and cultural collision under the condition of globalization.55 Another reason why the sites related to the Gallipoli Campaign can still be visited is related to the landscape as well. The climate of the peninsula helped to preserve many of the military artifacts and former structure of the dug-outs, which is why tourists can experience an ‘authentic walk through the past.’ Archaeological excavations in 2003 found many sites related to the trench system that had been dug by British and Australian soldiers on the Gallipoli peninsula, and the trench lines can be clearly and easily identified;56 this is, of course, important for the tourists who come particularly for these kinds of places. In contrast to the archaeological sites, smaller artifacts had disappeared from the sites, since many visitors decided to keep a piece as a personal memory for when they left the “offshore heritage place” again.57 In some way, the tourists fulfil some kind of legacy of their ancestors, who, when the decision was made to leave the peninsula and to evacuate the troops, began to feel pain or guilt, since they left the campaign not only unfinished, but also without the remains of so many comrades who had died during the campaign. The tourists consequently gain the ground the soldiers could not and thereby end the attempt to take the heights from the Ottoman defenders. The 1990s marked some kind of “patriotic turn” as more and more people went to visit the foreign memorial space in Turkey to commemorate the Australian 54  Maurice Halbwachs, La topographie légendaire des évangiles en terre sainte: étude de mémoire collective (Paris: Presses universitaires de France, 1971 [1941]). 55  West, “Enchanting Pasts,” 259. 56  Nathan Wise, “Dig, dig, dig, until you are safe”: Constructing the Australian Trenches on Gallipoli,” First World War Studies 3:1 (2012), 51-64. 57  Cameron and Donlon, “A Preliminary Archaeological Survey,” 131.

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Fig. 8.5 Lone Pine Memorial, Photo by Adam Jones

effort at Gallipoli.58 The 75th anniversary of the ANZAC landings on the Gallipoli peninsula in 1990 marked this turn, when thousands of Australian backpackers attended the commemorative ceremonies. Furthermore, the government in Canberra had selected 58 veterans, of whom 46 had served during the campaign in 1915/16, to attend these ceremonies as well.59 The increasing number of battlefield tourists also demanded better infrastructure on the peninsula, where the local population also felt the positive economic impact of the foreign visitors. When construction works took place close to Anzac Cove in 2005, a request from the Australian government reached Ankara, asking for an extension of the road to reach the important memorial site.60 The request emphasized the importance of the park for the Australian government and tourism from that part of the world. However, it also highlighted the conflict between the preservation of the important commemorative sites and the impact of tourism.61 The latter does not only change the geography of the park but also the overall narrative of remembrance, because, as West highlights, the Gallipoli pilgrimage has resulted in a renewed engagement with this historical event and the nation. In part, this has occurred as a consequence of cumulative emotional threshold experiences. However, more significant are the alternative historical narratives that have developed within the pilgrimage. … the backpacking pilgrimage has established a

58  West, “Enchanting Pasts,” 261. 59  Ibid., 261-262. 60  Cameron and Donlon, “A Preliminary Archaeological Survey,” 135. 61  Ibid., 137.


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dialogical narrative where Australia’s collective memory of Gallipoli is integrated with that developed and expressed in Turkey.62 By visiting the sites their ancestors had fought and died for, the Australian backpackers connect themselves with the Gallipoli legend, and due to this experience they can feel even more Australian than before.63 When they return home, the visitors of the Gallipoli sites share their experience with family and friends and thereby stimulate a further growth of the number of visitors, who also put the peninsula on their list of travel targets. In Turkey, they could experience something they might have missed during memorial services in Australia, or, as West put it, “[t]he direct witnessing of the sacred has brought a ‘reality’ to Gallipoli for backpackers, in contrast to either their active or passive participation in larger, distant, and more ’imaginary’ Anzac rituals in Australia.”64 Due to the fact that “pilgrimage locates collective memory in a spatial terrain distant from the homeland, there is an inevitable disjunction between perceptions and the act of being physically present on sacred ground,”65 something strongly felt by the visitors of the memorial space on the Turkish peninsula. While the Australian tourists help to further forge the national collective identity and memory, the local guides in Turkey serve as “important cultural entrepreneurs of collective memory,”66 because they provide the visitors with the other, Ottoman side of the story about the Gallipoli Campaign. The Turkish perception of the ANZAC soldiers is also a positive one, considering that, regardless of the situation during the First World War, the Australian and New Zealand forces recognized the bravery of their Ottoman enemies and accepted them as equal soldiers, who were just performing their duties. Consequently, the meetings between Turkish guides and Australian tourists are some kind of re-enactment of their ancestors’ encounters, yet even friendlier since they happen in a period of peace. The visitors are therefore even more integrated in the local environment and therefore sense a feeling of belonging that is no longer solely based on the spatiality of Gallipoli, but also the direct contact with the local population. Very often, both sides agree on British incompetence as the main reason for the many victims on both sides. Without the British Empire, the Australians would not have been at Gallipoli, and without Britain’s military 62  West, “Enchanting Pasts,” 262. 63  Ibid. 64  Ibid., 263. 65  Ibid., 264. 66  Ibid.

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arrogance, they would not have attempted to take the peninsula at all. For the Ottoman Empire, the victory was important, yet for the Turkish nationalism of the early 20th century it was essential, since it also created the nation state’s leader, Atatürk.67 The events therefore play important roles for both Australian and Turkish nationalism alike, and both come together when guides and backpackers discuss the impact of the events on their nation states’ development and further history. They do that on the ground that their ancestors defended or tried to take by force, but they nowadays meet as friends, sharing the same starting point for their national rise. Conclusion Gallipoli was a failed military campaign, maybe the worst military disaster for the British Empire. However, for Australia it became the most important memorial landscape to mourn and remember the birth of the Australian nation abroad, far away from home. Due to the myths and legends attached to the ANZAC forces and their fighting, suffering, and dying in the harsh terrain of the Gallipoli peninsula, the latter was transformed into a sacred space. Generations of Australians imagined their fathers’ and grandfathers’ heroic attempts to take the hills that were held by the Ottoman enemy. Gallipoli eventually became as Australian as the home country and, to appropriately fulfill the historic attempt, members of the next generation would visit the place to follow in the footsteps of the former generation of young Australians. Today, thousands of them visit the peninsula on ANZAC Day to commemorate their ancestors and their Ottoman enemies alike. The sacred space allows the descendants of Gallipoli veterans and those who died there to mourn together as friends and to share the memories related to those who passed away far away from home, or those who returned and would share their stories about the landscape that would trigger so much imagination. Gallipoli is an interesting phenomenon as a spatiality that was created by war, and became so essential that the landscape as such went through a second transformation, namely one that created a memorial space embedded into the national history of a foreign country. Without doubt, Gallipoli will remain important for the Australian self-identification related to the First World War, yet there is a possibility that future generations might re-define its meaning again, since memorial spaces are always determined by those who use them to remember, to mourn, or to re-imagine the past. 67  Patel, “Anzac’s Next Chapter, ” 60.


Frank Jacob

Works Cited A Man of the Tenth (i.e. A. R. Perry), “The Landing.” In The Anzac Book, written and Illustrated in Gallipoli by the The Men of Anzac, 1-6. London et al.: Cassel and Company, 1916. Anderson, Benedict. Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism, Revised Edition. London: Verso, 2016. Bean, C. E. W. Gallipoli Mission. Canberra: Australian War Memorial, 1948. Birdwood, W. R. “Introduction.” In The Anzac Book. Written and Illustrated in Gallipoli by the The Men of Anzac, ix-x. London et al.: Cassel and Company, 1916. Cameron, David and Denise Donlon. “A Preliminary Archaeological Survey of the ANZAC Gallipoli Battlefields of 1915.” Australasian Historical Archaeology 23 (2005), 131-138. Carlyon, Les A. Gallipoli. London et al.: Bantam Books, 2003. Colles, Ted. “Beachy.” In The Anzac Book. Written and Illustrated in Gallipoli by the The Men of Anzac, 35-40. London et al.: Cassel and Company, 1916. Fitzsimons, Peter. Fromelles and Pozières: In the Trenches of Hell. Sidney: Random House Australia, 2015. Gallipoli Peninsula Peace Park International Ideas and Design Competition, compiled by the Gallipoli Peninsula Peace Park Office – Middle East Technical University. Ankara, Turkey: Bademli 1997. Garland, H. G. “My Lady Nicotine.” In The Anzac Book. Written and Illustrated in Gallipoli by the The Men of Anzac, 142-143. London et al.: Cassel and Company, 1916. Halbwachs, Maurice. La topographie légendaire des évangiles en terre sainte: étude de mémoire collective (Paris: Presses universitaires de France, 1971 [1941]). Hart, Peter. Gallipoli. Oxford/New York: Oxford University Press, 2011. Hoffenberg, Peter H. “Landscape, Memory and the Australian War Experience, 1915– 18.” Journal of Contemporary History 36:1 (2001), 111-131. Inglis, Ken S. “ANZAC and the Australian Military Tradition.” Current Affairs Bulletin 64:11 (1988), 4-15. Jacob, Frank. Gallipoli 1915/16: Britanniens bitterste Niederlage (Paderborn: Schöningh, 2019). Kelkit, Abdullah, Sezgin Celik and Hayriye Eşbah. “Ecotourism Potential of Gallipoli Peninsula Historical National Park.” Journal of Coastal Research 26:3 (2010), 562-568. Kent, D.A. “The ANZAC Book and the ANZAC Legend: C.E.W. Bean as Editor and Image-Maker.” Historical Studies 21 (1985), 376-390. Kirişci, A. Candan. “The Face of the ‘Enemy’: The Image of the Adversary in Turkish Literary Works about Gallipoli.” Journal of New Zealand Literature: JNZL 33 (2015), Part 2: New Zealand and the First World War, 160-181. Masefield, John. Gallipoli. New York: The Macmillan Company, 1916.

8. The Construction of a Memorial Space


McCartney, Richard Hayes. Gallipoli. New York: Charles C. Cook, n.y. [1916]. Patel, Samir S. “Anzac’s Next Chapter.” Archaeology 66:3 (2013), 53-54, 56, 58, 60. Rechniewski, Elizabeth. “Quand l’Australie invente et réinvente une tradition: L’exemple du débarquement de Gallipoli (Avril 1915).” Vingtième Siècle: Revue d’histoire 101 (2009), 123-132. Ross, Jane. The Myth of the Digger: The Australian Soldier in Two World Wars. Sydney: Hale & Iremonger, 1985. Sagona, Antonio and C. J. Mackie. “Introduction.” In ANZAC Battlefield: A Gallipoli Landscape of War and Memory, eds. Antonio Sagona, Mithat Atabay, C. J. Mackie, Ian McGibbon, and Richard Reid, 1-3. Melbourne: Cambridge University Press, 2016. Smith, George L. “My Anzac Home.” In The Anzac Book. Written and Illustrated in Gallipoli by the The Men of Anzac, 107. London et al.: Cassel and Company, 1916. Taussig, Mick. “An Australian Hero.” History Workshop 24 (1987), 111-133. Thomson, Alistair. ANZAC Memories: Living with the Legend. New York: Oxford University Press, 1994. Thomson, Alistair. “Passing Shots at the Anzac Legend.” In A Most Valuable Acquisition: A People’s History of Australia Since 1788, vol. 1, eds. Verity Burgmann and Jenny Lee, 190-204. New York: Penguin, 1988. Travers, Tim. “Command and Leadership Styles in the British Army: The 1915 Gallipoli Model.” Journal of Contemporary History 29:3 (1994), 403-442. Virgili, Fabrice. “L’Australian War Memorial à Canberra.” Vingtième Siècle. Revue d’histoire 101 (2009), 197-200. West, Brad. “Enchanting Pasts: The Role of International Civil Religious Pilgrimage in Reimagining.” Sociological Theory 26:3 (2008), 258-270. Wise, Nathan. “Dig, dig, dig, until you are safe”: Constructing the Australian Trenches on Gallipoli.” First World War Studies 3:1 (2012), 51-64.

Chapter 9

A Living Memorial – The Toc H Movement and Talbot House Linda Parker The Reverend Philip “Tubby” Clayton (1895–1972) became famous for setting up what has been described as “A Haven in Hell”1 at Talbot House in Poperinghe, Belgium in 1915. This was a rest centre to which all were welcome and in which rank was irrelevant. At the end of the war he decided to set up the Toc H Movement to perpetuate the work and ethos of Talbot House. The name of the movement derived from the troops habit of referring to the House as TH, which in signaller’s code became Toc H. The Revd George Fielden Macleod (1895–1991),2 coined the phrase “A living memorial” when writing in 1927 in an article “What is Toc H?”. He explained : “We seek humbly to create a living war memorial, something alive and eager and outgoing.”3 The term “living memorial” was one that Clayton used often in referring to the movement. This chapter will examine the ways that the continued existence of Talbot House and the activities of the Toc H Movement in the 20th and 21st centuries constitute the “living memorial” that Tubby and his fellow founder members envisaged. The work of Clayton at Talbot House and as the founder of the Toc H movement should be seen in the context of the attitudes of many former chaplains who served in the First World War. A book which appeared in 1917 The Church in the Furnace 4, edited by Fredrick Macnutt, (1873–1949) a senior Anglican chaplain, contained essays in which serving chaplains put forward a wide ranging series of ideas on how they could use their experiences “in the furnace” to inform the renewal of the spiritual and practical life of the post-war church. A contributor to the book, the Revd Eric Milner White, (1884–1963) summed up their attitude: “We are a new race, we priests of the furnace, humbled by 1  Punch 1915, cited in George F. Macleod, “What is Toc H?” in The Smoking Furnace and the Burning Lamp: Talks on Toc H, ed. P.B. Clayton (London: Longmans, 1927), 73. 2  George Fielden Macleod, founder pf the Iona Community, and a foundation member of Toc H. 3  Macleod, “What is Toc H?”, 80. 4  Frederick B. Macnutt, ed. The Church in the Furnace: Essays by Seventeen Temporary Church of England Chaplains on Active Service in France and Flanders (London: Macmillan, 1918).

© Verlag Ferdinand Schöningh, 2019 | doi:10.30965/9783657788224_010


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much strain and by much failure, revolutionaries not at all in spirit, but actually in fact.”5 Former Chaplains became prominent in church and social reform in the inter-war years, for example, the Industrial Christian Fellowship6 was led by Paul Thomas Radford-Rowe Kirk (1880–1946 ) and its main messenger was Geoffrey Studdert Kennedy (1883–1929). Another organization, The Conference on Political, Economic and Social Affairs (COPEC) organized in 1924 by Charles Raven (1885–1964) was supported by many other former chaplains. The motto of the British Legion: “honour the living, serve the dead”,7 summed up the feeling that the commemoration of the fallen should include measures to redeem the lives lost in battle with actions which would improve British society in the post-war world. The returning chaplains, in particular, were very aware of the need to reshape society radically if the sacrifices of the war were to have meaning. Patrick Porter, in his essay “Beyond Comfort: German and English Military Chaplains and the Memory of the Great War’”, has made a strong case that in the eyes of former chaplains, the purpose of remembrance was to “inculcate dissatisfaction, guilt and discomfort.”8 This was to encourage and mobilize efforts to transform society as a means of honouring the dead. He also made the point that “former chaplains played a significant role in defining the memory of the Great War.”9 It was the aim of certain chaplains to continue the redemptive sacrifices of the war by ensuring that the fight for a fair and just society continued. Christopher Chavasse (1884–1962), former army chaplain, who became vicar of St George’s, Barrow-in-Furness and later bishop of Rochester, often returned to the linked themes of remembrance and building for the future in his letters to his parishioners in the parish magazine. Writing in November 1920, he commented on the irony of Armistice-tide services taking place under the shadow of the miners’ strike: Where is the brotherhood of the six years of agony? … the world can quite easily recuperate after the war, if we all work in our brotherhood. Instead the grim spectre of unemployment will stalk our towns. Meanwhile it is

5  Eric Milner White, “Worship and Services,” in Church in Furnace, 176. 6  The Industrial Christian Fellowship was a group set up in 1919 to apply Christian principles to Economic problems. 7  Adrian Gregory, The Last Great War (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008), 263. 8  Patrick Porter, “Beyond Comfort: German and English Military Chaplains and the Memory of the Great War,” Journal of Religious History 29:3 (2005), 258. 9  Ibid.

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for us to refrain from all recrimination and bitterness … for such cause wounds that are long in healing.10 In 1919 Clayton’s aim in starting the Toc H movement was to continue into civilian life the ethos of equality and friendship that had prevailed at Talbot House. He aimed to perpetuate the active service atmosphere of fellowship and to extend to the younger generation the legacy of the Talbot House tradition of service thought and conduct. The story of the Toc H movement in the 20th century was that of holding in tension the remembrance of the dead, who Clayton called “The elder brethren” and the determination to so shape society that it should be a fitting memorial to their sacrifice.

Talbot House

Talbot House was opened in December 1915 as a response of the army authorities and the Army Chaplains Department to the lack of recreational facilities at Poperinge. The town was growing rapidly as it was a main rail head and was used for the moving of supplies, for billeting troops, for casualty clearing stations and for rest areas for troops out of the front line. Thousands of troops passed through this town during the course of the war. In 1916 and 1917 there were about 250,000 British soldiers in and around Poperinge although it had only had a population of 20,000 in peace time. It became known as “Little Paris. “The Revd Neville Talbot11 (1879–1943), senior chaplain to the Sixth Division, called upon the Revd P.B. ‘Tubby’ Clayton to take charge of setting up a house which would provide an alternative to the estaminets and brothels of the town. With his outgoing and slightly eccentric personality and his facility for getting on well with officers and men, Tubby, who since arriving on the Western Front early in 1915, had been stationed at no 16 base hospital at Le Treport, seemed the ideal man for the job. It was originally called Talbot House as Talbot had instigated its existence, but it was Neville Talbot’s wish that it should be called this in memory of his brother Gilbert Talbot (1891–1915), who died at Sanctuary Wood in July 1915. The house was officially opened on Saturday May 11, with an inaugural concert. 10  Cumbria County Record Office, BPR11/PM/2. St George’s Parish Magazine, February 1921. 11  Neville Talbot, TCF 1914–1919 (MC 1915). Senior chaplain Sixth Division 1915. Senior Anglican chaplain of XIV corps 1916 and Assistant Chaplain General to Fifth Army 1916. Bishop of Pretoria 1920–1934. Vicar of St Mary’s Nottingham and assistant bishop of Southwell from 1934.


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This was followed by the first celebration of Holy Communion on Sunday May 12. The chapel was full for this first service, holding between 50 and 60. By December 15, the recreation rooms, accommodating a hundred men for reading and writing were opened. At the same time another strand of the work of Talbot House started, that of providing hospitality and a bed for the night for officers travelling on the leave trains from Poperinghe station. Clayton wrote: “I have just sent my first two weary travellers to bed, after soup and biscuits, and they will have excellent breakfasts before they go on their way rejoicing.”12 The permanent staff of the house consisted of Clayton and his batman Private Pettifer, but was supplemented by men from whatever units happened to be billeted in Poperinghe, for example, when the Coldstream Guards Division were stationed in Poperinghe in April 1916, guardsmen under a Sgt Godley were detailed to help. Once the house was established, the furniture and equipment needed was scrounged, bought and donated until the house was comfortable: “Give me the luxuries of life and I care not who has the necessities”13said Clayton. Many useful presents were sent by Clayton’s contacts at home. By January 11, 1916 over a 100 officers had stayed at Talbot House and by February the number had risen to 200. The officers were charged five Francs for board and lodging “On the Robin Hood principle of taking from the rich to give to the poor.”14 Although in the house generally the conventions of rank were observed, an egalitarian atmosphere prevailed, especially in Tubby’s study, which had a sign saying “All rank abandon ye who enter here” and where a private would sit down for tea and a yarn with an officer or general. Class was forgotten in common fellowship in its rooms. The ranker officer met the non-commissioned nobleman with easy welcome. The one-time frequenter of a public school forgot his snobbishness as easily there as the one-time frequenter of a public house discovered his worth.15 Clayton managed to create an atmosphere in which the war was not important. As far as possible the house took no interest in the war … in all things the house maintained a civilian standpoint, because its whole raison d’etre 12  Philip Clayton, Letters from Flanders (London: The Centenary Press ,1932), 28. 13   Philip B. Clayton, Tales of Talbot House, Everyman’s Club in Poperinghe and Ypres 1915–1918 (London: Chatto and Windus, 1919), 27. 14  Ibid., 28. 15  Macleod “What is Toc H?”, 73.

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was always to be an Emmaus inn, a home from home where friendships could be consecrated and sad hearts renewed and cheered, a place of light and joy and brotherhood and peace.16 The discipline of the house was achieved not by military means but by getting its visitors to cooperate by means of what Clayton called “Light hearted little notions that arrested the reader’s attention and won his willingness on the right side.17” Notices abounded. Some examples were “If you are in the habit of spitting on the carpet at home, pleases spit here”, “The waste paper baskets are purely ornamental ‘by order”, and “To pessimists way out!” The chapel remained the heart of the house and Clayton recorded many gifts from men and officers, which helped to give the chapel its special atmosphere. He explained the necessity for ornament and beauty: Thus it was the homely beauty of the chapel, with it inward gift of hope and fellowship, drew many who had learnt their hunger in the grimmest school which the spirit of man has yet experienced; and eyes, hardened by indomitable will to withstand the brutalising obscenities of war, softened to appraise our simple seeking after sweetness and light.18 Clayton calculated that for more than a year there were seldom less than 100 communicants weekly, and that more than ten thousand officers and men received communion in the chapel over the course of the war. 800 were confirmed there, some making their first and last communion on the same occasion, and 50 were baptized. Harry Patch (1898–2009) remembered his visit to the chapel and gave his own opinion of Clayton’s ministry, which shone some light on the difficulties involved his efforts to provide spiritual succour: The room at the top was his chapel. Tubby upstairs became a different man from Tubby downstairs. He tried to reassure people in that room, to the best of his ability that everything was all right. He knew damn well it wasn’t. We took communion at the altar made from the carpenter’s bench. He knew, as I think most of the people who went into that room, that there were people there who were about to go up the front line and would not come back. That time in particular was difficult, because

16  Clayton, Tales of Talbot House, 36. 17  Ibid., 37. 18  Ibid.


Linda Parker

we were about to into battle, and for some that communion would be their last.19 The debates organized in the house prefigured one of the tenets of the later Toc H “to think fairly”. The debates gave Clayton an opportunity to absorb the thoughts and opinions of the wide spectrum of British male society that passed through the doors of the house. The egalitarian rules of the house were popular with the men and prompted him to reflect on quality in state and church at home. The ethos of unstinted welcome and hospitality was one which earned Clayton the names “Boniface” or “The Innkeeper”. In a post-script added to Tales from Talbot House, “The innkeeper”, a friend describes his impression that “Talbot House was to the BEF in the salient what House Beautiful was to the pilgrims in Bunyan’s wonderful ‘Similitude of a dream.’”20 During the late summer of 1917 and the build up to the Third Battle of Ypres the house was very full and busy. On September 14, 450 cups of tea were served. The following Sunday there were 230 communicants and a congregation of approximately 500 in the garden for evensong. Tubby seemed to revel in it all. He explained: “This is the zenith of Talbot House and I want everything to be at its best, please God.”21 The Third Battle of Ypres in the Autumn of 1917 was a costly exercise. The British Expeditionary Force incurred some 310,000 casualties and the Salient had been re-widened by several kilometres. Although Clayton reported a successful Christmas 1917 he was very aware that the war was not going well: “I am afraid the next few months will be very hard on the boys, the Boche being very strong and fierce, thanks to Russian impotence … but we shall weather the storm with God’s help.”22 In March the German Army launched its offensive and the British Army retreated across Passchendaele and were close to Ypres. The house came increasingly under bombardment but despite the nearness of the German army, Tubby kept the house open. He wrote on 24 April: “Folk are thankful that T.H. is still open and my opportunities for spiritual work are great.”23 The house was eventually closed on May 15, 1918, but reopened in September 1918. The last and only recorded address given in the Upper Room was given on the 21st Sunday after Trinity during the final advance of the allied armies. Clayton talked about ‘The Hope of Immortality’. In this address he examined the difficulty 19  Harry Patch, The Last Fighting Tommy: The Life of Harry Patch, Last Veteran of the Trenches, 1898–2009 (London: Bloomsbury, 2008), 85. 20  Leonard Browne, “The Innkeeper”, in Clayton, Tales of Talbot House, 124. 21  Clayton, Letters from Flanders, 115. 22  Ibid., 22. 23  Ibid., 127.

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of speaking to the realities of friends and comrades who had died. He warned against ‘resignation’ and commented on God’s will: “Neither the war nor their loss was God’s will.” He championed prayers for the dead: “they are a natural channel of love.” In a lovely passage at the end of the sermon he reassures the congregation about their loved ones: So, tonight, here in this old chapel, the spiritual centre for three years of the old Salient now finally freed, between us and those who have freed it there lies a great belt of isolation we know only too well. It is hideous still, but full of fear no longer; for those who have at last broken the ring of death are far beyond it now out of sight, because victorious, vanished because advancing. Desolation, it is true divides us but neither they nor we are desolate. We go on our way here for a time, happy for the knowledge that their feet, as they go forward are on even firmer ground.24 Although Talbot House was returned to its owner in 1918, Poperinghe and the Ypres salient became the focus of Clayton’s battlefield pilgrimages. The concept of pilgrimages to Great War battlefields began soon after the war, and has been closely linked by historians such as Alex King to a kind of ‘battlefield tourism’ that developed as sites became more accessible and visitors were catered for.25 David Lloyd has described the pilgrimages undertaken by Toc H as being indicative of the “the close link between religious belief and the organisation of battlefield pilgrimages.”26 In 1920 Clayton took a small party of friends to visit the battlegrounds of Ypres, at a time when the countryside had not been restored to any great extent and battlefield debris was still to be seen in the fields. As a result of this visit, Toc H published The Pilgrim’s Guide to the Ypres Salient.27 It considered that such a guide would be needed by pilgrims revisiting the scene of Tales of Talbot House. A review of the book in The Times described it as “An accurate and comprehensive practical handbook for visitors to the graves and battlefields … with several useful maps.”28 At Whitsun 1921, a larger group of pilgrims set out with 400 members who were given “routine orders” about what to bring. Among the acceptable or “très trop” items were old clothes, shorts, trench maps and a pipe. Among the 24  Clayton, “The Hope of Immortality,” 28. 25  Alex King, Memorials of the Great War in Britain: The Symbolism and Politics of Remembrance (Legacy of the Great War) (Oxford: Berg, 1998). 26  David Lloyd, Battlefield Tourism: Pilgrimage and Commemoration of the Great War in Britain, Australia and Canada (Oxford: Berg, 2008) 146. 27  The Pilgrim’s Guide to the Ypres Salient (London: Herbert Reiach, 1920). 28  The Times, June 29, 1920, 19.


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definitely unacceptable, “no bon” items were summer suitings, spats, Michelin guides and mirrors.29 Clayton felt sure that it was important that a link be maintained between the infant Toc H and Talbot House in Poperinghe as he was aware of the many ex-service men who felt an almost sacred association with the house. Far from allowing pilgrims to enter it, the owner of the house was at first not sympathetic and would not even consent to having a plaque put up to commemorate the role of Talbot House in the war. Clayton wrote to the Prince of Wales’ secretary, Sir Godfrey Thomas (1889–1968) in 1924: It is a great hope that among many of us that we may ultimately be able to purchase at a fair price the Old House at Poperinghe and keep it for our pilgrimages and re-establish the chapel, which would be in many ways the perfect church for the Salient as suggested by Lord French.30 Meanwhile, we would earnestly ask that Monsieur Coevort Camerlynck should not be so inhospitable to pilgrims who desire the privilege of entrance.31 As a result of Tubby’s influential contacts, the Belgian embassy persuaded the mayor of Poperinge to intercede with Monsieur Camerlynck to allow pilgrims to visit the house in small groups so they could visit the Upper Room, now partly returned to its role as a hop loft. Jock Gillespie, one of the pilgrims who went on the 1926 pilgrimage, described the experience: Finally it was our turn to go upstairs. As we mounted the narrow stairway we met the first party coming down and we saw by their faces that they had not only seen, but also understood their vision. We all instinctively knelt as we entered for we knew the ground where on we stood was holy.32 Pat Leonard (1889–1963) also described the 1926 pilgrimage in a letter to Toc H in Australia, and also remembered going into the Old House and seeing the Upper Room. He was particularly thrilled to see some of Clayton’s notices preserved in situ on the walls.33

29  Barclay Baron, The Birth of a Movement 1919–1922 (London: Toc H, 1946), 41. 30  Sir John French, First Earl of Ypres (1852–1925). 31  A letter from Tubby Clayton to Godfrey Thomas, 12 August 1924, quoted in Tresham Lever, Clayton of Toc H (London: John Murray,1972), 13. 32  Lever, Clayton of Toc H, 147. 33  University of Birmingham Special Collections, Toc H, G21. Quoted by Phillip Leonard in a memoir of Pat Leonard sent to Tubby in 1968.

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On Easter Day, 5 April 1931, Lord Wakefield (1859–1941)34 officially opened it. In his speech at the opening Tubby emphasized the role that the house would play as a place of pilgrimage and remembrance, but also, looking to the future the spiritual home of the Toc H movement. Preaching in Cambridge in 1938, in the shadow of another war, Tubby summed up the importance of Talbot House in all that Toc H had achieved in the years since the last war and the importance of continuing that tradition as a way of remembrance: The primary purpose of Toc H stands firm. On the ground floor of Talbot House in Poperinghe the open door led straight to a rough fellowship. Men of all sorts … were brothers here … On the first floor we catered for men’s minds, we tried to teach fair thinking. On the next floor the Flanders troops wrote home. A steep stair led men in Old Talbot House to the attic … Here kneeling, they received the source of courage. He concluded: “Such was old Talbot House. I dwell on it; for if the Upper Room is ever left beyond the common habit of Toc H, the Movement will desert its heritage.”35 Talbot House was not meant only as a shrine of remembrance, but also as a place where new generations of pilgrims and Toc H members could learn about the war and in learning, remember. This role the house continued until the Second World War when Poperinghe was occupied by the German army. The furniture and effects form the house, including the chapel, were spirited away by the local supporters of Toc H just before the house was requisitioned and saved for the post war reopening in December 1944. Talbot House was back in business and opened its doors to the fighting men of the Second World War just as it had done in the First. Talbot House has continued to be a beacon of hospitality to visitors of Ypres Salient in the years since the Second World War, and a practical help to those who wished either to revisit the scene of their war service, or to visit the graves of relatives. Its cosy kitchen provides a peaceful refuge to tourist and pilgrims, presided over by volunteer wardens from Toc H who continue the custom of providing endless cups of tea to visitors. The Old Hop Store was listed as an official monument in 1998 and restored. A new museum has been opened on the 34  Charles Wakefield, 1st Viscount Wakefield, GCVO, CBE (12 December 1859–15 January  1941), was an English businessman who founded the Castrol lubricants company, was Lord Mayor of London and was a significant philanthropist. He was of great financial and personal support to Tubby Clayton and Toc H. 35  Philip Clayton, “The Lord Added to Them”, a sermon preached at Great St Mary’s, Cambridge 1938, reprinted in Philip Clayton, To Conqueror Hate (London: The Epworth Press, 1963), 197.


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ground floor, with an exhibition, which provides a vivid portrayal of war time Poperinge called “Life behind the lines” and the concert hall on the second floor has also been restored. The house itself is largely unchanged, with notices and pictures dating from the Great War. Visitors can still chuckle at Tubby’s signs and look at a reconstruction of his study. The garden, which played such a large part in the lives of wartime visitors to Talbot House has been restored to its original layout and planting. The heart of the house remains the chapel, which retains a vivid sense of “such a cloud of witnesses.”36 To climb the narrow steps and emerge into the chapel is to enter momentarily a world in which so many men worshipped and found comfort before facing the front line. Before his death Harry Patch, the last British soldier survivor of the war, visited Talbot House and talked about his memories. He was the last surviving human link between the war time world and ours, but Talbot house continues that link in its work or remembrance and education.

The Toc H Movement

The Britain to which Clayton, his fellow former chaplains and demobbed service men was returning was a different one to the one he had left in 1915. The initial post war boom had helped provide jobs in the short term. However, the boom was short lived, as the traditional industries, shipbuilding, mining and railways had been over stimulated in the war and now faced shrinking world markets. The mine owners were opposed to nationalisation and wages and working conditions in mines varied throughout the country.37 Miners’ strikes broke out in February 1919 and by the end of the month, London was reduced to three day’s supply of coal.38 The government’s response to the slump was to bring forward decontrol of the coal industry resulting in more strikes in April 1921, only ending in “Black Friday,” when the prospect of a General Strike was averted by the collapse of the Triple Alliance of the transport, rail and mine workers. Looking around at the country he had returned to, Clayton was appalled by the way that political leaders reacted. He considered that the “The tone of politics in 1919–20 was lower than it had been since the days of Walpole.”39 He also commented that “there are other types of bankruptcy more

36  St Paul’s letter to the Hebrews, Chapter 12 v 1. 37   C. Mowat, Britain Between the Wars 1918–1940 (London: Methuen, 1955), 119. 38  Ibid., 79. 39   P.B. Clayton Earthquake Love (London: Geoffrey Bless, 1932), 7.

9. A Living Memorial


sinister than those which wait on upon an inflation of prices and a pouring out of paper money.”40 The abandonment of building programmes during the war had worsened the housing shortage. Even though the town planning act of 1919 required local councils to begin clearing slums and start building programmes, progress was slow and high rents caused by housing shortage were often out of reach for the unemployed. The immediate post war boom was followed in 1920–21 by a recession. Lord Salisbury, speaking in a Toc H trustee’s meeting in 1921 commented on the post war situation that [t]he contrast between those great qualities they saw in the war and the dab selfishness and materialism they saw at home brought home to the conscience of a great number of people who had never thought thus deeply before. When the troops came home, they, for their part, were conscious of that there was a great contrast between the unselfish effort of the war, and the blank drab materialism at home. Toc H existed to combat that spirit and to satisfy the longings which that contrast engendered.41 At the end of the war Tubby rescued from Talbot house many scraps of paper with the names of people who had been communicants during the war. These were to be the “foundation members” of an organization that was crystallising in his mind to perpetuate the work and ethos of Talbot house. At Christmas 1918 he sent out a funny postcard cum invitation which became known as Tubby’s “whizzbang” in the form of a field postcard to resume contact and establish interest in such an organization, the starting point being a Talbot House set up in London. There were 4000 on the roll, 500 of them in London. Tubby continued his plans, writing a series of articles for The Challenge in the summer and wrote an article for St Martin’s Review the magazine of St Martin in the Fields church, Trafalgar Square, to publicize the new venture. In the article he paints a vivid picture of Talbot House as it was in the war, stressing the informality and Christian fellowship. He then asks the question “What then is to happen to the fellowship of Talbot House? It is plainly too great to lose. Its lovers have a dream of finding some house … and the rent thereof, of hoisting the old sign board there and taking the consequences”.42 This sense that the phenomena that had been Talbot House was too good to loose was echoed 40   P.B. Clayton, “Two Men’s Work,” in The Smoking Furnace and the Burning Lamp, 35. 41  Report of Trustee’s Meeting, Annual Report of Toc H, 1921, p. 5. 42  St Martin’s Review, September 1919, cited in Baron, Birth of a Movement, 71.


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by others. Frank R. Barry (1890–1976), ex chaplain and college of Tubby’s at Knutsford Test Ordination School,43 in a review of Tales of Talbot House in December 1919, wrote: “The tale of Talbot House is a radiant story of warmth and light and fellowship and joy breaking into the record of the Salient. To hundreds, to thousands it was holy ground … the author calls it the Emmaus Inn. To many it was almost Bethlehem. Talbot house, in its old form, must be started again in a ‘place’ in London.”44 Barclay Baron (1884–1964)45 felt that there was a distinct sense that this service and comradeship felt during the war should be able to continue in peace time. He wrote: “If these precious things, almost the only credits of war, were suffered to slip away in peace time, their world they felt would have been hardly worth fighting for.”46 There seemed have been a distinct sense of unwillingness to relinquish the nostalgia for war time comradeship, of the unacceptability to some of its former inhabitants that the Talbot House atmosphere should fade away. The first committee meeting of “intimate confederates” was called for November 15, 1919. The agenda for the meeting was set out in army style and after the “Assembly point” and “zero hour” had been stated under the heading of “information” and “the nature of the country” the main business was set out: “The attack on the problem of reopening Talbot House will be carried out by a round table conference – troops being drawn from Talbotousians, past present and to come. The attack will be covered by a creeping barrage of expert Londoners and a section of clerical tanks will cooperate.”47 The aim of the meeting, the agenda went on to explain, was to find ways of “maintaining the old fellowship and extending it to the younger clerks, civil servants and students of London.” In a document accompanying the agenda is a report from Clayton stressing that “Auld Lang Syne is not our primary object.”48 It can be seen that even at the beginning of the movement that there was a combination of aims, firstly the desire to recapture what was good about Talbot House and the need for a movement which would suit the needs of the post war world as a way of remembering fallen comrades. 43  Knutsford was a post war school to bring the educational standards of ex-service ordinands up to requirement before further training, and to ‘test’ their vocation to the priesthood. 44  Cheshire County Record Office: D3917: Ducdame, the magazine of the Ordination Test School at Knutsford. Issue 1, summer 1919. 45  Barclay Baron, Friend of Tubby’s at Bermondsey Medical Mission. During the war visited Talbot House regularly as part of his work with the YMCA. Foundation member of Toc H and editor of the Toc H Journal for many years. 46  Lever, Clayton of Toc H, 102. 47  Baron, Birth of a Movement, 11. 48  Ibid.

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Clayton‘s cause for concern was the perceived need for a set of principles which would guide younger members and help make the transition of the movement from one of wartime comradeship and service to one as Barclay Baron put “service to society as a whole and to less fortunate fellow beings in particular.” He was particularly concerned with the fate of the thousands of young men who left their home to live and work in the big cities: “There is no feature of our civilisation more fraught with the gravity of evil than the fact that every city contains young men, unchallenged to the work of any great cause outside their own career.”49 In the Summer of 1920, Alec Paterson, (1884–1947)50 Clayton and Hugh Richard Lawrie ‘Dick’ Sheppard (1914–1936), vicar of St Martin in the Fields, met to hammer out the aims and objects which would unite the Toc H movement. The ideas which Alec Paterson and Clayton produced were remarkably similar and at the meeting the “four points” of the “Toc H compass” had emerged. “FELLOWSHIP – to love widely, SERVICE – to build bravely FAIRMINDENESS – to think fairly, THE KINGDOM OF GOD – to witness humbly.” At the same time, Clayton was working out the philosophical and spiritual implications of the aims of Toc H. He saw these in terms of reconciliation “of man with God and man with man”, and of fellowship in service: “You cannot love men till you work alongside, and know how much you need them. Alongside this was the need for social equality: “The work of Toc H is, therefore to bind in a single tether those who would else be poorer for their ignorance of each other.” This should militate against the fact that “Civilian life sinks us all in one rut or another, according to the bedrooms we were born in or the trades we follow.” He was clear on the position of Toc H: “Toc H thus aims not at the stampeding of the whole social system, but the creation of a place and atmosphere in which the younger generation at least may meet their otherwise unknown contemporaries.”51 At the end of 1919 Geoffrey Studdert Kennedy (1883–1929) a war time chaplain who had become famous as “Woodbine Willie “was writing his first post war book, Lies and had similar views to Clayton on the problems of the class divide: “All men are of equal value in the sight of God … Every human life which is dwarfed and crippled through lack of opportunity to develop is a disgrace to 49  Baron, Birth of a Movement, 12. 50  Alexander Paterson, foundation member of Toc H and first president. Before the Great War he worked at the Oxford Medical Mission, a Christian charity which dealt with underprivileged youth in Bermondsey, South London. He later became a prominent prison reformer. 51  Lever, Clayton of Toc H, 104.


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democracy and must be recognized as such by truly democratic people. Our slums are a disgrace to us all they ought to fill every one with shame because they are full of crippled lives, every one of which is of infinite value.”52 They both felt that the serving together of mane of all classes and occupations in the war and the mutual understanding that had to a certain extent developed, had not continued in the post war era. As the organization grew in the early twenties the principles of service became more established. As well as Toc H Marks one and two in London, new houses were opened in Manchester and Leicester. Following suggestions from the Cheltenham Branch of Toc H, the houses acted as centres of supply to the need of local social and welfare associations and the local Toc H members helped out in these according to their time and talents. No new social service organization was intended or started. Clayton summed up his hopes for the future: That in the course of time, as people find that Toc H can furnish willing and capable fellows to help in every town where there is a branch, any organisation that wants a helper for some job or other will, as a matter of course apply first to the Toc Branch, knowing from common experience that they will not be disappointed.53 All the members of branch were expected to give service in their spare time to a local need. In order that this service might be organized and the right people with the right talents going to the right jobs, it became the tradition for each branch to have a “jobmaster” to sort out these matchings of talent with need. It was also becoming a custom in many branches to have a guest night at which experts in many fields were invited to share their knowledge and life experiences with the members. Guests nights were frequently uproarious occasions, Clayton referred to them as “human zoos” but there is no doubt that they drew men in out of curiosity, who then stayed to become members. Clayton recalled how in the coal strike, pledged to think fairly, Mark Two54 invited three people with differing viewpoints on the issues to speak at Guest Night. His comment was, “politics taught like this improves with telling.”55

52  Geoffrey Studdert Kennedy, Lies (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1919), 65-66. 53  Baron, Birth of a Movement, 105. 54  The Toc H houses were called ‘marks’. Tubby explained that the word ‘mark’ was a wartime inheritance indicating that any mark is an improvement on its successor. 55  Baron, Birth of a Movement, 107.

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He had no particular political agenda. One of his biographers says that he had “A political disinterestedness bordering on Naiveté”56 and that he made no worthwhile response to the discussions that followed the General Strike in 1926. While other ex chaplains were busy trying to reform the church in the life and liberty movement57 and to contribute to industrial harmony through the Industrial Christian fellowship,58 Clayton’s main purpose was to create harmony between different classes and ages through practical work as memorial to those who were no longer there to do it. He was however political in a wider sense as he used his influential connection in the church, army and political establishments to promote the cause of Toc H. The prince of Wales was particularly helpful in creating links with industrial leaders. As the movement spread out of London it was becoming a national movement. Clayton was able to write to Lord Salisbury in January 1921 that there were 70 branches in England and that some of the regional branches were well on their way to opening their own houses.59 In December 1921 plans were made for a celebration of the anniversary of the opening of Talbot House in 1915. This became an annual event and the service and ceremony of light were very much based on remembrance. The lamp of maintenance and the ceremony of light that was built around it was partly a result of an idea from the Cheltenham branch that a half minute silence be given at the beginning of meetings to remember old friends left behind in the salient and partly as a result of Barclay Baron and Clayton’s desire to come up with a badge or symbol to represent Toc H. In May 1922 Baron and Clayton designed a lamp with the double cross of Calvary, also part of the court of arms for Ypres. Each full branch of Toc H was to be presented with a lamp which was a replica of the original lamp presented to Toc H by the prince of Wales, and each had the inscription In Luminae Tuo Videbimus Lumen (In thy halls shall we see light) each ceremony of light consisted of the chairman saying: With proud thanksgiving let us remember our elder brethren. They shall not grow old as we that are left grow old. Age shall not weary them nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun and in the morning. We will remember them. After the response: we will remember them, and 56  Melville Harcourt, Tubby Clayton. A personal saga (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1956), 185. 57  The Life and Liberty Movement was set up in 1917 by William Temple and others to campaign for synodical and democratic government in the Church of England. It was supported by many serving chaplains, who continued their support post war. 58  Its first leader, the Revd P.T.R. Kirk, had been an army chaplain in the war. 59  Lever, Clayton of Toc H, 101.


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after a minute’s silence, the chairman says: Let your light so shine before men that they see your good works. The branch replies: And give glory to our Father which is in heaven. These annual birthday celebrations were attended by the Prince of Wales, and often by establishment figures whose relationship with Tubby had its roots in the war. e.g. Lord Plumer (1857–1932)60 Lord Salisbury (1861–1947)61, Bishop. E.S. Talbot (1834–1934), and when visiting from Pretoria where he had become bishop, Neville Talbot. The prince spoke of the wide ranging scope of Toc H’s mission. “It has a very great work ahead of it: a work which competes with no other task, but supplements the achievements of all.” But he also referred back to the memory of the war when lighting the lamps. “As I light them let our thoughts be with many loved and honoured names and let them be the symbols of their pledges of service and brotherly love.”62 It can be seen that even at the beginning of the movement that there was a creative tension between the desire to recapture what was good about Talbot House and the need for a movement which would suit the needs of the post war world. The movement continued to grow at home and abroad and by 1927 plans were afoot to launch an appeal to give Toc H a permanent endowment which would enable it to face a secure financial future and employ full time staff. In July 1922 Clayton had been offered the living of All Hallows on Tower Hill, and the ceremony at the Guildhall had been preceded by his induction into the living. In accepting this challenge, Tubby provided a base for Toc H and also started a pastoral ministry to the financial centre of London which was to be a large part of his inter-war work. As the movement gained strength and expanded in the 1920s and 1930s, Clayton’s influence on the day to day running and administration of the organization became less, but Toc H was still seen as being very much as Clayton’s creation and it was his continued leadership and idiosyncratic style that set the tone. The central precepts of Clayton’s aims for the post war Toc H Movement were based on his sense of loss of those, who had died in the war and in particular the feeling that many of the best of youth, who would have been the leaders of tomorrow had gone. “War claims not only life, – not only young life, but as we waged it, the best young life,”63 he said in 1920. This impression of a 60  Field Marshall Herbert Charles Onslow Plumer. He visited Talbot House during the war several times, and was of great support to the Toc H movement before his death. He was particularly interested in building support for Toc H in the armed forces. 61  James Cecil, Fourth Marquis of Salisbury. Trustee of Toc H. 62  The Times, December 16, 1922, 9. 63  The Times, October 29, 1920, 15.

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lost generation was one that was widely held in the post war years, but recent research has produced a more nuanced analysis It is true that a disproportionate number of deaths were concentrated in younger men. Dan Todman puts it at one in seven of the male population under 25 had been killed as opposed to one in 10 of those aged between 25-40 killed.64 The death rate was also higher in young officers. Geoffrey Searle has pointed out that: “The carnage was particularly high among landed and aristocratic families … the higher up the social scale, the greater the casualty rate.”65 These were the men who might have been regarded as those who would take the lead in the post war world.66 However, Dan Todman has argued that “a generation was not wiped out”67, basing his opinion on Jay Winter’s statistic that for every thousand of the total wartime population, roughly 16 Britons were killed, compared to 30 in Germany, 34 in France and 57 in Serbia.68 Clayton was acutely aware of the need of the younger generation to fill the perceived gap of a lost generation and for them to show what he called “sheep dog spirit”. His aim was to create young leaders of society from all walks of life, and to provide opportunities for service in which young men could meet free from class distinctions: “beneath the redemptive memory of their common loss … mutual ignorances must surely cease. If then the Talbot House movement, which has a foot in both camps can go forward can go forward with its programme of reconciliation … much good may come of it”. This comment made in an article “Our Room on Earth” in 1923, shows how intermingled the remembrance of the lost and the hope for the future were in Clayton’s mind. He continued, “To the survivors, half ashamed the deepest of all war debts is from the living to the dead. We can only pay by being and doing what they would wish. With this aim in view we, of Toc H , began to build a new society of serving brethren.”69 Toc H had “Its birth far back in the furnace”, as Clayton put it and it was natural that the ethos developed in the Great War would have an appreciable effect on the development of the organization. The yearly birthday celebrations were 64  Dan Todman, The Great War, Myth and Memory (London: Hambledon Continuum, 2005), 44. 65   G.R. Searle, A New England- Peace and War 1886–1918 (Oxford: Clarendon Press), 795. 66  96%of all infantry casualties were sustained by private soldiers, but proportionately the officers suffered more. In the armed services as a whole. 13.6 %of all serving officers were killed, but only 11.7 % of other ranks. 20.7 % of Old Etonians lost 20.7%of those who served, Aristocratic families lost 18.95%. Searle, A New England, 795. 67  Todman, The Great War, 45. 68  Jay Winter, The Great War and the British People (Cambridge: Harvard University Press 1986), 66-72. 69  The Times, December 15, 1923, 13.


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rooted firmly in the remembrance of wartime experience and the fallen “elder brethren”. As Tresham Lever, Clayton’s biographer commented: “The bond of fellowship forged in the war remained strong between the old members and was jealously preserved.”70 However, it was realized that the emphasis on war and remembrance should not be the main one. There was concern that it should not become merely an ex-serviceman’s organization. It was essential that it captured the hearts and minds of a new generation. One of Clayton’s major post-war themes, however, was the idea of the younger brother taking on the challenge and having to bear double the burden: “Let the younger brother know that there lies on him not only one man’s work but two and sonship and service will be rendered with diligence that will know no rein.”71 This concept cleverly combined reverence for the wartime origins of the movement with emphasis on its post-war role. The Prince of Wales, speaking at The Toc H birthday festival in 1922, commented on the rapid growth of the movement: “spreading throughout the kingdom, and its centres … have proved its solid worth. Toc H is a really helpful thing, more worthwhile as a living memorial than wood or stone. It has a very great work ahead of it.”72 Toc H may claim to have become a “living memorial” envisaged by Clayton , Prince Edward and the foundation members. The movement clearly had its strength from those who remembered the war and wanted to replicate the good things in it, comradeship, fellowship and service, but also did its utmost to recreate this fellowship in an outward looking and heterogeneous organization, in which there was room for all classes and all shades of Christian opinion. Conclusion It can be seen that the growth and continuing existence of Toc H movement owes much to the work achieved in Talbot House from 1916 to 1918. The principles on which the movement was began an on which it still depends, friendship, fairmindedness, service and witness were all aspects of life and work that the atmosphere in Talbot House bred and supported. The respect for individuals, regardless of rank, can be seen in the activities of Toc H which has always encouraged a wide variety of people to work with and befriend each other. The debates and conversations concerning the role of everyman in British society 70  Lever, Clayton of TocH, 102. 71  The Times, October 29, 1920, 15. 72  The Times, December 16, 1922, 9.

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after the war bore fruit in projects organized by Toc H branches throughout the United Kingdom, and as the movement spread, all over the world. By the Second World war there were branches in Canada, USA, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and the Indian sub-continent. Talbot House and the Toc H movement are as much a memorial to the men who served in the Great War, as the large and imposing memorials which are scattered throughout the world and throughout the United Kingdom. Talbot House is much more than a museum as it takes the ethos of the wartime house into the 21st century, still promoting equality and friendship. Although in its ceremonies of light and birthday celebrations Toc H has always stressed remembrance, in its work in it society it has always concentrated on the future. The bishop of Manchester, William Temple (1881–1944)73 summed it up: Of all the movements that came out of the war, Toc H had the truest vitality, because quite unashamedly it had based itself on a remembrance of fellowship, in endurance and in suffering. Memories, however, tended to grow dim, and unless there were something that perpetually reinforced the vitality of the movement it could hardly grow stronger year by year. With remembrance, therefore was coupled the reality of service.74 This comment has been as true for Talbot House and Toc H in the 100 years of their existence as it was then. Works Cited

Archival Sources

Cumbria County Record Office, BPR11/PM/2. St George’s Parish Magazine 1921. Cheshire County Record Office: D3917: Ducdame the magazine of the Ordination Test School at Knutsford. Issue 1, summer 1919. Toc H Archives, University of Birmingham Special Collections. Section G21.


The Times 1919–1932 The Church Times 1919–1930

73  Temple was later Archbishop of York 1929–1942 and Archbishop of Canterbury 1942–1944. 74  Church Times, 13 December, 1926, 711.


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Published Primary Sources

Published Secondary Sources

Baron, Barclay. The Birth of a Movement 1919–1922. London: Toc H, 1946. Clayton, Philip. Tales of Talbot House, Everyman’s Club in Poperinghe and Ypres, 1915– 1918 London: Chatto and Windus, 1919. Clayton Philip. Letters from Flanders. London: The Centenary Press ,1932. Clayton, Philip. The Smoking Furnace and the Burning Lamp: Talks on Toc H London: Longmans 1927. Clayton, Philip. Earthquake Love. London: Geoffrey Bless, 1932. Clayton, Philip. To Conqueror Hate London: The Epworth Press, 1963. Macnutt, Frederick B., ed. The Church in the Furnace, Essays By Seventeen Temporary Church of England Chaplains on Active Service in France and Flanders London: Macmillan, 1918. Studdert Kennedy, Geoffrey. Lies. (London, Hodder and Stoughton, 1919. Toc H. The Pilgrim’s Guide to the Ypres Salient London: Herbert Reiach, 1920.

Gregory, Adrian. The Last Great War. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008. King, Alex, Memorials of the Great War in Britain: The Symbolism and Politics of Remembrance (Legacy of the Great War). Oxford: Berg, 1998. Lloyd, David. Battlefield Tourism. Pilgrimage and Commemoration of the Great War in Britain, Australia and Canada. (Oxford: Berg, 2008). Lever, Tresham. Clayton of Toc H. London: John Murray, 1972. Mowat, Charles. Britain Between the Wars 1918–1940. London: Methuen, 1955. Parker, Linda. A Fool for Thy Feast- The life and Times of Tubby Clayton 1885–1972. Solihull: Helion and Company, 2015. Porter, Patrick “Beyond Comfort: German and English Military Chaplains and the Memory of the Great War,” in  Journal of Religious History, Vol. 29, no. 3, October 2005. Patch, Harry. The Last Fighting Tommy: The Life of Harry Patch, Last Veteran of the Trenches, 1898–2009. London: Bloomsbury, 2008. Todman, Dan. The Great War, Myth and Memory. London: Hambledon Continuum, 2005.

Chapter 10

Temporary Cenotaph: A Contradiction in Terms? Sally Carlton Introduction During the violent earthquake which hit Christchurch, Aotearoa/New Zealand, on February 22, 2011, the inner city sustained severe damage. The entire area was subsequently cordoned off, restricting public access for 859 days. Out-of-bounds within this cordon was the city’s cenotaph – its primary site of war commemoration – situated next to the iconic Anglican Cathedral. Still today, five years after the event, the cenotaph remains behind hurricane fencing as debate rages about the future of the ruined Cathedral. Physically barred for this period from the cenotaph, locals have had to improvise. Services for ANZAC Day, the most important war commemoration in New Zealand which observes the landings of Australian and New Zealand troops on the beaches at Gallipoli during World War One, have moved from Cathedral Square to another of Christchurch’s many public squares. In addition, a temporary “replacement” cenotaph has been constructed. This cenotaph is made of MDF (medium density fibreboard) and topped with a small wooden cross fashioned by an Australian search-and-rescue team from wood salvaged from the Cathedral.1 Stored inside for most of the year, the cenotaph is trundled out for public use for two annual events: ANZAC Day and the commemoration of the February 22 earthquake. Drawing on surveys by and interviews with Christchurch residents, this paper documents their greatly varied responses to this temporary cenotaph. The particular focus is the cenotaph’s temporality, which positions it in direct contrast to most war memorials which are consciously constructed for posterity. The idea of temporality versus permanence leads to the question of whether a physical focal point for war commemoration is in fact necessary, as well as touching on analysis of the public’s role in the establishment of war memorials. In order to pose these questions, the paper first explains the circumstances which led to the construction of the temporary cenotaph.   This article was finished in 2016 and does therefore not reference recent works. 1  Keith Lynch, “Cathedral Timber Stands Tall Again,” The Press, March 16, 2011, accessed November 15, 2015, http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/christchurch-earthquake/4772129/ Cathedral-timber-stands-tall-again. © Verlag Ferdinand Schöningh, 2019 | doi:10.30965/9783657788224_011


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Through consideration of elements inherent to both traditional war memorials and recent “temporary memorials,” the paper, secondly, suggests that the temporary cenotaph fails to meet the criteria for either category of memorial. The paper then moves into discussion of the various – but overwhelmingly negative – attitudes of Christchurch residents to the unique phenomenon that is the temporary cenotaph, before drawing conclusions about what participants’ perspectives to the temporary cenotaph can tell us about general understandings of the role of war memorials. Context With buildings already weakened by a 7.1-magnitude earthquake in September 2010 and subsequent aftershocks, the February 2011 event resulted in 185 deaths, thousands of injuries and extensive destruction. Along with large tracts of residential land, the central business district was especially devastated. In response to the loss of life and pervasive devastation, a cordon was erected immediately after the earthquake, preventing public access to the area. This cordon was progressively diminished as safety checks were completed, but full accessibility to the city was only possible after June 30, 2013. The place to which people eventually returned was visually very different from its preearthquake iteration. With so many buildings destroyed, including much of the iconic Gothic Revival architecture for which Christchurch had earned its reputation as the “most English city outside of England,” the landscape was in the aftermath unappealing and confronting. The sight of the ruined Anglican Cathedral, the physical and symbolic ‘heart’ of Christchurch, was especially distressing. Located only metres from the Cathedral, Christchurch’s cenotaph (officially, the Christchurch Citizens’ War Memorial) – an impressive symbolic sculpture by Christchurch local William Trethewey (1892–1956) unveiled in 1937, in which the central figure of Victory breaks swords above the heads of Sacrifice, Youth, Justice, Peace and Valour2 – was inaccessible for the two-and-a-half year duration of the cordon. A further two-and-a-half years later, however, the cenotaph still remains out-of-bounds. This prolonged unreachability stems directly from the cenotaph’s close proximity to the Cathedral; fierce opposition from heritage groups to the Church’s preference for rebuilding has effectively 2  Mark Stocker, “Sculpture and Installation Art: Sculpture in the Early Twentieth Century,” Te Ara: The Encyclopedia of New Zealand, August 11, 2014, accessed December 5, 2015, http:// www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/photograph/41964/christchurch-citizens-war-memorial.

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immobilized any development on the site, resulting in leaving the Cathedral as an unstable and unsightly structure surrounded by hurricane fencing to prevent people from approaching (Fig. 10.1). As war memorials both derive meaning from and give meaning to the environment in which they are located,3 the sites in which they are positioned – particularly public/private and religious/secular spaces – are important.4 While the cenotaph’s proximity to the Cathedral was once incredibly powerful, this same proximity is now damaging the monument’s efficacy.

Fig. 10.1 The out-of-bounds Cathedral and cenotaph, May 2013. Source: Author

With their cenotaph and Cathedral inaccessible, Christchurch residents have had to look elsewhere for sites within which to enact rituals of war commemoration, including services on ANZAC Day. These services include the open-air Dawn Service, at which political, military and religious dignitaries address large crowds gathered in the early morning darkness, and the 11 a.m. Citizens’ Service (held inside), at which similar messages are repeated but to a smaller crowd. 3  William Kidd, “Identity and Iconography: French War Memorials 1914–1918 and 1939–1945,” in Popular Culture and Mass Communication in Twentieth Century France, ed. Nicholas Hewitt and Rosemary Chapman (Lampeter, Wales: The Edwin Mellen Press, 1992), 224. 4  Jane Furlong, Lorraine Knight, and Simon Slocombe, “‘They Shall Grow Not Old’: An Analysis of Trends in Memorialisation Based on Information Held by the UK National Inventory of War Memorials,” Cultural Trends 12, 45 (2002): 15.


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The Dawn Service was traditionally held in front of the cenotaph in Cathedral Square but in 2011 was moved to the city’s large Hagley Park and then later to Cranmer Square. Meanwhile the Citizens’ Service, no longer able to be held within the Cathedral, was initially moved around various surviving locations and is now held in Shigeru Ban’s “Cardboard Cathedral,” an internationallylauded example of innovative temporary post-disaster architecture. These ad hoc spaces contain neither the physical symbols nor the particular meaning for which sites were originally selected for war commemoration; as has been noted, the placement of war memorials is not neutral,5 but rather carefully considered and laden with meaning. It was to provide some sense of continuity in the face of this dislocation that the temporary cenotaph was constructed. In contrast to Trethewey’s highly stylized monument, the temporary cenotaph is simple in shape and design, comprising of a four-tiered square structure topped with a wooden cross. The base is made of laminated MDF and contains wiring for lights. In the words of a Christchurch City Council representative, “I don’t think any thought went into making it; somebody just, like, banged some things up together and this was it.”6 The wooden cross provides the structure with some gravitas – even though it was not built “expressly” for the temporary cenotaph7 – as it was fashioned by an Australian search-and-rescue team in the immediate aftermath of the February 22 earthquake from wood they had salvaged from the ruined Cathedral. Yet although this cross might be seen to lend “meaning” or “soul” to an otherwise uninspiring empty box, it embodies several powerful messages (particularly religious) which do not necessarily align with the reason for which the cenotaph was constructed. In 2015, a “second temporary cenotaph” was constructed to replicate the first, which had to be replaced due to signs of wear. Memorials Both memorials to the dead and memorials to war have been erected throughout history,8 but only since the latter half of the nineteenth century, with the 5  Antoine Prost, “Les monuments aux morts: Culte républicain? Culte civique? Culte patriotique?” in Les lieux de mémoire: La République, ed. Pierre Nora (Paris: Editions Gallimard, 1984), 200. 6  Interviewee #13, male, 46-60 years, no military service. Interview conducted February 13, 2015. 7  Interviewee #13. 8  Ken Inglis, “War Memorials: Ten Questions for Historians,” Guerres mondiales et conflits contemporains 167 (1992), 7; Reinhart Koselleck, “Kriegerdenkmale als Identitätsstiftung der

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increasing participation of ‘citizen soldiers’ in conflict, have such monuments come to serve a social and collective purpose.9 Especially following the mass death of World War One, war memorials constituted a powerful means of expressing and focussing individual and communal grief. To pay tribute to the unprecedented numbers of dead, tens of thousands of war memorials were erected in towns and villages across the belligerent states, such that they are today intrinsic to the rural and urban landscapes of these countries.10 As a war memorial is “any tangible object commemorating those killed in or as a result of military service, including civilians” according to the definition adopted by the United Kingdom National Inventory of War Memorials,11 war memorials take many forms, with preferences for particular forms discernible at different times.12 Because war and peace are extensions of national politics,13 war memorials are undeniably political objects.14 In this way, war memorials reflect the sociological and ideological realities of the period in which they were erected15 as well as seek to perpetuate a certain reading of the conflict as preferred by the people involved in their design and construction16 which may, for example, be weighted towards the human costs or the patriotic elements of warfare. Yet because war memorials are appraised by individuals operating within unique spheres of experience and values, they can be interpreted differently by different people. Further, despite their transgenerational intentions,17 the meanings which people derive from war memorials may change over time.18 Überlebenden,” in Poetik und Hermeneutik 8, ed. Odo Marquardt and Karlheinz Stierle, (Munich: Wilhelm Fink Verlag, 1979): 256. 9  Maurice Agulhon, “Réflexions sur les monuments commémoratifs,” in La mémoire des Français: Quarante ans de commémorations de la Seconde guerre mondiale, (Paris: Centre régional de Publication de Paris Institut du Temps présent, 1986), 41. 10  Maurice Agulhon, “La ‘statuomanie’ et l’histoire,” Ethnologie française 8(2-3) (1978): 145; Annette Becker, “Les monuments aux morts: des œuvres d’art au service du souvenir,” Les Chemins de la Mémoire: Direction de la Mémoire, du Patrimoine et des Archives 144 (2004), 8; Inglis, “War Memorials,” 5. 11  Furlong, Knight, and Slocombe, “‘They Shall Grow Not Old,’” 3. 12  Ibid., 5; Agulhon “La ‘statuomanie’ et l’histoire,” 160. 13   Marilène Patten Henry, Monumental Accusations: The Monuments aux Morts as Expressions of Popular Resentment (New York: Peter Lang, 1996), 102. 14  Agulhon “La ‘statuomanie’ et l’histoire,” 145; Koselleck, “Kriegerdenkmale,” 274; James M. Mayo, “War Memorials as Political Memory,” Geographical Review 78:1 (1988), 62-75. 15  Kidd, “Identity and Iconography,” 224. 16  Mayo, “War Memorials as Political Memory,” 72. 17  Paula Hamilton, and Paul Ashton, “On Not Belonging: Memorial and Memory in Sydney,” Public History Review 9, 47 (2001): 34. 18  Mayo, “War Memorials as Political Memory,” 73.


Sally Carlton

With lengthening temporal distance from the conflicts memorialized, war memorials have increasingly functioned as physical reminders of wars and their consequences.19 The fact that new war memorials are often unveiled decades after conflicts have ended is evidence of their enduring power to meet changing social needs.20 While war memorials are constructed for posterity and with a view to perpetuating certain messages across time, other memorials and memorialization practices subvert the supposedly incontrovertible relationship between monuments and permanence. The development of “anti-memorials” – transitory memorials designed to invite and incite multiple interpretations of important political and social issues21 – constitutes one contemporary challenge. Driven by activists and artists seeking to confront – and often, physically engage – people with uncomfortable, hidden or “other” truths in order to stimulate social change,22 this movement is primarily reflective in nature. Conversely, another recent form of memorialization is inherently reactive: temporary memorials impulsively erected in response to a private or public tragedy. This phenomenon usually encompasses the act of placing flowers and other objects of mourning or meaning at sites of death, resulting in organic memorials which often exist alongside “formalized” memorials such as victims’ graves. Although these memorials are constructed for personal reasons, their location in the public sphere means that their impacts can be far-ranging and unintended.23 In line with the increasing pervasion of such memorials (variously labelled as spontaneous, performative or vernacular memorials24), there has been an increasing amount of scholarly interest in the subject. This literature implies that the practices associated with temporary memorials differ from official or institutionalized memorials, particularly in terms of the social agency they afford.25 Temporary memorials allow people to connect directly and immediately with both the physical location and the ephemeral idea of someone’s 19  Antoine Prost, “Mémoires locales et mémoires nationales: Les monuments de 1914–1918 en France,” Guerres mondiales et conflits contemporains 42 :167 (1992), 49. 20  Furlong Knight, and Slocombe, “‘They Shall Grow Not Old,’” 28. 21   Sue-Anne Ware, “Contemporary Anti-Memorials and National Identity in the Victorian Landscape,” Journal of Australian Studies 28:81 (2004), 121. 22  Ware, “Contemporary Anti-Memorials,” 124. 23  Kate V. Hartig and Kevin M. Dunn, “Roadside Memorials: Interpreting New Deathscapes in Newcastle, New South Wales,” Australian Geographical Studies 36:1 (1998), 5; Erika Doss, “Death, Art and Memory in the Public Sphere: The Visual and Material Culture of Grief in Contemporary America,” Mortality 7:1 (2002), 71. 24  Erika Doss, The Emotional Life of Contemporary Public Memorials: Towards a Theory of Temporary Memorials. (Amsterdam University Press: Amsterdam, 2008), 8. 25  Doss, Contemporary Public Memorials, 10.

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death, whether that person is known to the mourner or not; whereas formalized rites of bereavement require preparation and time, and can be exclusionary.26 Christchurch’s temporary cenotaph does not adhere to the elements of contemporary memorial practices outlined above. Even its “temporality” differs from such practices: while temporary memorials might be intended to last for a short amount of time, or for as long as possible but within a finite timeframe (that is, until they are removed), the temporary cenotaph is intended for use only as long as it is needed. Further differentiating this structure from contemporary forms of memorialization is the fact that the cenotaph was constructed on behalf of the Christchurch City Council for official commemorative purposes. As such, it was not the product of a grassroots drive for memorialization, but rather constituted a sanctioned response from authorities to the highly unusual circumstances engendered by the earthquake and the resulting cordon. Finally, the cenotaph constitutes a public memorial (as do all temporary memorials, even if they express intensely personal sentiments), yet it is not generally available for public consumption. Except on ANZAC Day and on February 22 (the anniversary of the earthquake), the cenotaph is stored within the offices of the Christchurch City Council. As such, Christchurch’s temporary cenotaph offers a fascinating case for scholarly analysis in that it fulfils the memorial functions of neither traditional war memorials nor temporary memorials. Methodology Research for this paper was undertaken as part of the “ANZAC Remembered” project headed by Monash University in Australia, which aims to gain a better understanding of the contemporary attitudes of Australians and New Zealanders towards ANZAC Day.27 In Christchurch, this investigation was focussed particularly on whether the views which people hold of ANZAC Day have been affected by the earthquakes. Extensive research into both the commemoration of war and the situation in post-earthquake Christchurch resulted in two principal hypotheses: firstly, that Christchurch residents are likely to have opinions on the dislocation of the commemoration from its traditional locations; and secondly, that residents might relate differently to ANZAC Day having gone through the experience of the earthquakes (although the earthquake and war 26  Ware, “Contemporary Anti-Memorials,” 130. 27  Bruce Scates, Rae Frances, Keir Reeves, et al., “ANZAC Day at Home and Abroad: Towards a History of Australia’s National Day,” History Compass 10:7 (2012), 526.


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experiences cannot be compared, the city has seen widespread destruction, loss, displacement and hardship). The issue of the temporary cenotaph falls into both these overarching hypotheses, and proved to be a subject of great interest to – and some stark division between – respondents. Following the methodology employed by Bruce Scates in his work on battlefield pilgrimages,28 opinions for this paper on the temporary cenotaph in Christchurch were garnered by two principal means: the distribution of surveys and in-depth interviews with interested survey respondents. The surveys were distributed throughout 2014 and 2015, at the start of the centenary of World War One and over the centenary of the landings at Gallipoli. At the end of this two-year period, 68 surveys containing questions on post-earthquake ANZAC Day in Christchurch had been completed.29 Interviews were subsequently held with 31 survey respondents, as well as with an additional four people who did not complete surveys (including one man who participated in an interview with his wife, who had responded to the survey, and one representative from the Christchurch City Council), making a total of 35 interviewees.30 On average, the interviews lasted between 25 and 100 minutes, with 40-45 minutes being the average time. These interviews were held between February and December 2015. Uptake of the survey was slow. While interested participants were able to access the survey online through the Monash University website, this facility did not generate much traffic. Circulating the survey through personal and organizational networks (the latter comprizing chiefly of heritage and veterans’ organisations, deemed to be most interested in the subject) proved more successful in terms of encouraging responses, but undoubtedly resulted in some sample bias with higher-than-proportionate representation from historians and veterans, as well as from migrants or dual nationality New Zealanders and people engaged in the non-governmental sector. In an effort to widen 28  Ibid. 29  Of the 68 survey respondents, 33 were women and 35 were men. In terms of age, two respondents indicated their age as 20 or under, 16 respondents were aged 21-30, 12 respondents were aged 31-45, 13 respondents were aged 46-60, 19 respondents were aged 61-75, three respondents were aged 76-90 and one respondent was over 90 years old. Two respondents did not provide this information. Seven of the 68 respondents had had some military service. 30  Twenty interviewees were women and 15 were men. In terms of age, one interviewee indicated their age as 20 or under, six interviewees were aged 21-30, four interviewees were aged 31-45, 10 interviewees were aged 46-60, 12 interviewees were aged 61-75, one interviewee was aged 76-89 and one interviewee was over 90 years old. Five interviewees had had some military service.

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the catchment, hard-copy surveys were left in public venues such as cafes, churches and office buildings frequented by a broader cross-section of society. Organizations such as the New Zealand Human Rights Commission, Heritage New Zealand, Historic Places Trust and Statistics New Zealand have also promoted the survey on their websites. While surveys are generally not a popular form of engagement, it is likely that people in Christchurch were even less inclined to take part in research than people elsewhere. Following the earthquakes, residents were asked to complete numerous surveys and consultations such that research fatigue remains a very real phenomenon in the city, particularly among people involved in recovery work. “Earthquake fatigue” is also in evidence, especially amongst people who have been able to “move on” and now want to put the earthquake experience behind them. In addition to the pervasive research and earthquake fatigue, there are major logistical challenges to conducting research in a post-disaster context. Certain archival and museum collections remain out-of-bounds, or have been moved to locations which are de-centralized and often temporary. Organizations and families have also relocated, often multiple times, which is exhausting and de-incentivises participation in anything beyond immediate necessary engagements. Staff of the Christchurch Memorial Returned and Services Association (RSA), for example – potentially powerful allies in the dissemination of the survey – worked throughout late 2014 and 2015 from their own homes while the organization headquarters were constructed. The omnipresence of the earthquakes and their aftermath needs to be respected and taken into consideration when conducting research – particularly interviews – in the city.

Respondents’ Attitudes to the Temporary Cenotaph

Within the surveys and interviews, the issue of the temporary cenotaph proved fairly central to discussion on ANZAC Day in Christchurch after the earthquakes. While this centrality is perhaps not surprisingly given the uniqueness of the concept, more unexpected was the variety of opinions expressed in reference to the seeming incongruousness of a “temporary cenotaph.” While a marginal number of people expressed indifference to the idea, and some people recognized it as a practical solution to a difficult and unusual problem, the majority of observations were negative. Respondents cited numerous reasons for this dissatisfaction, which together create a strong sense of how people view the role of cenotaphs, and war memorials in general.


Sally Carlton

As noted, the concept of a temporary cenotaph evoked no major feelings for a minority of respondents. When asked his opinion, one man claimed that, “I think whatever is going to work; I don’t think it’s a bad thing … I haven’t got any thoughts on it, sorry”31 – an attitude which reflected his overall ambivalence to ANZAC Day. One respondent with a strong aversion to ANZAC Day (stemming from her belief in its ability to positively promote war), acknowledged that although the cenotaph held no meaning for her personally, it might be important for others: I believe they build a sort of a temporary thing in Cranmer Square, a dais or something. It really doesn’t matter to me one way or the other. I think people should have what they want to have within reason but I don’t think we should be spending millions to get other places ready for ANZAC Day.32 In the context of post-earthquake Christchurch, such economic concerns are valid as the New Zealand government has pledged less than half the estimated NZD 40 billion needed for the rebuild,33 such that the issue of public spending – particularly, what is prioritized – has become reasonably sensitive. While indifference to the temporary cenotaph was rare, a larger number of respondents approached the issue pragmatically, acknowledging the difficult and unusual circumstances which have seen ANZAC Day services dislocated from their traditional site and have forced people to come up with practical, creative solutions to this problem. The cenotaph was described as “the best they can do under the circumstances”34 and, “the way of Christchurch at the moment; things are temporary but you make the most of it.”35 Such comments indicate acceptance but not necessarily analysis of the situation; some respondents, however, specifically linked the temporary cenotaph with the function it fulfils. “Given the experience we’ve had and what’s happening in our city, I have no problem at all with a temporary cathedral or temporary commemorative

31  Interviewee #28, male, 45-60 years, no military service. Interview conducted July 8, 2015. 32  Interviewee #14, female, 61-75 years, no military service. Interview conducted February 13, 2015. 33  Bill English, “Budget Speech – 21 May 2015,” accessed November 2, 2015, http://www. budget.govt.nz/budget/2015/speech/index.htm. 34  Interviewee #17, female, 21-20 years, no military service. Interview conducted February 18, 2015. 35  Interviewee #10, male, 46-60 years, no military service. Interview conducted February 12, 2015.

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symbols,”36 confirmed one respondent. Her words recognized the ongoing need in Christchurch both for spaces to meet and interact (for which she cited the Cardboard Cathedral, which is used for concerts and community events as much as for religious services) and for “symbols” to facilitate commemoration. This same idea was espoused by a respondent who explicitly linked the concept of the temporary cenotaph and the importance of monuments in war commemoration, noting that the structure “is a good example of practicality colliding with cultural needs.”37 In some responses, acknowledgement of the practical inevitability of a temporary cenotaph sits alongside an underlying sense of fatigue and distress. When asked to describe her feelings on the concept of a temporary cenotaph, one woman replied, “It is hard, especially because Christchurch has been through so much and you feel like everything is replacement, temporary.”38 For this respondent, the temporary cenotaph – by the very fact of being temporary – functioned as one more reminder of the disruption of the earthquake and its aftermath. Although not many people readily admitted to such anguish, it was fairly common for respondents to concede the possibility that other people might be struggling to come to terms with post-earthquake realities – which, for ANZAC Day commemoration, are embodied by the temporary cenotaph. Astutely reflecting on the situation, one respondent remarked, “Symbols kind of, I guess, gather meaning over time in different ways for different people. So for me, the temporary symbols being used in Christchurch just reflect the environment that we live in; [however] I can imagine the loss of those symbols would be quite upsetting [for other people].”39 This sort of opinion was particularly shared by younger respondents in reference to older generations, who were presumed to have greater attachment to pre-earthquake norms. By far the most prevalent type of observation on the temporary cenotaph relates to the seeming incongruous or contradictory nature of the concept. Almost without exception, this commentary is condemnatory. The negativity with which respondents reacted to the concept, as well as the variety of reasons put forward, provides an insight into how people view war memorials and the roles they are perceived to play. 36  Interviewee #19, female, 61-75 years, no military service. Interview conducted February 21, 2015. 37  Interviewee #31, male, 21-30 years, no military service. Interview conducted August 13, 2015. 38  Interviewee #29, female, 31-45 years, no military service. Interview conducted July 9, 2015. 39  Interviewee #18, male, 21-30 years, no military service. Interview conducted February 19, 2015.


Sally Carlton

The first issue with which people took offense was the physical structure itself. According to a representative of the Christchurch City Council involved in the ANZAC event team, the cenotaph was “made from MDF [and then] given some kind of treatment that made it look, from a distance of 300 metres, hewn of marble,”40 the latter technique undoubtedly employed in an attempt to lend the structure some sense of occasion and gravitas. Although the materials did not feature in the commentary of many respondents, a definite sense of incredulity was discernible in some reactions, particularly in terms of the combination of crude, cheap materials and arguably tacky finish. For example, when asked her opinion on the cenotaph, one respondent – who had remained unaware of the structure until that time – exclaimed, “A chipboard memorial? Wow. OK.”41 The other structural element of the temporary cenotaph, the wooden cross of the search-and-rescue team, also attracted some commentary. Some of these interpretations focussed on the religious overtones of such a symbol, which were not appreciated by those who chose to bring up the topic; for example, for one respondent, the cross was “an immediate turn off” because “it doesn’t mean anything” to him.42 The other angle which respondents pursued in relation to the cross was its obvious linkage with the earthquakes because of its origin as wood salvaged from the Cathedral by the search-and-rescue team. This consideration tended to follow two lines of thinking, depending on the emotional and symbolic value which respondents placed on the earthquakes. This divergence of attitude was perceptively recognized by one respondent: Some people really value – whereas others have very little connection to – physical aspects of the environment. So some people see that cross [and] they would probably feel very little connection to it and it wouldn’t mean anything to them and it could just reference the earthquakes. But for people who sort of value the aesthetic side of things, or perhaps attach memories to wherever that wood came from or the Cathedral, for them that’s an important part of kind of their remembrance process, I guess.43

40  Interviewee #13. 41  Interviewee #4, female, 31-45 years, no military service. Interview conducted January 28, 2015. 42  Interviewee #20, male, 46-60 years, no military service. Interview conducted March 25, 2015. 43  Interviewee #18.

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Just as this observer suspected, some respondents remarked upon the linkages in simple terms, noting that the physical presence of the cross atop the cenotaph “kind of hammers home there was an earthquake; [that] everything has changed.”44 Conversely, others used the opportunity to reflect on the emotions that these parallels evoked. Likening the earthquake experience in some small way to the ordeal of warfare, one respondent felt that the presence of the cross (representing the earthquake) on ANZAC Day (commemorating war) acted as a tangible link between the two events: “I think it’s great, seriously. I think it’s kind of symbolic. […] I think it’s nice that since we have been through that ordeal, we’ve got some stuff that’s been recycled from that catastrophe as well. So I think that’s quite cool; links it in quite nicely.”45 This comment is one of very few which can be seen as supporting Christchurch’s temporary cenotaph; most respondents indicated distaste for the concept. The impermanence of the structure was the main cause of criticism, with different reasons being voiced for this dissatisfaction. One element which people criticized was the idea of storing the cenotaph for most of the year, then bringing it out for key commemorative dates. One respondent was unable even to find words for her feelings on the issue: “I don’t like the sound of them trundling out … I suppose they have to do something but it does seem kind of …”46 Similarly, another respondent, who described herself as, “not a big fan of that at all; I think that it’s probably better you have nothing” also referenced the “trundling out” aspect: [A] focal point is often an organic thing, a bottom-up approach. People met there and then more people came and more people came, and I don’t think you get that by wheeling something in and out of a cupboard. […] I think anything that has a bit of history to it and like that day-to-day with people interacting, anything like temples or mosques or synagogues or war memorials, sometimes there is – and it’s hard to put your finger on it – there is a kind of energy and there is a kind of feeling and you get that over time. And again that’s something of the people, from the people; it’s not a Council or a Government saying, “OK, today we will feel sad and come to this place at 9:30.”47 44  Interviewee #17. 45  Interviewee #10. 46  Interviewee #11, female, 61-75 years, no military service. Interview conducted February 12, 2015. 47   Interviewee #33, female, 46-60 years, no military service. Interview conducted November 15, 2015.


Sally Carlton

The criticism levelled here against the temporary cenotaph centres on its limitations: when an object is brought into the public sphere twice a year for commemoration, it constitutes a restrictive, managed, top-down action which cannot adequately foster social bonds or the meaning which those social bonds would perpetuate. For this respondent, therefore, the temporary cenotaph is incapable of nurturing the social connections necessary to give it meaning. The respondent’s conviction of this limitation was further expressed by contrasting the temporary cenotaph with the Bridge of Remembrance, the city’s other key site of war commemoration, which she deemed as infused with “memories.” This same word was also used by another respondent, also in reference to the attachment to place which can be generated through social connections. She believed, “I’m sure if you ask a lot of Cantabrians they would say, ‘I remember when I was a child or a teenager or a young man or woman or whatever going to this place’ – and it’s not only the service; it’s actually about who you went with and where it took place.”48 The “energy” and “feeling” to which these respondents referred – the meaning which develops organically from a groundswell of popular engagement with a symbolic site – is for Erika Doss, scholar of temporary memorials, crucial to distinguishing them from official memorials.49 The temporary cenotaph subverts this model in that its temporary nature is at base responsible for the public’s inability to connect with it. Inherent in the comments above was the feeling that constructing a temporary cenotaph was an artificial act, dislocated from the meanings infused into permanent structures and sites over time and through collective activity. This feeling was shared by numerous respondents, who recognized that while the traditional cenotaph has been instilled with meaning, the temporary cenotaph has not. The City Council representative accepted this shortcoming, stating that, “In Hagley Park [where ANZAC Day 2011 was held], we did not have that edifice, that monument [that has come to] represent war and peace and victory and things like that. All we had was the simple wooden cross.”50 The sense that the temporary cenotaph equated to a loss of meaning in ANZAC Day evoked particularly passionate reactions from respondents, who questioned its relevance. For one respondent, the temporary cenotaph and its associated dislocation from the traditional site of war commemoration was

48  Interviewee #25, female, 61-75 years, no military service. Interview conducted June 15, 2015. 49  Doss, Contemporary Public Memorials, 8. 50  Interviewee #13.

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especially vexing because it lessened, in his view, the focus of ANZAC Day on the dead: That concept doesn’t particularly interest me. […] I think for me, standing at a service seeing those names is the moving part. […] I think having some sort of makeshift thing in the middle of a park totally loses relevance for me; I wouldn’t attend. […] It’s about remembrance – and what are you remembering if you’re not seeing the names of the people that died?51 Even more fervent emotion was expressed by another respondent, who described the temporary cenotaph as a “plastic imitation just like something you buy from a tourist shop; it’s not real. It doesn’t have that same meaning at all; it doesn’t do it for me, I’m afraid.” He continued, “I’d rather see something happen in Cathedral Square even if the cenotaph was behind a fence,”52 alluding again to the importance of traditional sites and symbols of war commemoration to maintain the meaning of the event. The impermanence of the temporary cenotaph, coupled with the supposed lack of meaning within it, also aroused negative reactions from respondents who viewed its twice-yearly appearance as restricting people’s ability to mourn or pay their respects. Such commentary tended to be expressed by people who interpreted ANZAC Day primarily as an occasion for public mourning, and particularly by the few people for whom the mourning of ANZAC Day was not restricted to soldiers (whether dead, returned or serving soldiers) but also encompassed earthquake victims or any lost loved ones. For such respondents, the official presumption that ANZAC Day and February 22 were the most important days for mourning aroused indignance: “Just because they’re the two days that people tend to go mark the occasion, show their respects, people might want to do that anytime. There might be significant days like birthdays or anniversaries that they want to celebrate on behalf of that person’s life.”53 Echoing these sentiments, another respondent stated, “People might want to honour their dead or whoever in different ways at any time; I think permanency is probably a good thing.”54 51  Interviewee #15, male, 46-60 years, military service. Interview conducted February 13, 2015. 52  Interviewee #2, male, 46-60 years, no military service. Interview conducted January 16, 2015. 53  Interviewee #29. 54   Interviewee #34, female, 31-45 years, no military service. Interview conducted December 14, 2015.


Sally Carlton

Just as the impermanence of the temporary cenotaph restricts people’s ability to choose their day for mourning, so too does it restrict the longevity of this mourning: the monument is only on display throughout the daytime on ANZAC Day and February 22 before being removed again. This timeframe not only limits public expressions of grief or respect to these few hours, but also removes the possibility of the memorial serving a longer-term purpose. Particular mention was made by two respondents to the function of commemorative wreaths. One respondent recalled that in 2015 he and his father had, for the first time, taken his eight-year son to the temporary cenotaph on ANZAC Day afternoon: “We looked at who had sent in flowers and what they were about and what they were saying” in order to show his son “what it was all about.”55 The wreaths provided powerful instruction, but this opportunity was only possible that single afternoon, before the cenotaph and wreaths were removed (Fig. 10.2). Lamenting the loss of this educational opportunity in Christchurch, another respondent mused that at another war memorial, the wreaths would sit there for days and so you would see people all the time going down and having a look at them and obviously thinking about it and discussing it and whathaveyou. Whereas they have the wreaths here but I don’t actually know where they go after that [the ceremony]. […] There’s not an actual place – that is, a permanent place – for them to be. So I think that probably means that there’s not as much interest in it. If you’re not there on the day at the time you kind of miss it which is sad.56 In referencing the finite public “life” of the wreaths, this respondent touched on an issue which proved of significant concern to many people: The fact that the temporary cenotaph, by virtue of being temporary, is unable to fill any pedagogic functions. The notion of “war memorial as pedagogic tool” featured in many responses, predominantly in reference to its role as a visible, permanent reminder of warfare, its victims and follies. Such sentiment echoes the findings of scholars who have underscored the importance of war memorials as transmitting messages across the generations.57 Common among interviewees was the belief that passing a war memorial would generate conscious or unconscious thought for the messages embedded within it. One respondent presented the situation thus: “Quite often – I don’t know, if a mother is taking her children 55  Interviewee #28. 56  Interviewee #25. 57  Inglis, “Monuments in the Modern City,” n.p.

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Fig. 10.2 The temporary cenotaph piled with wreaths, ANZAC Day 2014. Source: Author

into Ballantynes [a department store in central Christchurch, near to both the Cathedral and the Bridge of Remembrance] to shop or whatever – they walk past and it is an opportunity to talk about it or for discussion or for questions or whathaveyou.”58 This hypothetical scenario found resonance in another respondent’s real-life story, who explained that, “always, if we went into town with her [my grandmother], she would have explained to us what the Bridge of Remembrance was there for or what it meant, showed us names and things on it,”59 perhaps as a means of paying respect to the brother she lost in World War One. Importantly, people’s responses indicate that the cladding, fences and road cones separating passers-by from both the traditional cenotaph in Cathedral Square and the Bridge of Remembrance have not necessarily dampened their pedagogic power. In stark contrast to the opinions held by respondents that the temporary cenotaph constitutes an especially poor pedagogic tool, comments suggest that Christchurch’s traditional sites and symbols of war commemoration continue to provide meaning for some people despite the damage they have sustained. In the eyes of one respondent: “It’s a remembrance thing

58  Interviewee #25. 59  Interviewee #11.


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too. Like, every time you drive past the big memorial in Christchurch and although it’s all still fenced off, you still remember them.”60 Just as responses show that Christchurch’s traditional cenotaph and Bridge of Remembrance are believed to have a core pedagogic function, so too is this function seen as inherent to war memorials generally. Particularly given the rush and busyness of their lives, respondents reflected on the power of war memorials to focus their attention, however briefly, on the varying messages of peace and war which they embody. In the words of one respondent: “If I drive by and see it [my local war memorial], it just makes you think for a couple of seconds and then you carry on. […] Yeah, I like that we have them really visible and it’s easy to see.”61 This visibility was also critical to another respondent, who viewed the role of war memorials as maintaining contemporary knowledge of the past. She believed that without war memorials, “It’d be a lot easier to forget about the history and that kind of stuff which I think would be sad; history is important. […] I think those visuals and structures and that kind of stuff are the things that really prompt the memories and keep everybody thinking about it.”62

Understandings of War Memorials

With most respondents dismissing the temporary cenotaph as incapable of fulfilling the various functions they attribute to war memorials because these functions are inextricably linked to visibility and permanence, questions arose as to the value of the temporary cenotaph. Given its extremely short-term excursions into the public sphere, these questions revolved around the role of the structure on ANZAC Day specifically. The debate thus centred on whether or not a physical focal point is fundamental to commemorative services. The City Council representative in particular stressed the value of having the temporary cenotaph as a focal point for Christchurch’s post-earthquake ANZAC Day commemorations. In fact, he mentioned the words “focal point” 11 times in his interview, claiming, amongst others, that the temporary cenotaph constitutes “a handy focal point for want of anything better,” that it became the visual focal point of the Hagley Park service amongst a “vast expanse of green,” and that it has become “the portable focal point for ANZAC Day”

60  Interviewee #29. 61  Interviewee #10. 62  Interviewee #17.

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because it can be transported anywhere.63 Another respondent also noted the focal point role played by the temporary cenotaph but stressed that it is memories which give places “a special energy.”64 Other respondents recognized the importance of a focal point but reiterated their disenchantment with the idea of the temporary cenotaph. As an alternative, one man suggested that, in keeping with the military and patriotic elements of the service, “a flagpole would be the thing, something where you can have it at half-mast and you can lower it or raise it.”65 Reflection on the value of the temporary cenotaph led people to ponder whether a physical structure is indeed necessary for war commemoration. As one respondent mused, the topic “raises some interesting questions about why you need a monument. I have no idea; I don’t see why you need one. […] You do in Europe where it [the fighting] was – obviously there will be places there – but for here. No, not at all.”66 This sentiment hints at the artificiality of selecting sites for war commemoration thousands of miles from where the action occurred. An alternative reason was put forward by someone who framed the experience of reflecting on war and its consequences as intensely personal and internalized. He compared this belief to religion: “If people have a religion it’s actually somewhere between their left ear and right ear; it’s not in a structure.”67 Yet although these comments indicate that some people did not believe a physical structure was necessary, the majority of comments reiterated the need for a visible, permanent place or symbol which embodied war remembrance. In other words, the “focal point” role of war memorials was seen as essential. The most emphatic comment in this vein was: “I think everything is based around memorials. Like, for ANZAC Day, you go to your local memorial where the names are […] and that’s where you have your services.”68 Also seeing spaces and symbols of war commemoration as indissoluble from the services which take place there, one respondent remarked that, “I think the physical monuments are quite important to the commemoration – and the service is all about the commemoration – so it makes sense that they’re in the same place.”69 For these people, representative of the majority of respondents, the temporary cenotaph, by the very fact of being temporary, failed to engender meaningful commemorative messaging. 63  Interviewee #13. 64  Interviewee #33. 65  Interviewee #20. 66  Interviewee #15. 67  Interviewee #21, male, 61-75 years, no military service. Interview conducted April 9, 2015. 68  Interviewee #29. 69  Interviewee #31.


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Conclusion It has been argued that the purpose of war memorials is not only to remind people of the tragedy of war, but also to generate public and collective recognition of this tragedy.70 This assertion is supported by the opinions expressed by survey and interview respondents towards the temporary cenotaph. Respondents believed that people should be regularly exposed to war memorials, and be able to congregate at them whenever appropriate; yet because Christchurch’s temporary cenotaph is by its very nature neither permanently visible nor accessible, it is unable to fulfil these functions. The respondents thus failed to see much – if any – value in the temporary cenotaph. During his interview, the City Council representative asserted with confidence (false confidence perhaps, given the conclusions drawn in this paper) that the temporary cenotaph has become “so accepted and received as the focal point [that] now it’s simply referred to, not as ‘a temporary cenotaph’ but ‘the cenotaph.’”71 Yet the temporary cenotaph will only be used for as long as the traditional cenotaph remains out-of-bounds; once the situation in Cathedral Square is remedied, the traditional cenotaph will once again become the focal point of ANZAC Day services and year-round pedagogic and socialization opportunities. The traditional cenotaph will in this way fulfil the various functions which people attribute to war memorials. Yet for a couple of respondents, sensitive both to the act of paying respects at a war memorial and to the emotional toll that temporality is taking on Christchurch residents, the eventual and inevitable move away from using the temporary cenotaph is also a source of concern: Someone has paid their respects to this [temporary] memorial, so what’s going to happen to it later on? I suppose if people knew what was going to happen with everything that they placed … Are photos going to be taken? Or is there a way to display that somewhere else? Or combine that with the other memorial, the real one, when it’s ready to be used?72 Christchurch residents have already been “paying respects” at the temporary cenotaph for five years, with more years ahead. It is opportune, in this deliberation on notions of temporality and permanence, to reflect on the question: At what stage do we move from one memorial structure to the other? And, 70  Prost, “Mémoires locales et mémoires nationales,” 49. 71  Interviewee #13. 72  Interviewee #29.

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as insightfully noted by the respondent: How do we do justice to the acts of remembrance – the memories – that will ultimately be infused into the temporary structure? Despite the difficulties which people have in forming attachment to the temporary cenotaph, and the lack of value they attribute to it, it has become an important part of Christchurch’s war remembrance story. After all, although the temporary cenotaph can be described as “just a box; it’s not anything at all,” it has nonetheless “been invested with the prayers of many.”73 Works Cited Agulhon, Maurice. “La ‘statuomanie’ et l’histoire.” Ethnologie française 8(2-3) (1978): 145-72. Agulhon, Maurice. “Réflexions sur les monuments commémoratifs,” in La mémoire des Français: Quarante ans de commémorations de la Seconde guerre mondiale, 41-46, Paris: Centre régional de Publication de Paris Institut du Temps présent, 1986. Becker, Annette. “Les monuments aux morts: des œuvres d’art au service du souvenir.” Les Chemins de la Mémoire: Direction de la Mémoire, du Patrimoine et des Archives 144 (2004), 7-10. Doss, Erika. “Death, Art and Memory in the Public Sphere: The Visual and Material Culture of Grief in Contemporary America.” Mortality 7:1 (2002), 63-82. Doss, Erika. The Emotional Life of Contemporary Public Memorials: Towards a Theory of Temporary Memorials. Amsterdam University Press: Amsterdam, 2008. English, Bill. “Budget Speech – 21 May 2015.” Accessed November 2, 2015. http://www. budget.govt.nz/budget/2015/speech/index.htm. Furlong, Jane, Lorraine Knight, and Simon Slocombe. “‘They Shall Grow Not Old’: An Analysis of Trends in Memorialisation Based on Information Held by the UK National Inventory of War Memorials.” Cultural Trends 12:45 (2002), 1-42. Hamilton, Paula and Paul Ashton. “On Not Belonging: Memorial and Memory in Sydney.” Public History Review 9:47 (2001), 23-36. Hartig, Kate V. and Kevin M.  Dunn. “Roadside Memorials: Interpreting New Deathscapes in Newcastle, New South Wales.” Australian Geographical Studies 36:1 (1998), 5-20. Henry, Marilène Patten. Monumental Accusations: The Monuments aux Morts as Expressions of Popular Resentment. New York: Peter Lang, 1996. Inglis, Ken. “Monuments in the Modern City: The War Memorials of Melbourne and Sydney.” In Cities, Class and Communication: Essays in Honour of Asa Briggs, ed. Derek Fraser, n.p. New York and London: Harvester Wheatsheaf, 1990. 73  Interviewee #13.


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Inglis, Ken. “War Memorials: Ten Questions for Historians.” Guerres mondiales et conflits contemporains 167 (1992): 5-21. Kidd, William. “Identity and Iconography: French War Memorials 1914–1918 and 1939– 1945.” In Popular Culture and Mass Communication in Twentieth Century France, eds. Nicholas Hewitt and Rosemary Chapman, 220-40. Lampeter, Wales: The Edwin Mellen Press, 1992. Koselleck, Reinhart. “Kriegerdenkmale als Identitätsstiftung der Überlebenden.” In Poetik und Hermeneutik 8, eds. Odo Marquardt and Karlheinz Stierle, 255-76. Munich: Wilhelm Fink Verlag, 1979. Lynch, Keith. “Cathedral Timber Stands Tall Again.” The Press, March 16, 2011. Accessed November 15, 2015. http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/christchurch-earthquake/ 4772129/Cathedral-timber-stands-tall-again. Mayo, James M. “War Memorials as Political Memory.” Geographical Review 78:1 (1988), 62-75. Prost, Antoine. “Les monuments aux morts: Culte républicain? Culte civique? Culte patriotique?” In Les lieux de mémoire: La République, edited by Pierre Nora, 195-225, Paris: Editions Gallimard, 1984. Prost, Antoine. “Mémoires locales et mémoires nationales: Les monuments de 1914– 1918 en France.” Guerres mondiales et conflits contemporains 42:167 (1992), 41-50. Scates, Bruce, Rae Frances, Keir Reeves, et al. “ANZAC Day at Home and Abroad: Towards a History of Australia’s National Day.” History Compass 10:7 (2012), 523-536. Stocker, Mark. “Sculpture and Installation Art: Sculpture in the Early Twentieth Century.” Te Ara: The Encyclopedia of New Zealand, August 11, 2014. Accessed December 5, 2015. http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/photograph/41964/christchurch-citizens-war-memorial. Ware, Sue-Anne. “Contemporary Anti-Memorials and National Identity in the Victorian Landscape.” Journal of Australian Studies, 28: 81 (2004), 121-133. Ziino, Bart. “Claiming the Dead: Great War Memorials and their Communities.” Journal of the Royal Australian Historical Society 89:2 (2003), 145-61.

Chapter 11

“They Did Not Want Great Buildings”: The American and Canadian Legionnaires as Living Memorials Mary E. Osborne Introduction On 9–11 September 1926, an estimated 10,000 American Legionnaires gathered at Niagara Falls for the New York State Convention.1 Niagara Falls was a logical choice for the convention site, as a popular resort. Moreover, its location on the US-Canadian border also allowed the Canadian Legionnaires from Ontario to participate in the convention’s parade.2 This demonstration of transnational camaraderie exemplified the amicable relationship between the two nations and the organizations’ function as living memorials to the war. Living memorials acknowledge the service of veterans by providing service.3 In the past, the concept of a living memorial has always referred to a piece of infrastructure, such as a library or stadium.4 Frank Jewett Mather, Jr., (1868–1953) professor of art at Princeton University, in 1919 pronounced that living memorials “daily [impress] the memorial idea upon its visitants.”5 This kind of memorial also appealed to everyday Americans, who considered them “worthy and worthwhile.”6 One of the American Legion’s founders, Theodore Roosevelt, Jr., (1887–1944) suggested that both monuments and memorial buildings did little for both the war dead and the survivors and claimed that the Great War veterans needed a different type of memorial altogether: ‘“If the living could talk with the dead, they would find that they did not want great buildings dedicated 1  New York Times, September 9, 1926, 25. 2  Ibid. 3  The Bureau of Memorial Buildings, Community Buildings as War Memorials, bulletin no. 9. 4  National Committee on Memorial Buildings, For Living Tributes to Those Who Served in the Great War for Liberty and Democracy (New York: The Committee, 1919), preface; The Bureau of Memorial Buildings of War Camp Community Service, Community Buildings as War Memorials (New York: The Bureau, 1919), bulletin no. 9; “War Camp Community Service Backs Memorial Building Movement,” The American City 21 (1919), 30. 5  Frank Jewett Mather, Jr., “Fine Monuments,” The American Magazine of Art 10:7 (1919), 268. 6  R. M. Ogden, “Editorial Comment,” The High School Journal 2:3 (1919), 81.

© Verlag Ferdinand Schöningh, 2019 | doi:10.30965/9783657788224_012


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to their memories or monuments to keep alive the purpose for which they died. They would seek to have those who were left to carry on devote their time and energy to making the country a better place to live.’”7 Though the traditional description of a living memorial implies a building or piece of infrastructure, I argue that the concept also applies to the core functions of veterans’ organizations, such as the American and Canadian Legions, engaged in the kinds of activities that Roosevelt described.8 At the national level, the American Legion advocated for legislation to benefit veterans, but it was primarily at the local level where rank-and-file members shaped the Legion’s collective memory of the war. This chapter explores elements of that memory, including sacrifice, service, and camaraderie, through the tensions that sometimes arose between the national leadership and the local posts and compares the American Legionnaires’ experiences with that of the Canadian Legionnaires.

“The Less We Hear from Indianapolis the Better”

The American Legion delegates who addressed the convention often referred to the ideals or principles for which they had fought; however, a certain degree of ambiguity colors their recollections. For example, when Father John Bellamy delivered the invocation, he beseeched God for wisdom in choosing the Legion’s next leaders who would uphold “the principles for which we fought.”9 He then concluded the prayer by imploring God not to forget their departed comrades.10 He and other men who addressed the convention did not expound upon these principles, in part because they were among members of the same group. These men and women were all familiar with the tenets for which the Legion stood; however, vague references to ideals and principles also 7  The Border Cities Star, September 21, 1931. 8  According to historian Andrew M. Shanken, the first serious debate about living memorials arose after World War I, although the concept dates back to the Civil War, but the term has always been associated with some type of structure. Andrew M. Shanken, “Planning Memory: Living Memorials in the United States during World War II,” The Art Bulletin 84:1 (2002), 131-132. Professor Steven Trout notes that American Legion halls are classified as living memorials in his article on World War I memorials in Kansas, but he does not extend the definition to the organization itself. Steven Trout, “Forgotten Reminders: Kansas World War I Memorials,” Kansas History 29:3 (2006), 202 and 208-209. 9  American Legion, Proceedings of the Eighth Annual Convention of the American Legion, Department of New York, State Armory, Niagara Falls, N.Y., September 9-10-11, 1926 (Albany: J.B. Lyon Co., Printers, 1927), 8. 10  Ibid.

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facilitated the construction of a memory that all Legionnaires could claim and personalize based on their war experiences. Since its founding in 1919, the American Legion had insisted that it recognized no distinction of rank; however, most department commanders of New York were officers. According to Department Historian Clarence R. Smith, nineteen of the twenty-three commanders from 1919 to 1939 were officers in the war.11 Not only were the majority of department commanders once officers, but they were also college-educated men who pursued vocations in law, business, and medicine after the war.12 Although it is impossible to determine the socioeconomic class of every Legionnaire, the 1926 state convention proceedings indicate that the Department of New York had experienced discord between its posts and upper levels of leadership for unspecified reasons.13 A play written for the American Legion in 1925 by Great War veteran and Kansas native Kirke Mechem suggests that some of this disdain may have originated during the war between officers and enlisted men and between the regular army and the new recruits. Who Won the War? follows the exploits of several soldiers as they endure the hardships of war. In the first act, Spike, a seasoned private who is part of the regular army, and Petite, an inexperienced, and presumably college-educated, officer converse while on kitchen patrol. Petite complains, “As if all it takes to make a soldier is ten years and no brains … It wouldn’t be so bad if you fellows had ever seen actual service under fire. But you haven’t. And that’s why I can’t understand why you think you’re so much better soldiers.”14 Spike, however, retorts that the new college recruits lack discipline and common sense.15 Later in the second act, when the men encounter shelling, one soldier grumbles, “Officers! Officers, hell! … They tell you to do one thing one minute and the next they tell you to do the opposite.”16 As this dialogue indicates, new recruits who were highly educated often ridiculed their men who made up in experience what they lacked in formal education. These same experienced men similarly bemoaned their officers’ lack of common 11  Clarence R. Smith, ed., The American Legion in New York State: A History of the Department of New York for the Years 1919–1939 (Dansville, NY: F.A. Owen Publishing Co., 1942), 100-122. 12  Ibid. 13  American Legion, Proceedings of the Eighth Annual Convention, Department of New York, 18.; According to the American Legion’s website, the library does not maintain biographical information on members at the local level. Some post histories occasionally printed a membership roster complete with members’ professions, but these lists are not exhaustive. 14  Kirke Mechem, Who Won the War? A Play in Three Acts (London: Samuel French, 1928), 4. Copyright by Kirke Mechem, 1925. 15  Ibid., 5. 16  Ibid., 48.


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sense under fire. The second act displays more of the officers’ ineptitude during an episode of shelling. Most of the men yearn for competent leaders who will stand by their men, and one soldier, Sergeant McQuinn even refuses to retreat in order to stay with his fellow comrades engaged in battle. McQuinn survives the battle, and he and his sweetheart, a nurse, reunite at the end of the play.17 Staged around the country, Who Won the War? took a humorous look at the origins of some of the tensions that affected the American Legion, and it suggested that not all soldiers shared the same definition of sacrifice, service, and camaraderie, nor did they value these ideals equally. The enlisted men in Mechem’s play care more about their comrades’ welfare than military discipline, whereas the officers profess patriotism and duty to one’s country but understand little about the realities of war. Historian William Pencak observed that departments and posts sometimes expressed a sense of detachment from the Legion’s national headquarters as well. Indeed, the Leonard S. Morange Post No. 464 in Bronxville, New York, boasted of its independence and progressive attitude: “On national issues involving the war veteran, the Post has always taken an independent stand, a stand not infrequently conflicting with the majority opinion of other posts.”18 These Legionnaires prided themselves on their “democratic spirit” and cooperation and their rejection of “special power and privilege.”19 Class divisions as well as regional differences may have contributed to the tensions between the national headquarters and the posts. Therefore, when the national and state leaders employed such vague phraseology in their convention addresses, they tried to elide class differences and to foster harmony among members. In Mechem’s play Who Won the War?, Sergeant McQuinn represents that soldier who earnestly believes that the US is fighting the war to preserve these ideals. He declares, “Behind the blasphemy and dirt; behind this hell of war there is a faith! The faith that by our sacrifice men shall be made free!”20 Legionnaires could relate to such abstract concepts as liberty, justice, and democracy, whatever their class, and could rally around these ideals as the causes for which they fought as long as leaders did not imbue these ideals with specific definitions. Unlike the national organizational histories that propagandized the Legion’s overall mission, the post histories served an additional purpose. It is important 17  Ibid., 60, 89. 18  Ten Years of Comradeship and Service: Leonard S. Morange Post, No. 464, American Legion, Bronxville, New York (Abbott Press and Mortimer-Walling, Inc., c. 1929), under “national issues.” 19  Ibid. 20  Mechem, Who Won the War?, 26.

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to keep in mind that the majority of post histories were either unpublished or self-published, and therefore, they circulated among a limited readership. Most posts had given little consideration to maintaining any kind of historical collections until around 1926.21 The department historian urged his local counterparts to begin to collect and to retain information on their communities and to record the histories of their posts. These compilations illustrate the posts’ unique role in recovering and preserving the individual identities of their members and allude to the personalized nature of living memorials.

“He Is Not a Symbol to Many of Us – He Is Real”

In 1917, American servicemen and women became part of the American Expeditionary Force (AEF) and relinquished their identities as individuals. They served as part of a great war machine for a year and a half and subsequently returned home as individuals once more. However, the histories of the war being written immortalized the contributions of organizations and military leaders, rather than the sacrifices of the common citizen soldiers. In this respect, the post histories filled a void by emphasizing the efforts of the individual soldier and helped to personalize the memory of the war.22 This personalization of memory is most apparent in the naming of the posts themselves. Often Legionnaires named their posts in memory of a deceased comrade from that community. The Edward M. McKee Post No. 131 of Whitestone, New York, was named for a soldier killed in action. Reflecting on McKee’s memory, Dr. Louis Shapiro, the post historian, remarked, “Eddie is not a symbol to many of us – he is real for the boys with whom he played, went to school and church and to war, are still with us.”23 Other posts, such as the Elmhurst Post No. 298, chose to remember their deceased comrades in special ceremonies. The first public function that the Elmhurst Post held was a presentation of French diplomas to the relatives of the war dead in the auditorium of the Newtown High School on 23 February 1920. Monsignor T. Tionsit, a priest 21  Empire State Legionaire, January 1926, 2. 22  Jennifer Wingate describes a similar process involving traditional monuments that began in the 1880s when communities began to commemorate the American Civil War. In the post-Civil War era, monuments started to depict the citizen soldier, and the participation of individuals and groups in their construction and dedication personalized these memorials. Jennifer Wingate, Sculpting Doughboys: Memory, Gender, and Taste in America’s World War I Memorials (Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2013), 5 and 189. 23  Louis L. Shapiro, An Illustrated History of Edward M. McKee Post No. 131, Whitestone, New York (Whitestone, NY: The Algen Press, 1949), 5.


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and member of the French High Commission, who presented the diplomas, declared, “Until now the world has been thinking in terms of millions and not of single men. Until now, the world’s gratitude has gone out toward this nation as a whole, which gave without stint of its abundance both of men and wealth at a great crisis.”24 By reading the names on the certificates, the post refocused attention on the sacrifices of individuals at a time when the media celebrated national victory. Moreover, these types of ceremonies acknowledged the debt that the living owed to the dead.25 Underlying this emphasis on the individual soldier was the Legionnaires’ fear of being forgotten. When they presided over Memorial Day and Armistice Day observances, they preserved their fallen comrades’ memory. Sometimes, the dedication to preserve their memories assumed a more urgent nature. The Lafayette Post of Poughkeepsie, New York, made headlines in The Empire State Legionaire for rescuing the body of veteran Glen Englesbe from the obscurity of a pauper’s grave. Englesbe had died at Hudson River State Hospital, and since his father could not afford to have his son’s body shipped to California, Glen was slated to be buried in a potter’s field. The Lafayette Post, however, interceded to give Englesbe a military funeral in the Poughkeepsie Rural Cemetery. The Empire State Legionaire describes how this post saved Englesbe from the injustice of lying in an unmarked grave when he deserved proper respect for “sacrificing his all because his death resulted indirectly from his service.”26 The Legionnaires cared for their fallen comrades’ memory, but they also expressed concern about their own sacrifices being forgotten during their lifetimes. The anonymous poem “Forgotten” published in the history of the Henry P. Smith Post in Rome, New York, aptly expresses the Legionnaires’ general sentiments. In the poem, the veteran narrator reflects on his past while selling cigars. “Forgotten” encompasses a wide range of the narrator’s emotions: disbelief and bitterness concerning his situation, envy toward the draft dodgers and war profiteers, anger that veterans’ sacrifices are being i­gnored, and wistfulness that “the hour of Romance” has passed.27 The inclusion of this poem in the Smith Post’s history acknowledged that the veterans’ reassimilation into civilian life was not always a smooth process. Among other hardships, veterans faced unemployment, and thus, some veterans resented the manufacturers who attained great wealth at what they believed was their 24  J.  Vincent Gray, “History of the Elmhurst Post, No. 298, 1919–1933” (unpublished manuscript, ca. 1933), American Legion Library, Indianapolis, 27. 25  Ibid. 26  “Save Veteran’s Body from Potters Field,” The Empire State Legionaire, November 1925, 11. 27  Harry G. Hitchcock, “The History of Henry P. Smith Post No. 24 – Rome, N.Y. and Its Auxiliary” (unpublished manuscript, ca. 1937), American Legion Library, Indianapolis, 5.

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expense. To cope with their situations, many found solace in their memories of the war when they were called “gallant heroes.”28 Those who identified with the poem “Forgotten” recalled the thrill of sailing for France and the realization that they were participating in something greater than themselves. For these ordinary men, it was their “taste of Fame.”29 Many Legionnaires witnessed what it was like to be forgotten when they visited veterans in the state hospitals. A number of posts believed strongly in supporting their disabled comrades and undertook monthly visits to the local institutions where they talked with the patients and often distributed gifts. Sometimes, the Legionnaires treated patients to automobile rides, to dinners, or to ball games in an effort to connect them to the rest of the community.30 Eventually, the American Legion incorporated these types of visits into its larger rehabilitation program because of the enthusiastic response from the posts.31 The Department of New York established a Hospital and Welfare Committee to oversee the care of the disabled, namely, the construction of special hospitals for veterans.32 Just as many traditional memorials commemorate the sacrifices made during war, the Legionnaires paid tribute to their comrades’ sacrifices in tangible ways. They honored the deceased’s actions on national holidays and remembered them as individuals by naming posts after them. Post histories filled a void left by traditional memorials, for they humanized the names inscribed on the monuments. Moreover, they highlighted Legionnaires’ simple acts of kindness, such as feeding a hungry comrade or visiting an ailing brother-in-arms in the hospital. The actions of the local posts kept the memory of the war alive in their communities.

“The Beginning of an Everlasting Service”

As living memorials, the Legionnaires served the war’s survivors as well as its victims. The concept of service occupied a prominent place in the Legionnaires’ collective memory of the Great War. The Great War demanded sacrifices 28  Ibid. 29  Ibid. 30  Stanley Gothelf, “Richard J. McNally, Post 263, New York, New York, 1919–1969” (unpublished manuscript, ca. 1969), American Legion Library, Indianapolis, under “Seton Hospital”; “History [of] Charles Wagner Post No. 421, Hicksville, New York, 1919–1969” (unpublished manuscript, ca. 1969), American Legion Library, Indianapolis, 8-9. 31  Ibid., 9. 32  American Legion, Proceedings of the Eighth Annual Convention, Department of New York, 19.


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from men and women both on the battle front and on the home front. Many Legionnaires served their country willingly and gladly, and they took pride in their military service. At the 1926 New York State Convention, state leaders celebrated the Legionnaires’ service and praised the veterans for their “steadying influence” on their communities.33 Convention Program Chairman Benjamin Rhodes characterized the Legionnaires’ activities as a continuation of their military service in his welcoming address at the convention. He declared, “They will stand for that which is best in the country, wherever it may be. They have proven that again and again and we look to them for guidance.”34 Rhodes’ comments corresponded to the way in which many posts articulated their mission. Although political leaders often supported the Legion because it promoted nationalism, individual Legionnaires provided another perspective on their mission that complemented the national organization’s broader goals and elaborated on its collective war memory. They defined their purpose in terms of their military service which they believed did not truly end with the armistice. Instead, they anticipated ongoing battles back home to preserve the principles for which they fought. For them, the war had inaugurated “the beginning of an everlasting service” in which they advocated for their fellow veterans, educated the public, and protected their communities from detrimental ideologies.35 The Theodore R. Van Tassel Post in Wayland, New York, explained the concept in these terms: “The Legion does not exist as a means of securing recognition of services performed, but rather that those who have given of their lives in service, are through association, discipline and the education of experience best qualified to continue to serve our communities, states and country.”36 The phrase “best qualified to continue to serve” indicates that Legionnaires believed that their military service granted them a unique status in their communities. One demobilization officer observed that the returning soldier displayed a certainty that he had “‘rights and privileges peculiarly his own.’”37 Since veterans had already served and had kept the country safe, they should continue to do so in peace time. In this sense, their references to their wartime 33  Ibid., 11. 34  Ibid. 35  Frank Pasta, “Woodhaven Post, No. 118, The American Legion, 1919–1923” (unpublished manuscript, ca. 1923), American Legion Library, Indianapolis, 5. 36  Theodore R. Van Tassel Post No. 402, 1919–1922, Wayland, N.Y. [Dansville, NY: F.A. Owen Co., ca. 1922], 11. 37  Quoted from Memorandum for Director of Operations , Apr. 8, 1919 in Jennifer D. Keene, Doughboys, the Great War, and the Remaking of America (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2001), 166.

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experiences functioned as a coping mechanism during the initial readjustment to civilian life and beyond. The war had imbued them with a sacred purpose which they protected and sustained in the interwar years. Often this service entailed fulfilling the physical needs of veterans in their local communities. Medical care for the sick and disabled occupied a prominent place in the posts’ agendas, but perhaps the most pressing matter for Legionnaires was adjusted compensation (often referred to as “the bonus”) for the income lost during their military service. Historian Jennifer D. Keene states that veterans made the issue of adjusted compensation their “prime postwar cause.”38 Initially, however, the leaders of the American Legion opposed the idea and supported the position of the Presidential administrations of Woodrow Wilson, Warren G. Harding, and Calvin Coolidge.39 The Presidents argued that veterans did not need financial compensation for doing their duty to their country, an opinion that many founders of the Legion shared.40 Echoing the sentiments of the national organization, members of the Leonard S. Morange Post in Bronxville, New York, called the bonus legislation “unpatriotic.” They claimed that able-bodied men did not need compensation from the government; moreover, these payments would be an affront to the veterans’ self-respect.41 In other words, healthy men would infer that the government believed they could not provide for themselves and their families. Detractors also feared that granting adjusted compensation would encourage veterans to be lazy, especially African-American veterans.42 Some Southerners worried that blacks would refuse to work in the fields as long as their bonus lasted.43 That many African-Americans, such as the Harlem Hellfighters, had distinguished themselves during the war mattered little to racist Legionnaires. Others contended that it was impossible to put a price on patriotism when veterans who served overseas faced hardships that those who remained stateside did not. How could the government ensure the fair distribution of funds?44 Perhaps the most compelling argument against adjusted compensation, however, originated with the Chamber of Commerce which warned that implementation of a bonus would interfere with Secretary of the 38  Jennifer D. Keene, Doughboys, the Great War, and the Remaking of America (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2001), 6. 39  Stephen R. Ortiz, Beyond the Bonus March and GI Bill: How Veteran Politics Shaped the New Deal Era (New York: New York University Press, 2012), 25. 40  Keene, Doughboys, 171. 41  Ten Years of Comradeship and Service, image 2014.1.249-250. 42  Keene, Doughboys, 173. 43  Ibid. 44  Ibid.


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Treasury Andrew Mellon’s proposal for economic recovery. Mellon asserted that the country could not afford both a tax cut and adjusted compensation.45 Posts that opposed the bonus did not deny those whom they believed had legitimate needs. The Leonard S. Morange Post, for example, worked to establish The Bronxville Welfare Fund, whose funds were available for needy exservicemen regardless of whether they were Legionnaires.46 Whatever their stance on the bonus, posts did assist veterans in maintaining their role as providers for their families. Employment featured as one of the goals in an illustration in the 1923 Legion Annual in which the slogan “Let’s Take Care of Him!” graces the top of the page. Beneath these words, two men stand in the foreground. One is an injured soldier still in uniform, and the other is a well-dressed civilian. The illustration does not indicate whether the civilian is a veteran, but its message is clear. America’s duty is to provide hospitalization, shelter, and employment for those veterans who have need of them. That the public should return the service that the soldiers have already rendered is implied in the depiction of a battle in the background.47 Many posts, such as the Fort Orange Post No. 30 of Albany, New York, were affected by the recession in 1920, and those veterans who had yet to re-establish themselves as civilians suffered the most.48 As part of their mission of ongoing service, posts started welfare funds and employment bureaus. In fact, the American Legion’s National Executive Committee endorsed the New York City Re-Employment Bureau and its work and urged posts to cooperate with this and similar organizations’ endeavors.49 Helping able-bodied veterans achieve self-sufficiency would prevent the spread of radicalism, many Legionnaires believed, for postwar socialists “still competed significantly in elections in such cities as New York, Milwaukee, Cincinnati, Schenectady, and Reading, Pennsylvania.”50 Although many rank-and-file Legionnaires backed proposals for adjusted compensation, Legion leaders worked to suppress the issue to preserve their organization’s unity.51 They recalled how divisive the issue of pensions had been for Civil War veterans’ organizations and wanted to avoid a similar debacle. 45  Ibid. 46  Ten Years of Comradeship and Service, under “Bronxville Welfare Fund.” 47  Sydney G. Gumpertz, ed., The Official Year Book of The American Legion Department of New York, (n.p.: 1923), 7. 48  Walter Fitzpatrick, “Fort Orange Post No. 30, Albany, N.Y.: History from Its Foundation 1919 to June, 1949” (unpublished manuscript, ca. 1949), The American Legion Library, Indianapolis, 5. 49  Smith, The American Legion in New York State, 70. 50  William Pencak, For God & Country: The American Legion, 1919–1941 (Boston: Northeastern University Press, 1989), 154-155. 51  Ortiz, Beyond the Bonus March, 25.

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Supporters of adjusted compensation countered that they had willingly served their country and therefore deserved compensation for all they had sacrificed.52 The history of the Yonkers Post No. 7 records that one of most pressing matters during the early years of its existence was the campaign for adjusted compensation. The author of the history, Leonard Barden, stresses that unlike a number of posts in New York, the Yonkers Post “was unanimously in back of the bonus legislation.”53 Barden further notes that the Yonkers Post delegates to the county and state conventions berated some vocal opponents of the bonus, such as Brokaw Compton of City Post in New York.54 Posts outside of the vicinity of New York City experienced unrest as well. In 1921, several mass meetings convened to discuss the New York State Bonus Act. When the Court of Appeals ruled the act unconstitutional, the Henry P. Smith Post in Rome, New York, orchestrated a military funeral procession covering several blocks that concluded with the “cremation” of the decision.55 Other posts, such as the Woodhaven Post, No. 118, participated in a Bonus Parade in October 1920.56 Eventually, advocates of adjusted compensation persuaded members of the Legion’s National Executive Committee to support a bill.57 According to the World War Adjusted Compensation Act of 1924, veterans who had been stationed overseas were to receive $1.25 per day for each day served abroad while those who remained stateside were paid $1.00 per day, and “only those who had served for sixty days received adjusted compensation.”58 Other veterans’ organizations, such as the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) and the Private Soldiers and Sailors Legion, supported the passage of an adjusted compensation bill from the beginning.59 In 1924, the American Legion voted to support payment to veterans in the form of bond certificates that would mature in 1945, but this decision had caused division within the organization.60 The effects undoubtedly still echoed throughout the organization in 1926. The fight for adjusted compensation for those who served illustrated the American Legion’s concern for veterans’ and their dependents’ physical wellbeing. The concept of ongoing service, however, is ambiguous, for it can apply 52  Keene, Doughboys, 172. 53  Leonard Barden, “History of Yonkers Post, No. 7, The American Legion, Yonkers, New York” (unpublished manuscript, ca. 1930), American Legion Library, Indianapolis, chapter 1. 54  Ibid, under “Brokaw Compton.” 55  Hitchcock, “History of the Henry P. Smith Post,” 4. 56  Pasta, “Woodhaven Post,” 11. 57  Ortiz, Beyond the Bonus March, 25. 58  Keene, Doughboys, 176. 59  Ortiz, Beyond the Bonus March, 25; Keene, Doughboys, 171. 60  Keene, Doughboys, 175.


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to providing for veterans’ physical needs as well as to protecting the ideals for which soldiers fought. The American Legion dedicated itself to doing both. One way it proposed to continue to protect these principles was supporting military preparedness, but some in the Legion believed that internal dangers also threatened American ideals. In his address to the New York State Convention in 1926, Theodore Roosevelt, Jr., chastised the American public for neglecting these important ideals. He contended that although most Americans had contributed “unselfishly” to the war effort, materialism was now causing citizens to become complacent. Instead of safeguarding liberty and democracy, they were preoccupied with prosperity. Roosevelt reminded the audience, “We served shoulder-to-shoulder during the war for a common cause for which we made common sacrifices.”61 He believed that this mission was ongoing and that the spirit of voluntarism that manifested itself during the war was needed still. By emphasizing the theme of ongoing service, Roosevelt and others hoped to not only protect American ideals but also to ensure that their service during the war was not in vain and would not be forgotten. Since the concept was ambiguous, posts personalized their service by concentrating on what they determined was their individual community’s needs. In order to attract members initially, some military newspapers described joining the Legion as a means of “continuing the fight for liberty in civil life” and of effecting political changes, while many posts promised to care for their members in more tangible and immediate ways.62

“That Feeling of Brotherhood and Fraternity”

To accomplish all of these goals, the American Legion needed manpower and money. The New York Department Commander Harry C. Wilder noted in his annual report to the state convention that “Foresight is badly needed at this time. A slump in membership, which is always possible, will be disastrous when we are operating so near the margin.”63 The Department of New York demanded relatively little revenue from its Legionnaires by deducting just over twenty-five cents per member from his two dollars in annual dues; whereas 61  The New York Times, September 20, 1926, 5. 62  E.  Bessie Nelson, “The History of the Florence Nightingale Post of the American Legion of Rochester, New York” (unpublished manuscript, ca. 1950), American Legion Library, Indianapolis, 2; Gray, “History of the Elmhurst Post,” 10-11, 27; Pasta, “History of the Woodhaven Post,” 7. 63  American Legion, Proceedings of the Eighth Annual Convention, Department of New York, 13.

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other departments collected two to four times that amount.64 Nevertheless, the Department of New York managed to fulfill such obligations as administering the Veterans’ Mountain Camp for convalescent ex-servicemen, the Poppy Drive, and the Endowment Fund despite limited funds.65 In addition to the test mobilization of posts, those overseeing the membership drives employed the usual methods to attract attention, such as printed bulletins and broadsides.66 The membership report contained encouraging news: statistics showed a state organization of 60,000, and by the end of the year, the state would add nearly a thousand members for a total of 60,960.67 At this time in 1926, national membership approached 690,000 members.68 Although New York Legionnaires had reason to celebrate this news, they still had their work cut out for them. State membership had fluctuated over the years and had fallen dramatically in the past two years. In fact, 1926 marked the first year that the New York State Legion did not lose members, and from this point on until the end of the decade, membership steadily increased. By the end of 1929, the number of Legionnaires in New York numbered 73,560, while national membership had risen to 794,219.69 The membership report delivered at the department convention warned, “Membership is not what it should be in the large centers,” but did not supply any reasons for why this might be.70 It recommended that the situation be studied and condemned those veterans, who benefited from the Legion’s work but refused to participate in the organization.71 Without the spirit of community that the Legion had labored to cultivate in the early years of its existence, it would fade away as many of its predecessors had done. The posts themselves were just as concerned about membership statistics as the state organization. From 1920 to 1925, the total number of members in New York State declined from 69,701 to 60,440.72 Unemployment, debates about adjusted compensation, and the deaths of members adversely affected membership. Though they survived the war, some veterans later died from injuries sustained in battle or from the effects of poisonous gas, and in their histories,

64  Ibid.; Smith, The American Legion in New York State, 29. 65  American Legion, Proceedings of the Eighth Annual Convention, Department of New York, 13. 66  Ibid., 21. 67  Ibid., 22; Smith, The American Legion in New York State, 509. 68  Smith, The American Legion in New York State, 507. 69  Ibid., 507 and 509. 70  American Legion, Proceedings of the Eighth Annual Convention, Department of New York, 22. 71  Ibid. 72  Smith, The American Legion in New York State, 509.


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several posts remark on presiding over funerals soon after their formation.73 Some members left the organization when the Legion endorsed adjusted compensation, and others joined the Legion merely to obtain such benefits as the adjusted compensation certificate and then quit once Congress passed the legislation. Shrinking incomes also hampered the Legion’s ability to serve veterans. Unable to pay their dues, some Legionnaires quit the organization.74 The Yonkers Post also reported that veterans left the post once their needs had been met, since the post’s relief committee paid needy veterans’ rent, bought them food, and helped find employment for them.75 Other posts suffered from increased competition from newly-established posts.76 Therefore, the more active the post, the more likely it was to retain and to attract new members. In its post history, The Henry P. Smith Post of Rome, New York, described this feeling of camaraderie as an essential element in the American “spirit” that Legionnaires often invoked at conventions and other gatherings: Still the spirit of America lives and grows Fed with memories both bitter and sweet; And the brave lads surviving that Great World War, In the Legion found that spirit complete, – Loyalty, – Courage, – and Brotherhood – In Rome’s Legion Home all will greet; There on Old Glory’s first site, the finest thing Is the spirit that you meet!77 The Henry P. Smith Post believed that it personified Americanism with its acts of loyalty, courage, and brotherhood. The spirit of America was the spirit of freedom advanced and protected by her veterans. Both pleasant and disturbing episodes composed their memories of their war, and at the Legion post, veterans found others who shared these memories. Canadian historian Robert Rutherdale explains that although civilians in the interwar years 73  Abram Brown, “A History of the Burton Potter Post #185, American Legion, Greenport, New York, 1919–1936” (unpublished manuscript, ca. 1936), American Legion Library, Indianapolis, 8; “History of Charles Wagner Post No. 421, Hicksville, New York, 1919– 1969” (unpublished manuscript, ca. 1969), American Legion Library, Indianapolis, 8; George M. Davis, Jr., History of New Rochelle Post No. 8, American Legion (New Rochelle, NY: The Pioneer Press, 1938), 27. 74  Barden, “History of Yonkers Post,” n.p. 75  Ibid. 76  Ibid. 77  Hitchcock, “History of Henry P. Smith Post,” under “The Spirit That You Meet.”

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acknowledged veterans’ service and showed their appreciation, they did not always understand what veterans needed.78 Rutherdale was referring to such needs as employment, pensions, job training, and housing; however, veterans also had emotional needs that civilians could not meet, simply because they had not served in the war.79 The American Legion posts as well as other veterans’ associations fulfilled these needs for many ex-servicemen and women. Furthermore, the posts’ acts of camaraderie helped sustain the memory of the war for their members and for the public as well as create a sense of community.80 The Theodore R. Van Tassel Post linked wartime camaraderie to a spirit of community that everyone could foster: “The same spirit which caused men to know one another as ‘Buddy,’ can prompt us to know each citizen as ‘Neighbor’ and the spirit of the Community is the same sacred spirit as Comradeship.”81 This post recognized the importance of the local community in capturing this spirit because the regular encounters that occurred among neighbors could embed it more thoroughly than any national campaign.82 These encounters assumed various forms. For example, some were exclusive, limited only to post members, and in fact, some posts, such as the First New York Cavalry Post, No. 296 of Brooklyn, New York, stipulated that only veterans who had served with the First New York Cavalry were eligible to join. The founders of the post reasoned that they and the rest of the men from the First New York “would feel more comfortable with the men with whom they served in WWI.”83 Meetings where Legionnaires conducted post business were restricted to members, but many of the social events they planned were open to the public. Post histories reveal that Legionnaires liked to party with a purpose. One of the more popular forms of entertainment during the interwar years was dancing, and posts often held dances not only to raise money for their activities but also to foster community spirit. In the early 1920s, many posts began to observe Armistice Day with a dance. At the Yonkers Post’s first Armistice Day dance, a one-dollar admission fee bought attendees entertainment and refreshments. Usually, the Legion post secured a speaker to deliver an address commemorating the end of the war. During the Yonkers Post’s first Armistice Day dance 78  Robert Rutherdale, Hometown Horizons: Local Responses to Canada’s Great War (Vancouver: UBC Press, 2004), 226. 79  Ibid., 235. 80  Keene, Doughboys, 162. 81  Theodore R. Van Tassel Post, 11. 82  Ibid. 83  William H. Hallahan, Jr., “First New York Cavalry Post, No. 296, Brooklyn, New York, 1919– 1972” (unpublished manuscript, ca. 1972), American Legion Library, Indianapolis, 1.


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in 1921, the Honorable Benjamin Moore reflected on the meaning of the day to veterans and the public alike.84 Now marked by solemnity and reflection, Veterans Day (or Armistice Day as it was then known) represented victory and celebration for the Legionnaires as well as a time to remember their fallen comrades.85 Armistice Day observances in Rome, New York, over which the Henry P. Smith Post presided, included calling out the individual names of the deceased, thereby reiterating the personal nature of the war. After a name was called, nurses placed a poppy on a special table.86 Other reminders of France lacked the gravitas of the poppy, and instead evoked the Legionnaires’ nostalgia for the war, when they were younger and carefree. To raise money to build their headquarters and later to assist sick and disabled veterans, the Fort Orange Post of Albany, New York, held a bazaar dubbed “Night in Paris.”87 Since posts used the money generated by the dances and other events to give back to their communities either directly or indirectly, other civic, political, and fraternal organizations often pledged their support to the posts.88 By extending invitations to their social events to all veterans in their communities, the posts established a kind of camaraderie that transcended the war. Moreover, they often became a vital presence in their communities for which town leaders expressed their appreciation.89 Sometimes, however, Legionnaires incurred their communities’ outrage when their reminiscing violated the accepted standards of propriety. On November 11, 1919, the Burton Potter Post in Greenport, New York, participated in a parade to commemorate the armistice. Afterwards, the post gave a dance “which developed into a wild affair which was the cause of a lot of unpleasant talk in the community and in the Post.”90 These types of scandals demonstrated that the Legionnaires’ status as veterans could not always excuse their actions. Behavior that might have been tolerated during wartime could not be justified in peacetime. When the war ended, soldiers’ roles changed, and they had to re-assimilate into civilian life. Meanwhile, many Americans wanted to forget the war and return to some semblance of normality. To remind themselves that they had a purpose, Legionnaires clung to their memories of the war in which they believed they had made a difference.

84  Barden, “History of Yonkers Post, under “Armistice Day.” 85  Gray, “History of the Elmhurst Post,” 60. 86  Hitchcock, “The History of Henry P. Smith Post,” 4. 87  Fitzpatrick, “Fort Orange Post,” 7a, 9. 88  Pasta, “Woodhaven Post,” 11. 89  Hitchcock, “The History of Henry P. Smith Post,” 9; Fitzpatrick, “Fort Orange Post,” 9. 90  Brown, “A History of Burton Potter Post,” 5.

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“Whether on the North or South of This Invisible Line”

Camaraderie functioned as a catalyst to stimulate these memories, and it transcended national boundaries. The attention to the American Legion’s strong sense of nationalism and support of isolationism in the 1930s has overshadowed its commitment to building relationships with veterans from Allied nations.91 Reaching out to their old comrades aligned with the purposes of the organization set forth in the preamble to their constitution, one of which was “to preserve the memories and incidents of our association in the great war.”92 The Legionnaires of the Great War interpreted this association to extend beyond the United States’ borders to include any former ally. Since the US and Canada not only fought on the same side during the war but also shared a British heritage, American and Canadian Legionnaires already had a foundation on which to build a friendship.93 Encouraging the continuation of this friendship was important if the American Legion hoped to preserve its collective memory of the war and to further its other objectives, such as promoting peace and goodwill and protecting the principles of democracy.94 In 1926, the organizers of the New York State Convention announced that Canadian veterans had joined the American Legionnaires at Niagara Falls.95 Commander Wilder reminded the delegates of great sacrifices the Canadians had made during the war, a service record the American Legionnaires could both admire and understand. He then introduced LieutenantColonel J. Keiller MacKay, the Vice-Chairman of the Canadian Legion.96 At the time of MacKay’s speech, the Canadian Legion of the British Empire Service League was not quite a year old. Although Canada had been dealing with issues affecting veterans of the World War longer than the US, MacKay expressed the hope that the Canadian Legion could learn from the American Legion.97 He also commented on the shared heritage of the Canadians and Americans, and he implied that in the post-war era, Canada stood where the US did in the 91  For recent studies on the development of veterans’ internationalism, see Julia Eichenberg and John Paul Newman, The Great War and Veterans’ Internationalism (London: Palgrave MacMillan, 2013) and Bruno Cabanes, The Great War and the Origins of Humanitarianism, 1918–1924 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014). 92  Richard Seelye Jones, A History of the American Legion (Indianapolis: The Bobbs-Merill Co., 1946), 40. 93  American Legion, Proceedings of the Eighth Annual Convention, Department of New York, 49. 94  Jones, A History of the American Legion, 40. 95  American Legion, Proceedings of the Eighth Annual Convention, Department of New York, 49. 96  Ibid. Lieutenant-Colonel MacKay’s position in the Canadian Legion was equivalent to that of a National Vice-Commander in the American Legion. 97  American Legion, Proceedings of the Eighth Annual Convention, Department of New York, 50.


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mid-nineteenth century in terms of the development of its natural resources and industry. Although Canada possessed inexhaustible natural resources and the drive to become a modern nation, it faced a labor shortage: the war had cost Canada 215,000 casualties, approximately 65,000 dead and 150,000 wounded.98 MacKay asserted that the surviving young men who were to lead Canada into the future needed encouragement from organizations, such as the American Legion “to make a forward advance and retrieve what we have lost in the war.”99 MacKay’s speech echoed themes in the American Legion’s collective memory of the war: sacrifice which made veterans passionate for their country’s future, service which should continue in peace time, and fraternity which should bind veterans of common cultures together.100 He insisted that the American war for independence did not negate the common British culture that both Canadians and Americans could claim and that the Legionnaires should lay aside any animosities in favor of working together to protect what had been won during the war.101 Similar to the post histories, MacKay’s address characterized this generation of Legionnaires as uniquely positioned to guard their countries – indeed civilization – against the tyranny of dictators and war profiteers. He declared, “If this be not done by those who fought and bled, by those who passed through the great crucible into which I pray God we may never again go, then it will never be done in this generation or any other.”102 MacKay’s address met with applause. The nascent Canadian Legion wanted to maintain the amicable relationship with the American Legion that the Great War Veterans’ Association (GWVA) had nurtured. When the American Legion held its first national convention in Minneapolis in 1919, the GWVA had sent an officer to represent the organization at the meetings.103 Several years later in 1921, the GWVA approved a proposal submitted by the American Legion to “exchange fraternal courtesies.”104 Essentially, the GWVA agreed to extend official greetings and privileges to American Legionnaires visiting Canada with the understanding that the American Legion would reciprocate for members of the GWVA.105

98  Ibid. 99  Ibid., 51. 100  Ibid. 101  Ibid., 52. 102  Ibid. 103  Minutes of the Great War Veterans’ Association of Canada, 1919, Royal Canadian Legion Fonds, Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa, 176. 104  Ibid., 1921, 221. 105  Ibid., 221-222.

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More significant, the passage of this proposal indicated that the GWVA and its successor, the Canadian Legion, believed in the necessity of fostering a “spirit of mutual cooperation” among veterans of Allied countries.106 Not only were Canadian and American veterans bound by a common heritage, but they were also linked by devotion to a common cause which they defended against a common enemy.107 Now as they faced similar challenges to readjust to civilian life, extending each other the privileges of their respective organizations symbolized their solidarity. Enacting this proposal became especially important as branches of the Canadian Legion formed in the United States. For example, in March 1926, the first branch of the Canadian Legion outside Canada was established in Spokane, Washington, when members of the British War Veterans Association voted to reorganize as part of the Canadian Legion.108 The American Legion’s continuing symbolic support no doubt buoyed the Canadian Legionnaires’ spirits. In 1926, the association was still in the process of organizing and had yet to hold a national convention. As leaders worked to placate internal disputes, they also tried to defend the association from accusations of fascism.109 Many foreign labor organizations, such as those in France, branded American Legionnaires as fascists for their ardent nationalism. Some labor activists believed the Legionnaires embodied the right-wing political movement already spreading across Europe in Poland, Romania, Hungary, Italy, and Germany.110 The Legion’s “doctrine of Americanism mirrored fascist belief systems by promoting an acute form of nationalism,” but the association differed from genuine fascist organizations with its diffusion of power, its absence of revolutionary rhetoric, and its respect for American laws.111 Symbolic gestures from a like-minded veterans’ organization likely strengthened the Canadian Legion’s officers’ resolve to make the new association successful. The Canadian Legion subscribed to the traditional war narrative that emphasized its service to the Empire and Canada’s coming of age, and therefore, it resembled the American Legion in its conservatism.112 Its collective memory of the war comprised sacrifice, service, and comradeship; however, 106  Ibid., 221. 107  Ibid. 108  Clifford H. Bowering, Service: The Story of the Canadian Legion, 1925–1960 (Ottawa: The Canadian Legion, 1960), 36. 109  Ibid., 30-31. 110  Brooke L. Blower, Becoming Americans in Paris: Transatlantic Politics and Culture between the World Wars (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011), 184. 111  Ibid., 187 and 189. 112  Mark David Sheftall, Altered Memories of the Great War: Divergent Narratives of Britain, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada (London: I.B. Taurus, 2009), 127 and 148.


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rendering adequate service to veterans took precedence in the early years of the Canadian Legion’s existence. To accomplish this goal, Canadian Legion branches had to attract members. The Oshawa Branch in Ontario was one of the first branches to be established, and in 1926, the branch recorded that it had fifty-seven members.113 The first year of its existence passed in organizational and business meetings. As a result, this branch and others had little time or resources to devote to activities. The Fredericton Branch No. 4, in Fredericton, New Brunswick, recorded one hundred members in 1926 but had few funds as members were trying to establish homes and careers.114 The authors of the branch histories describe the concept of service in practical, tangible ways, such as assisting veterans in obtaining employment and their benefits. Although the Canadian government largely escaped the socalled “pension evil” inflicted upon the US government by Civil War veterans’ associations, it could not as easily evade the matter of adjusted compensation because greater numbers of veterans had served longer tours of duty abroad. Former sergeant and British merchant skipper George Waistell proposed what became known as the Calgary Resolution in 1919.115 A cash grant from the government could speed the veterans’ readjustment to civilian life by allowing them to pursue a vocation, proponents argued. In addition, a Liberal Member in Alberta’s Legislative Assembly contended that such a payment “would prevent paternalistic meddling on the part of the state.”116 The Calgary Resolution suggested that men who served at the front be eligible to receive $2,000; men who went to Great Britain, $1,500; and men who remained in Canada, $1,000.117 Some in Ottawa objected, however, that the bonus would increase the national debt, which stood at two billion dollars already.118 This bonus proved to be just as divisive for Canadian veterans’ groups as it would be for American ones. The GWVA attempted to remain neutral, but later condemned the resolution. Detractors insisted that if veterans accepted this compensation, they would cheapen themselves.119 The GWVA, they maintained, should focus on providing for widows, orphans, and the disabled vet113  June Brown, First Fifty Years: Royal Canadian Legion Branch 43 (Oshawa, ON: General Printers, 1979), 9-10. 114  William Simcock, The First Sixty Years: The Royal Canadian Legion, Fredericton Branch No. 4 (Fredericton, N.B.: Royal Canadian Legion, 1985), 20. 115  Desmond Morton and Glenn Wright, Winning the Second Battle: Canadian Veterans and the Return to Civilian Life 1915–1930 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1987), 122. 116  Ibid. 117  Ibid. 118  Ibid., 123. 119  Ibid.

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erans. The idea of the bonus proved attractive to newer members, and for the sake of its membership, the GWVA eventually devised a compromise during a convention.120 A joint committee composed of members of Parliament and the GWVA should determine ways to limit the bonus, such as the country’s ability to pay, in order to lessen the economic burden. Despite this compromise, the government did not waver from its original position: officials stated that the government had already provided for veterans under the guise of the War Service Gratuity, soldier settlement, and pensions. James A. Calder, chairman of both the Repatriation Committee and a special committee that studied the bonus matter, noted that the government had already committed half a billion dollars to veterans.121 Designating more funds towards veterans would ensnare the government in a situation similar to the dreaded “pension evil” it had sought to avoid. When the bonus issue died, many members broke ranks with the GWVA to join other associations, such as the Grand Army of Canada and the United Veterans’ League.122 The campaign for the bonus had damaged the GWVA’s reputation by depicting it as greedy and weak.123 The veterans’ association would have other opportunities to rectify its standing among veterans, however, because others would continually resurrect the bonus issue. For example, shortly after the introduction and failure of the Calgary Resolution, the American Legion began to make demands for adjusted compensation. An employee of the Soldier Settlement Board and president of the Calgary GWVA Walter Woods later adopted the American proposal and argued that veterans who had been stationed in France deserved a dollar per day’s service. The compensation rate decreased for men who had served farther away from front lines.124 By the time the GWVA geared up for its fourth convention in March 1920, fervor for the bonus had renewed. When the government still refused to budge on the bonus, the GWVA switched its focus to uniting all of the disparate veterans’ groups, and eventually the Canadian Legion was born.125 The rhetoric of ongoing service that features so prominently in American Legion post histories is either absent or understated in the Canadian Legionnaires’ accounts. Furthermore, the branch histories for this year lack the sense that the members need to be on guard against pernicious influences at home. At the time of the Canadian Legion’s founding, the federal 120  Ibid. 121  Ibid., 126. 122  Ibid., 127. 123  Ibid. 124  Ibid., 127. 125  Ibid., 128.


Mary E. Osborne

government had already quelled the labor revolts of the late ’teens and early 1920s. A general strike in which tens of thousands participated broke out in Winnipeg on 15 May 1919 and lasted six weeks. Workers also protested in such large cities as Halifax, Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver, as well as in smaller communities.126 The war, the mismanagement of the economy, and the belief in such wartime ideals as democracy incited many laborers to demand better working conditions and more pay.127 Stories in the press about the strikes in Great Britain, Europe, and the US inspired the activists, and they looked to the USSR as an example of what they could achieve: equal rights for men and women, no sweatshops, and equal opportunity for all.128 Conservative politicians and businessmen lumped all strikers and Bolsheviks together, for they claimed that revolutionaries had supplanted the Anglo-Celtic skilled craftsmen who once had headed the labor movement.129 The Winnipeg Citizen reported “‘a determined attempted to establish Bolshevism and the rule of the Soviet here and then to expand it all over this Dominion,’” but the press exaggerated these claims as activists and strikers did not intend to use violence to achieve their goals.130 Many veterans, nevertheless, looked with suspicion on foreigners who they believed were threatening their livelihoods. In 1919, eastern European immigrants endured violent assaults in Calgary, Drumheller, Winnipeg, Port Arthur, Sudbury, and Halifax.131 Historians Tom Mitchell and James Naylor, however, conclude that “attempts to turn the mass of veterans against labour by associating the general strike movement with enemy aliens, shirkers, and Bolsheviks demonstrably failed.”132 The workers’ revolt ultimately failed because of internal divisions within the movement. Prejudices involving industry hierarchy, occupation, gender, and ethnicity undermined the revolt. Furthermore, the post-war depression hampered the activists’ plans.133 For these reasons, the Canadian Legionnaires judged that the government had adequately dealt with the threat of Bolshevism. Such ultra-conservative, 126  Craig Heron, “Introduction,” in The Workers’ Revolt in Canada, 1917–1925, ed. Craig Heron (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1998), 4. 127  Craig Heron and Myer Siemiatycki, “The Great War, the State, and Working-Class Canada,” in The Workers’ Revolt in Canada, 1917–1925, ed. Craig Heron (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1998), 27. 128  Ibid., 26-27. 129  Tom Mitchell and James Naylor, “The Prairies: In the Eye of the Storm,” in The Workers’ Revolt in Canada, 1917–1925, ed. Craig Heron (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1998), 182. 130  Heron, “Conclusion,” 308. 131  Heron, “Introduction,” 23-24. 132  Mitchell and Naylor, “The Prairies: In the Eye of the Storm,” 186. 133  Heron, “Conclusion,” 307-308.

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nationalistic organizations as the Ku Klux Klan never flourished in Canada the way they did in the US, but the Canadian Legion did espouse a creed rooted in British Toryism. Whereas the American Legion’s brand of Americanism focused more on race and ideology, this nascent Canadianism privileged ethnicity. The Legionnaires favored the Anglo-Celtic, who upheld British traditions. The Canadian Legion commemorated the sacrifices of the fallen in less individualistic ways than the American Legion as well. Very few branches bear the name of a deceased soldier, for instance; however, in the coming years, the Canadian Legion would honor the past by encouraging the public to purchase and wear poppies in November. As a new organization, the Canadian Legion needed an example of an efficient, successful veterans’ association, and it found one in the American Legion. The Canadian Legionnaires’ participation in a parade during the American Legion’s New York State Convention demonstrated their interest in maintaining the ties of comradeship between the two nations. According to the Niagara Falls Gazette, the parade held on 10 September 1926, “was the largest ever held in Niagara Falls.”134 Delegates from all of the posts in New York attended, and more than 6,000 people – men and women – marched through the town.135 In addition to the American and Canadian Legions, members of the New York National Guard and Naval Militia, Veterans of Foreign Wars, and veterans of the Civil and Spanish American Wars joined the parade.136 As the men and women passed through the streets of Niagara Falls festooned with flags and bunting, they were greeted with cheers from bystanders. The parade was one of the highlights of the convention and gave the Legionnaires an opportunity to celebrate their victory in the World War and to further establish their status as veterans. Conclusion Despite the fact that all Legionnaires had seen military service, their status as veterans did not prevent tensions from arising between the organization’s leaders and the rank-and-file members. One of the reasons for the discord originated during the Great War when some officers in the AEF and the men under their command resented one another because of their backgrounds and experience or lack thereof. This resentment manifested itself anew, when the 134  Niagara Falls Gazette, September 11, 1926, 5. 135  Ibid. 136  Ibid.


Mary E. Osborne

American Legion was founded by these same officers. Equally important, rankand-file Legionnaires wanted to carry out the tenets of their constitution’s preamble as they saw fit, since they knew their local communities best. Although the preamble provided a basis for organizational unity and a collective memory of the war, the Legionnaires interpreted aspects of that memory differently. How they understood their war experience was a personal matter, and they could take pride in their service without glorifying the war. For many Legionnaires, joining the organization allowed them to create a positive memory of the war, and a majority of them remembered their service as edifying. The posts’ activities demonstrate that friendships undergirded the Legion, and they more often emphasized the individual veterans and their sacrifices than the reasons for fighting the war. The Canadian Legion also encountered challenges to its organizational unity but for different reasons. Since it was an amalgamation of disparate veterans’ associations, the Canadian Legion stressed the sacrifice of all soldiers, particularly the disabled, and championed serving the war’s survivors, including veterans, widows, and their children, by providing for their physical needs. Furthermore, the Canadian Legion had to try to bridge regional differences; therefore, branches’ activities were especially vital for promoting camaraderie. Although the Canadian Legion did not challenge the narrative of the war as a rite of passage, it did stress that this collective memory was one that all who fought for Canada could claim. Works Cited

Manuscript and Archival Sources The American Legion Library. Indianapolis, IN

Barden, Leonard. “History of Yonkers Post, No. 7, The American Legion, Yonkers, New York.” Unpublished manuscript, [ca. 1930?]. The American Legion Library, Indianapolis, IN. Brown, Abram. “A History of the Burton Potter Post #185, American Legion, Greenport, New York, 1919–1936.” Unpublished manuscript, [ca. 1936?]. The American Legion Library, Indianapolis, IN. Fitzpatrick, Walter. “Fort Orange Post No. 30, Albany, N.Y.: History from Its Foundations 1919 to June, 1949.” Unpublished manuscript, [ca. 1949?]. The American Legion Library, Indianapolis, IN. Gothelf, Stanley. “Richard J. McNally, Post 263, New York, New York, 1919–1969.” Unpublished manuscript, [ca. 1969?]. The American Legion Library, Indianapolis, IN. Gray, J. Vincent. “History of the Elmhurst Post, No. 298, 1919–1933.” Unpublished manuscript, [ca. 1933?]. The American Legion Library, Indianapolis, IN.

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Hallahan, Jr., William H. “First New York Cavalry Post, No. 296, Brooklyn, New York, 1919–1972.” Unpublished manuscript, [ca. 1972?]. The American Legion Library, Indianapolis, IN. “History [of] Charles Wagner Post No. 421, Hicksville, New York, 1919–1969.” Unpublished manuscript, [ca. 1969?]. The American Legion Library, Indianapolis, IN. Hitchcock, Harry G. “The History of Henry P. Smith Post No. 24 – Rome, N.Y. and Its Auxiliary.” Unpublished manuscript, [ca. 1937?]. The American Legion Library, Indianapolis, IN. Nelson, E. Bessie. “The History of the Florence Nightingale Post of the American Legion of Rochester, New York.” Unpublished manuscript, [ca. 1950?]. The American Legion Library, Indianapolis, IN. Pasta, Frank. “Woodhaven Post, No. 118, The American Legion, 1919–1923.” Unpublished manuscript, [ca. 1923?]. The American Legion Library, Indianapolis, IN.

Library and Archives, Canada. Ottawa

MG28 I-298 – Royal Canadian Legion fonds. MG30 C103 – Canadian Legion of the British Empire Service League

Newspapers, Journals, and Periodicals

Published Sources

The American City (New York) Border Cities Star (Windsor, ON) Brooklyn Eagle (Brooklyn, NY) Empire State Legionaire (New York) The Legion Annual (New York) The New York Times (New York) Niagara Falls Gazette (New York)

The American Legion. Proceedings of the Eighth Annual Convention of the American Legion, Department of New York, State Armory, Niagara Falls, N.Y., September 9-10-11, 1926. Albany: J.B. Lyon Co., Printers, 1927. Brown, June. First Fifty Years: Royal Canadian Legion Branch 43. Oshawa, ON: General Printers, 1979. The Bureau of Memorial Buildings of War Camp Community Service. Community Buildings as War Memorials. New York: The Bureau, 1919. Davis, Jr., George M. History of New Rochelle Post No. 8. New Rochelle, NY: The Pioneer Press, 1938. Doty, Lockwood R., ed. History of the Genesee Country (Western New York) Comprising the Counties of Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Chemung … Vol. II. Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1925.


Mary E. Osborne

Gumpertz, Sydney G., ed. The Official Year Book of the American Legion Department of New York. N.p., 1923. Mechem, Kirke. Who Won the War? A Play in Three Acts. London: Samuel French, 1928. National Committee on Memorial Buildings. For Living Tributes to Those Who Served in the Great War for Liberty and Democracy. New York: The Committee, 1919. Shapiro, Louis L. An Illustrated History of Edward M. McKee Post No. 131, Whitestone, New York. Whitestone, NY: The Algen Press, 1949. Simcock, William. The First Sixty Years: The Royal Canadian Legion, Fredericton Branch No.4. Fredericton, N.B.: Royal Canadian Legion, 1985. Smith, Clarence R., ed. The American Legion in New York State: A History of the Department of New York for the Years 1919–1939. Dansville, NY: F.A. Owen Publishing Co., 1942. Ten Years of Comradeship and Service: Leonard S. Morange Post, No. 464, American Legion, Bronxville, New York. Abbott Press and Mortimer-Walling, Inc., c.1929. Theodore R. Van Tassel Post No. 402, 1919–1922, Wayland, N.Y. [Dansville, NY: F.A. Owen Co., ca. 1922.

Secondary Sources

The American Legion. http://www.legion.org (accessed January 13, 2015). Blower, Brooke L. Becoming Americans in Paris: Transatlantic Politics and Culture between the World Wars. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011. Bowering, Clifford H. Service: The Story of the Canadian Legion, 1925–1960. Ottawa: The Canadian Legion, 1960. Cabanes, Bruno. The Great War and the Origins of Humanitarianism, 1918–1924. London: Cambridge, 2014. “Canada and the First World War.” http://www.warmuseumca/cwm/exhibtions/ chrono/1914aftermath_e.shtml. The Canadian Encyclopedia. http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca (accessed January 5, 2016). Chautauqua County Committee, Department of New York. History of the American Legion,Chautauqua County, New York. [Chautauqua, NY?]: Chautauqua Printing, Inc., 1977. Coombs, A.E. History of The Niagara Peninsula. Montreal: Historical Foundation, 1950. Daniels, Jonathan. The Time between the Wars: Armistice to Pearl Harbor. New York: Doubleday, 1966. Daniels, Robert V., ed. Communism and the World. Vol. 2 of A Documentary History of Communism. London: I.B. Taurus & Co., Ltd., 1985. Eichenberg, Julia and John Paul Newman, eds. The Great War and Veterans’ Internationalism. London: Palgrave MacMillan, 2013. Graham, Lloyd. Niagara Country. Ed. Erskine Caldwell. American Folkways. New York: Duell, Sloane and Pearce, 1949.

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Gregory, Adrian. The Silence of Memory: Armistice Day 1919–1946. Oxford: Berg, 1994. Halbwachs, Maurice. On Collective Memory. Edited by Lewis A Coser. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1950. Heron, Craig and Myer Siemiatycki, eds. The Workers’ Revolt in Canada, 1917–1925. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1998. Jarvie, Jack and Diana Swift. The Royal Canadian Legion, 1926–1986. Toronto: Discovery Books, 1985. Jones, Richard Seelye. A History of the American Legion. Indianapolis: The Bobbs-Merrill Co., 1946. Kallen, Stuart A., ed. The Roaring Twenties. San Diego, CA: Greenhaven Press, 2002. Keene, Jennifer D. Doughboys, the Great War, and the Remaking of America. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2001. Kennedy, David M. Over Here: The First World War and American Society. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1980. Mizer, Hamilton B. A City Is Born, Niagara Falls, A City Matures: A Topical History, 1892– 1932. Niagara Falls: The Niagara Falls Historical Society, Inc., 1981. Moley, Jr., Raymond. The American Legion Story. New York: Duell, Sloan and Pearce, 1966. Morton, Desmond and Glenn Wright. Winning the Second Battle: Canadian Veterans and the Return to Civilian Life 1915–1930. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1987. Ortiz, Stephen R. Beyond the Bonus March and GI Bill: How Veteran Politics Shaped the New Deal Era. New York: New York University Press, 2012. Pencak, William. For God & Country: The American Legion, 1919–1941. Boston: Northeastern University Press, 1989. Piehler, Kurt G. Remembering War the American Way. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian, 2004. The Royal Canadian Legion. “Our Organization.” http://www.legion.ca/who-weare/ about-thelegion/our-organization (accessed January 13, 2015). Rumer, Thomas A. The American Legion: An Official History, 1919–1989. New York: M. Evans and Co., Inc., 1989. Rutherdale, Robert. Hometown Horizons: Local Responses to Canada’s Great War. Vancouver: UBC Press, 2004. Sheftall, Mark David. Altered Memories of the Great War: Divergent Narratives of Britain, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada. London: I.B. Taurus, 2009. Thien, Deborah. “Death and Bingo?: The Royal Canadian Legion’s Unexpected Spaces of Emotion.” In Emotion, Place, and Culture, ed. Mick Smith, 207-226. Burlington,VT: Ashgate, 2009. Wingate, Jennifer. Sculpting Doughboys: Memory, Gender, and Taste in America’s World War I Memorials. Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2013.

Contributors Gary Baines is Professor of History at Rhodes University. Publications include South Africa’s ‘Border War’: Contested Narratives and Conflicting Memories (Bloomsbury, 2014), as well as the co-edited volume called Beyond the Border War: New Perspectives on Southern Africa’s Late-Cold War Conflicts (Unisa Press, 2008). Recent works include a chapter on veteran tourism in Ángel Alcalde and Xosé M. Núñez Seixas (eds.), War Veterans and the World after 1945: Cold War Politics, Decolonization, Memory (Routledge, 2018) and an entry in the Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Africa on ‘Legacies of South Africa’s Apartheid Wars’. Sarah Betts is a doctoral student at the University of York, UK. Her thesis is entitled ‘Wrong but Wromantic: Remembering and Representing English Civil War Royalists and Royalism 1642– Present’ and examines cultural representations and memories of the Cavaliers in England. She has wider research interests in memories of the Civil War, in the Stuart Dynasty and the British Monarchy, as well as historical cultures, representations of history and monarchy in popular culture, and the interplay between imagination and memory in Public History. She has published (and forthcoming) work on Royal matriarchy and dynasty, historical television drama, and representations of Queen Henrietta Maria in English and French historical cultures. Sally Carlton is based in Christchurch, New Zealand. She has conducted extensive research into the social consequences of the 2010–11 earthquakes, including through roles at the New Zealand Human Rights Commission and Lincoln University, and was the New Zealand contact for the Monash University-led ‘ANZAC Remembered’ project. Sam Edwards is Senior Lecturer in History at Manchester Metropolitan University, UK, where he is also Director of the Manchester Centre for Public History and Heritage. Sam has published widely on war memory and commemoration as well as providing expert commentary on these subjects to various media outlets, including CNN, the BBC, and Sky News. Sam is the author of Allies in Memory: World War II and the Politics of Transatlantic Commemoration, c.1941–2001 (Cambridge University Press, 2015), which was shortlisted for the Royal Historical Society’s



Gladstone Prize and he has edited three other volumes examining such issues as the cultural legacy of Thomas Paine, film and history, and D-Day in international remembrance cultures. Sam is a former Fulbright Scholar and a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society. Frank Jacob is Professor of Global History at Nord Universitet, Norway. Before he served as Assistant Professor at CUNY’s Queensborough Community College. He is author or editor of more than 50 books and his main fileds of research are Military and Modern Japanese History. Christopher Goodwin received his bachelor’s degrees in history and economics from the University of Missouri-Columbia in 2010. He has a master’s degree in military history from Norwich University. Christopher has published several articles and book reviews in various journals and has presented at conferences on masculinity in Napoleonic era Germany, most recently at the 2018 Annual Meeting of the Society for Military History. He is currently a PhD student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and is working on his dissertation on disabled Wehrmacht soldiers in the Third Reich. Chelsea Medlock completed her doctorate at Oklahoma State University in 2015. Her dissertation, and forthcoming manuscript, “They did their bit:’ Veteranization and British War Horses since the Crimean War,” reexamines the definition of veteran to include war horses through the use of cultural memory and animal welfare practices. Dr. Medlock is an independent scholar, who specializes in memory and animal history. Linda Parker is an independent scholar and author. Her main writing focus is on army chaplaincy in both world wars a subject on which she had published five books for Helion and Co, the most recent being a biography of Geoffrey Studdert Kennedy: A Seeker After Truths (Helion: 2018) Her main historical interests lie in 20th century military, social and religious history but she also has also a keen interest in the history of polar exploration. She had contributed essays to edited volumes on 20th military and religious history in the UK and the USA and enjoys travelling widely to contribute to conferences. Her current research is focused on airborne chaplains in the Second World War. She Is a member of the Royal Historical Society and the Western Front Association, the



American Commission for Military History and active member of the Toc H Movement. Kenneth Pearl is Associate Professor at Queensborough Community College, CUNY. He teaches British history, modern Western history and film history. His research fields include film and television studies as well as modern military history. Mary E. Osborne earned her PhD in history at the University of Kentucky in 2016. She serves as the museum specialist for The Stewart House in Monmouth, IL. She is also an adjunct instructor at Monmouth College. She is currently working on a scholarly editing project involving the papers of World War I contract surgeon Mary Merritt Crawford. Hanna Smyth completed her DPhil History at the University of Oxford in summer 2019. Her thesis was titled “The Material Culture of Remembrance and Identity: South Africa, India, Canada & Australia’s Imperial War Graves Commission Sites on the First World War’s Western Front”. During her doctorate she served as convenor of Oxford’s Globalising and Localising the Great War research network, Graduate Projects Coordinator at The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities (TORCH), lead researcher on the Global War Graves Leicester project, and researcher/writer for multiple exhibitions. She now works on the public engagement teams of the University of Oxford’s Humanities Division and Research Services Department.

Index 58th London Division Memorial (France)  142, 144 adjusted compensation 259-261, 263-264, 270-271 African National Congress 31, 33, 34 All Hallows’ Church 224 Allward, Walter 163, 165, 174 American Battle Monuments Commission  50 American Legionnaires 251-260, 262-269, 273-274 Anderson, Benedict 100-101 Animals in War Memorial (London) 149-151 Animals in War Memorial (Ottawa) 151-152 ANZAC 189-205, 235 Armistice Day 28, 32 Arndt, Ernst Moritz 104, 107, 113-114, 116, 120 Australian War Memorial 151 Aviation memorials 59-61 Baker, Herbert 159, 161, 170, 181, 183 Bible 24, 25 Binyon, Laurence 28 Blue Cross 130, 132, 144 “Border War” 27, 32, 33 Bosnia 38, 39 Bridge of Remembrance 242 Britain (or United Kingdom) 24, 27, 28, 41 British Empire 196, 204, 205 Brooke Hospital (The Brooke) 130, 132, 147-148 camaraderie 251-252, 254, 264-267, 274 Canadian Legionnaires 251-252, 267, 269, 271-274 Carabineers Memorial 136-137, 146 Cardboard Cathedral 232, 239 Cavalry Memorial (London) 142-143 Cenotaph 45, 53, 56 Charles I 69, 80-81 Charles II 67, 69, 71, 76, 79 Christchurch Citizens’ War Memorial 230 Christian symbolism 48-49, 54-55

Classical precedent 47-49, 54 Clayton, Phillip ‘Tubby’ 209, 211-213, 223-224, 226 Colchester 71 collective memory 1-2, 4-5, 13 Connell, R. W. 109 Cromwell Association 86-87 Cromwell, Oliver 67, 69, 85-87 Delville Wood 31, 157-158, 161-163, 173, 175-176, 179-181, 183-186 Dickin Medal (PDSA) 148 Edgehill, Battle of 67, 80, 83-84 employment and unemployment 256, 260, 263-265, 270 Fairfax, Sir Thomas 71, 87 First World War 27-32 Four points of the compass 221 Freedom Park 33, 36 Gallipoli 189-205 Gettysburg 48, 49, 50, 57 Goodbye, Old Man (Blue Cross) 144-145 Granville Family 77-80, 89 Hobsbawm, Eric 1-2, 11 Holocaust 25, 26 Horse Memorial (Port Elizabeth) 135, 137 Humboldt, Wilhelm von 98-99 Imperial War Graves Commission (IWGC)  157-166, 168-170, 172, 175-176, 181-183 Industrial Christian Fellowship 223 Ireland 38, 39 Israel 24, 25 Judaism 24 Kipling, Rudyard 28, 172-173, 183 Landsdowne, Battle of 77-80 living memorials 251-252, 255, 257 Lutyens, Edwin 159, 168

284 Marston Moor, Battle of 69-70, 87, 88 Masculinity, hegemonic 107, 109-111, 121-123 memorial space 4-5, 7-8, 10, 15, 18, 189, 191, 202, 204-205 Monument aux Morts (France) 51 Naesby, Battle of 69, 82, 84-85, 87 National Memorial Arboretum, Staffordshire  29, 30, 63 Niagara Falls 251, 267, 273 Nietzsche, Friedrich 36 Neuve Chapelle 157-158, 162, 170-172, 175-176, 181-183 People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA)  142, 148 Poperinge 212, 216-217 Prince Rupert 85, 87 Prussian military demographics 115 Prussian military reforms 93-95, 112-114, 123 Re-Enactment 84-85, 88 Remembrance Day 27, 28 Roosevelt, Jr., Theodore 251-252, 262 Royal Air Force Bomber Command Memorial (London) 46 Royal British Legion 29 Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty (RSPCA) 130-131, 133, 137-138 Schinkel, Friedrich 94, 96 service 251-254, 256-262, 265, 267-271, 273-274

Index South Africa 24, 27, 31-36, 41 South African Defence Force 32-35 Spain 39 SS Mendi 31 Talbot House 211-217, 219, 224, 226-227 Toc H 209, 211, 214, 216-224, 226-227 Toc H lamp 223 Toc H Marks 222 Tomb of the Unknown Warrior (Britain)  53-54 Truth and Reconciliation Commission 35 Union Defence Force 32 Valorous Masculinity, traits 111-112 veterans 251-252, 256-274 Villers Bretonneux 157, 162, 167-169, 175-176, 178-179, 181-185, 187 Vimy 157, 162-167, 173-176, 178-179, 181-185 Voortrekker Monument 33, 34 Waler Memorial (Australia) 146-147 Ware, Fabian 159, 165, 169, 181-182 Wiesel, Elie 25, 26, 31 Wilhelm III of Prussia, King Friedrich 113, 119, 121, 123 Worcester 67, 69, 76, 89-90 Ypres 214, 215