The development of British First World War remembrance on the battlefield from 1914 to 1929
Cast your vote
You can rate an item by clicking the amount of stars they wish to award to this item.
When enough users have cast their vote on this item, the average rating will also be shown.
Your vote was cast
Thank you for your feedback
Thank you for your feedback
MetadataShow full item record
AbstractThis thesis explores the role of Western Front battlefield landscapes between 1914 and 1929 in shaping memories of the First World War. It asks who visited the battlefields during the conflict, what impressions they formed, how they communicated these to others, and what influence these initial views had on post-war conceptions of the battlefield landscape. It explores how post-war visitors were guided to and through the battlefields, both by guidebooks and by tour operators, and how these sought to influence individual experiences. It examines how individual visitors sometimes went outside the framework of tours and published itineraries, and made their own attempts to connect with personal memories enshrined in the landscape. Section A of the thesis examines the itineraries offered by published guidebooks – firstly in the well-known Michelin guidebooks translated from the French, and secondly in the less widely-recognised British-authored guidebooks of the 1920s. Section B explores writing about the battlefields during the conflict itself, both through short articles in an Anglo-American periodical, and through full-length wartime books published by four influential authors – Rudyard Kipling, Edith Wharton, John Masefield and Harry Lauder. Section C turns to the experiences of individual travellers, and the extent to which they followed or departed from the itineraries and experiences to which these published sources directed them. The thesis argues that over the period 1914-29 there was a gradual but significant shift in what visitors focussed on within the battlefield landscape as it was tidied and reconstructed – a shift from battlefields themselves towards cemeteries and memorials. However, it argues that alongside this trend, visitors experienced a growing urgency, notwithstanding the clearing of battlefields, to find moments of reconnection with an authentic battlefield landscape which was seen as enshrining deeply personal memories. It shows that for veterans, this often involved connecting with sites which held real wartime memories, whilst for non-combatants it was much more about connecting with a landscape of the imagination. In particular, this thesis challenges the conventional narrative that the most important changes to landscape in the post-war period were the construction of cemeteries and memorials, arguing that just as important in the formation of cultural memory were the organic changes to the wider battlefield landscape.
PublisherUniversity of Wolverhampton
TypeThesis or dissertation
DescriptionA thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements of the University of Wolverhampton for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
The following licence applies to the copyright and re-use of this item:
- Creative Commons
Except where otherwise noted, this item's license is described as Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International