I am live-blogging the First World War, posting about events 100 years after they happened. I am trying to communicate a sense of the war as a global conflict in which many countries and peoples took part. In doing so I am avoiding the excessive focus on the Western Front that dominates the war’s memory in the anglophone world.
In many countries a national commemorative approach dominates remembrance of the Great War, with a focus on the sufferings endured by the forebears of the country’s people of today, often with references to their heroic sacrifices. A problem with that approach is that it obscures the true complexity of the conflict. British people end up thinking that the war was all about the Somme, Australians think it was all about Gallipoli and the French see the war through the perspective of Verdun. These events were all important but they were just facets of this terrible disaster that befell Europe and spread its tentacles to the world. I hope that anyone who follows this blog will get some sense of the broader nature of the conflict.
The chronological approach means that this blog is event-focussed rather than thematic. That imposes certain biases, notably a downplaying of the home fronts of the combatant nations. By virtue of a focus on macro events the named characters who appear in the story are almost entirely white men, as these were the people who ran armies and societies in the less enlightened past.
If you have just stumbled onto the blog and are interested then you just follow events as they happen. If you want to see what has gone before then there is a monthly archive with links to the posts for each month.
Although long interested in history, I am not a professional historian. I live in Ireland, a country where the First World War occupies an ambiguous place in national memory. This may be linked to my detachment from the national commemoration approach to the Great War often seen elsewhere.
Feel free to contact me by e-mail at Ian Moore 3000 [all one word] at Gmail.com
image source (Wikipedia)