Can there ever be a “Great” War?

I browsed in a large local museum this weekend and noticed how all the augmented war related items in the shop were one view: heroes. Book titles ranged from “We’re here to win the war for you” (the American airmen’s reply to what they were doing on East of England airbases) to local memories and series on historic war campaigns and vehicles. Even the chocolate was supporting wounded soldier heroes.

There was nothing on the shelves to show the other view of WWI, which seems as controversial as the Middle Eastern conflicts. People are being encouraged to see this centenary one way, that of pride in militancy, in battle driven victory, in uniformed heroes that touched our local lives.

People are encouraged to say, My great granddad fought in the war, but not, my great granddad refused to fight and was a conscientious objector, or: my solider granddad was deeply traumatised and the rest of the family suffered too. Only one book in the museum had anything about peace protesting, and even that was coming from a skewed view. “Are they anti troop?” the author wondered of a group he saw at Parliament Square, who he approached nervously. He defended them by saying (surprise implied) that they were intelligent – what did he expect?

I’m very supportive of No Glory in War, who will be meeting in that same Parliament Square, Westminster next month. Details are found here: london-4-august-event-in-parliament-square

And yes, I filled in a comments card.

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