Overlooking British Experiences:a reply to Evershed

Johnson, Matthew (2019) Overlooking British Experiences:a reply to Evershed. Global Discourse, 9 (3). pp. 557-559. ISSN 2326-9995

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Jonathan Evershed presents a compelling account of the clear dangers that lie in forms of state-led remembrance. The danger is, of course, that, in commemorating, actual experience is lost. While I do not wish to challenge any of the core claims in the piece, I do think that there is one element that requires greater examination: Evershed’s claim that contemporary Irish conceptions of the First World War as ‘A war that stopped a war’ ‘contributes to a (post)colonial and militaristic nostalgia in British political culture’. While the dangers of that for Northern Ireland are clear, perhaps the greatest risks lie in England, since any such benign account of the conflict serves radically to distort the experience of those soldiers commonly regarded as identifying as British and painted as being motivated by patriotism. Drawing on experience from Tyneside, I argue that, in considering the nature of that conflict, we must remember the many diverse, and often banal, reasons for working class engagement in conflict.

Item Type:
Journal Article
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Global Discourse
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© Matthew Johnson 2019. The definitive, peer reviewed and edited version of this article is published in Global Discourse: An interdisciplinary journal of current affairs, Volume 9, Number 3, September 2019, pp. 557-559
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25 Sep 2019 08:00
Last Modified:
15 Sep 2023 00:59