Arguably, though, the poem’s intellectual and affective power is dissipated by its form and diction. This is a poem about the sudden shock of confronting a friend’s death, yet its tetrameters are unruffled while its simple rhymes chime with glib felicity; it risks the realism of a ‘soiled stretcher’ but euphemistically describes violent death in the trenches as a falling ‘adrift / From life’. It seems that Anglo-Scottish and Anglo-Irish officer-poets, like the overwhelming majority of their English equivalents, were on the receiving end of a sophisticated poetic education that left them ill- equipped to deal with even the simplest of war’s arbitrary brutalities: like so many dashing, highly-trained cavalrymen in a time of machine guns, barbed wire, and high-explosive ordnance. If both popular culture, as expressed by MacGill and Lee, and the elite culture of the officer class tended to homogenise the British poetic response to war, there remained an alternative in the Celtic literary ideal which had been encouraged in the nineteenth century by the cultural theories of Matthew Arnold and Ernest Renan and had lately flourished in the Irish literary revival and the Celtic and Doric revivals in Scotland, and in the persisting Cymraeg bardic tradition in Wales. Alan Mackintosh was a young poet with a similar background to the officer-writers discussed above. Scottish through ancestry but English by birth and formation, Mackintosh threw himself into the Celtic idea at Oxford and restyled himself as a highland poet, going so far as to learn Gaelic and the bagpipes. The persona that emerges in his poetry is that of a fatalist, drawing on a long tradition of Scottish defeat and lamentation to prepare himself for the sublime trial and inescapable suffering of war. This is seen most nakedly in ‘The German and the Gael’, which offers a kind of grim consolation by contrasting an enemy army sure in its purpose and confident of victory with Gaelic troops who advance, ‘Hopeless as went our fathers’ to what appears an inevitable, if fearlessly-faced, annihilation: the Germans ‘dream the fight is theirs, / Therefore they will not flee, / But we go darkly out to meet / The fate we cannot see.’ 13
In 1916, the Army Council added the task of providing comforts from Britain for the troops of Allied countries to Ward’s list of duties and this included the US troops who began to reach Europe in late 1917. This was achieved smoothly and he and the voluntary organisations under his department received especial thanks from the officer commanding US forces in Britain, Major General John Biddle. Ward even ensured that the DGVO’s office continued some of its work after the war by asking the various depots to assist in aiding the devastated areas of France with donations of clothing and other essential items.
Notwithstanding my concerns about the uncritical enlargement of the concept of trauma by historians, Psychological Trauma is nevertheless host to some methodologically-innovative research; indeed, I have to confess that this may stem, in part, from the wish to access the traumatic experiences of groups previously excluded from historical gaze. Michael Roper’s chapter, on the children of parents disabled by war, is a case in point. With recourse to oral history, and with a critical appreciation of the nuances of memory and inter- subjectivity, Roper documents the narratives of those who grew up or lived with a disabled father or husband, of how they chose to represent their relative in the interview-setting (e.g., stoic, manly) and the emotions they transmitted in doing so. It is a bold intervention, and a novel, stimulating use of oral history methodology. This innovation is replicated in the chapter following, by Marie Derrien. Her focus is the archival sources that are the bread-and-butter of historical scholarship. She observes that few sources exist in France for studying traumatised soldiers after the War as pension-records were destroyed. Derrien therefore turns to asylum-records, which she surveyed across five separate asylums, and where she appears to have taken a needle-in-haystack approach to finding subjects-of-interest. The real strength of Derrien’s
During the war, visitors to the Queen ’ s Hospital at Sidcup would be able to see Henry Tonks ’ remarkable life drawings of patients before and after surgical reconstruction. They were one of the ‘ sights ’ , although Tonks himself thought them ‘ rather dreadful sub- jects for the public view ’ . 5 Aside from these unusual studies, the disfigured face is almost entirely absent from British art. Francis Bacon ’ s heads and portraits from the 1940s onwards bear an uncanny resemblance to Tonks ’ studies of wounded soldiers, but there is a crucial difference: Bacon was painting his lovers, friends and drinking companions; his violations of the human form are altogether more theatrical, more stylistically consistent in their violence. There was no British Otto Dix, Max Beckmann or George Grosz: the muti- lated body of the war veteran was not explored as a site of shame and revulsion the way it was in Weimar Germany. 6 Neither the drawings by Tonks, nor the photographs in the men ’ s case files, found their way into anti-war publications, as happened in Germany, and they never featured in the illustrated histories of the war. 7 As historical documents, they speak volumes about the kinds of injuries sustained in modern combat, and the medical response to these injuries, but it could not be said that they have been part of British cultural history in any broader sense; at least not until very recently. 8
11 nights’ accommodation for vagrants and unemployed looking for work, were almost empty; and for that same class the war saw the beginning of the demise of the privately-owned common lodging house or ‘doss-house’ in London, numbers in the County falling from 308 in 1914 to 211 in 1918. They never recovered. Similarly, residents abandoned the more up-market Rowton Houses, now turned over to Belgian refugees and soldiers on leave. Despite the stresses of war and a probable rise in London’s population, the number of ‘certified lunatics’ in metropolitan mental hospitals was lower by almost 16 per cent between 1914 and 1918. Even more dramatically the number of men received in the London prisons fell by nearly 63 per cent between 1913 (33,776) and 1918 (12,631). The Commissioners of Prisons concluded that ‘the prisons of the country may be largely emptied of the petty offender when the conditions of labour are such as to secure full and continuous employment for all....’ 24 Even many among the aged poor were somehow magicked out of the workhouse, taken back by relatives who could now give them a home, or winning once more an independent existence through work. The decline of
Finally, the satirising of the high command reached new heights with the BBC comedy televi- sion production of Blackadder Goes Forth (1989), an immensely influential series. The comedy required hardly any scene setting because it reflected a shared national understanding about the incompetence of British generals and bloody failures in battle (Sheffield, 2001, p. 2). If the whole series bolstered preconceptions about the rat-infested trench warfare, and caricatured chateau generalship, the last episode in which the entire cast, other than “General Melchett”, goes over the top to certain death to be replaced by a field of poppies – the traditional symbol of British remembrance of the fallen – was voted in 2000 as among the top ten television moments of all time (Todman, 2005, pp. 116-17 and Beckett, 2007, p. 643). The fact that this comedy series incurred hardly any censure at the time (and has since passed into the classroom as a text on the war) underscores how deeply embedded the popular mythology has become (Todman, 2005, p. 117). Jeremy Paxman quite rightly claims that it has become “much easier to laugh at – or cry about – the FirstWorldWar than to understand it” (2014, p. 9).
perspective. The members of the research team have been working not only alongside other university academics but equally alongside museum professionals, community researchers and cultural practitioners. They have thereby sought to extend both academic and public knowledge and understanding of the diverse legacies of the war in five key areas of study. A central goal has to been to explore less mined primary sources, and to collaborate with researchers working in different contexts, such as museums, schools and theatres, or different disciplines in order to bring new perspectives to bear on more well-worn interpretations. The four themes addressed here involve three of the hub ’ s key themes: science and technology, medicine and war, and resistance to warfare.
Without accessing the medical and pension records for the Repatriation Department it is difficult to know to whether the men in this study received their full entitlements on return and continued to do so for the rest of their lives. There is some evidence from the Personnel Dossiers to suggest that those men who returned with injuries were provided with benefits for a limited period of time at least, and that the benefits extended to their families in line with Repatriation Department policy as laid out in the Australian Soldier’s Repatriation Act of 1920. Families who applied for the entitlements and war gratuity for those died whilst on active received what monies were due to them, whether in bonds or in cash, paid out in lump sums, and without the controls placed on some by the Repatriation Department. Henry ‘Harry Boy’ Brown’s family applied successfully for his cause of death to be accepted as war service related, and he was later provided with an official war grave paid for by the Commonwealth government. Towards the end of his life, James Henry Paul Mansell seems to have successfully applied for a T.P.I. (Totally and Permanently Incapacitated) pension, recognising that he was totally and permanently incapacitated due to his war service. On the surface at least, it would appear that the Tasmanian Aborigines who served in the FirstWorldWar were treated equally by the Repatriation Department in terms of the provision of health care and pensions, as well as being given war graves when eligible. In this respect, their treatment on return appears to have contrasted with their experience on active service.
(PK 1116/2) Not much needs to be added to Jámafáda’s recorded account of his situation as a French colonial soldier and prisoner of war. On the file, his age is estimated as 21, he is said to be a soldier since 1914, his recording was produced 24 November 1917. The file further states that he was illiterate, spoke ‘Mossi’ (Mòoré) and French, and that he was heathen. Being a soldier since 1914 – and much like the unnamed Wolof-speaker (of the epigraph) – stating that he has been ‘taken’ by ‘the Whites’, to be ‘thrown’ into a war that was ‘not interesting’ – points towards the conscription campaigns of the French army. Christian Koller (2008, p.115) describes French recruitment politics as based on the mixture of enlisting volunteers and conscription. Yet, ‘the customary procedure [during the first years of the war in West Africa] was to ask local chiefs to provide potential recruits. Most often, men from lower social strata, especially from the group of domestic slaves, were presented to French recruitment officers.’ Melvin Page writes that although many African men enlisted for various reasons:
One might think that in the interim the debate about the Great War’s causes, its expansion, and its consequences would have been settled. But the controversies continue, important new discoveries remain to be uncovered, and scholarly inquiry into these questions constantly improves. Williamson’s (2014: 35) view is that there is an emerging consensus among historians about the origins of the war. But Röhl (2014: xiv) claims that the so-called “‘slithering’ into the FirstWorldWar thesis” that Williamson refers to rests on “the deliberate omission or marginalization of much well-known, cast-iron evidence to the contrary.” 2 Clearly, the debate has not subsided and,
issues of sex and male / female relationship in the Arab world. His repudiation of backward and conservative Arab traditions started at an early age when he witnessed the suicide of his sister who killed herself because she was forced to be separated from her lover and marry a man she did not love. Therefore , his early poetry was a severe criticism of a male-dominated world and a challenge of the repressive policies advocated by a hegemonic patriarchal society which oppressed women. Moreover, . his political poetry, particularly his famous and provocative poems “Love and Petroleum”, “Bread, Hashish and Moon” and “Margins on the Notebook of the Defeat”, led to the censorship of his literary works in most of the Arab countries. Qabbani's reputation and popularity in the Arab world is unprecedented particularly because most of his love and romantic poems that give credit to women are transformed into well – known popular songs performed by famous Arab singers. Qabbani died in 1998 leaving behind him large legacies of books, anthologies , songs , prose works and a history of struggle against all forms of oppression in the Arab world. His unequal poetic works stand as a testimony of a great poet and a modern warrior. Qabbaniis undoubtedly one of the most famous and prominent poets in the entire history of Arabic literature from the Pre- Islamic era until the modern times.
Like many young men of his time, Moeran answered the national call and joined the army shortly after the outbreak of the FirstWorldWar. He began his war in a home- based Territorial Unit, and, at first sight, this may be regarded as his having selected a safe and easy option. However, during 1914 and 1915, the danger of an invasion by the Germans along the east coast of England was widely propagated by the government as part of an agenda to arouse and encourage anti-German sentiment and public support for British participation in the war. It was popularly believed that the enemy would lose no time in mounting a seaborne attack, and the German naval bombardments of Scarborough, Hartlepool and Whitby in December 1914 greatly exacerbated public fear. Although the German High Command never had any intention of invading Britain, this was not known at the time, and Moeran and his fellow cyclists regarded themselves as the front-line in the event of such an attack. 74
Letters rarely mention Indian Army structures or perceptions of British officers. This is partly due to self-censorship and the fact that they are more concerned with day-to-day issues, such as survival. 200 This is may be partly because the editor of the collection was focused on the war experience. 201 Lack of comment on individual officers may suggest that the Indians saw the British as a broad and unified group, as many of the British saw the Indians. This is speculative to some extent, as the sources lack specifics, but it appears reasonable. Disrespect for army rules, such as attempting self-injury or encouraging family members or friends not to sign up, shows that many soldiers did not identify strongly with Indian Army discipline or izzat. Those who were undisciplined do not appear to have done so for any reason other than disillusionment with WWI. The soldiers who happily accepted discipline and izzat clearly were not bothered by their position. 202 This acceptance of racial attitudes was not changed by disillusionment with WWI. This is not surprising, as they were recruited from backward areas, many were poorly educated and illiterate, and had no links with the nationalist movement. 203
The material used in the teaching of Military History at the army’s academies has remained virtually unused by historians; this is a reflection, itself, of the lack of scholarly interest in the subject. 95 This material includes the coursework and exam papers set as part of the Military History syllabus at the Staff College, Sandhurst and Woolwich. In fact, the exam papers set by these institutions survive for the period 1854-1914. The Staff College exam papers were published several months after each exam, although exam answers have not survived to the same degree. Nonetheless, the Liddell Hart Centre holds the papers of several figures who either studied Military History at the Staff College or taught the subject. 96 The private papers of officers who held high rank during the FirstWorldWar have been donated to archives more frequently than those who served in the army before the 1890s. As a result, the coursework and essays produced by students which still survives predominantly relates to the two decades preceding the outbreak of the Great War. Nevertheless, despite these drawbacks, the collective wealth of information contained in some papers provides an unparalleled insight into how the subject was understood and utilised by the army during the second half of the long nineteenth century. The library of the Joint Service Command and Staff College at Shrivenham also holds the majority of the teaching material which was used
H.G. Wells observed in Mr. Britling Sees It Through (1916) that ‘the world-wide clash of British and German interests, had been facts in the consciousness of Englishmen for more than a quarter of a century. A whole generation had been born and brought up in the threat of this German war’ (Wells, p.123). From Erskine Childers’s The Riddle of the Sands (1903) to William le Queux’s Invasion of 1910 (1906), the threat of Germany resonated throughout British society, and Michael Howard has written that if the youth of the rival countries howled for war in 1914, ‘it was because for a generation or more they had been taught to howl’ (Howard, p. 102). Awareness of pervasive anti- German writing appears in The Secret Agent (1907), as Winnie Verloc describes the pamphlets of the Future of the Proletariat, which related the story ‘of a German soldier officer tearing half-off the ear of a recruit, and nothing was done to him for it. The brute! [. . .] The story was enough, too, to make one’s blood boil. But what’s the use of printing things like that? We aren’t German slaves here, thank God’ (SA, 60). Victory (1915), completed before the war, reveals Conrad’s own engagement with anti-German sentiment prevalent in Britain. Victory’s ‘Note to the First Edition’ explained that animosity towards the Teutonic Schomberg was part of Conrad’s Polish cultural inheritance: ‘far from being the incarnation of recent animosities, he is the creature of my old, deep-seated and, as it were, impartial conviction’ (V, viii). While antipathy to Germany had not prevented Conrad’s sympathetic delineation of Stein in Lord Jim, it certainly informed ‘Autocracy and War,’ which appeared in The Fortnightly Review in 1905. Conrad wanted the piece to be a ‘sensation’ (CL 3, 272), and while he perceptively outlined recent trends in European history, he also orchestrated a crescendo of anti- Prussianism, concluding with ‘a warning that, so far as a future of liberty, concord, and justice is concerned: “Le Prussianisme – voilà l’ennemi!”’ (NLL, 114). In the Review of Reviews in July 1905, journalist W.T. Stead condemned Conrad, claiming he had the ‘logic of the alarmist’ (Stead, p. 51-52).
establishment approach (the last three all titled ‘Remembrance Day’). Gary Miller’s 2010 album Reflections on War also comprises a suite of six songs that look back at the War which stemmed from his involvement in a community arts project in York, England. Working with the participants Miller wrote a set of songs based on their ideas and memories. A different approach to memory is taken in Barclay James Harvest’s ‘The Ballad of Denshaw Mill’ which invokes the Christian story of Christmas and the thoughts for loved ones at the front using Christmas as a universal image of hope. It uses ‘mythical’ imagery but instead of saying what happened to people or describing events it concentrates on what they thought and how the persistence of memory has resonance today.
Easter rebellion, any existing suspicion of the organisation among unionists was heightened. It was bad enough that the GAA should shirk the war by continuing its programme of fixtures, and, supposedly, prevent farmers’ sons from enlisting but it compounded its offensiveness in several other ways. When the government introduced its Entertainment Tax in 1916, for instance, the GAA campaigned to be exempted from it and refused to cooperate with its levying. The Irish Times took grave offence and Rugby football, again, was favourably compared: ‘Rugby football has sent far more Irishmen to the war than Gaelic football. It is played in the open air. Is a healthy sport, and has given generous help to charitable objects; but it has not sought, and – would not seek, exemption from the new tax…The Gaelic Athletic Association need not sacrifice to the State a single halfpenny of the next big “gate” which it devotes to the Royal Dublin Fusiliers Bureau or the Red Cross funds.’ 58