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  100th Anniversary of WWI, Revisionism and all that.

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Islanddawn
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PostSubject: 100th Anniversary of WWI, Revisionism and all that.   Fri 31 Jan 2014, 11:35

A well thought and brave article imo, considering today's tendancy toward nationalistic chest thumping over WWI and II, not just in Britain I might add, but Australia, NZ and possibly the US as well. To steal the words of a German friend "this increasing culture of commemoration starting from the 1970s has created a movement in the opposite direction. It is no longer what we are and do that determines our identity, but what our grandparents and their ancestors were and did".

Isn't it time we got over our obsession with past wars?

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/jan/30/first-world-war-worship-sickening-avalanche
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PostSubject: Re: 100th Anniversary of WWI, Revisionism and all that.   Fri 31 Jan 2014, 12:46

Much though I question a lot of that commemoration culture (and hand wringing), I think your friend may be a little off track in his comments on identity. I would suggest that it's in our understanding, however inaccurate, of the past that much of our identity is vested and that can influence what we are and do in the present. 

Here's Guy Halsall's response to Grove et al. 
http://600transformer.blogspot.co.uk/2014/01/the-first-world-war-right-and-left-wing.html

As well as addressing what he sees as inherent left and right wing biases and thus the whole issue of objective 'truth' in historical interpretation, he critiques some of the arguments proposed by revisionist thinking. He also takes up your final point saying:.

"Banging on about courage, patriotism and national honour, celebrating national victory and apportioning national blame only does the opposite, perpetuating the factors that took Europe and her empires over the precipice."
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PostSubject: Re: 100th Anniversary of WWI, Revisionism and all that.   Fri 31 Jan 2014, 20:28

@ferval wrote:
Much though I question a lot of that commemoration culture (and hand wringing), I think your friend may be a little off track in his comments on identity. I would suggest that it's in our understanding, however inaccurate, of the past that much of our identity is vested and that can influence what we are and do in the present. 

Here's Guy Halsall's response to Grove et al. 
http://600transformer.blogspot.co.uk/2014/01/the-first-world-war-right-and-left-wing.html

As well as addressing what he sees as inherent left and right wing biases and thus the whole issue of objective 'truth' in historical interpretation, he critiques some of the arguments proposed by revisionist thinking. He also takes up your final point saying:.

<quote>"Banging on about courage, patriotism and national honour, celebrating national victory and apportioning national blame only does the opposite, perpetuating the factors that took Europe and her empires over the precipice."</quote>


Ferval and Islanddawn,

"commemoration culture" It's big money too. For instance now the "Westhoek" (region around Ypres) 2014 and following years will be a good year for the local commerce...

With commemoration there is nothing wrong as long it commemorates the misery caused to the humanity and that includes all sides...did some research this evening about the German presence at the commemoration and it seems that they will be present through the person of the German president (name Glauck if I remember it well. And on 14 July 70 countries' delegates at Paris to start the memory of WWI (including the "Central powers").

"Here's Guy Halsall's response to Grove et al. 
http://600transformer.blogspot.co.uk/2014/01/the-first-world-war-right-and-left-wing.html
As well as addressing what he sees as inherent left and right wing biases and thus the whole issue of objective 'truth' in historical interpretation, he critiques some of the arguments proposed by revisionist thinking."

I started to read the URL for several pages but at the end stopped because it is also some "hand wringing" about bias which is many times bias in itself too...We discussed it already on the Historum site...my point of view is that moral stances have nothing to do in history writing...the historian can nowhere have a moral opinion or has to try to minimize the influence of it in his historical review as much as possible being aware that that isn't a good quality of a historian... 

"Banging on about courage, patriotism and national honour, celebrating national victory and apportioning national blame only does the opposite, perpetuating the factors that took Europe and her empires over the precipice."

Yes, that's also my opinion, but that has nothing to do with the history writing about the WWI, its causes, reasons, occasion. (and one has first to start a discussion about the concept of the words "cause", "reason", "occasion").

It remembers me the "construction" (at the end 19th century) of the nowadays Flemish identity (Flemish "Volk"). Perhaps Nordmann with his Irish background will understand what I mean. As an "internationalist" some will perhaps condemn me as a "leftist", but that isn't true either. And I am also not blind to the other cultures arriving in Belgium with other attitudes as religion, way of life and so on, especially if they don't want even in the slightest way to integrate into the "mores" of the accepting country...
But all that has nothing to do with honest history writing and has only to do with my "personal" "opinion"...My individual crusade against "biased" history...

And yes I know, as the above quote mentions, that many people use even not biased "national" history to the construction of their "national" feelings (saw yesterday on the ARTE channel a 1H30 documentary about the new Russian nationalists and their counterparts (Lenin, Stalin, Putin and all that))

About WWI as I did already in the past a lot of research I am preparing a reaction to message 155 (page 16)from the American Athena on the Historum site:
http://historum.com/war-military-history/66514-so-who-really-started-world-war-one.html

Kind regards and with esteem to both,

Paul.
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Vizzer
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PostSubject: Re: 100th Anniversary of WWI, Revisionism and all that.   Fri 31 Jan 2014, 20:58

In full agreement with the idea that there are far too many people who do not identify with their own lives and their own times but instead falsely live off the (supposed) memories of their grandparents and great-grandparents etc.

Hence, for example, we have the BBC commissioning 2500 hours of First World War centenary programming to be broadcast over the next 5 years. This mind-numbingly mammoth broadcast schedule has already begun in earnest as we speak in January 2014 and yet the centenary of the outbreak of the war isn't for another 6 months yet.

The excessive Titanic centenary commemorations in 2012 were an early indication of this somewhat disturbing trend.
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PaulRyckier
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PostSubject: Re: 100th Anniversary of WWI, Revisionism and all that.   Fri 31 Jan 2014, 23:04

Vizzer,

it brings always money for someone...the hotels for instance in Belgium...when the crew has to be installed on location...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parade's_End_(TV_series)

Kind regards and with esteem,

Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: 100th Anniversary of WWI, Revisionism and all that.   Sat 01 Feb 2014, 00:09

There is no doubt Paul that it'll certainly be welcomed by the tourist and film-making industries in Belgium and Northern France.

Two of my friends (a couple) who when they married decided to spend their honeymoon touring the First World War battlefields. Needless to say we were surprised and taken aback by their unusual choice of destination. This was particularly so because they were both young (in their late 20s), popular and trendy but neither had previously given any impression that they were also both secretly history buffs.

That said - this was in the 1990s so there was no centenary-type bandwagon which they were jumping on. In fact the 80th anniversary of the First World War was no landmark at all compared to the much more high-profile 50th anniversary of the Second World War. So their motivation was obviously one of a genuine personal interest. One might say, therefore, that the Maldives' loss was Messines' gain.

The current situation, however, seems quite different. I'm not sure how the media in Belgium is treating the forthcoming centenary (in terms of it being an historical event rather than as a commercial opportunity as such) but in the UK it already seems to be a case of overkill - literally.

P.S. Talking about Flanders, I was very taken with the locations there (standing in for mediaeval England) filmed by the BBC and used in the drama series The White Queen last year. There is, after all, a lot much more to Belgian history than just 1914-18.
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PostSubject: Re: 100th Anniversary of WWI, Revisionism and all that.   Sat 01 Feb 2014, 18:14

Vizzer,

thank you very much for exposing the UK situation.
And yes "The white queen". I was ready to add that too yesterday as the film has partially Bruges as decor...Bruges, film town Wink ...
An yes the rich Belgian history...but to my book as part from the european and worldhistory with all the interconnections...I just some minutes ago learned about "global history" (never heard about it)
Read the English language URLs about global history

PaulRyckier
 Sujet du message : Re: Présentation des nouveaux membres
Publié : 01 Fév 2014 18:30 
Eginhard

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Surya a écrit :
Bonjour à tous,
Je me suis inscrit un peu par hasard aujourd'hui en voyant un sujet qui m'intéressait et auquel personne n'avait répondu... Je connaissais le forum par ailleurs, mais je n'y passais pas beaucoup de temps.
Je suis agrégatif en histoire à Lyon cette année, et même si à peu près tout m'intéresse, je suis avant tout moderniste et espère me spécialiser dans l'histoire de l'Asie du Sud-Est/de l'Asie orientale aux XVIe-XVIIe siècles (pour faire simple). Ca me tient d'autant plus à coeur qu'en voyant les quelques messages de présentation récents, presque aucun ne mentionne la période moderne, comme toujours parente pauvre dans l'imaginaire historique commun... Je suis particulièrement intéressé par le mouvement de Global history, sans en être, loin de là, un grand connaisseur.
Sinon j'ai une affection toute particulière pour l'histoire mérovingienne (mon 2e coup de coeur, disons), et comme tout le monde ici, j'aime voyager, lire et rêver...
Surya,
"Je suis particulièrement intéressé par le mouvement de Global history, sans en être, loin de là, un grand connaisseur. "
Jusqu'à maintenant jamais entendu de "Global history" et étant seulement un amateur dans l'historiographie ce n'est peut-être pas grâve...
Après une recherche rapide:
http://global.history.ox.ac.uk/
http://www.global-history.de/who_we_are/index.html
http://www.global-history.de/
À la première vue je pensais que c'était l'étude de l'histoire mondiale, un sujet que j'ai aimé dès mon début sur le ex-forum histoire du BBC en 2002 et puis sur le ex-forum français "Histoforums". Je n'ai en effet que des histoires mondiales dans differents langues dans ma bibliothèque personelle. Les autres livres d'histoire j'emprunte dans la bibliotheque locale... (ou laisse les envoyer d'autres bibliothèques).
Mais maintenant je vois que c'est autre chose...merci pour cet apport...
Cordialement et avec estime,
Paul.



Surya
 Sujet du message : Re: Présentation des nouveaux membres
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C'est toujours un plaisir de partager ! en gros, la World history c'est l'étude de la première mondialisation, plus développée chez les anglo-saxons que chez nous. Même si récemment, le collège de France a créé une "chaire d'histoire globale de la première modernité" pour Sanjay Subrahmanyam, du sur-mesure pour ce poids lourd en la matière (auteur d'une biographie de Vasco de Gama assez célèbre, et d'une synthèse très bien faite sur les Portugais en Asie). Ca montre que l'historiographie française commence à s'ouvrir...

And yes the so-called Flemish history...before 1932 the nowadays Flanders didn't exist. It was spread over the County of Flanders, the Duchy of Brabant and the Prince-Bishopric of Liège. Later it was part of Burgundy's Low Countries, later Hapsburg territory and later part of the Southern Netherlands, the future Belgium. Not to say that Belgium also just exists from 1830 on.

Kind regards and with esteem,

Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: 100th Anniversary of WWI, Revisionism and all that.   Sun 02 Feb 2014, 12:47

There is a tendency to dismiss the First World War as having solved nothing and to be seen only as a significant cause for and precursor to World War Two. This is true (there are good grounds to see them both as one long global upheaval with a quiet bit in the middle). However there is also the aspect to 1914-1918, in which the world that emerged from it was radically different to the one which entered it, that deserves very close scrutiny and some attempt to comprehend outside of academia. There is also the point that of all the cultures and countries transformed by this conflict it is Britain that probably was slowest to appreciate the fact - the notion of empire and status surviving the conflict unchanged, at least according to the "official" line peddled by successive governments.

While acknowledging media "over-kill" in its suggested approach to this centenary I would still regard it as ameliorating circumstances if in the process it encourages widespread introspection and analysis of what these changes actually were and what they represented to "real" people and their daily lives during its progress and in its aftermath. There are, as there always are in history, worthwhile parallels to be drawn with contemporary society which, if examined and perused by a sizeable cross-section of society, might actually shed some comprehensible and comprehensive light on matters a little closer to today's reality. Should this be encouraged by the exercise then let it roll on.

I had similar misgivings in the Irish commemoration of the Great Famine on its 150th anniversary but after four years of it had to concede that there was much good that came out of it with regard to historical analysis removed from the cliched analysis that had grown up in the meantime. Some of this analysis, especially that conducted through honest reassessment, led to some uncomfortable but salient conclusions about contemporary society too. Maybe this will be the same. I hope so.
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PostSubject: Re: 100th Anniversary of WWI, Revisionism and all that.   Sun 02 Feb 2014, 21:55

Nordmann,

"There is a tendency to dismiss the First World War as having solved nothing and to be seen only as a significant cause for and precursor to World War Two. This is true (there are good grounds to see them both as one long global upheaval with a quiet bit in the middle). However there is also the aspect to 1914-1918, in which the world that emerged from it was radically different to the one which entered it, that deserves very close scrutiny and some attempt to comprehend outside of academia. There is also the point that of all the cultures and countries transformed by this conflict it is Britain that probably was slowest to appreciate the fact - the notion of empire and status surviving the conflict unchanged, at least according to the "official" line peddled by successive governments."

Yes the change after 14-18 deserves a very close scrutiny...also in my opinion...I suppose it was the last conflict that started "purely"
on territorial and old-fashioned "imperial" influences? From the emerging of the Communist base in Russia over the Fascist "Weltanschauung" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_view) till the clash of ideologies...
I took part in never ending threads of the causes of WWI, but I think that the cause of WWII is different from the first one, especially in that matter of ideologies...in WWI had the warring factions all still the same ideology?


"While acknowledging media "over-kill" in its suggested approach to this centenary I would still regard it as ameliorating circumstances if in the process it encourages widespread introspection and analysis of what these changes actually were and what they represented to "real" people and their daily lives during its progress and in its aftermath. There are, as there always are in history, worthwhile parallels to be drawn with contemporary society which, if examined and perused by a sizeable cross-section of society, might actually shed some comprehensible and comprehensive light on matters a little closer to today's reality. Should this be encouraged by the exercise then let it roll on.
I had similar misgivings in the Irish commemoration of the Great Famine on its 150th anniversary but after four years of it had to concede that there was much good that came out of it with regard to historical analysis removed from the cliched analysis that had grown up in the meantime. Some of this analysis, especially that conducted through honest reassessment, led to some uncomfortable but salient conclusions about contemporary society too. Maybe this will be the same. I hope so."


Yes I understand what you mean. Just saw yesterday on the Belgian news a document of a school class who visited Auschwitz.
Saw the eyes of the students...it is many times necessary to let people see the reality of abhorent past deeds...

Kind regards and with esteem,

Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: 100th Anniversary of WWI, Revisionism and all that.   Mon 03 Feb 2014, 23:41

I am not quite sure what 'falsely' living off grandparents' memories means exactly, and don't see why you can't value these as well as identifying with your own life.  They don't seem mutually exclusive to me.  But at any rate I think there has been a big change in how WWI and WWII have been analysed in recent times from what was written in the past.  (I don't watch much serious or even trivial war analysis on television so can't comment on that.)  Much more emphasis on the individual soldiers' experiences and how they felt.  And more on the peripherals - the Home Guard, women's roles, how bombing affected communities on both sides, etc. 

Every Anzac Day new books come out in New Zealand, in the past mostly on the Gallipoli campaign, but now widening out more to include more aspects of both wars, and of Vietnam too.  There has since Gallipoli always been a warmth to relations between Turkey and NZ, so the contributions of Turkish people has always been fairly much to the fore in accounts of that part of the war, without too much of the 'them and us' dichotomy. 

NZ Anzac commemorations are generally serious and more or less religious observations, or at least with a Christian underlying basis to them.  I do sometimes wonder if they couldn't be a less heavy, as the young men in their day wouldn't have thought of themselves as people to be treated so reverentially.  No longer, I think though, so much as heroes as of young men setting out on an adventure that turned out very badly. 

We are selling in our museum at the moment a wonderful-looking book which deals with many aspects of the first world war, including aspects often not touched on.  It is beautifully presented with little pockets including things like a copy of the pardon mentioned in a thread earlier, and letters, and items of clothing.  It's described in the government's website thus: This is a general overview of New Zealand’s involvement in the First World War, aimed at the non-specialist reader and covering events on the battlefields and at home. An interactive or ‘engineered paper’ book, it is highly visual, full colour and include facsimiles of contemporary diaries, maps, posters and a range of other memorabilia inserted into the publication. And it includes an item from our museum, which has made our director very happy.  I think we got $50 for that - must have been a very expensive book to produce if they had to pay everyone for their contributions.  Other print and digital projects run or funded by the government are described here: http://www.mch.govt.nz/what-we-do/our-projects/current/first-world-war-centenary-projects

The government is also running some ballot for NZers to visit Gallipoli.  I haven't tried for this, since I didn't feel I had a strong enough connection.  My great-uncle who lived with us was injured in WWI but far from living on his memories, I curse frequently the fact that we never asked him anything at all about his time there.
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PostSubject: Re: 100th Anniversary of WWI, Revisionism and all that.   Tue 04 Feb 2014, 09:29

The book I am reading at the moment called The Lost Pilot by Jeffrey Paparoa Holman was probably not specially planned to come out for World War One's centenery.  It is a memoir/biography thing, with the author tracing his father's life and influences (mostly bad).  He was in the navy during the war and a kamikaze pilot tried to sink their boat but was killed without killing those on board.  I haven't got to this part yet, but Jeffrey Holman eventually goes to Japan to meet the elderly brothers of the six men killed as kamikaze pilots that day and finds that a very moving experience where he is treated warmly.  There is a lot of Japanese history as well as his personal history, and that of his parents and other relatives.  It's a fascinating book and written by a man known as a poet, so it has a deft touch with language (without actually being 'poetic' or difficult in style).
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