Hidden Histories OF WWI

Shirkers, Skulkers, Deserters and the 'Live and Let Live' Principle: Everyday Resistance to Combat on the Western Front. St John’s Hall, Rax Lane, Bridport The ‘Christmas Truce’ of 1914 is sold to us as a brief 'miracle' involving a few hundred troops. Most history books ignore the massive scale of everyday 'hidden' resistance of Allied and German troops: how they avoided the front-line by many 'fraudulent' means and the indirect and direct cooperation between ‘enemies’ in the trenches. […]

Remembering the Real WWI: Public meeting

This is the monthly meeting in Bristol to discuss opposition to David Cameron's 'truly national commemoration' of WW1 stressing our 'national spirit'. Nationally there are plans to ensure that attention is given to the real causes and effects of the war, rather than an opportunity for our government to re-habilitate this war in particular or war in general. Bristol has long radical traditions and we know there are groups and individuals across the city who will want to ensure that there are […]

WWI Resistance

Radical History Zone 2014 poster
Shirkers, Skulkers, Deserters and the 'Live and Let Live' Principle: Everyday Resistance to Combat on the Western Front in World War 1 With Roger Ball Fraternisation between opposing armed forces on the Western front on Christmas Day 1914 is part of the British collective memory; sold to us a momentary 'miracle' involving a few hundred troops. Of far more interest is the massive scale and crucially the context for these events. The everyday 'hidden' resistance of troops on both sides to the […]

No Glory: The Real History Of World War 1

Presented by 'Remembering The Real World War 1' - Bristol's campaign to commemorate the real World War 1 – all welcome This meeting represents an opportunity to hear different views about the war and discuss how we can ensure that the real World War 1 is remembered by people across the city. How the war is remembered is as much about the future as the past – while past conflict remains discredited, future foreign military interventions and occupations will remain difficult to sell to the public. […]

Uomini contro – (Many Wars Ago)

Uomini contro (Many Wars Ago) Directed by Francesco Rosi, 100 mins, Italy 1970, Italy 1917 -- society is violently split down the middle over the question of whether to continue intervention in the war. Anarchists and socialists are intent on causing so much trouble that continued intervention is impossible. Railway lines are ripped up, battle lines are drawn. On the Isonzo front a General smells socialism behind the troops reaction to his orders and a disastrous Italian attack upon the Austrian […]

Troubles

By J.G. Farrell
Set in 1919-21, years of conflict when the struggle for Irish independence raged, Troubles is the first in J.G. Farrell’s 1970’s trilogy of historical novels dealing with the decline of empire. Troubles follows the fortunes of Major Brendan Archer who, traumaticised and lacking purpose after serving in the First World War, crosses the Irish Sea to the fictional town of Kilnalough to meet with his fiancé, Angela Spencer, to whom he’d almost unwittingly become engaged following a brief, scarcely […]

Family Letters

My grandfather was one of 6 brothers all involved in different theatres of the First World War: one was in the navy at Jutland, another in Mesopotamia (now Iraq) and the rest were scattered around France and India. They all wrote home to their mother who unsurprisingly kept their letters. In the course of time my mother inherited them. In the 1970s my mother persuaded the Imperial War Museum to copy and transcribe the letters, and she then edited selections from the transcriptions and turned […]

Remembering The Real WW1

2014 is the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War. In line with Bristol’s long radical traditions we want to ensure that there are events locally remembering the reality of this war. The British government plans to spend £55 million on it’s own commemoration plans. Comments from David Cameron calling for a ‘truly national commemoration’ stressing our ‘national spirit’ suggest what he has in mind. He has even compared the government’s plans with last year’s Diamond Jubilee […]

Mythical Battle Over WW1

A few days ago Dan Snow wrote a piece entitled Lions and donkeys: 10 big myths about World War One debunked on the BBC website. The tone of the article was strange, in that it seemed to be implying that World War 1 was not as bad as everybody thinks and that and that a lot of working class soldiers quite enjoyed it while upper class officers were martyred. The 10 myths were: It was the bloodiest war in history to that point. No, it was our civil war in the mid 17th century Most soldiers died. […]

Remembering the Real WWI: Public meeting #3

This is the third meeting in Bristol to discuss opposition to David Cameron's 'truly national commemoration' of WW1 stressing our 'national spirit'. Nationally there are plans to ensure that attention is given to the real causes and effects of the war, rather than an opportunity for our government to re-habilitate this war in particular or war in general. Bristol has long radical traditions and we know there are groups and individuals across the city who will want to ensure that there are events […]