Should Britain Go to War With Germany?

Anti-war politician Kier Hardie addresses a protest in Trafalgar Square (Sunday August 2nd 1914)
Opposition to WW1 in Bristol in August 1914 War enthusiasm? There is a perception in Britain that popular patriotic pressure drove politicians to declare war on Germany on August 4th 1914 and that the population somehow desired war. This so-called ‘war enthusiasm’ has been characterised in the popular memory as: "cheering crowds outside Buckingham Palace, long lines outside recruiting offices and of soldiers marching away singing 'Tipperary'" . These images have been recently promoted by TV […]

Should Britain Go To War with Germany?

Mass meeting, debate and resolutions With Ernest Bevin (National Organiser Dockers Union) and Ben Tillett (General Secretary National Transport Workers Federation) On Narrow Quay by the Arnolfini, Bristol On Sunday 2nd August 1914, tens of thousands of people demonstrated across the country against Britain's entry into what became the first World War. In Bristol an anti-war demonstration on the Downs was followed by a mass meeting of Dockers on the Grove to discuss the worrying situation on the […]

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 […]


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 […]