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We will remember
November 10, 2008 3:11 PM   Subscribe

The Great War Archive goes live today (November 11), the 90th anniversary of the Armistice. Launched by the University of Oxford in March 2008, the initiative invited members of the general public to submit digital photographs, audio, film, documents, and stories that originated from the Great War. Although the dealine for submissions is past, photos can still be added to the project's Flickr group.
posted by Abiezer (19 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

 
One highlight for me is the material from poets of the time, for example the great Edward Thomas.
posted by Abiezer at 3:25 PM on November 10, 2008


A record of one of the most stupid, pointless, most barbaric acts in the history of humanity.
posted by Auden at 3:38 PM on November 10, 2008


In related news -- Priceless WWII films discovered -- video: "Two Colorado brothers unearth films shot by their grandfather after D-Day."
posted by ericb at 3:48 PM on November 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


Oh man! I was waiting until it was the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month here. I'll just stick what I've got left of my post in here as a comment.
An army marches on its stomach. Selected photographs from the Wilfred Owen Multimedia Digital Archive.
For WWII - George Duncan's Lesser-Known Facts of World War II.
posted by tellurian at 3:53 PM on November 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


Sorry, tellurian.
posted by Abiezer at 3:56 PM on November 10, 2008


"stupid, pointless, most barbaric" - sounds pretty great to me. Wasn't it more of a rather stupid, pointless, barbaric series of acts? Plus wars can bring forth some really interesting technological advances. Aircraft entered the war as primitive flying machines, and people fought from them using hand guns and spears (no citations, but it sounds credible enough to repeat in bold).

And according to wikianswers, we can also thank WWI for: RADAR, SONAR, the proximity fuse, sulfa drugs, blood transfusion, the Jeep, jet engines, dehydrated foods, parachute and glider troops, and the ubiquitous SPAM, as well as CRACK !!! (later known as Crack Mark 3, because no one would agree about how to pronounce "Chik chik chik")
posted by filthy light thief at 3:59 PM on November 10, 2008


Here in the US Eastern time zone it is still November 10th, and today (yesterday for some of you) is the 233rd anniversary of the formation of the US Marine Corps.
posted by Nick Verstayne at 4:02 PM on November 10, 2008


Sorry, tellurian.
Heh! No worries, it's a good post. Whoa, they're playing the last post on the radio as I type this.
posted by tellurian at 4:04 PM on November 10, 2008


For those interested in WWI, military history etc. last night Australian TV had a show by Four Corners called 'The Great History War'. As well as being able to download the whole show or transcripts, there are extended interviews with some of the historians interviewed and additional material.
The show was a bit 'light-on' for my interests, but it did what it could in the limited time it had available.
posted by Megami at 4:35 PM on November 10, 2008


A record of one of the most stupid, pointless, most barbaric acts in the history of humanity.

I dunno, "the war to end all wars" seems like a rather bad day out in comparison to what we've managed to do since then. Humanity seems pretty willing and able to keep trying to raise the bar on stupid, pointless, barbaric acts.

At least the military has given up on trenches and landmines (mostly).
posted by GuyZero at 4:50 PM on November 10, 2008


How we remember them: the 1914-18 war today
The remembering of major national events is bound to change over time. What makes the current British memorialising of the 1914-18 war fascinating is the way it combines fairly fixed concerns and narratives with novel voices and forms of inquiry. That makes it too an interesting case of how societies in the process of exploring their past can resist as well as embrace a deeper encounter with it.

The interest starts with the disjuncture between public and academic discourses about the 1914-18 war. The public image of what the war was like (bloody and muddy) and meant (pointless) has remained strikingly constant over the last four decades. Yet for a large part of this period - since the late 1980s - there has also been a remarkable boom in scholarship about the war which has introduced new methods. The increasing expectation that work will cross disciplinary and national boundaries has produced new understandings.

The process of digging into the huge archival deposits on the war - which remained untapped until recently, despite all the books published on the war over these nine decades - has generated a much more complex and nuanced view of many aspects of the war. These include military tactics, the connections between the battlefield and the "home front", popular mobilisation, and the phenomenon of "war enthusiasm". This work has also highlighted the degree to which earlier academic generations took post-war rhetoric as evidence of wartime realities - over, for example, such matters as the meaning of the war for women, the belief that the war was "futile", and the nature of mourning:
I did consider posting an archive of the Care Bears Rainbow Moments instead, but on reflection felt we go forward with the history of the wars we had, not the history of...ah, fuck it.
posted by Abiezer at 4:56 PM on November 10, 2008


In other news -- Auschwitz plans found in Berlin flat -- "A complete set of original plans for construction of the Nazi death camp Auschwitz have been found in a flat in Berlin, according to a report in Bild newspaper."
posted by ericb at 5:57 PM on November 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


And according to wikianswers, we can also thank WWI for: RADAR, SONAR, the proximity fuse, sulfa drugs, blood transfusion, the Jeep, jet engines, dehydrated foods, parachute and glider troops, and the ubiquitous SPAM, as well as CRACK !!! (later known as Crack Mark 3, because no one would agree about how to pronounce "Chik chik chik")

Wrong war.
posted by atrazine at 2:18 AM on November 11, 2008


The interest starts with the disjuncture between public and academic discourses about the 1914-18 war. The public image of what the war was like (bloody and muddy) and meant (pointless) has remained strikingly constant over the last four decades. Yet for a large part of this period - since the late 1980s - there has also been a remarkable boom in scholarship about the war which has introduced new methods. The increasing expectation that work will cross disciplinary and national boundaries has produced new understandings.

So... the scholars want the general public to understand that WWI was not bloody and muddy, that it was in fact a wonderful and necessary exercise that made all our lives better? Fuck that noise. I'll stick with the general public, thanks.

In other news -- Auschwitz plans found in Berlin flat

In the first place, what the hell does that have to do with this post? In the second place, that's big news and deserves its own post, not being stuck in an irrelevant thread where no one will ever find it.
posted by languagehat at 6:22 AM on November 11, 2008


Is there a way to view a flickr group by interestingness yet?
posted by srboisvert at 6:53 AM on November 11, 2008


So... the scholars want the general public to understand that WWI was not bloody and muddy, that it was in fact a wonderful and necessary exercise that made all our lives better? Fuck that noise. I'll stick with the general public, thanks.
That seems overly simplistic. They're not necessarily refuting the received perception; they're finding that further study of archival material leads to other understandings alongside that which are also useful in building up a picture of our past and no doubt how it shaped our present. I don't see it implying an outbreak of revisionism, though doubtless there's been some; there usually is at some point in the academic cycle. But in general, more scholarship will be a good thing.
posted by Abiezer at 7:43 AM on November 11, 2008


So... the scholars want the general public to understand that WWI was not bloody and muddy, that it was in fact a wonderful and necessary exercise that made all our lives better?

Um, no, I don't think that's what the article is saying. It's simply taking aim at two popular myths about WW1: (1) 'the war was futile' (in fact there was widespread support for the war at the time, and it was only later that people began to regard it as a futile waste of lives), and (2) 'the British experience was uniquely horrible' (in fact Britain got off relatively lightly compared with some other European countries). It certainly isn't arguing that the war was A Good Thing, merely that the popular image of WWI differs in certain respects from the findings of recent scholarship. Further discussion of these issues in Hew Strachan's piece from last week's TLS, Back to the Trenches (subtitled 'Why can't British historians be less insular about the First World War?').
posted by verstegan at 7:55 AM on November 11, 2008


They're not necessarily refuting the received perception; they're finding that further study of archival material leads to other understandings... more scholarship will be a good thing.

More scholarship is always a good thing, but the comment I quoted talked dramatically about a "disjuncture," which seems to imply something more than "further study leading to other understandings."

It's simply taking aim at two popular myths about WW1: (1) 'the war was futile' (in fact there was widespread support for the war at the time, and it was only later that people began to regard it as a futile waste of lives), and (2) 'the British experience was uniquely horrible' (in fact Britain got off relatively lightly compared with some other European countries).

(1) I don't understand your point. How does the fact that there was widespread support for the war at the time contradict, or even have anything to do with, the later judgment that it was futile? Should we celebrate the recent housing bubble because there was widespread support for it at the time?

(2) That's not a myth, that's just normal national egocentrism. Of course everyone, and every country, feels their suffering is uniquely awful. And frankly, telling people who suffered that they should suck it up because people in Russia had it worse is cruel and pointless.

And of course the popular image of anything is going to differ from the findings of recent scholarship. In other news, water is wet.
posted by languagehat at 8:07 AM on November 11, 2008


Well, languagehat, if you want to pursue this discussion, I suggest you take the time to read the article. You may find that it's not saying what you think it's saying.
posted by verstegan at 8:45 AM on November 11, 2008


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