The Great War: Localities and Regional Identities
The First World War was one of the prime motors of social change in modern British history. Culture and technology at all levels were transformed. The growing impact of the state, the introduction of modern democracy and change in political allegiance affected most aspects of the lives of UK citizens.
Whilst most of the current centenary interest focuses on military aspects of the conflict, this volume considers how these fundamental changes varied from locality to locality within Britain’s Home Front. Taken together, did they drastically alter the long-established importance of regional variations within British society in the early twentieth century? Was there a common national response to these unprecedented events, or did strong regional identities cause significant variations? The series of case studies presented in this volume – ranging geographically and by topic – detail how communities coped with the war’s outbreak, its upheavals, its unprecedented mass mobilization on all fronts, and its unforeseen longevity.
Nick Mansfield spent over thirty years working in museums including twenty-one as director of the People’s History Museum in Manchester. He is the author of English Farmworkers and Local Patriotism, 1900–1930 (2001), Buildings of the Labour Movement (2013) and over forty journal articles. He is Senior Research Fellow in History at the University of Central Lancashire, and is currently writing a book on work, class, politics and the nineteenth-century British military.
Craig Horner has published on Edwardian motoring and society. He is co-editor of the Manchester Region History Review and book reviews editor of the Journal of Transport History. From 2015, he will take on the editorship of Aspects of Motoring History, the journal of the Society of Automotive Historians of Britain.
"[These] articles are accessible to the general reader, and almost entirely jargon free. Often difficult topics, such as the composition and working of the military tribunals, or the radicalisation of ex-servicemen, are tackled with commendable clarity. [...] The topics raised in the book are not usually visited and illustrate interesting and important facets of the war. They invite comparative studies of other localities and will provide useful pointers – perhaps even for amateur historians, as we wrestle with the Great War’s complexities."
—Chris Holland, editor of 'Coventry and Warwickshire 1914-1919'; Family & Community History, 19: 1 (2016)
"The Great War is a potent ingredient in British national and local identities. The centenary of 1914–18 has intensified interest in researching and understanding this shared history even further. Yet, as the experience of the war and its aftermath has moved beyond the reach of direct, individual memory, so the dangers of partial, clichéd and homogenized versions of that experience grow, whether for historians or the wider public for whom this war has such resonance. This timely volume shows how returning to the local experience and using the rich, contemporary evidence enables the realities of wartime throughout British society to be re-discovered. These studies, from contrasting parts of England and Wales, illuminate differing aspects of the social, economic, political and cultural consequences of the war. Their varied perspectives offer ways to understand afresh the impact of the war, collectively and individually."
—Dr Kate Tiller, Kellogg College, Oxford University
"This provocative and stimulating volume brings together some of the latest research on the way the war was experienced in communities right across Britain."
—Professor Chris Williams, Cardiff University
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