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Britishness and commemoration: National memorials to the First World War in Britain and Ireland

Macleod, Jenny


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Dr Jenny Macleod
Senior Lecturer in 20th Century History, Head of Department


The 1917 call for a national memorial to the First World War led to the establishment of the Imperial War Museum in London. It also inspired Scottish, Welsh and Irish national memorials. No English national memorial was ever proposed; instead the Cenotaph and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier were conceived as imperial memorials. The new statelet of Northern Ireland did not commemorate its overall war effort within its own territory. This article surveys the organisation, location and design of the Scottish, Welsh and Irish national war memorials to the First World War. It examines some aspects of the complex set of relationships between the local, regional, national and imperial layers of identity that are inherent in Britishness. In doing so it reveals the confused and contested nature of national identity in the United Kingdom at the close of the First World War.


Macleod, J. (2013). Britishness and commemoration: National memorials to the First World War in Britain and Ireland. Journal of Contemporary History, 48(4), (647-665). doi:10.1177/0022009413493940. ISSN 0022-0094

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Feb 1, 2013
Online Publication Date Oct 23, 2013
Publication Date 2013-10
Deposit Date Nov 13, 2014
Publicly Available Date Nov 13, 2014
Journal Journal of contemporary history
Print ISSN 0022-0094
Electronic ISSN 1461-7250
Publisher SAGE Publications
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 48
Issue 4
Pages 647-665
Keywords REF 2014 submission, Britishness, Commemoration, First World War, National identity, War memorial
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Publisher URL
Additional Information Authors' accepted manuscript of article published in: Journal of contemporary history, 2013, v.48, issue 4


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