I have started a new blog at http://radicalstroudww1.wordpress.com. The intention is to run it as a site that will accommodate a wide diversity of community memory, reflection and analysis.
This current site will still continue but will be for posts about local history outside of the Great War memorialization discussions.
The website www.radicalstroud.org.uk is being updated. I’m really pleased with the way it is developing.
The below is our ‘mission statement’ for http://radicalstroudww1.wordpress.com.
It strikes me that there are as many narratives about WW1 as there are people who think about it today, and as there were soldiers and non-combatants way back then. This multi-narrative includes, of course, perspectives from all over Europe and the world. The centenary commemoration might be characteristically British in tone, but we shall seek to be cosmopolitan in content.
That is the purpose of this blog: not to be all trendily post-modernist, but to compile an anthology of diverse reflections on, and memories of, the conflict. The approach is radical, in the sense that it is collaborative, both within the varied communities of Stroud and the 5 Valleys, and hopefully across the European continent and beyond.
Our locality contains more diversity than many of us imagine – we need the views of descendants from the vast polyglot Central Powers, as well as from the Middle East, Africa, the old British Empire, Asia and the Americas. It was, of course, a world war, even though the Western Front dominates our memorialization.
Polly Toynbee’s commented in February 2014: ‘Every family has memories of war… History is there to be mined or undermined, renewed or debunked, as each generation ferrets out illumination for their times.’ The Great War ‘is this year’s crucible for re-examining ourselves’; we aim to contribute to this meta-narrative: this dialogue between commemoration and memorialization.