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WAR MEMORIALS PROJECT 3

For discussion, research and writing

Some helpful books:
Boorman, Derek: At the Going Down of the Sun: British First World War Memorials (1988)
Borg, Alan: War Memorials (1991)
Garfield, John: The Fallen (1990)
Garrett, Richard: The Final Betrayal (1989)
McIntyre, Colin: Monuments of War (1990)
Turner, William: The Accrington Pals (1988)
Whittick, Arnold: War Memorials (1946)

Why do you think so many war memorials were put up in the 1920s?

Do war memorials convey any idea of what war is really like? (If not, where can you find out? Where have you learned about war already?)

What is a war memorial for? (Is it a monument to those who died in war, or a celebration of victory, or something else? For whom are war memorials helpful?)

Do the memorials you have learned about tell you anything about the attitudes of the people who had them built? (Did they choose something grand or simple? Was it locally made? Where did they place it?)

Find out what kind of war memorials have been put up in other countries, such as France, Germany, Russia, Argentina, the United States, Africa. Are there cultural differences? Are there differences in attitudes to war and peace?

The memorial at Edenhall in Cumbria says: 'We lie dead in foreign lands, that you may live here in peace'. Do you think that peace has been achieved?

Each of the people listed on war memorials was once a living individual. Try to imagine that you are one of them, and write the story of what happened to them in the war.

Imagine that one of the people from the memorial list could come back to see the memorial that commemorates them. Write a story about that, giving an account of what the person might feel about the memorial and why it was there.

Think about designing a modern war memorial yourself. What should it commemorate, and what should it express to those who look at it?

Do you think that memorials are a good way to share feelings of bereavement in war? Do you think triumphal arches, for example, are a good way of sharing feelings of achievement? Both war memorials and triumphal arches were intended to last ('their name liveth for evermore'). Try designing a memorial to commemorate an event that you regard as important. It could be a private memorial, known only to you; or a public one, so that people can share the importance with you. Maybe it will even be possible to make your design into the real thing.