THE MEMORY OF THE GREAT WAR AND MORALE DURING BRITAIN'S PHONEY WAR

MORLEY JOEL

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)

Abstract

This article examines the memory of the Great War and the underexplored topic of morale during the Phoney War, and contributes to, and connects, their historiographies. Analysis of previously unexamined Mass Observation (MO) material confirms and qualifies some of the concerns about morale that MO expressed at the time. It also reveals that many Britons looked backwards to the Great War during the Phoney War, whether they had lived through the Great War or not, and their memories and understandings of the Great War informed their attitudes to the Second World War. Memories of wartime trauma were just one facet of the varied legacy of the Great War that Britons drew upon. Importantly, Britons of different ages drew upon post-war representations and personal and vicarious experiences to different extents, but those who were able to typically ascribed influence to personal rather than cultural memories of the Great War. This complicates the assumption that the latter determined Britons' responses to the outbreak of the Second World War and contributes to understandings of both the reception and influence of cultural representations of the Great War, and the place of the Great War in the subjective worlds of Britons during the Second World War.

Original languageEnglish
JournalThe Historical Journal
Early online date27 Mar 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 27 Mar 2019

Keywords

  • Great War
  • Second World War
  • Morale
  • Memory
  • Mass Observation

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