Disasters and Heroes: On War, Memory and Representation by Angus Calder

By Angus Calder

Images of conflict and its commemoration are a regular presence in modern tradition, from the embedded reporter within the box to the final submit on the Menin Gate.  Disasters and Heroes: On conflict, reminiscence and Representation revisits campaigns from the plains of Troy to contemporary occasions within the Balkans, studying how wars are represented and remembered.  Angus Calder indicates how the 'facts'of conflict are reworked into myths that situation later responses to battle, and the way the development of reminiscence starts with wartime occasions themselves.
 
Beginning with a bit dedicated to warfare memorials and the general public remembrance of struggle, equivalent to D-Day commemorations, the essays accumulated in Disasters and Heroes then examine the lived adventure of conflict for 'ordinary' humans, whereas the ultimate part offers with literary illustration of warfare, from The Iliad to T.E. Lawrence and directly to Christa Wolf's CassandraDisasters and Heroes is a thought-provoking assortment facing problems with significant value which contemporary occasions have made painfully topical.

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Cannadine, ‘War and grief’, p. 207. Geoffrey Moorhouse, Hell’s Foundations (London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1992), pp. 10–11, 12, 79, 93, 104–5, 124ff. Cannadine, ‘War and grief’, p. 231; Jay Winter, Sites of Memory, Sites of Mourning: The Great War in European Cultural History (Cambridge: Canto, 1998), pp. 27–8. William Kidd, ‘Memory, memorials and commemoration of war in Lorraine, 1908–1998’, in M. Evans and K. Lunn (eds), War and Memory in the Twentieth Century (Oxford: Berg, 1997), pp. 143–59. Adrian Gregory, The Silence of Memory: Armistice Day 1919–1946 (Oxford: Berg, 1994), pp.

M. on 11 November – the day of the 1918 Armistice, and the eleventh day of the eleventh month – 16 Commemorations originated in South Africa but was a great success in the mother country when it was first observed in 1919. Cities became awesomely quiet as bells, sirens or maroons or, as in Edinburgh, artillery, sounded. ’12 For this first anniversary of the Armistice, Lutyens had designed a cenotaph (‘empty tomb’) of plaster and wood. This extremely simple, plain, massive form, tapered gently by stages towards the top, was much applauded.

In 1914–18, this regiment lost over 10,000 dead, as did the Royal Scots and the Highland Light Infantry (City of Glasgow Regiment). Such statistics dissolve the Valhalla of the kilted soldier in flames and ruin. Meditation on Memorials 21 But the Empire endures. The curious visitor may already have noted that the very small equestrian statue of Earl Haig in the Castle Esplanade was presented ‘in admiration’ by Sir Dunjibhoy Bomanzi of Bombay. The inner side of the tall arch which gives entry from the Hall of Honour to the Shrine is encircled by the Tree of Empire which supports upon its branches the coats of arms of the Dominions and of India, and the Royal Arms of Scotland.

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