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Higher History in Schools Conference The Impact of the Great War Dr Irene Maver Saturday, 9 March 2013.

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Presentation on theme: "Higher History in Schools Conference The Impact of the Great War Dr Irene Maver Saturday, 9 March 2013."— Presentation transcript:

1 Higher History in Schools Conference The Impact of the Great War Dr Irene Maver Saturday, 9 March 2013

2 Themes Scottish First World War research The Scottish Press Localism Women Politics

3 Research A rounded assessment of the war only since the 1990s Currently two general histories, Scotland and the Great War (1999) and The Flowers of the Forest (2006) But primary source material available in published form, especially collected letters, diaries and oral reminiscences Oral testimony from war veterans pursued in the 1990s and 2000s, before it was too late Two Scottish collections, Voices from the Great War (2005) and Voices from War (1995)

4 Alfred Anderson At the time of the war I didnt give the reasons much thought. I was too young for that, and it was a kind of jaunt for us all. It was a different kettle of fish once we got to the trenches. I saw fellows I knew dying around me, and all I thought about was living. Ive been trying to forget the war for the past eighty or so years, but wars just keep happening, and its ordinary folk who pay the price. Max Arthur, The Last Post (2005)

5 Sources Gary Sheffield, journalism constitutes the first draft of history Digitisation makes it easier to search newspapers, hitherto a difficult source to deal with Letters and diaries also increasingly accessible in published form Contrast between Earl Haigs prolific diaries, written with an eye to preserving reputation And the diary of a nobody style of Glasgow clerk, Thomas Cairns Livingstone

6 Thomas Cairns Livingstone Wednesday, 15 November [1916]: Agnes [his wife] went to some school at night, where they are teaching war cookery. Times are hard. Eggs 4d each, loaf 5d each, potatoes about 1/10 a stone. Thursday, 16 November: Andrews wife up in the forenoon for a heart to heart talk. The paper says Ive to be re- examined, so heres luck. Ill be a sojer yet. Blast the Kaiser. Government is going to take control of food. High blinking time. Thomas Cairns Livingstone, Tommys War (2008)

7 The Scottish Press The press overwhelmingly supported the war effort between 1914 and 1918 No real alternative as a conveyor of news Radio came to Scotland in 1923 Cinema increasingly popular, and used by the Government to sponsor war pictures as propaganda vehicles

8 Britain Prepared Britain Prepared: the Great Kinematograph Review It is surely an error in the programme which tells all and sundry that it is on seeing these films that one realises the full effort England has made. What about the effort made by Scotland and Ireland, &c? Glasgow Evening News, 23 May 1916

9 Influence of the Press J. M. Murdoch editor of the Ayrshire Post Noted in 1916 that some 250 newspapers were published across Scotland Only a few – including the Glasgow Herald and Scotsman – were daily Claimed that The local paper stimulates local patriotism, is a link between the Scot at home and the Scot abroad Highly critical of the incursion of London syndicates into Scotland, especially the role of the Harmsworth Brothers

10 J. M. Murdoch In such a case [metropolitan press syndicates], the independent views of individual editors and leader writers would not be forthcoming, but in their stead there would be the arbitrary trumpetings of the Press Napoleons; the hysterical ravings of the paper-made Men of Destiny, and such constant and nefarious intrigues and pullings of political wires as could not fail to generate, sooner or later, the most violent protests against the abuse of the newspaper prerogative. Scottish Review (Summer 1916)

11 Localism and Community Local patriotism a vital point of reference for wartime Scots, echoing 19th century Liberal values 1916 Glasgow recruiting poster – For the good name of our City and the Honour and Safety of the Empire 65% of Scottish recruits volunteers; 52% in England and Wales Thomas M. Lyon (Private Leo) wrote of his experiences as a volunteer in the 9th Battalion of the Highland Light Infantry for the Kilmarnock Standard

12 Thomas M. Lyon (Private Leo) In the early evening several mines were exploded near to our lines, and the sickening heave of the earth that accompanied these, and the shattering roar that followed did not tend to soothe our mental agitation. This is pure hell, said a white-faced, trembling-lipped boy, beside whom I once found myself cowering-in against the parapet. And, Well, hang this for a comic song, said Mac, a seasoned old campaigner, after he had been blown on his back by the force of a bursting bomb. Thomas M. Lyon, In Kilt and Khaki (1915)

13 The War and Journalism Combatants encouraged to write of their experiences for the Scottish press And sometimes the stark reality of war could be presented David Shaws death in action reported in the Uddingston Standard in June 1915, along with 48 others Served with the 6th Cameronians (Scottish Rifles), a locally raised battalion Press reporting helped the community in the grieving process

14 6th Cameronians (Scottish Rifles) The terrible ordeal through which the regiment passed is brought sharply before the reader, and the ghastly picture is relieved only by the devotion of the doctors and ambulance staff, and the unflinching heroism and self-sacrifice of the wounded, who bore their grievous pain with great fortitude, and whose desire was that the first attention should be given to those who were more seriously injured than themselves. Uddingston Standard, 26 June 1915

15 Women War work and activities frequently reported in the press, especially unusual roles such as munitions manufacture But this was often deliberately exploited, to emphasise the extraordinary conditions of war Voluntary and philanthropic efforts featured prominently in the press, in order to provide female role models However, this could prove counter-productive if too much moral pressure was exerted on the public

16 Women as Patriots War, which has brought work in plenty to the young, has given its opportunities also to the middle-aged, and they are doing their best in philanthropic schemes, collecting funds, entertaining Tommies, sending parcels, knitting comforts, making bandages, organising concerts, whist drives, sales of work, and At Homes for the relief funds, visiting and helping dependents, doing without maids, returning to the work of the household that the daughter at home may do her bit. Glasgow Evening News, 17 June 1916

17 Lady Lumsdens Letters 7 August 1915: I am sorry to find there has been no response to my appeal to get a complete motor ambulance to bring up cot cases when the trains arrive [at Oldmill, the local military hospital]. 19 July 1916: I am sorry no more school children have collected even pennies for this [the French hospital at Arc en Barrois]. Aberdeen Daily Journal, quoted in Sarah Pederson, A surfeit of socks?

18 Entertainers Dora Sefton was a Glasgow-based music hall entertainer during the war In 1917 she was part of Frances Lettys short musical drama Tommies Lonely Lassies, which toured Scotland All the performers were wives, daughters or sisters of combatants A forerunner to the Military Wives Choir, but such morale- boosting, all-female ensembles were usual at this time

19 Tommies Lonely Lassies Tommies Lonely Lassies, all dependents of soldiers, now present their popular vocal and instrumental scena at the Olympia [Glasgow] next week. Though lonely, these charming young ladies are far from unhappy. The wouldnt be lonely at all, in fact, for on the same bill we find Kevin and Clyde, those Scotch lads with their patter and their bagpipes, ready to cheer everybody up. Evening Times, 2 July 1917

20 Politics Politics were complex and highly divisive during the war See Iain Hutchisons chapter in the Macdonald and McFarland collection for detail Concern at the time about the demise of the Scottish radical press The Coalition Government was formed in 1915, and muted inter-party hostility But also heightened divisions within the Liberal Party – traditionally the biggest parliamentary party in Scotland

21 Anti-War Sentiment Among the main political organisations, anti-war sentiment was apparent both on the radical wing of the Liberal Party and in the Independent Labour Party James Keir Hardie, the veteran Scottish Labour leader, articulated strong views against the war So too did the radical nationalist editor of the Scottish Review, Ruaraidh Erskine of Marr The Glasgow Evening News called him Germanys Gaelic friend

22 James Keir Hardie And when a set of of selfish and incompetent statesmen have plunged nations into shedding each others blood, it is the worker who is called upon to line the trenches; to fill the horrid graves of war by tens of thousands; to murder his fellow worker with whom he has not, and never had, any quarrel; it is the worker who is commanded under the penalty of being branded a traitor, to carry woe and desolation into the hearts of womenfolk and children. Labour Leader, 25 March 1915

23 Red Clydeside Censorship of Forward in 1916 was more to do with David Lloyd Georges ego than any subversive behaviour on the part of Glaswegians The Minister of Munitions believed his powers of persuasion would convince reluctant trade unionists of the need for dilution of labour But he was shouted down at the meeting, and the episode grew into one of the legendary moments of Red Clydeside militancy

24 Lloyd George in Glasgow On rising to speak Mr Lloyd George was received with loud and continued booing and hissing. There was some cheering, certainly, and about a score of hats were waved in the area, but the meeting was violently hostile. Two verses of The Red Flag were sung, before the Minister [of Munitions] could utter a word. Owing to the incessant interruption and the numerous altercations going on in the hall, it was quite impossible to catch every word of Mr Georges speech. Forward, 1 January 1916

25 Works cited Max Arthur, The Last Post: the Final Word from our First World War Soldiers (2005) I. G. C. Hutchison, The impact of the First World War on Scottish politics, in Macdonald and McFarland (eds), Scotland and the Great War (1999), Thomas Cairns Livingstone, Tommys War: the Diaries of a Wartime Nobody (2008) (edited by Ronnie Scott) Thomas M. Lyon (Private Leo), In Kilt and Khaki: Glimpses of the Glasgow Highlanders in Training and on Foreign Service (1915) Catriona M. M. Macdonald and E. W. McFarland (eds), Scotland and the Great War (1999)

26 Works cited (contd) Ian MacDougall (ed.), Voices from War: Personal Recollections of War in our Century by Scottish Men and Women (1995) J. M. Murdoch, Our newspaper press, in the Scottish Review (Summer 1916), Sarah Pederson, A surfeit of socks? The impact of the First World War on women correspondents to daily newspapers, in Scottish Economic and Social History, 22 (2002), Trevor Royle, The Flowers of the Forest: Scotland and the First World War (2006) Gary Sheffield, The Chief: Douglas Haig and the British Army (2011) Derek Young, Scottish Voices from the Great War (2005)

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