Roll of Honour, Schooling & The Great War, 1914-1918



Remarkably little has been written about the relationship between schools and the First World War, published to be available to the widest readership. There are vast amounts of documents, in the form of articles and papers about specific schools, published over the last hundred years and mainly existing in archives, never having been widely read. Happily, Pen & Sword has been publishing some important books that attempt to correct the omission, also starting on similar coverage of WWII. In 1914, the situation was unique. The Battles of Trafalgar and Waterloo had given Europe a long period of relative peace. True, the Germans had begun sharpening their swords for the Franco-Prussian War, but there had been nothing to resemble the long periods of religious and national wars that had swept Europe for a thousand years and more. The Great War shattered that period of relative peace and the failure to end the conflict honourably and effectively had created the seeds of the Second World War and, in turn, the Cold War. It is still unclear whether the Cold War ended, or just became another shaky armistice. It is also unclear how the unfinished business from 1945 in the Middle East will be resolved, or the how the competition in the Pacific Rim may provide a new trigger for war. What is certain is that the circumstances of 1914 cannot be replicated at all levels in society. This book is therefore not only an affectionate, sympathetic and moving account of the relationship between schooling and WWI, but one of the very few books to explain a key aspect of that war.

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