world war one events

by Outreach ~ April 9th, 2014. Filed under: News.

conscience has been out and about engaging in activities that focus on WWI. Below are our thoughts on a couple of events recently attended. Looking into the events of WWI strengthens our belief that the next four years should be used as an opportunity to educate and inform current generations about peace and how we need to try harder to prevent war and conflict.

the great debate: how should we remember world war one?

the great debate

The debate was framed with two opposing arguments; “Was it ‘a noble and just cause’ defending freedom and liberal democracy? Or was it a slaughter that killed over 15 million people waged by imperial powers competing to carve up the world and its resources?”

The debate hinged on whether or not the war was justified, how and why World War One began and the importance of not just looking at the immediate incidents that seem to lead to war but at the surrounding historical, economic, social, military and political conditions of the period. Ultimately it was proposed that the immediate and ongoing legacy of the wars should have been peace. However, since World War One there has been mass conflict and wars over the past century. One conclusion that came from the debate was that to honour those who fought in World War One we must start by disarming, reducing military activity and creating transparency between the links and interests of military industries,  governments and the international banks. Equally important is to honour and remember the conscientious objectors and those who opposed the war through protest and rallies.

If you wish to watch the debate please see the youtube video:

king and country (1964)

conscience attended a film screening and discussion courtesy of the Reel Islington Film Club.

The film is a grim look at life in the trenches and is based around the court marshal of a young Private, named Hamp, for desertion. The last survivor of his battalion, after three years Hamp suffering from shell shock atttempts to walk home to England (an impossible task) before being caught and brought to trial. On trial his lawyer Captain Hargreaves defends him on the basis of insanity, an idea not yet accepted. The story, however, is not about understanding Hamp’s actions or character but the development of middle class Captain Hargreaves, who initially is unsympathetic and just ‘doing his duty’. Slowly he begins to view Hamp as more than a coward. Through the trial and the lens of Hargreaves we see a cruel system that seems to have no understanding or compassion for human frailty. Through Hamp we see the accumulated horror of the war and its futility. From the start of the film the fate of Hamp is clear but watching his realisation of his plight as he goes through a trial, with an outcome already decided, is no less shocking. The film creates extra impact with interspersed photos of dead soldiers from the war.

The events were a great way to engage and learn with other people interested in the centenary of World War One.

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