No Cover Image

Book chapter 481 views

Angels, Tanks and Minerva: Reading the memorials to the Great War in Welsh chapels / Gethin Matthews

The Palgrave Handbook of Artistic and Cultural Responses to War, Volume One: Australasia, the British Isles and the United States

Swansea University Author: Gethin Matthews

Abstract

Prior to August 1914, the chapels of the Protestant Nonconformist denominations of Wales prided themselves on their anti-militarist credentials. The principles of “love thy neighbor” proclaimed in the Sermon on the Mount were predominant. Yet within weeks of the start of the Great War, the vast majo...

Full description

Published in: The Palgrave Handbook of Artistic and Cultural Responses to War, Volume One: Australasia, the British Isles and the United States
Published: London Palgrave Macmillan
URI: https://cronfa.swan.ac.uk/Record/cronfa39572
Tags: Add Tag
No Tags, Be the first to tag this record!
Abstract: Prior to August 1914, the chapels of the Protestant Nonconformist denominations of Wales prided themselves on their anti-militarist credentials. The principles of “love thy neighbor” proclaimed in the Sermon on the Mount were predominant. Yet within weeks of the start of the Great War, the vast majority of chapel ministers had accepted the principle of the just war, and were encouraging the young men in their congregations to enlist. The stresses of the fifty two months of fighting led to a variety of responses and one way to analyze these is to look at the memorials which these chapel communities commissioned for their war dead, and also to honour those who served and returned. Some of these are clearly ‘war’ memorials and have surprising imagery, such as depictions of tanks and warplanes; others are dedicated as ‘peace’ memorials and include images of angels. Some memorials have mixed messages, combining images of the chapel with uncompromisingly militaristic language. As a corpus, they tell us how much of a shock the conflict had been, shattering many preconceived ideas and heralding the dawn of an uncertain future.
Keywords: WW1, war, commemoration, chapels, Wales, Nonconformity, mourning, loss, iconography
College: College of Arts and Humanities