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

Gethin Matthews Orcid Logo

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 Orcid Logo

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...

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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
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first_indexed 2018-04-26T13:43:44Z
last_indexed 2018-08-16T13:07:06Z
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spelling 2018-08-16T11:58:52.2243413 v2 39572 2018-04-26 Angels, Tanks and Minerva: Reading the memorials to the Great War in Welsh chapels 332493573a40446323f0da61a12f4845 0000-0002-1373-8771 Gethin Matthews Gethin Matthews true false 2018-04-26 AHIS 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. Book chapter The Palgrave Handbook of Artistic and Cultural Responses to War, Volume One: Australasia, the British Isles and the United States Palgrave Macmillan London WW1, war, commemoration, chapels, Wales, Nonconformity, mourning, loss, iconography 0 0 0 0001-01-01 COLLEGE NANME History COLLEGE CODE AHIS Swansea University 2018-08-16T11:58:52.2243413 2018-04-26T12:04:19.2861142 College of Arts and Humanities History Gethin Matthews 0000-0002-1373-8771 1
title Angels, Tanks and Minerva: Reading the memorials to the Great War in Welsh chapels
spellingShingle Angels, Tanks and Minerva: Reading the memorials to the Great War in Welsh chapels
Gethin, Matthews
title_short Angels, Tanks and Minerva: Reading the memorials to the Great War in Welsh chapels
title_full Angels, Tanks and Minerva: Reading the memorials to the Great War in Welsh chapels
title_fullStr Angels, Tanks and Minerva: Reading the memorials to the Great War in Welsh chapels
title_full_unstemmed Angels, Tanks and Minerva: Reading the memorials to the Great War in Welsh chapels
title_sort Angels, Tanks and Minerva: Reading the memorials to the Great War in Welsh chapels
author_id_str_mv 332493573a40446323f0da61a12f4845
author_id_fullname_str_mv 332493573a40446323f0da61a12f4845_***_Gethin, Matthews_***_0000-0002-1373-8771
author Gethin, Matthews
author2 Gethin Matthews
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institution Swansea University
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description 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.
published_date 0001-01-01T12:50:09Z
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