A war memorial is a building, monument, statue or other edifice to celebrate a war or victory, or (predominating in modern times) to commemorate those who died or were injured in a war.
The oldest war memorial in the United Kingdom is Oxford University's All Souls College. It was founded in 1438 with the provision that its fellows should pray for those killed in the long wars with France.
All Souls College is a constituent college of the University of Oxford in England.
The Hundred Years' War was a series of conflicts waged from 1337 to 1453 by the House of Plantagenet, rulers of the Kingdom of England, against the French House of Valois, over the right to rule the Kingdom of France. Each side drew many allies into the war. It was one of the most notable conflicts of the Middle Ages, in which five generations of kings from two rival dynasties fought for the throne of the largest kingdom in Western Europe. The war marked both the height of chivalry and its subsequent decline, and the development of strong national identities in both countries.
War memorials for the Franco-Prussian War (1870–71) were the first in Europe to have rank-and-file soldiers commemorated by name. Every soldier that was killed was granted a permanent resting-place as part of the terms of the Treaty of Frankfurt (1871).
The Franco-Prussian War or Franco-German War, often referred to in France as the War of 1870, was a conflict between the Second French Empire and later the Third French Republic, and the German states of the North German Confederation led by the Kingdom of Prussia. Lasting from 19 July 1870 to 28 January 1871, the conflict was caused by Prussian ambitions to extend German unification and French fears of the shift in the European balance of power that would result if the Prussians succeeded. Some historians argue that the Prussian chancellor Otto von Bismarck deliberately provoked the French into declaring war on Prussia in order to draw the independent southern German states—Baden, Württemberg, Bavaria and Hesse-Darmstadt—into an alliance with the North German Confederation dominated by Prussia, while others contend that Bismarck did not plan anything and merely exploited the circumstances as they unfolded. None, however, dispute the fact that Bismarck must have recognized the potential for new German alliances, given the situation as a whole.
The Treaty of Frankfurt was a peace treaty signed in Frankfurt on 10 May 1871, at the end of the Franco-Prussian War.
To commemorate the millions who died in World War I, war memorials became commonplace in communities large and small around the world.[ citation needed ]
World War I, also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war originating in Europe that lasted from 28 July 1914 to 11 November 1918. Contemporaneously described as "the war to end all wars", it led to the mobilisation of more than 70 million military personnel, including 60 million Europeans, making it one of the largest wars in history. It is also one of the deadliest conflicts in history, with an estimated nine million combatants and seven million civilian deaths as a direct result of the war, while resulting genocides and the 1918 influenza pandemic caused another 50 to 100 million deaths worldwide.
In modern times the main intent of war memorials is not to glorify war, but to honor those who have died. Sometimes, as in the case of the Warsaw Genuflection of Willy Brandt, they may also serve as focal points of increasing understanding between previous enemies.
Willy Brandt was a German statesman who was leader of the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) from 1964 to 1987 and served as Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany from 1969 to 1974. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1971 for his efforts to strengthen cooperation in western Europe through the EEC and to achieve reconciliation between West Germany and the countries of Eastern Europe. He was the first Social Democrat chancellor since 1930.
Using modern technology an international project is currently archiving all post-1914 Commonwealth war graves and Commonwealth War Graves Commission memorials to create a virtual memorial (see The War Graves Photographic Project for further details).
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) is an intergovernmental organisation of six independent member states whose principal function is to mark, record and maintain the graves and places of commemoration of Commonwealth of Nations military service members who died in the two World Wars. The Commission is also responsible for commemorating Commonwealth civilians who died as a result of enemy action during World War II. The Commission was founded by Sir Fabian Ware and constituted through Royal Charter in 1917 named the Imperial War Graves Commission. The change to the present name took place in 1960.
The War Graves Photographic Project original aim was to photograph every war grave, individual memorial, Ministry of Defence grave, and family memorial of serving military personnel from WWI to the present day. However, due to its popularity the project has now extended the remit to cover all nationalities and military conflicts and make these available within a searchable database. These memorials are all over the world where British, Commonwealth and other nations servicemen and women are buried or commemorated.
During the First World War, many nations saw massive devastation and loss of life. More people lost their lives in the east than in the west, but the outcome was different. In the west, and in response to the victory there obtained, most of the cities in the countries involved in the conflict erected memorials, with the memorials in smaller villages and towns often listing the names of each local soldier who had been killed in addition (so far as the decision by the French and British in 1916 to construct governmentally designed cemeteries was concerned) to their names being recorded on military headstones, often against the will of those directly involved, and without any opportunity of choice in the British Empire (Imperial War Graves Commission). Massive British monuments commemorating thousands of dead with no identified war grave, such as the Menin Gate at Ypres and the Thiepval memorial on the Somme, were also constructed.
A war grave is a burial place for members of the armed forces or civilians who died during military campaigns or operations.
Ypres is a Belgian municipality in the province of West Flanders. Though the Dutch Ieper is the official name, the city's French name Ypres is most commonly used in English. The municipality comprises the city of Ypres and the villages of Boezinge, Brielen, Dikkebus, Elverdinge, Hollebeke, Sint-Jan, Vlamertinge, Voormezele, Zillebeke, and Zuidschote. Together, they are home to about 34,900 inhabitants.
The Liberty Memorial, located in Kansas City, Missouri, is a memorial dedicated to all Americans who served in the Great War. For various reasons connected with their character, the same may be said to apply to certain governmental memorials in the United Kingdom (the Cenotaph in London, relating to the Empire in general, and the Scottish National War Memorial in Edinburgh, also with a reference to the Empire, but with particular connections to the United Kingdom, having been opened by the Prince of Wales in 1927 and with the King and the Queen the first visitors and contributors of a casket of the Scottish names for addition within the Shrine). In Maryland, in the center of the city of Baltimore facing the Baltimore City Hall to the west is a geometric paved tree-lined plaza with the War Memorial Building to the east with a large marble decorated civic auditorium and historical and veterans museum below, designed by Laurence Hall Fowler, dedicated 1925.
After World War I, some towns in France set up pacifist war memorials. Instead of commemorating the glorious dead, these memorials denounce war with figures of grieving widows and children rather than soldiers. Such memorials provoked anger among veterans and the military in general. The most famous is at Gentioux-Pigerolles in the department of Creuse. Below the column which lists the name of the fallen stands an orphan in bronze pointing to an inscription 'Maudite soit la guerre' (Cursed be war). Feelings ran so high that the memorial was not officially inaugurated until 1990 and soldiers at the nearby army camp were under orders to turn their heads when they walked past. Another such memorial is in the small town of Équeurdreville-Hainneville (formerly Équeurdreville) in the department of Manche. Here the statue is of a grieving widow with two small children.
There seems to be no exact equivalent form of a pacifist memorial within the United Kingdom but evidently sentiments were in many cases identical. Thus, and although it seems that this has never been generally recognized, it can be argued that there was throughout the United Kingdom a construction of war memorials with reference to the concept of peace (e.g. West Hartlepool War Memorial in what is now known as Hartlepool (previously West Hartlepool) with the inscription 'Thine O Lord is the Victory' relating to amongst other architecture the 1871 Royal Albert Hall of Arts and Sciences with a frieze including the same words and concluding 'Glory be to God on high and on earth peace').
In many cases, World War I memorials were later extended to show the names of locals who died in the World War II in addition.
Since that time memorials to the dead in other conflicts such as the Korean War and Vietnam War have also noted individual contributions, at least in the West.
In relation to actions which may well in point of fact be historically connected with the world wars even if this happens, for whatever reason, not to be a matter of general discussion (e.g. occupation by Western forces in the 1920s of Palestine and other areas being the homelands of Arabs in the Near East and followed eighty years later in 2001 by the '9/11' raid on New York and elsewhere in the United States) similar historically and architecturally significant memorials are also designed and constructed (vide National September 11 Memorial).
A tank monument or armoured memorial is a tank withdrawn from military service and displayed to commemorate a battle or a military unit. Obsolete tanks may also be displayed as gate guards outside military bases.
Immediately following the First World War, a number of obsolete tanks were presented to towns and cities throughout Britain for display and for use as memorials: most were scrapped in the 1920s and 1930s, but one that survives is a Mark IV Female tank at Ashford, Kent.
Several Second World War tanks are preserved as memorials to major armoured offensives in the Ardennes, such as the Battle of Sedan and the Battle of the Bulge. These include:
A plinth-mounted T-35/85 tank commemorates the soldiers of the 5th Guards Tank Army, at Znamianka in Ukraine.
Many cemeteries tended by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission have an identical war memorial called the Cross of Sacrifice designed by Sir Reginald Blomfield that varies in height from 18 ft to 32 ft depending on the size of the cemetery. If there are one thousand or more burials, a Commonwealth cemetery will contain a Stone of Remembrance, designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens with words from the Wisdom of Sirach: "Their name liveth for evermore"; all the Stones of Remembrance are 11 ft 6 ins long and 5 ft high with three steps leading up to them.
Arlington National Cemetery has a Canadian Cross of Sacrifice with the names of all the citizens of the USA who lost their lives fighting in the Canadian forces during the Korean War and two World Wars.
War memorials can sometimes be politically controversial. A notable case is that of the Yasukuni Shrine in Japan, where a number of convicted World War II war criminals are interred. Chinese and Korean representatives have often protested against the visits of Japanese politicians to the shrine. The visits have in the past led to severe diplomatic conflicts between the nations, and Japanese businesses were attacked in China after a visit by former Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi to the shrine was widely reported and criticized in Chinese and Korean media.
In a similar case, former German chancellor Helmut Kohl was criticised by writers Günter Grass and Elie Wiesel for visiting the war cemetery at Bitburg (in the company of Ronald Reagan) which also contained the bodies of SS troops.Unlike the case of the Yasukuni Shrine, there was no element of intentional disregard of international opinion involved, as is often claimed for the politician visits to the Japanese shrine.
Soviet World War II memorials included quotes of Joseph Stalin's texts, frequently replaced after his death. Such memorials were often constructed in city centres and now are sometimes regarded as symbols of Soviet occupation and removed, which in turn may spark protests (see Bronze Soldier of Tallinn).
The Fusiliers' memorial arch to the Royal Dublin Fusiliers who fought in the Boer War, erected at 1907 in St. Stephen's Green, Dublin, was called "Traitors' Gate" by the Redmondites and later Irish Republicans, from whose point of view Irish soldiers going off to fight the British Empire's wars were traitors to Ireland. The sharpness of the controversy gradually faded, and while the term "Traitors' Gate" is still in occasional colloquial use in Dublin daily life, it has mostly lost its pejorative meaning.
In Australia, in 1981, historian Henry Reynolds raised the issue of whether war memorials should be erected to Indigenous Australians who had died fighting against British invaders on their lands.
How, then, do we deal with the Aboriginal dead? White Australians frequently say that 'all that' should be forgotten. But it will not be. It cannot be. Black memories are too deeply, too recently scarred. And forgetfulness is a strange prescription coming from a community which has revered the fallen warrior and emblazoned the phrase 'Lest We Forget' on monuments throughout the land. [...] [D]o we make room for the Aboriginal dead on our memorials, cenotaphs, boards of honour and even in the pantheon of national heroes? If we are to continue to celebrate the sacrifice of men and women who died for their country can we deny admission to fallen tribesmen? There is much in their story that Australians have traditionally admired. They were ever the underdogs, were always outgunned, yet frequently faced death without flinching. If they did not die for Australia as such they fell defending their homelands, their sacred sites, their way of life. What is more the blacks bled on their own soil and not half a world away furthering the strategic objectives of a distant Motherland whose influence must increasingly be seen as of transient importance in the history of the continent.
Reynolds' suggestion proved controversial.Occasional memorials have been erected to commemorate Aboriginal people's resistance to colonisation, or to commemorate white massacres of Indigenous Australians. These memorials have often generated controversy. For example, a 1984 memorial to the Kalkadoon people's "resistance against the paramilitary force of European settlers and the Queensland Native Mounted Police" was "frequently shot at" and "eventually blown up".
With the advent of long war, some memorials are constructed before the conflict is over, leaving space for extra names of the dead. For instance, the Northwood Gratitude and Honor Memorial in Irvine, CA, memorializes an ongoing pair of US wars, and has space to inscribe the names of approximately 8,000 fallen servicemembers,while the UK National Memorial Arboretum near Lichfield in England hosts the UK's National Armed Forces Memorial which displays the names of the more than 16,000 people who have already died on active service in the UK armed forces since World War II, with more space available for future fatalities.
Remembrance Day is a memorial day observed in Commonwealth member states since the end of the First World War to remember the members of their armed forces who have died in the line of duty. Following a tradition inaugurated by King George V in 1919, the day is also marked by war remembrances in many non-Commonwealth countries. Remembrance Day is observed on 11 November in most countries to recall the end of hostilities of First World War on that date in 1918. Hostilities formally ended "at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month", in accordance with the armistice signed by representatives of Germany and the Entente between 5:12 and 5:20 that morning. The First World War officially ended with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles on 28 June 1919.
Remembrance Sunday is held in the United Kingdom as a day "to commemorate the contribution of British and Commonwealth military and civilian servicemen and women in the two World Wars and later conflicts". It is held at 11 a.m. on the second Sunday in November.
A cenotaph is an empty tomb or a monument erected in honour of a person or group of people whose remains are elsewhere. It can also be the initial tomb for a person who has since been reinterred elsewhere. Although the vast majority of cenotaphs honour individuals, many noted cenotaphs are instead dedicated to the memories of groups of individuals, such as the lost soldiers of a country or of an empire.
An eternal flame is a flame, lamp or torch that burns continuously for an indefinite period. Most eternal flames are ignited and tended intentionally, but some are natural phenomena caused by natural gas leaks, peat fires and coal seam fires, all of which can be initially ignited by lightning, piezoelectricity or human activity, some of which have burned for thousands of years.
Mount Herzl, also Har ha-Zikaron, is the site of Israel's national cemetery and other memorial and educational facilities, found on the west side of Jerusalem beside the Jerusalem Forest.
The Shrine of Remembrance is a war memorial in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, located in Kings Domain on St Kilda Road. It was built to honour the men and women of Victoria who served in World War I, but is now a memorial to all Australians who have served in war. It is a site of annual observances of ANZAC Day and Remembrance Day and is one of the largest war memorials in Australia.
Sicily–Rome American Cemetery and Memorial is a Second World War American military war grave cemetery, located in Nettuno, near Anzio, Italy. The cemetery, containing 7,858 American war dead, covers 77 acres (31 ha) and was dedicated in 1956. It is administered by the American Battle Monuments Commission.
Canadian war memorials are buildings, monuments, and statues that commemorate the armed actions in the territory encompassing modern Canada, the role of the Canadian military in conflicts and peacekeeping operations, and Canadians who died or were injured in a war. Much of this military history of Canada is commemorated today with memorials across the country and around the world. Canadian memorials commemorate the sacrifices made as early as the Seven Years' War to the modern day War on Terror. As Newfoundland was a British Dominion until joining Confederation in 1949, there are several monuments in Newfoundland and Labrador and abroad which were dedicated to Newfoundland servicemen and women.
Southampton Cenotaph is a First World War memorial designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens and located in Watts Park in Southampton, southern England. The memorial was the first of dozens by Lutyens to be built in permanent form and it influenced his later designs, including The Cenotaph on Whitehall in London. It is a tapering, multi-tiered pylon which culminates in a series of diminishing layers before terminating in a sarcophagus which features a recumbent figure of a soldier. In front is an altar-like Stone of Remembrance. The cenotaph contains multiple sculptural details including a prominent cross, the town's coat of arms, and two lions. The names of the dead are inscribed on three sides. Although similar in outline, Lutyens' later cenotaphs were much more austere and featured almost no sculpture. The design uses abstract, ecumenical features and lifts the recumbent soldier high above eye level, anonymising him.
World War I memorials commemorate the events and the casualties of World War I. These war memorials include civic memorials, larger national monuments, war cemeteries, private memorials and a range of utilitarian designs such as halls and parks, dedicated to remembering those involved in the conflict. Huge numbers of memorials were built in the 1920s and 1930s, with around 176,000 erected in France alone. This was a new social phenomenon and marked a major cultural shift in how nations commemorated conflicts. Interest in World War I and its memorials faded after World War II, and did not increase again until the 1980s and 1990s, which saw the renovation of many existing memorials and the opening of new sites. Visitor numbers at many memorials increased significantly, while major national and civic memorials continue to be used for annual ceremonies remembering the war.
The Gibraltar Cross of Sacrifice is a war memorial in the British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar. It is located west of North Front Cemetery, at the junction of Winston Churchill Avenue and Devil's Tower Road. The Cross of Sacrifice was designed by Sir Reginald Blomfield in 1917, and his monument is found in numerous Commonwealth War Graves Commission cemeteries. The cross in Gibraltar was erected by the Royal Engineers for the commission, and unveiled on Armistice Day 1922. The British Pathé film recorded at the dedication ceremony that day represents the first motion picture made in Gibraltar. The Gibraltar Cross of Sacrifice served as the focus of Remembrance Sunday ceremonies in Gibraltar until 2009, at which time the location was changed to the Gibraltar War Memorial.
Rochdale Cenotaph is a First World War memorial on the Esplanade in Rochdale, Greater Manchester, in the north west of England. Designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens, it is one of seven memorials in England based on his Cenotaph on Whitehall in London and one of his more ambitious designs. The memorial was unveiled in 1922 and consists of a raised platform bearing Lutyens' characteristic Stone of Remembrance next to a 10-metre (33 ft) pylon topped by an effigy of a recumbent soldier. A set of painted stone flags surrounds the pylon.
The United Nations Memorial Cemetery in Korea, located at Tanggok in the Nam District, City of Busan, Republic of Korea, is a burial ground for United Nations Command (UNC) casualties of the Korean War. It contains 2,300 graves and is the only United Nations cemetery in the world. Laid out over 14 hectares, the graves are set out in 22 sites designated by the nationalities of the buried servicemembers.
Sacrario militare di Pocol is a cemetery and shrine near Passo Falzarego, in the locality of Pocol in the comune of Cortina d'Ampezzo in the Veneto region of northern Italy. The small church and cemetery were built in 1916 as a military cemetery by the 5th Alpine group. A shrine was built in 1935 as memorial to the thousands who died during World War I on the Dolomite front. It is a massive square tower of stone, clearly visible from the entire Ampezzo valley below. The remains of 9,707 Italian soldiers and 37 Austro-Hungarian soldiers are buried in the shrine. In a crypt in the centre of the structure rests the body of general Antonio Cantore, who was awarded the gold medal for military valor.
The South African War Memorial is a First World War memorial in Richmond Cemetery in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames. Designed by architect Sir Edwin Lutyens, the memorial is in the form of a cenotaph, similar to that on Whitehall, also by Lutyens. It was commissioned by the South African Hospital and Comforts Fund Committee to commemorate the 39 South African soldiers who died of their wounds at a military hospital in Richmond Park during the First World War. The memorial was unveiled by General Jan Smuts in 1921 and was the focus of pilgrimages from South Africa through the 1920s and 1930s, after which it was largely forgotten until the 1980s when the Commonwealth War Graves Commission took responsibility for its maintenance. It has been a grade II listed building since 2012.
War Memorial and Heroes Avenue is a heritage-listed memorial at Bungil Street, Roma, Maranoa Region, Queensland, Australia. It was built in 1920. It was added to the Queensland Heritage Register on 21 October 1992.
The Sacrario dei Caduti Oltremare is a World War II memorial located in the city of Bari, in the Apulia region of Southern Italy. The shrine, inaugurated in 1967, houses the remains of 75,098 Italian soldiers killed overseas in both World Wars as well as in Italy’s colonial wars.
The Redipuglia War Memorial is a World War I memorial located on the Karst Plateau near the village of Fogliano Redipuglia, in the Friuli Venezia Giulia region of northeastern Italy. It is the largest war memorial in Italy and one of the largest in the world, housing the remains of 100,187 Italian soldiers killed between 1915 and 1917 in the eleven battles fought on the Karst and Isonzo front.
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