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Title: War and collective memory : American military commemoration in Britain and France, 1943 to the present
Author: Edwards, Sam
ISNI:       0000 0004 2696 1424
Awarding Body: Lancaster University
Current Institution: Lancaster University
Date of Award: 2010
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This thesis explores the production of collective memory(s) connected to the World War II activities of the American military in Europe by focusing on two regions - East Anglia (England) and Normandy (France), and by assessing the work of three sets of commemorative agents - American veterans, English and French communities, and an agency of the American government. It examines the practices of commemoration within which collective memories are produced by historical investigation of several 'sites of memory' including: memorials, ceremonies, re-enactments, and veterans' pilgrimages. This thesis demonstrates that whilst the production of collective memory(s) is always framed by the concerns of the present, three factors can frequently be identified as prompts to, or influences upon, commemorative activity connected to the American military in Europe. These issues are psychological, political and commercial. The first refers to the fact that war is often a traumatic experience, particularly for those who do the fighting. Thus, commemorative activities have frequently involved those seeking to make sense of these experiences. In this instance, these activities have involved Americans and Europeans, and the result has been the production of cross-cultural commemorative forms. Discourses of transatlantic politics have also been drawn into commemoration because these were years of Cold War. As such, this thesis shows that the production of collective memory(s) has always scripted the past according to the politics of the present. Finally, this thesis considers the commercial dynamics to commemorative activity, and in doing so it argues that commercial memory media do not represent the trivialising of memory, or the profaning of the sacred. Rather, commercial commemoration is simply another form of memory production. This thesis concludes by considering the implications for the production of collective memory(s) when those 'who were there' depart the stage.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available