War creates veterans and societies are reminded by their existence that violent conflicts had been waged in the past. Even when the wars have been long forgotten by many, veterans are the ones whose fate has been tied to war and destruction.
Societies often struggle with their veterans, especially when they have to address the former soldiers’ traumatic experiences and acknowledge the wounds that hurt beyond the body. While veterans are a steady reminder of violent conflicts of the past, they are often ignored by their societies, once peace is achieved. Nevertheless, veterans play an important role in post-war contexts as well and this role, their influence and impact in the supposedly non-violent world need to be addressed. This volume discusses the role of veterans in the aftermath of war and shows how they had been treated by their societies and how the latter ones tried to reintegrate them into their own narratives of the past.
War Memorials were an important element of nation building, for the invention of traditions, and the establishment of historical traditions. Especially nationalist remembrance in the late 19th century and the memory of the First World War stimulated a memorial boom in the period which the present book is focusing on.
The remembrance of war is nothing particularly new in history, since victories in decisive battles had been of interest since ancient times. However, the age of nationalism and the First World War triggered a new level of war remembrance that was expressed in countless memorials all over the world. The present volume presents the research of international specialists from different disciplines within the Humanities, whose research is dealing with the role of war memorials for the remembrance of conflicts like the First World War and their perceptions within the analyzed societies. It will be shown how memorials – in several different chronological and geographical contexts – were used to remember the dead, remind the survivors, and warn the descendants.