A couple of weeks ago I met with Jonathan Ore of CBC News to discuss the new Battlefield 1 video game, set in the First World War. The end result was his piece about the historical value of the game, and a brief video. They are both here at CBCNews.ca.
August 4th is the anniversary of Britain’s entry into the First World War, and, thus, the anniversary for Canada and the rest of the British Empire that existed back then. So it’s an appropriate day to highlight our latest post in our centennial series on ActiveHistory.ca. Here’s the reference:
- Sarah Glassford, Christopher Schultz, Nathan Smith, Jonathan Weier, “A View from the (Editing) Trenches: Summer 2016 and the Challenges of (Knowledge) Mobilization,” 2 August 2016, ActiveHistory.ca, http://activehistory.ca/2016/08/a-view-from-the-editing-trenches-summer-2016-and-the-challenges-of-knowledge-mobilization/
In our piece we reflect on where we have been in the past two years, how this resonates with First World War history in some surprising ways, and we consider where we might be headed. There is some news about our editorial team, and this nifty promotional poster.
You can download the poster from the post, or from right here.
In April, Canada’s commemorative attention normally focuses on the Battle of Vimy Ridge, fought in France from 9 – 12 April, 1917. The memory of Vimy tends to obscure another important April battle Canadians fought on the Western Front: the Second Battle of Ypres, involving Canadians between 22 and 25 April, and lasting into May. Though Vimy outshines it in collective memory, Second Ypres is still well known as the first gas attack of the war, and a successful, desperate defence of the Belgian city of Ypres.
Second Ypres is getting more attention this year because it is the centennial of the battle, but I think Second Ypres should be more important than Vimy for Canada’s sense of the past in the long term. Victory at Vimy encourages a nationalist memory, whether triumphant or critical. Though the memory of Ypres can fit with a nationalist narrative too, it more easily emphasizes imperialism and internationalism, and can prod us to reflect on transnationalism. Maybe more basically: the history of Ypres can push us to really think about what the First World War was, and why it is important for us now.
Here are five thoughts relating to these themes: