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Durham University

Institute of Medieval and Early Modern Studies (IMEMS)

Members

The list below shows Durham University research staff who are members of IMEMS. Click the member's name to see a more detailed biography and department.

We also welcome anyone from outside the University with an interest in our work to join. Membership is free of charge. You will receive invitations to our programme of events, with a weekly emails digest about what is happening in the Insitute and further afield. To join IMEMS contact: admin.imems@durham.ac.uk

Publication details for Professor Geoffrey Scarre

Scarre, Geoffrey (2014). Lest we forget: how and why we should remember the Great War. Ethical Perspectives 21(3): 321-344.

Author(s) from Durham

Abstract

Because commemorations of historic events say as much about the present as the past, it is important to think carefully about how and why we should remember the Great War in the centenary year of its outbreak. Commemoration must not be allowed to degenerate into mere mass entertainment, thoughtless celebration of martial valour, an occasion for chauvinism, or an advertisement for the merits of war as a means of settling international disputes. More respectable reasons for commemorating the Great War are that it provides opportunities (i) to learn from past mistakes, (ii) to reaffirm some common core values, and (iii) to pay our respects to those who died in their country’s service. I argue, however, that each of these justifications raises serious problems of interpretation and application, and that careful thought and moral sensitivity is needed if our efforts at commemoration are not to send out the wrong messages.