Fall 2018

LIB157

100th Anniversary of the Armistice: Newfoundland and Beaumont-Hamel: The Politics of Commemoration

On July 1, 1916, the Newfoundland Regiment suffered a tragic defeat at Beaumont-Hamel, part of the larger Anglo-French Somme offensive. Of the roughly 780 soldiers who advanced that day, 670 were killed or wounded. The loss came as a major shock to Newfoundland, then a country of 250,000 people, which had not had a standing army since 1870. Immediately, politicians, veterans organizations and the media used the tragedy as an opportunity to channel popular shock into commemoration rather than calls for justice, and into patriotism rather than anger. We will focus on the reactions to Beaumont-Hamel within Newfoundland, and the politics that the event engendered during the rest of the war and onward.

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