History events at the IHR

'Temporary gentlemen' and 'temporary masters': Teachers and the Great War, 1914-1919

07 February 2013, 17:30 - 19:30

Event Type: Seminar


Dr Barry Blades



This paper explores some recent revisionist interpretations by mainstream historians of the First World War and attempts to relate them to the presenter’s own on-going research into schooling in England and Wales during the first two decades of the twentieth century. Conventional portrayals of 'Tommy' in the trenches and the widely-held and persistent beliefs that the war was a needless, futile and ultimately unsuccessful conflict continue to be published. More recently, however, greater emphasis has been placed on the 'myriad faces of war' and the wider societal demands of 'total war'. The impact of the Great War on individual schools and the pupils and teachers within them has rarely been explored in detail, another 'hidden history' which warrants further investigation. The reactions and responses to the war by individual members of the teaching profession, and of the professional associations which attempted to represent them, cover a wide spectrum. Some teachers embraced the war and its aims with manifest enthusiasm, whilst alternative forms of idealism led others to become Conscientious Objectors or active anti-war'campaigners. Contemporary attitudes towards social class and gender resulted in the temporary 'elevation' of some in the teaching profession, but in most cases 'for the duration of the war only'.

Bloomsbury Room (G35)


Venue: Room G35 (Ground Floor)

Senate House, South Block
Malet Street 
London WC1E 7HU 

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