Nominated for the Longman History Today Book of the Year Prize, 1995
The first full-scale study of the rituals with which the British people commemorated three-quarters of a million war dead.
Explains both the origins of the two minutes silence and the reasons for the success of the poppy appeal.
This book examines how the British people came to terms with the massive trauma of the First World War. Although the literary memory of the war has often been discussed, little has been written on the public ceremonies on and around 11 November which dominated the public memory of the war in the inter-war years. This book aims to remedy the deficiency by showing the pre-eminence of Armistice Day, both in reflecting what people felt about the war and in shaping their memories of it. It shows that this memory was complex rather than simple and that it was continually contested. Finally it seeks to examine the impact of the Second World War on the memory of the First and to show how difficult it is to recapture the idealistic assumptions of a world that believed it had experienced 'the war to end all wars'.
'Adrian Gregory has produced a fine study of Armistice rituals between the wars...Rich in detail and accurate in account, this is a definitive work on the process of public memory.' Social History Society Bulletin 'This book provides a potent reminder of the power of the language of sacrifice in past wars as a means of justifying future ones.' History Workshop Journal '... sheds new light on the conflicts and social fault-lines more generally characteristic of British society in the inter-war years.' The German Historical Association Bulletin 'Gregory argues his case forcefully and well, drawing on the best of recent European historiography for interpretive tools. He raises some fascinating issues which will make everyone view their own local Remebrance Day ceremony in a different light.' Canadian Military History "...Adrian Gregory's study combines academic expertise and popular interest with consummate ease. ...The Silence of Memory is written with clarity, is rich indetail, and contains particularly rewarding footnotes." Albion "draws on a variety of sources to give a straighforward account of how and why the annual commemoration developed in the way it did. The story is given life and interest by the author's narrative skill and eye for the absurd." "an excellent detailed study of the circumstances related tot eh Armistice rituals between the wars. This is a definitive account and the first examination of the Bristish commemoration of their war dead." Despatches