By Susan Kingsley Kent
This ebook examines the impression of collective trauma coming up out of the good struggle at the politics of the Twenties in Britain. Aftershocks reports how meanings of shellshock and imagery proposing the traumatized psyche as shattered contributed to Britons understandings in their political selves within the Nineteen Twenties. It connects the strength of feelings to the political tradition of a decade which observed awesome violence opposed to these considered as un-English.
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Extra info for Aftershocks: Politics and Trauma in Britain, 1918-1931
Bob Bushaway has argued that the Armistice Day celebrations did effect the national integration they sought to create, dulling incipient political conﬂicts and paving the way for the emergence of moderate conservatism under Stanley Baldwin. Adrian Gregory offers a corrective to this view, arguing instead that the rituals of memorialization on Armistice Day, while they may have contributed to visions of unity in the nation, also created their own divisions. For commemoration can actually foreclose the very work of reconciliation with loss it seeks to effect.
What theorist Cathy Caruth calls the “radical disruption and gaps of traumatic experience” mirror the sense Britons had that the war had produced a gulf between one world prior to the war and another after it. Moreover, the mechanisms by which traumatized individuals seek to escape the agonies of their memories may be utilized by larger collectivities as well. 30 The images of the Great War—of the industrial onslaught of heavy artillery upon the physical landscape and, most importantly, on the minds and bodies of the men in the trenches—provided a template of sorts for organizing oneself in relation to the world that differed from earlier manifestations of trauma, such as those from railway accidents or the American civil war, for example.
12 Those who most vociferously raised their voices against aliens—members of the radical right—have been dismissed as being outside mainstream conservatism, but it is a measure of their inﬂuence both in and out of parliament that their concerns prevailed. In a move that surprised the government, the House of Commons defeated the initial bill by 185 votes and sent it back for strengthening. Led by Sir Edward Carson, the opposition included 120 Coalition Unionists and a signiﬁcant number of Liberals and Labour trade unionists.
Aftershocks: Politics and Trauma in Britain, 1918-1931 by Susan Kingsley Kent