Thursday, June 12, 2014

Remembering the Real WW1 (London): Events this summer

• 100 years since the assassination of Franz Ferdinand
– remembering the victims and opponents of World War 1

Saturday 28 June,
Meet at 1.30 p.m,
Parliament Square

The official commemorations for the start of WW1 will focus on the sacrifice and suffering of the war. But the statues displayed around Whitehall – of Lloyd George, Churchill and Haig – show that the British
establishment still has few regrets about that suffering. These WW1 leaders were responsible for sending a million men to their deaths in a war that killed 16 million, a war that led, inexorably, to fascism and the horrors of WW2.

But Whitehall has an alternative history, a history of protests by suffragettes, soldiers and workers. Join us to explore that history.

(Dressing up is [of course] optional. But organisers say it would be great if people came as anti-war suffragettes or ‘unknown soldiers’ – or Archdukes Ferdinand and Duchess Sophies...)

*‘Remembering the Real WWI’ presents:
Abel Gance’s anti-war film, J’ACCUSE

Friday 27 June,
7 p.m.
Cock Tavern, Phoenix Rd. NW1 1HB, Euston
Free admission

By 1918, after almost four years of war, European society was in a state of shock.
French soldiers had mutinied and the Russian revolution had shown an alternative to capitalism and war. But there still seemed no end to the slaughter. In this atmosphere, Abel Gance resolved to make a film exposing ‘the horror of war’. The result was J’Accuse, a complex love story that culminates in stunning scenes of the war dead rising from their graves ‘to see if their sacrifice was worth anything at all.’

A veteran himself, Gance used French soldiers to play these ‘zombies’ – many of whom, in real life, went on to fight and die in the last battles of WW1. Gance was inspired by the idea that ‘if all the dead came back, the war would stop at once.’ A romantic delusion? Yes, certainly, but more radical and thought-provoking than the barrage of TV programmes presently commemorating the centenary of the conflict.

* The Imperial War Museum will be opening its new WW1 exhibition on
Saturday 19 July.
The museum was set up in 1917 by the very same generals and politicians who started the war. Join us on that day to commemorate the fact that it wasn’t victorious generals and politicians that ended the conflict, it was mutinying soldiers and striking workers – and they did so in revolutions that, almost, toppled the entire capitalist system.

For more details on all of the above see:

Contact Remembering the Real WW1 (London):


  1. Although the original idea of the IWM may have arisen as stated, it only got going after the war, when its ethos was supposed to be commemoration of the end of the First World War, rather than the glorification of war – so at least its Director claimed at the start of the first (and not last) Peace History conference held there. (L.W.) See: or

  2. This year’s Peace News Summer Camp (31 July – 4 August) in Suffolk will be bringing peace activists from across Europe to mark the centenary fo the First World War – and to declare peace on the 100th anniversary of the day that Britain declared war on Germany.
    First World War-related workshops include:
    • Douglas Newton on How Britain Was Hustled into The First World War
    • Alison Ronan on Women in the WW1 Anti-War Resistance
    • Kofi Klu on The First World War as Seen from the Global South
    • Emily Johns on Rebels of 100 Years Ago
    • Cyril Pearce on Socialism & Conscientious Objection in Huddersfield during the First World War
    • Kat Hobs (CAAT) on The Arms Trade and The First World War
    • Neil Faulkner (No Glory) on How the Story of the First World War Was Used
    • Robb Johnson singing from his brilliant First World War song cycle, Gentle Men
    For more info and to book tickets see