Kate Tiller, trustee of the British Association for Local History and Reader Emerita at the University of Oxford, discusses the recent British commemorations of World War I and their potential for spurring interest in local history and connections to international events.
These memorials pose unique challenges to historians, who must strive to understand multiple perspectives and experiences, to scrutinize existing assumptions about the war, and to share an accessible story with multiple audiences. Local history may hold the key to navigating these demands.
As the challenges point First World War studies away from a single perspective, local history offers a way to respond. Returning to local experiences and using and integrating the rich, direct contemporaneous evidence enables realities of wartime throughout British society to be rediscovered.