Date of Award

Fall 2008

Document Type

Dissertation - Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Hay, Carla H.

Second Advisor

McMahon, Timothy


It is a commonplace in cultural studies that World War I was a watershed event that ushered in the twentieth century. Scholars generally agree that it is an oversimplification to say that the war caused the social, political, and cultural changes in Britain that were the hallmarks of the last century. Instead, a more nuanced understanding looks to the impact that the war had on pre-existing cultural trends, and the degree to which these developments became societal norms as a result of the war. Since the war ended in November 1918, historians have written voluminously about its impact on Great Britain, the focus of their narratives changing with contemporary trends in historiography. The studies have covered nearly every conceivable subject: from political and diplomatic explanations of the conflict to Marxist analysis of class tensions; from detailed accounts of individual battles to studies of changing gender constructs. In spite of the rich diversity of this existing scholarship, there is surprisingly little published research regarding religion in Britain during the war. To be sure, there are publications about army and navy chaplains during the conflict, and a very limited number of works on individual denominations. However, there is no study that broadly examines ecclesiastical responses to the war, or the war's impact on British religious institutions. This is, of course, an extraordinary oversight considering the important role that religion had in individual lives and its considerable impact on the social and political fabric of the nation. In a parallel omission, most church histories encompassing the war years are curiously reticent in discussing the impact of the event. These studies, both "general" and "institutional," look at broader trends over several decades...



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