Centenary of World War I in Wales

November 10th, 2018

November the 11th 2018 marks 100 years since the end of World War I. 100 years since the guns fell silent and the nation poignantly celebrated the end of a war that should have ended all wars. And although the end of the war was cause for celebration across Wales, the lives of families up and down the country were changed forever as they had to get used to living with the loss of husbands, sons, fathers and brothers. The landscape had changed, and the mindset of an entire nation had shifted to try and live with the aftermath of war.

Some 40,000 Welshmen died during World War I. The deaths were just one aspect of the tribulations which the Welsh, in common with the rest of Europe, suffered as a result.

One of the most consequential of them was the dislocation of the economy. Coal production was at its peak in 1913 and the demands of war and the amazing post-war boom ensured there was no rational reassessment of production.

The boom collapsed in 1921, a forerunner of the depression which would haunt the world in subsequent years. The war undermined allegiance to the Liberal Party and destroyed the optimism characteristic of pre-war Welsh society. A proud nation, the Welsh nationality which was so strong and determined at the turn of the century suddenly became something which needed to be fiercely defended.

The war had a profound impact upon the countryside – it was a final blow to the estates of the landed gentry, who lost entire generations to the war. The war also saw a huge decline in organised religion. Churches and chapels were once a dominant feature in Wales at the turn of the century, but attendance rapidly declined after the war, perhaps partly because of the cynicism felt across the country in Post-War Wales.

But, Wales, along with the rest of the world, did recover from World War I, although it wasn’t always a smooth journey. Little did the world know that another war was lurking on the horizon. World War II began in 1944, and this time it’s thought that about 60 million people across the world lost their lives.

So, the 11th November 2018 is a time for reflection. A time for gratitude to those that served in any of the wars that have affected the world in the last 100 years. A time for remembrance for those that were killed, and the families they left behind that were forever changed. A time for reflection on the way the world might be today if those brave soldiers hadn’t given their lives to war. And a time for peace to ensure that no other generation has to endure the horrors of a world war.

You can find out more information about armistice events and remembrance services in your local area by clicking on the information page link here