Supplantation, Memory, and the Veteran Status of War Animals Since 1900

Sunday, January 8, 2017: 10:00 AM
Centennial Ballroom F (Hyatt Regency Denver)
Chelsea Medlock, Oklahoma State University
My paper, entitled, “Supplantation, Memory, and the Veteran Status of War Animals since 1900,” looks at one example of how animals both directly and indirectly influence human society as socio-cultural agents as well as discusses the place of human-animal relations within the changing context of the traditional historiography of war and western society.  My paper examines the changing perceptions of war animals in Western society from nationalized brute resources to war veterans since the Anglo-Boer War.  I assert that industrialization and mechanization in warfare and in society allowed for higher instances of soldier-animal bonding in warfare, which led to a reevaluation of the moral and veteran status of war animals since the First World War, particularly in Great Britain and the United States.  This reevaluation culminated with a reevaluation of common commemoration and memorialization practices during the first memory boom of the interwar period; leading many western societies to question the place of war animals in modern, cultural memory over time.
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