Our Monuments Project team was out last week, traveling on an experiential education trip. While they were gone I chaperoned a Paris trip with a group of even younger ASP students from another class. We went to the Musée de l'Armée.
Going through the WWI exhibit with these students I had a chance to get some fresh perspectives on World War One. Here are a couple of them in a section of the museum discussing propaganda's role in WWI and where they feel it fit into the larger narrative of the war.
Unfortunately, I ran out of storage on my phone right before they finished their analysis. After saying that people can develop their own views they concluded that, in their opinion, most people do not do a good job of this. "It's logical that people don't really want to think for themselves. First, it's hard to form your own opinion, to actually look at all the evidence. Then, if you do form your own opinion that means you're responsible for it and nobody wants that if they end up being wrong."
Some of my students from a few years ago had similarly strong interests in and opinions about the role of propaganda in WWI. They took advantage of an opportunity to share their research on the war in any form they wished, creating graphic novels wherein propaganda played a significant role, demonstrated in this sample.
Another student made it the central focus of her graphic novel.
We'll get our Monuments Project team more focused on this aspect of the war when the younger students I met on the trip visit our class as guest presenters to share what they learned while at the museum. They will lead a conversation about propaganda and competing perspectives and how they influenced not only the decisions people made during the war but how they looked back on it thereafter. As one of these younger students said towards the end of our museum tour, "if the other side won I think we might now have a different sense of what happened in those years."
6 June 2017