Object of the Moment – Pieces of Peace Blog
A war to end all wars?
After four years of fighting, the First World War came to a close in 1918. In 1919 the Treaty of Versailles was signed, bringing to an end the official peace negotiations. The war shocked people all around the world. Never before had such a destructive war occurred. An estimated 37 million people – soldiers and civilians – died worldwide, and it spurred many into action to create peace. These objects tell the story of the hopes and efforts of people to bring about a more peaceful world after the First World War.
The Peace Museum owns a copy of the Treaty of Versailles, having originally been owned by Mereditch Farrah Titterington, a Bradford politician who later became Lord Mayor of the city. He received this copy from the local Labour Party, and it was passed through his family and friends before being given to a teacher who used it with his pupils at a school in Bradford before donating it to the museum. Despite the efforts made by major world leaders in the creation of the treaty, many felt that the terms were too harsh and they are one of the leading long-term causes of the Second World War.
This is my favourite object in the collection because it shows how ordinary people were able to own and read one of the most important documents of the twentieth century. It also shows how; through the efforts of the school teacher owner who used it whilst educating his pupils, the tireless effort to educate future generations about the past in the hope that the same mistakes will not be repeated again.
In 1921 the Royal British Legion started using the poppy as a symbol of remembrance for the soldiers who fought and died in the First World War and other conflicts. Over the years many different poppies have been created in order to remember the different victims in war. The Rememberance Is Not Enough Banner shows various types of poppies, representing the effects of war on all peoples, animals, and even the environment, in the call for a more peaceful world. It was carried at a Rememberance Sunday parade in London in 1981.
By Catherine Warr (Museum Volunteer)
The Peace Museum’s copy of the Treaty of Versailles is in the current exhibition A Flawed Peace? open at our main museum at 10 Piece Hall Yard Wed-Fri 10am-4pm. A Flawed Peace? examines the question of whether the post-war peace after the First World War was flawed and will explore the kind of peace that was agreed. It looks at perspectives from different nations, peace groups, and individuals.