The Affinity of War: Traveling Memory, the War Dead, and the American Empire in France


Mellon/ACLS Community College Faculty Fellowships


Social Sciences and Education


This book manuscript examines how the middle class in the United States collaborated with elites to build an interwar transatlantic cultural memory of the Great War. Building upon the traditions emerging from Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address that obligated the living to remember the dead, this collaboration realigned the relationship between the US citizenry and the government and built a Franco-American transatlantic community of capitalistic and democratic interests to withstand the spread of communism. These shared memories of the war dead traveled across oceans and borders, especially as the US government invested heavily in building cemeteries and monuments, funding pilgrimages, and sponsoring US businesses in France and throughout Europe. At the same time, this uneasy relationship was full of disruptions, particularly when Europeans and Americans felt that opposing governments did not always consider their respective memories or acknowledge their grief.