As part of our research for our latest report, Do mention the war: Will 1914 matter in 2014?, British Future commissioned a nationally representative poll to find out which meanings of the first world war centenary people agree and disagree with.
The public primarily see the centenary as an opportunity to learn about our shared history. Greatest support, at over 80%, is for a centenary that focuses on the importance of preserving peace, which commemorates the sacrifice of those who lost their lives, and which increases knowledge of the Commonwealth contribution, so that we understand the shared history of our multi-ethnic society.
The polling revealed far lower levels of public support for a centenary that focuses on victory over the tragic loss of life in the war. Yet there was even less support for an approach which avoided commemoration lest it encourage further nationalism and war.