In Chapter 40 of Widows and Orphans by artist Jamie Shovlin we see the first half of the 20th century through nationalism and war.
In 2016 artist Jamie Shovlin spent time with the University of Lincoln’s School of Film and Media, Photography department and School of Social & Political Sciences as part of a residency run by Lincoln Voices. The result of this residency is a work called Widows and Orphans that retells history through fragmented chapters.
From multiple versions and revisions of the school textbook A History of the Modern World, Jamie took the underlinings and highlightings from generations of readers as the basis for the chapter scripts. He worked with a group of young people in Lincoln to record the narration. Months were spent editing the visual material of the films to create a multi-layered experience.
Script read aloud by speakers in Widows and Orphans: Chapter 40:
In most European countries, the successors of the old pre-war socialists gained in strength. The huge national debts meant higher taxes for years to come. The debt was most serious when it was owed to a foreign country.
Economically the carving up of eastern Europe into a dozen independent states was self-defeating. The land reforms did not solve basic economic problems.
The Weimar republic (as the regime in Germany from 1919 to 1932 is called) was thereafter threatened most ominously from the Right. Nationalism triumphed in the belief that it went along naturally with liberalism and democracy. The events of “Spartacus Week” widened a chasm between Social Democrats and communists which was not to be bridged even in Hitler’s concentration camps.
The loss of faith by the Allies in their own treaty only made easier the task of those German agitators who demanded its repudiation. The door was opened for Adolf Hitler.
The French lived in terror of the day when Germany would recover. A kind of moral void was created, with nothing for middle class people to believe in, hope for, or respect.