The world has just commemorated the 100th annivesary of the beginning of the First World War. While most historians have come to categorize the war as, in the words of Richard Evans, ‘the seminal catastrophe of the entire period’, ideologically driven government officials and some military historians insist that the war was a triumph of good over evil, and a resounding victory for Britain and its allies. Many controversies have therefore arisen about who, what, and how to commemorate, and about the very nature of the war itself.
In this post, I’ve chosen to commemorate some drunk Canadians in London in 1916, the police who impersonated them, and the women who sold sex in the bars that they frequented. With a title like this, of course I want to entertain. But I also want to argue that the sexual history of war lies at the very heart of the history of war itself.