Unknown Soldiers

In the late 19th century, sensibilities about war began to focus on the individual identities within its mass casualties. Most notably, the U.S. Civil War, the Crimean War, and the Franco-Prussian wars of the 1860s–1870s had taken place in a time of advances in technology and information that allowed a greater feeling of connection between those killed in faraway battlegrounds and their communities at home. In previous wars, the dead were, for the most part, left in anonymous mass graves, and it was the battle that they had fought that was more likely to be memorialized, if at all. Now, the known soldier dead were more personalized by the easier recovery of their bodies and timely reporting of their stories, and war memorials were ...

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