Defending the nation
in Borderland
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This chapter considers way that wartime consciousness is reproduced at the Kent coast by focusing on the coastal headland between Dover and Folkestone, atop the white cliffs. It reveals a landscape of contemporary monuments to wartime heroism as well as the remnants of defensive infrastructures whose meaning and symbolism is more obscure. These include World War II sound mirrors designed to provide early warning of aerial threat, as well as the bunkers and tunnels that formed the command centre for the evacuation of Dunkirk. Arguing that these landscapes work, in different ways, to encourage the active remembrance of Britain’s ‘finest hour’ among local populations, the chapter reflects on the near-coercive commemoration of military endeavour that has been significant in the reassertion of ‘island thinking’ in Brexit Britain.

Borderland

Identity and belonging at the edge of England

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