Wales’ Temple of Peace and Health was opened in November 1938 – just months before the outbreak of World War 2 shattered the hopes and dreams of many, as the world was once more engulfed in conflict a mere 20 years after “Never Again” had become the annual refrain of Remembrance. It seemed the Peace Heritage of the 1920s-30s movements for Welsh internationalism had been cast aside.
Remembering a Social Revolution
However, the end of hostilities swept in an era of enormous social change – with the founding of the United Nations, the National Health Service in the UK, establishment of Universal Charters of Human Rights, and the ‘beginning of the end’ for colonialism as many nations of world began the journey towards independence. Many Welsh men and women played an instrumental role in these movements, with Wales’ Temple of Peace and Health at the Heart of activism and social change through the 1940s and 50s.
Out of the Ashes of Conflict – Building a Better World
As the UK prepares to mark the 75th and 80th anniversaries of many major WW2 events (between 2019 and 2025), WCIA will be focusing on what followed WW2: the desire to build a better world through the founding of the United Nations and universal charters of human rights, that have underpinned peaceful co-existence and global development to this day.
Welsh people have played a profound role in the story of the United Nations over the last 75 years. Between 2019 and 2024, WCIA will mark the anniversaries of a number of major UN events by exploring Wales’ heritage of action on human rights, community stories, local to global responses, and attitudes towards human rights and international cooperation now and looking to the future.
WCIA Heritage Project Activities
Building on the HLF-funded Wales for Peace programme from 2014-19 – which marked the centenary of WW1 and uncovered hidden histories form Wales’ peace movements of the interwar years (1918-39) – WCIA will be seeking funding, project partners and developing work with community groups and volunteers to explore this next era of Wales’ internationalist peace heritage: the ‘United Nations’ era. Project activities we hope will include opportunities to:
- Explore, catalogue, digitise, interpret and make publicly accessible the Temple of Peace Archives post-WW2, and related collections held in the National Library of Wales and elsewhere.
- Where possible, gather oral histories from veterans and social activists of the 1950s-70s, with a focus on ‘building a better world’ and social change.
- Develop academic networks and student research placements exploring post-WW2 peacebuilding and social change, and drawing lessons for today.
- Develop creative digital storytelling, citizen journalism and creative writing projects that bring hidden histories to life, inspire activists and changemakers today, and inform policymaking.
- Develop community arts and creative responses, and offer a platforms for display / sharing with public audiences in a way that inspires conversations about challenging contemporary world issues such as Brexit, Climate Change, social inclusion and equalities, and Human Rights.
- Develop Touring Exhibitions that stimulate hidden histories projects, community conversations and critical thinking around Wales’ role in the World, from the perspective of specific communities (geographic and communities of interest).
- Build a Digital Legacy of all heritage materials, stories and project activities, that is easily accessible and inspiring to current and future generations.
- Develop Learning Materials and Classroom / School projects that support teachers to deliver the new Welsh curriculum by drawing on Welsh internationalism;
- Facilitate Young Peacemakers Awards and Youth / Schools Conferences that enable shared learning between networks of young people, teachers and policy makers.
- Ground the development and delivery of Wales’ International Strategy, in a deepened knowledge and understanding of Wales’ Internationalist heritage.
The table below draws together just some of the significant dates from the post-WW2 ‘peace building era’, that WCIA hope to mark over 2019-24 – and to draw inspiration from for work with communities and civil society groups to explore how these issues remain relevant, and how people can take action today.
WW2 Anniversaries / Significant Dates
|80th Anniversary of outbreak of WW2||Sept 3rd 1939||Sept 3rd 2019 (80th)|
|“D-Day”||6th June 1944||6th June 2019 (75th)
6th Jun 2024 (80th)
|Liberation of Auschwitz – Birkenau (marked by Holocaust Memorial Day)||27th Jan 1945||27th Jan 2020 (75th)|
|VE Day / end of WW2 in UK & Europe||8th May 1945 (VE Day)||8th May 2020 (75th)|
|Hiroshima Day – this is usually marked with an annual event at the National Eisteddfod. In 2020 this will be Tregaron, Ceredigion – also the birthplace of Welsh Peacemaker Henry Richard, whose statue in the town square is a place of pilgrimage for many peace activists.||6th August 1945||6th Aug 2020 (75th)|
|End of WW2 worldwide (Japan Day)||August 15th 1945
Sept 2nd in USA
|Aug 15th 2020 (75th)|
United Nations Anniversaries / Significant Dates
|Declaration of St James: the Inter-Allied Charter||12th June 1941||12th June 2021 (80th)|
|Atlantic Charter for World Organisation, Peace, Justice Labour, Economic & Social Security||14th August 1941||14th Aug 2019 (78th)
14th Aug 2021 (80th)
|First ‘Declaration of United Nations’||1st January 1942||1st Jan 2020 (78th)|
|Dumbarton Oaks Conference – UN structure agreed
Yalta Conference – UN Security agreed
|7th October 1944
7th February 1945
|7th Oct 2019 (75th)
7th Feb 2020 (75th)
|Formation of UN in San Francisco (and United Nations Day annually)||24th October 1945||24th Oct 2020 (75th)|
|1st Session of UN General Assembly, London (organised by Welshmen Gladwyn Jebb and opened with a ‘peace performance’ by the Choir of Wales’ Temple of Peace)||10th January 1946||10th January 2021 (75th)|
|Founding of WHO World Health Organisation||7th April 1948||7th April 2020 (72nd)|
|UN Charter / Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Paris||10th Dec 1948||10th Dec 2023 (75th)|
|World Peace Day
(NB 2019 UN theme is Climate Action for Peace)
|21st September 1981||21st September 2021 (40th)|
|UN Convention on the Rights of the Child – see also UNICEF and SCF resources||20th November 1989 (signed)
2nd Sept 1990 (implemented)
|20th Nov 2019 (30th)
2nd Sept 2020 (30th)
Welsh Civil Society & Communities – Significant post-WW2 Dates for Peace, Health & Internationalist Movements
|Temple of Peace opening (1938)
Wales’ National Garden of Peace opening (1988)
|23rd November 1938||23rd Nov 2019 = 81st
23rd Nov 2020 = 82nd
|David Davies – Anniversary of passing of DD, founder of the Temple of Peace (was marked by WCIA + Gregynog Festival Lecture)||16th June 1944||16th June 2019 (75th)|
|Welsh League of Nations Union formally becomes UNA Wales||1945 (TBC)|
|Post-WW2 reopening of Temple of Peace||1945 (TBC)|
|Post-WW2 General election returns Clement Attlee / Labour Government, whose manifesto instituted sweeping social reforms including creation of NHS||5th July 1945 (GE)
26th July (results of GE)
|26th July 2020 (75th)|
|NHS Transitional Authority set up in Temple of Peace, to oversee creation of NHS in Wales||1946||2021 (75th)|
|Founding of the Llangollen International Eisteddfod and the||June 1947||June 2019 (72nd)
June 2022 (75th)
|Unveiling of post-WW2 Temple of Peace plaque marking 1939 Empire Gold Medal for Architecture from RIBA, by David Davies’ widow Lady Henrietta Davies||1948 (TBC)|
|Founding of NHS and NHS Wales||5th July 1948||5th July 2020 (72nd)|
|First Germany – Wales people’s peace exchange, with Lubeck Choir coming to Llangollen||July 1949||July 2019 (70th)|
|First Llangollen Children’s Peace Message||5th July 1952||5th July 2022 (70th)|
|Gwilym Davies’ memorial – passing of GD in 1955, and transfer of Youth Peace & Goodwill Message from former Welsh League of Nations Union to the Urdd.||26th January 1955||26th January 2020 (65th)|
|Founding of first of many post-WW2 Wales – Germany Town Twinning Associations founded with a Swansea Mannheim Exchange (Coventry-Dresden having originated in 1946)||9th August 1957||9th August 2022 (65th )|