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Inventing the Cave ManFrom Darwin to the Flintstones$
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Andrew Horrall

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781526113849

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9781526113849.001.0001

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Cave dwellers of Flanders: the First World War

Cave dwellers of Flanders: the First World War

(p.147) 6 Cave dwellers of Flanders: the First World War
Inventing the Cave Man

Andrew Horrall

Manchester University Press

This chapter argues that by the start of the First World War the cave man had become a global popular cultural character. During the war, propagandists, correspondents and men in uniform from throughout the empire and America used references to cave men to satirise their experiences and mitigate the horrors of modern warfare. Battlefields resembled ancient landscapes, while the humorous violence in cave man cartoons and films suggested that men might survive the trenches. Soldiers described new technologies like tanks as prehistoric monsters, depicted themselves as heroic cave men and their enemies as brutal, unevolved, simian missing links. Soldiers and civilians also watched cave man films by artists like Charlie Chaplin, while George Robey performed his prehistoric man character for a long-running London revue.

Keywords:   Gallipoli, parades, propaganda, recruiting, reporting, tanks, trench newspapers

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