Italy was a major force in the renaissance of cremation; Brunetti's model cremator and display of cremated remains at the Vienna Exhibition of 1873 are credited with having prompted Sir Henry Thompson's interest.
There was also a congress on cremation in Milan in 1874.
The anthropologist Robert Hertz has described this as a double burial, with a "wet" first phase coping with the corpse and its decay, and a "dry" second phase treating the skeletal remains and ash.
The chief difference between cremation and burial is the speed of transformation: Corpses burn in two hours or less, but bodies take months or years to decay, depending upon methods used and local soil conditions.
In this case, cremation was a kind of industrial process necessary to deal with the immense number of corpses that attended Hitler's "Final Solution." With the increasing predominance of Christianity in Europe after the fifth century C.
E., cremation was gradually abandoned in favor of earth burial as a symbol of the burial and resurrection of Christ.
Traditional religious constraints were not viewed as impossible barriers to progress.
Societies were established to promote cremation in many influential cities, including London and The Hague in 1874, Washington, D. Central to these interest groups lay influential people as with Sir Henry Thompson (surgeon to Queen Victoria), whose highly influential book on cremation, The Treatment of the Body after Death, was published in 1874, followed shortly by William Eassie's Cremation of the Dead in 1875.
Contemporary Buddhists practice both cremation and burial.
Cremation is not only an established social custom but has also been used on battlefields to save the dead from the ravages of the enemy and as an emergency measure during plagues, as in the Black Death of the seventeenth century.
Cremation became an appropriate vehicle for expressing the ephemerality of bodily life and the eternity of spiritual life. For traditional Hindus, cremation fit into an overall scheme of destiny.