The Politics of Service and Sacrifice in WWI Ireland and India

TitleThe Politics of Service and Sacrifice in WWI Ireland and India
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsRose, Sonya O.
JournalTwentieth Century British History
Date Published09/2014

During World War I, Britain was dependent upon extensive contributions from the Empire’s colonies as well as the dominions. The participation of colonial soldiers who fought and died in the trenches and slaughter fields of battle was crucial to the outcome of the war. It was central, as well, to the relationship between the imperial ruler and the ruled during the war and in its aftermath. This article examines significant similarities in the varied meanings and political uses of the languages of sacrifice in India and Ireland connected to service in the war effort (or resistance to it), and associated expectations concerning and demands for political reform. It underscores the imperial context of the Great War, and argues that the language of sacrifice during the war was critical in stimulating the growth of nationalism in both southern Ireland and India and the renegotiation of national identity in Ulster. It contributes to a slowly growing body of literature that places Ireland and India within the same analytical framework.

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