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Re-visiting World War I

Interpretations and Perspectives of the Great Conflict

Jarosław Suchoples and Stephanie James

This book discusses various aspects of World War I. It focuses on topics proposed by contributors resulting from their own research interests. Nevertheless, as a result of common efforts, re-visiting those chosen aspects of the Great War of 1914–1918 enables the presentation of a volume that shows the multidimensional nature and consequences of this turning point in the history of particular nations, if not all mankind. This book, if treated as an intellectual journey through several continents, shows that World War I was not exclusively Europe’s war, and that it touched – in different ways – more parts of the globe than usually considered.
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Stephanie James - ‘The Empire for the British. “No Foreigners Need Apply”. ’ German and Irish-Australian Encounters with ‘British Fair Play’ during the Great War


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Stephanie James

School of International Studies Flinders University, Australia

‘The Empire for the British. “No Foreigners Need Apply”. ’1 German and Irish-Australian Encounters with ‘British Fair Play’ during the Great War

Abstract: This chapter focuses on ways the Great War exposed inherent divisions in Australian society, identifying both German and Irish-Australians as ‘outsiders’ in a society where the ‘insiders’ were part of the dominant British culture. Irish-Australians were judged as inferior, but according to the 1911 census they constituted almost 25 percent of the population. German-Australians (less than 5 percent), apparently enjoyed greater acceptance. Visible markers, for example parliamentary influence, suggested Australia could accommodate both German and British lifestyles. Thus few German-Australians were prepared for either community vitriol or the official wartime policies. Nineteenth century evidence reveals explicit anti-Irish sentiment typically at times of crisis. Despite most Irish-Australians supporting the war unconditionally – because Irish Home Rule seemed certain – historians argue the dominant culture always viewed their contribution as qualified. Even before the 1916 Easter Rising, Irish-Australian enlistment rates were disputed, and their loyalty questioned. After the Rising, when Irish-Australians were struggling with its consequences, and the majority judged the Irish events as treachery, Australia faced the conscription crisis. In two referenda the population voted against introducing compulsion: the outcome left scars for generations. The personalities of Prime Minister Hughes and Melbourne’s Irish Archbishop Mannix ensured there were wider issues; choosing the Australian flag not the Union Jack made Irish-Australians un-British during...

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