Ireland and the First World War

British historiography has been offered a once-in-a-generation opportunity to integrate Ireland’s contribution into analyses of the Great War, argues Catriona Pennell.

5th Battalion Royal Irish Fusiliers in the trenches at Gallipoli, 1915In October 2012 David Cameron promised ‘a truly national commemoration’ to mark the centenary of the First World War. Concerns quickly emerged that ‘national’, in reality, meant ‘England’. Not only would this be unrepresentative of the United Kingdom as it exists today but it also disregards the geopolitical configuration of the state that declared war on August 4th, 1914: the United Kingdom of Britain and Ireland. 

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