This book analyses the relationship between the Irish home rule crisis, the Easter Rising of 1916 and the conscription crisis of 1918, providing a broad and comparative study of war and revolution in Ireland at the beginning of the Twentieth Century. Destenay skillfully looks at international and diplomatic perspectives, as well as social and cultural history, to demonstrate how American and British, foreign and domestic policies either thwarted or fed, directly or indirectly, the Irish Revolution. He readdresses-and at times redresses-the well established, but somewhat inaccurate, conclusion that Easter Week 1916 was the major factor in radicalizing nationalist Ireland. This book provides a more nuanced and gradualist account of a transfer of allegiance: how fears of conscription aroused the bitterness and mistrust of civilian populations from August 1914 onwards. By re-situating the Irish Revolution in a global history of empire and anti-colonialism, this book contributes new evidence and new concepts. Destenay convincingly argues that the fears of conscription have been neglected by Irish historiography and this book offers a fresh appraisal of this important period of history.
“Emmanuel Destenay is one of the most innovative scholars currently working on 20th century Irish History. His first book, on Great War veterans during the Irish Revolution, was a skillful and important reinterpretation of events. This new book will further establish his reputation as an important historian in the field. It speaks to a wide range of issues across Irish, British and American history in a provocative yet thoughtful manner.” —-Richard Grayson, Professor of Twentieth-Century History, Goldsmiths, University of London
“Emmanuel Destenay revises our views of Irish responses to the impact of war in 1914 in important and helpful ways. He asks us to rethink debates which were reshaped more powerfully by hindsight than by opinion at that time. Perhaps only a Frenchman, distanced from from the passions and divisions which the First World War can still arouse in Ireland, could have written this book.” — Hew Strachan, Wardlaw Professor of International Relations, University of St. Andrews