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Title: Heroes or traitors? : experiences of returning Irish soldiers from World War One to the part of Ireland that became the free state covering the period from the Armistice to 1939
Author: Taylor, Paul
ISNI:       0000 0004 5948 8477
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2015
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A number of academic studies assert that ex-servicemen were subject to intimidation, some killed as a punishment for war service, and that they formed a marginalised group in Irish society. Evidence based on records of the victims and perpetrators demonstrates otherwise; intimidation was mostly for reasons other than war service, for instance, membership of a particular class such as landowners or the judiciary, or for specific actions, including informing, supplying to or joining the Crown Forces. The violence towards ex-servicemen was geographically focussed, varying in intensity in correlation to the level of violence experienced by other sectors of the population; support for republicanism varied significantly by location. The great majority of ex-servicemen were not intimidated; many served in the IRA. With the formation of the Free State there is little evidence that either the State or community marginalised ex-servicemen. They were treated equally before the legislature and the courts. Some half of the Free State army, formed to defeat extreme republicans, were ex-servicemen. Remembrance took place with considerable community support and acceptance from the State. According to credible contemporary reports they were not discriminated against and held high positions in the civil service, army and police. They were not a homogeneous group. Neither war service nor loyalism defined them; many were supporters of Fianna Fáil. Britain fulfilled its imperial obligation to the ex-servicemen with housing and pension benefits considerably more favourable than those for their counterparts in Britain. The view that ex-servicemen were persecuted became persuasive. They became perceived through the prism of commemoration, and with the establishment of a republican historiography assigned to a national amnesia. Loyalist lobbying groups highlighted perceived discrimination to a willing press. It was a convenient collusion but at odds with the evidence. In reality the group truly marginalised after the Civil War was the anti-Treaty republicans.
Supervisor: Gregory, Adrian Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: History ; History of Britain and Europe ; Modern Britain and Europe