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Title: For God, Country, and Empire? : New Zealand and Irish boys in elite secondary education, 1914-1918
Author: Bennett, Charlotte
ISNI:       0000 0004 7232 897X
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2018
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This thesis compares adolescent engagement with the First World War in Ireland and New Zealand between 1914 and 1918. Twenty-five elite boys' secondary schools are used as case studies, including Catholic and Protestant institutions. This approach not only captures a common adolescent cohort, but also brings transnational connections to the fore; Catholics comprised approximately 14 percent of New Zealand's population, at least nine-tenths of whom were of Irish descent. In addition to differentiating student behaviour from adult-articulated expectations, boys' responses to the war are juxtaposed against those of their teachers. Using school periodicals, newspapers, and memoirs, this thesis partially recovers the neglected history of adolescent wartime experiences in two under-researched regions of the British Empire. It also elucidates the ways in which hostilities disrupted age-specific concerns and practices in elite school settings. Age was critical in shaping how male non-combatants were impacted by, and reacted to, the conflict. This argument is substantiated by in-depth analyses of several related themes, including 'war enthusiasm', death, dissent, and cultural 're-mobilization'. While the First World War was near-uniformly identified as a crucial event, staff responses were mediated by longstanding orientations and responsibilities. Teachers prioritised institutional concerns such as state funding and school status throughout. Irish and New Zealand adolescents also engaged with hostilities on their own terms; 'boy culture' and age-related interests provided a constant baseline against which external interventions into daily life were evaluated. These cross-national similarities were modulated by immediate contexts. Coercive measures implemented by the state did not always receive popular support, contributing to new political trajectories and visions of the future within particular communities. National parameters also had the final say as to when students could legally enlist. This intersection of age and place ultimately proved pivotal in determining civilian reactions to major global developments during the 1910s.
Supervisor: Belich, James ; Paseta, Senia Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: History ; Ireland ; British Empire ; History of Childhood and Youth ; New Zealand ; First World War ; History of Education