The Irish Conscription Crisis of 1918




Regan, Michael

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The British government's decision to extend conscription to Ireland in the spring of 1918 had implications far beyond the scope of the First World War. The anti-conscription movement in Ireland, led by a coalition of nationalist politicians, the Catholic Church, and the organized labor movement, galvanized tens of thousands in resistance and paved the way for Irish independence, declared by Sinn Féin in January 1919. The development of Irish nationalism throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries combined with the crises of war, creating a unique and significant moment in the Conscription Crisis. First-hand testimony of the Conscription Crisis from the Bureau of Military History shows the power and significance of the anti-conscription movement by providing authentic, and oftentimes quite candid, accounts of the months spent opposing conscription. These testimonies, combined with an examination of the development of Irish nationalism and the impact of the First World War in Ireland, demonstrate the significance of the Conscription Crisis to the larger story of Irish independence.


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