‘England’s difficulty is Ireland’s opportunity’

Joe Mooney of East Wall History Group, Dublin explains how Irish Nationalists responded to the Great War. His talk will outline the difficulties of the ‘Irish question’, the movement towards Home Rule and the rise of armed bodies in 1913/1914. How did these conflicting groups react to the outbreak of war and the possibility of conscription – and why did some Nationalist support the war effort while others opposed it? Some saw the Irish rebellion of 1916 as the ultimate treason , while others saw it as the first steps on the path to Irish Independence. The post war general election became a referendum on the ‘English question’ and the nationalist victory was to signal beginning of the end for British rule.

‘The cowards and the courageous’

How the South Wales miners led the resistance to the Government’s attempt to impose military conscription on the mining industry in 1917

Aled Eurig outlines how the British Army ‘s heavy losses on the Western Front in 1916 led the Government to attempt to extend conscription into the ‘essential industries’. In January 1917 it attempted to introduce it into the mining industry, but the Miners Federation of Great Britain, led by the South Wales miners, resisted its imposition. By September 1917, however, south Wales and the Forest of Dean were the only coalfields opposed. Because of the Miners of Federation of Great Britain’s decision that conscription would only be imposed in all mining areas if all were agreed, the ballot in November proved a proxy for anti-war and pro-war sentiment. The ballot was lost by the anti-war movement and conscription was introduced in the mining industry in by the end of November, 1917.

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