Heroes or Traitors?

Experiences of Southern Irish Soldiers Returning from the Great War 1919–1939

Paul Taylor

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ISBN: 9781781387498

Publication: April 15, 2015

Series: Reappraisals in Irish History 5

Covering the period from the Armistice to 1939, the book examines the experiences of Irish soldiers who had fought in the British army in the First World War on returning home to what became the Irish Free State. At the onset of the War, southern Irishmen volunteered in large numbers and marched off accompanied by cheering crowds and the promise of a hero’s welcome home. In 1916, while its soldiers fought in the British army, Ireland witnessed an insurrection against British rule, the Easter Rising. Ireland’s soldiers returned to a much-changed country, which no longer recognised their motives for fighting and which was at war with the country in whose army they had served. It has long been believed that the returning soldiers were subject to intimidation by the IRA, some killed as a retrospective punishment for their service with the imperial power, and that they formed a marginalised group in Irish society. Using new sources, this enlightening book argues otherwise and examines their successful integration into Irish society in the interwar years and the generous support given to them by the British Government. Far from being British loyalists, many served in the IRA and the Free State army, and became republican supporters.

Paul Taylor received his doctorate from the University of Oxford, and an MA with distinction from University College London.

Biographical Notes Glossary/Terms Abbreviations INTRODUCTION Ex-Servicemen and their place in Irish History Irish Soldiers: Who were they? PART I TIME OF CONFLICT: 1919 - 1923 1. Violence and Intimidation Records of the Perpetrators Records of the Victims 2. Were Ex-Servicemen Targeted? Patterns of Violence Loyalists and Republicans The Case against Ex-Servicemen being Targeted PART ll BRITAIN: LEGACY OF OBLIGATION 1919 – 1939 3. An Imperial Obligation Employment - The Able Bodied Employment - The Disabled Employment - Transitional Arrangements and Post 1922 Pensions and Health - The Physically Disabled Pensions and Health - The Mentally Disabled Pensions and Health – Ex-Servicemen in the Free State Army Claims and Compensation Emigration Allocation of Land 4. Homes for Heroes Rental Policy and Rent Strikes Supreme Court Rulings and the Struggle to Reassert Authority Treatment of Widows and the Disabled Begrudging Gratitude PART III Ireland: State and Community: 1922 -1939 5. Equal Citizens of the State Attitude of the Government – Relationship with the Trust Attitude of the Government – Reaction to Grievances Attitude of the Government - The Political Context Government and Employment Ex-Servicemen in Politics The Courts and Judiciary The Armed Forces Commemoration and Remembrance 6. Integration into the Community Employment and Housing Discrimination Support and Integration Ex-Servicemen’s Associations Newspapers CONCLUSION Heroes or Traitors? Appendix: Sources Bibliography Index

It has become commonplace to suggest that Irishmen who fought in that war were forgotten and that on return to Ireland many of them were persecuted. Paul Taylor’s Heroes or Traitors is a welcome corrective to that narrative.
Irish Economic and Social History

Taylor's study is to be congratulated for bringing this timely topic to light, and it is no criticism to suggest that his work brings many more questions to the fore. Taylor's work will be considered as the foundation for this future research to build upon.
Michael Robinson   Liverpool Postgraduate Journal of Irish Studies

Paul Taylor's Heroes or Traitors? is an incredibly important book. In the scale of his research he has gone very far beyond the scope and depth of previous studies to produce a volume which will change our view of how First World War veterans fared in the south of Ireland.

Richard Grayson  
Goldsmiths, University of London

A very timely subject for study based on extremely impressive archival research.
Marie Coleman  
Queen's University Belfast

Format: Ebook

ISBN: 9781781387498

Publication: April 15, 2015

Series: Reappraisals in Irish History 5

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