Shadows from the Trenches: Veterans of the Great War and the Irish Revolution (1918–1923) (Paperback)
An examination of the conflicting roles WWI veterans played in the Irish War of Independence.
2021 marks the 100th anniversary of the end of the Irish War of Independence, a fiercely fought conflict between British forces and the Irish Republican Army that resulted in the partition of Northern Ireland and the creation of the short-lived Irish Free State. This anniversary represents an opportunity to shed new light on the roles played by Irish veterans of World War I, who returned home from one grueling war only to be plunged into another. Shadows from the Trenches explores the oft-forgotten histories of this generation of Irishmen, who navigated a roiling tide of shifting and divided loyalties in a tumultuous decade.
Approximately 150,000 Irish citizens joined the British Army during World War I. After the Armistice in 1918, some chose to stand by the United Kingdom, some pledged allegiance to the newly formed Irish Republican Army, while others chose focused on keeping their families above water in a society plagued by unemployment and unrest. As Emmanuel Destenay shows, what happened in Ireland was hardly unique in Europe at that time. The continent was torn by internal transformations, revolutions, and political reconfigurations in the wake of World War I. Destenay tracks the trajectories of these shadows from the trenches, illuminating their hopes and uncertainties during an unprecedented chapter in Irish history.
About the Author
Emmanuel Destenay received his PhD in contemporary history from the Sorbonne University and has been a research fellow at the University of Oxford and a visiting junior scholar at Stanford University.