The Great War and the British Empire: Culture and society, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

The Great War and the British Empire

Culture and society, 1st Edition

Edited by Michael J.K. Walsh, Andrekos Varnava


310 pages | 70 B/W Illus.

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In 1914 almost one quarter of the earth's surface was British. When the empire and its allies went to war in 1914 against the Central Powers, history's first global conflict was inevitable. 

It is the social and cultural reactions to that war and within those distant, often overlooked, societies which is the focus of this volume. From Singapore to Australia, Cyprus to Ireland, India to Iraq and around the rest of the British imperial world, further complexities and interlocking themes are addressed, offering new perspectives on imperial and colonial history and theory, as well as art, music, photography, propaganda, education, pacifism, gender, class, race and diplomacy at the end of the pax Britannica.

Table of Contents

List of Figures

Notes on Contributors

Foreword: Richard Cork: ‘Hyde Park Corner: Imperial Triumph and Tragedy’

Part I: The Great War and the British Empire

Chapter 1: ‘The Great War and the British Empire: Conflict, Culture, and Memory’, Michael Walsh and Andrekos Varnava

Chapter 2 ‘The First World War and the Cultural, Political, and Environmental Transformation of the British Empire’, John MacKenzie

Part II: Imperial Responses, Identities and Culture

Chapter 3: ‘The ‘Kaiser Cartoon’, 1914–1918: A Transnational Comic Art Genre’, Richard Scully

Chapter 4: ‘Musical Entertainment and the British Empire, 1914–1918’,E. L Hanna

Chapter 5: ‘"We New Zealanders pride ourselves most of all upon loyalty to our Empire, our Country, our Flag": Internalised Britishness and National Character in New Zealand’s First World War Propaganda’ Greg Hynes

Chapter 6: ‘Heligoland: Between the Lion and the Eagle’ Jan Asmussen

Chapter 7: ‘Imperial Austerlitz: The Singapore Strategy and the Culture of Victory, 1917–1924’, William Matthew Kennedy

Part III: Art, Memory and Forgetting

Chapter 8: ‘Our Warrior Brown Brethran: Identity and Difference in Images of Non-White Soldiers serving with the British Army in British Art of the First World War.’ Jonathan Black

Chapter 9: ‘The Imagining of Mesopotamia/Iraq in British Art in the Aftermath of the Great War’, Tim Buck

Chapter 10: ‘Spaces of Conflict and Ambivalent Attachments: Irish Artists Visualize the Great War’, Nuala Johnson

Chapter 11: ‘Empire and Nation in Canadian and Australian First World War Exhibitions, 1917-1922’, Jennifer Wellington

Chapter 12: ‘A Tribute to the British Empire: Lowell Thomas’s With Allenby in Palestine and Lawrence in Arabia’, Justin Fantauzzo

Chapter 13: ‘An Architecture of Imperial Ambivalence: The Patcham Chattri’, Tim Barringer

Chapter 14: ‘The Great War’s Impact on Imperial Delhi: Commemorating Wartime Sacrifice in the Colonial Built Environment’, David Johnson

Chapter 15: ‘Sounds from the Trenches: Australian Composers and the Great War’, Andrew Harrison

Chapter 16: ‘Brutalised’ veterans and tragic anti-heroes: Masculinity, Crime and Post-War Trauma in Boardwalk Empire and Peaky Blinders’, Evan Smith

Chapter 17: ‘The Politics of Forgetting the Cypriot Mule Corps’, Andrekos Varnava

About the Editors

Michael J.K. Walsh is Associate Professor in Art History, at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. He has primarily published on English painting in the first two decades of the 20th century and the art and conservation of Famagusta, Cyprus.

Andrekos Varnava is Associate Professor in Imperial and Military History, Flinders University, Australia. He is author of British Imperialism in Cyprus, 1878–1915: The Inconsequential Possession (2009; paperback 2012).

About the Series

Routledge Studies in First World War History

The First World War is a subject of perennial interest to historians and is often regarded as a watershed event, marking the end of the nineteenth century and the beginning of the 'modern' industrial world. The sheer scale of the conflict and massive loss of life means that it is constantly being assessed and reassessed to examine its lasting military, political, sociological, industrial, cultural and economic impact. Reflecting the latest international scholarly research, the Routledge Studies in First World War History series provides a unique platform for the publication of monographs on all aspects of the Great War. Whilst the main thrust of the series is on the military aspects of the conflict, other related areas (including cultural, visual, literary, political and social) are also addressed. Books published are aimed primarily at a post-graduate academic audience, furthering exciting recent interpretations of the war, whilst still being accessible enough to appeal to a wider audience of educated lay readers.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / General