How come the British empire was bigger at the end of WW1 ?

SlabMurphy

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 14, 2009
Messages
1,684
Website
www.dublin.ie
If WW1 was about the freedom of small nations then how come the British empire was bigger at the end of WW1 than before it ?
 


cry freedom

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 8, 2009
Messages
2,338
If WW1 was about the freedom of small nations then how come the British empire was bigger at the end of WW1 than before it ?
It came largly from the breakup of the Ottoman empire after the Turks chose the wrong side and were suitably hammered.
 

spotty

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 23, 2010
Messages
364
Also, the rescue of most of Germany's African colonies from the Kaiser's iron fist.
 
Joined
Jul 24, 2008
Messages
48
If WW1 was about the freedom of small nations then how come the British empire was bigger at the end of WW1 than before it ?
Extremely simple answer to that.
The German colonies were divided up, with Namibia going to South Africa, German East Africa going to Britain, Togo and Cameroon were divided between Britain and France. In the Pacific, their colonies were split between Australia, New Zealand and Japan.
The non-Turkish Ottoman Empire was also divided up into "mandates", with Britain getting Iraq, Palestine and Jordan, and the French getting Lebanon and Syria.

Finally, WW1, from the British point of view, was not about the freedom of small nations, but the freedom of one nation, Belgium, and specifically the Belgian ports from being German naval bases, given the British view of the German naval threat.
While we're at it, it wasn't about "democracy" either, not unless you consider the Tsar of Russia as a champion of democracy.
 

SlabMurphy

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 14, 2009
Messages
1,684
Website
www.dublin.ie
The non-Turkish Ottoman Empire was also divided up into "mandates", with Britain getting Iraq, Palestine and Jordan, and the French getting Lebanon and Syria.
So that's why the middle east is a mess today. It's no wonder that Britain has been referred to as the cancer of humanity.
 

yellowfish

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 1, 2004
Messages
3,755
So that's why the middle east is a mess today. It's no wonder that Britain has been referred to as the cancer of humanity.

Congrats you found a easy subject to make simple, striped of context and all other naratives you can happily exercise your biggotry. Nice for you.

You may want to come up[ for air though, your country is fupped your social welfare is about to be slashed and all those helpful public sector workers who have carried you this far in life are about to become all Grumpy. You may wish to engage with life on a more adult level.
 

ocoonassa

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 14, 2010
Messages
6,124
So that's why the middle east is a mess today. It's no wonder that Britain has been referred to as the cancer of humanity.
And no wonder that certain Irish people try to get us off the hook for our part in it all. Scramble for Africa, Boer War, WWI?...nah not us mate, it was the Welsh and the Scots :rolleyes:
 

Green eyed monster

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 13, 2008
Messages
2,429
And no wonder that certain Irish people try to get us off the hook for our part in it all. Scramble for Africa, Boer War, WWI?...nah not us mate, it was the Welsh and the Scots :rolleyes:
As 'our' participation in the empire 'as soldiers' peaked so at that time did the rate of deaths in Ireland. They fought for the shilling and a vain hope of escape from the misery that the uniform they wore ironically represented, much as the Sihks and others did.

The use of colonised peoples in the armies of empires is very long, the Romans had a multicultural army drawn from all their conquered provinces, the Golden Horde had the same, the Ottomans had the Janisseries which were non Turks captured young and indoctrinated in a fanatical cult of the warrior and which were used as the shock troops. There comes a time in all empires when the majority of the soldiery is drawn from colonised populations.

This shows the scale of the divide that develops between the makeup of the military itself and the flower of the empire (where it's profits go and who it benefits), in Rome it went to patrician class, in the Ottoman empire it went to the Sultan and his Court, in Britain it went to the (mostly English) merchants and aristocrats and also to it's Middle Class.
 

Anglo Celt

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 22, 2010
Messages
1,177
As 'our' participation in the empire 'as soldiers' peaked so at that time did the rate of deaths in Ireland. They fought for the shilling and a vain hope of escape from the misery that the uniform they wore ironically represented, much as the Sihks and others did.
I'm afraid that is revisionist nonsense mate. Nationalist Ireland needed to cleanse itself of any involvement in the Empire and thus created the myth of 'poor paddy', signing up for the shilling and nothing else. If it helps you sleep better at night, then revel in it to your hearts content.
 

SevenStars

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 17, 2009
Messages
4,201
I'm afraid that is revisionist nonsense mate. Nationalist Ireland needed to cleanse itself of any involvement in the Empire and thus created the myth of 'poor paddy', signing up for the shilling and nothing else. If it helps you sleep better at night, then revel in it to your hearts content.
Better than unashamedly saying the British Empire was the best thing that happened to mankind.

And I dont know what "Nationalist Ireland" is (I think Thranduil and I for instances have very different world views and disagree about much)....

Its interesting in Conrad's brilliant study of Imperialism "The heart of Darkness" that the business of "Empire" becomes more and more naked and stripped of any phoney idealism as the main character gets nearer to Afrika.

Member of the Cork Springbok Club are we?
 

Green eyed monster

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 13, 2008
Messages
2,429
I'm afraid that is revisionist nonsense mate. Nationalist Ireland needed to cleanse itself of any involvement in the Empire and thus created the myth of 'poor paddy', signing up for the shilling and nothing else. If it helps you sleep better at night, then revel in it to your hearts content.
They might not just have fought for the shilling, they may have signed up to feel like men again, or even just to bust someone's skull out of rage - or even to erase the humiliation of the fate of their country and their people through the pursuit of heroic military exploits...

It would be hard to feel like a man in 1840's Ireland with your familly slowly dying in a hovel. How on earth they managed the cognitive dissonance that must come with actually donning the uniform of the power responsible i will never know... There is a touch of madness to that kind of duality imho.
 

owedtojoy

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 27, 2010
Messages
48,847
If WW1 was about the freedom of small nations then how come the British empire was bigger at the end of WW1 than before it ?
Because the German and Turkish Empires got smaller.

Britain and France got the lion's share of the places which were removed form one Empire and installed into another.

How come Irish people never never get worked up about how large the French, Dutch, Spanish, Portugese, Belgian or Italian colonial Empires became? Because they were mainly Catholic and converting the natives to adore the blessed Virgin was A GOOD THING?

BTW, they did not say so, but WWI was for the freedom of small WHITE nations. Very few Europeans seriosuly thought any Asiatic or African people capable of governing themselves (except maybe Japan).
 

Anglo Celt

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 22, 2010
Messages
1,177
Better than unashamedly saying the British Empire was the best thing that happened to mankind.
There is no shame in it. For the most part, the Empire was a very positive venture. And obviously a lot of former colonies feel the same, given their close and enthusiastic involvement in the Commonwealth today.
 
Joined
Jul 24, 2008
Messages
48
BTW, they did not say so, but WWI was for the freedom of small WHITE nations. Very few Europeans seriosuly thought any Asiatic or African people capable of governing themselves (except maybe Japan).
Apart from Ethiopia (until 1935) and Afghanistan, though mainly because invading these countries was considered a Bad Idea, as the natives were a bit...hostile.
I don't think Siam (Thailand) was ever a colony either.
 

Anglo Celt

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 22, 2010
Messages
1,177
They might not just have fought for the shilling, they may have signed up to feel like men again, or even just to bust someone's skull out of rage - or even to erase the humiliation of the fate of their country and their people through the pursuit of heroic military exploits...

It would be hard to feel like a man in 1840's Ireland with your familly slowly dying in a hovel. How on earth they managed the cognitive dissonance that must come with actually donning the uniform of the power responsible i will never know... There is a touch of madness to that kind of duality imho.
Might I suggest Sahib: The British Soldier in India 1750-1914: Amazon.co.uk: Richard Holmes: Books

Highly interesting book and one which goes into Irish soldiers in great detail. Even well after the famine, Irish born British soldiers were represeted in the Forces at a much greater ratio than their Scottish or English counterparts. This was at a time when Ireland was going through dramatic changes in education, social reforms and employment. Indeed, a link shown t us from another nationalist poster here, more or less goes into the great strides Ireland was making from that period onwards. A much more socially progressive society than any other part of the United Kingdom, in some instances 100 years ahead of them!

Multitext - Ireland: society & economy, 1870-1914

But it might not be of too much interest to you. I believe Ireland has two histories, which at times overlap but more often than not run parallel to one another. All it does is make Irish history that bit more interesting... :)
 

Skypeme

Well-known member
Joined
May 19, 2010
Messages
1,914
If WW1 was about the freedom of small nations then how come the British empire was bigger at the end of WW1 than before it ?
Because they won the war and the winners can do exactly as they wish. Who will stop them, they simply carved up the Ottoman Empire and German Colonies between them!
 
C

Cass

There is no shame in it. For the most part, the Empire was a very positive venture. And obviously a lot of former colonies feel the same, given their close and enthusiastic involvement in the Commonwealth today.
No shame in Imperialism! This is what sums up Unionism for me.
 

Anglo Celt

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 22, 2010
Messages
1,177
No shame in Imperialism! This is what sums up Unionism for me.
We cannot view Imperialism impartially through 21st century eyes mate. Them was different days. But on the whole, the British Empire (with plenty of Irish assistance) was a good thing. Actually, not too long ago the BBC History magazine done a rather good analysis of it, weighing up and pros and cons and came to the same conclusion. If you can get a copy of the issue from them, it's well worth the read. Ireland itself benefited from the Empire. See this quote which another poster (Scipio) kindly offered a few days ago

Ireland, at the beginning of the nineteenth century, was coming to the end of a long period of economic expansion. Rising demand for food—first from the British and French colonies in the West Indies and from the steadily increasing volume of shipping crossing the Atlantic, later from the new industrial centres of Great Britain—had encouraged a dramatic expansion of agriculture. There was also a growing industrial sector: an export-based linen manufacture, a woollen industry meeting most domestic needs, food processing enterprises such as brewing, distilling and flour milling, and luxury trades such as silk weaving, glass-making and coach building. When, in the 1770s, English cotton manufacturers developed steam and water powered machinery for the spinning of cotton thread, Irish manufacturers responded with impressive speed, setting up factories using the new technology in a wide range of locations.

By the end of the eighteenth century, the effects of agricultural, industrial and commercial expansion were everywhere to be seen. Dublin, Cork and other centres had expanded rapidly, with narrow crooked streets and timbered houses giving way to broad avenues lined with substantial town houses and public buildings. In the countryside, likewise, land was drained or reclaimed, fields were enclosed by ditches and hedges, and landlords invested their growing wealth in new mansions set in carefully laid out demesnes. The population had risen from less than 2.5 million in the early eighteenth century to perhaps 5 million by 1800.
 


New Threads

Most Replies

Top