TheFirst World War was the start of the modern era, the era of which granted methe opportunity of typing this on a computer rather than with pen and paper.Today I live in a country that is quite small compared to its past, a nationthat once thrived and prospered through many Eras, until 1914 the start of theModern Era. I believe that World War One was the start of the British Empire’scollapse, it did however gain some new territories from the outcome of what wascalled “The Great War”.
Undoubtedlyall Empires come to an end, history can be my evidence for this statement. Someof the empires that entered the World War were the: German Empire,Austrian-Hungarian Empire, Ottoman Empire and the Russian Empire, all vanisheddue to the war. Whereas for the: British Empire, Japanese Empire and PortugueseEmpire flourished and reaped the rewards of the war. Although the outcome mighthave been beneficial to the victors, this can only last for so long beforepeople start to ask… “Why was there a World War?” Those who fought in thebattles on all fronts wanted more power for their homeland, such as: India,Australia, New Zealand and countries in Africa. From this ideology of gainingmore power, many nations wanted independence from the Empires that they werein, this included the British Empire.
Duringthe Great War London called its Empire to come to arms and support Britain, ina War that didn’t directly involve them. This however allowed the idea offighting for your country and bringing honour to families. Even though many+were seen as the minority, they apparently were never treated like a differentsoldier. It seems that on the battlefield that history and anger between culturesor status were left behind and only shared a common interest. Fighting theenemy.
This can be a reason why many wanted to stay in the Empire due to thebonds soldiers had with each other. Captain W.D. Downes1wrote a book titled “With the Nigerians in German East Africa”. This book wasfor the memory of all Nigerians, placing; colour, race, creed and rank aside.
Capt. Downes commanded a crowd of men and he mentioned a Company Sargent Major,CSM Belo Akure. “I have never seen a braver man… his one idea is that hisofficers must on no account risk unnecessary danger; on no account will he letan officer go in front of him on a road.” (Downes, 2015) This should undoubtedly explain thatBritish overseas soldiers had the same vigour and valour as anyone else in theEmpire. My point is that soldiers who fought in battles found that theconnection of staying with their superior is beneficial. As well as it showshow home-grown British soldiers have respect for others that weren’t: born onthe same land as them, the same skin colour or the same religion. Regardlessthis implies that respect still flowed in the Empire, this would be a majorimpact if the loyalty of the Dominions had wavered away from the origin of theBritish Empire.
Unlikethose who hadn’t join in the war had a different view of the British Empire.The event named “Easter Rising” was an Irish attack onto the British controlledareas in major cities in Ireland. This was during the final days of April, 1916.
This was a 6 day revolt, it saw thousands of Irish revolutionaries fight toadopt independence, independence from the monarchy and the rule of the BritishGovernment. Unsurprisingly the British Empire extinguished the uprising,therefore it lead to the surrender of the republicans on the 29th ofApril. Majority of the leaders of the revolt were executed, over 5,000 had diesand over 3,000 had been arrested (many of whom didn’t play any part of the uprising).1Capt. D.
W. Downes was a British Officer in the Nigerian Brigade WAFF (1st,2nd, 3rd and 4th Bns. Nigerian Regt.) in EastAfrica until 1916. He then became an author and wrote about the bravery of thecomrades that fought alongside him.