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How did WW1 contribute to nationalism in the British Colonies?

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Introduction

How did WW1 contribute to nationalism in the British Colonies? In 1914 the British Government knew that their armed forces alone were too small to take on the power and strength of the Triple Alliance. The British Empire was called to arms and volunteers from Australia, Canada, New Zealand, India and many other British colonies flocked to the aid of the mother country. In his essay I will investigate how the Great War contributed to the nationalism of other British colonies. The Great War of 1914 to 1918 was a global conflict with an enormous loss of both life and property that disturbed the growth of the European Empires. Their control of the world's resources, at the expense of colonized peoples, had given them the ability to expand and develop at an accelerated rate. In Europe, the public embraced the Empire's acceptance to fight as a sign of unified colonial countries regardless of their differences. The attitudes of the foreign soldiers in 1914 were very bold. They thought that this was their chance to impress and to show that they were equal. ...read more.

Middle

This also gave their country the upper hand as Britain would return the favour by joining them in battle if needed. Troops were very naive at the thought of war and took it as an adventure. Pay was also far substantial to the average working wage which also influenced more volunteers to sign up. Foreign soldiers had also seen the highest of honours given out to others such as the Victoria Cross. They wanted to be recognised and wanted their name to go down in the history books. All these attitudes were held in 1914 before each colony joined the war. They changed as the war went on, leaving a stain on each colony nobility and nationalism and a fight for freedom was expected from most of the major British colonies. Many of the foreign soldier's dreams were short-lived. They were hoping for heroic jobs so if they did die, they could die as a martyr or a patriot. In fact, the foreign military personnel were given very dangerous jobs but which were not heroic. Examples include carrying dead or injured bodies from the battlefield. ...read more.

Conclusion

George Blackman was born in Barbados and served as a private in the British West Indies regiment. When the war finished, there was nothing. Blackman had to come and look for work. The only things that the army let him keep were the clothes and the uniform that he was wearing - the pants, the jacket and the shirt and the boots. You can't come home naked. When George Blackman did return to Barbados, he was alone. He found out that his parents had died and he had no-one. He had to find work and he had to eat and buy clothes. He claims that the English are 'worthless' and 'no good'. Blackman then went to Jamaica and met up with a few more soldiers who had returned back to their homeland. They were in the same situation as him. For George Blackman, the situation has become simpler - England has nothing to do with him anymore. The anger from the soldiers was channelled into drive and determination to become independent. They wanted nothing to do with England anymore. The sacrifices made by the Empire on the battlefields of Europe echo across the years as part of a proud Commonwealth history. The graves of the fallen are powerful reminders of our debt to the Empire. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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