Historians Have Been 'Lazy about Interpreting How the War Went' in His Latest Martin Shipton Meets Podcast, Our Chief Reporter Talks to Dr Aled Eirug, a Journalist Turned Academic Who Has Written a Book Called the Opposition to the Great War in Wales 1914-1918

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), October 31, 2018 | Go to article overview

Historians Have Been 'Lazy about Interpreting How the War Went' in His Latest Martin Shipton Meets Podcast, Our Chief Reporter Talks to Dr Aled Eirug, a Journalist Turned Academic Who Has Written a Book Called the Opposition to the Great War in Wales 1914-1918


THE opposition to the First World War has often been overlooked amid a general sense that young men flocked to join the services in a prevailing mood of jingoism.

In his book, whose gestation was as long ago as 1977, Aled Eirug has described extensively the different strands of opposition that existed - some inspired by religious convictions and others predominantly political.

His two inspirations were his father, who was a conscientious objector during the Second World War, and the grandfather he never met, who was a conscientious objector during World War One.

He said: "I suppose you could say that I come from a serial family of troublemakers, especially working as an investigative journalist. When I initially started work on this, I hadn't really considered in any structured way why I was doing it.

"I started by looking at the First World War and not really having much idea about what my grandfather did. I knew that my father was a conscientious objector who worked on the land and in hospitals in that period, which you were allowed to do. But he very rarely spoke about his direct experience, and to my shame I never really asked him either.

"Then I read a bit more - my grandfather published some books about that period, and in particular about the principal of the theological college he'd been to in Bangor. My grandfather was the author of a book of essays about Principal Thomas Rees, who was perhaps the leading light in the anti-war religious movement in Wales in that period - and that excited my interest.

"I started by writing a shortish essay in 1977 as part of my history course at Aberystwyth with Dr Deian Hopkin. I then thought little of it - I didn't have any ambition to be an academic researcher. I was far more interested in real life. I didn't turn back to it until about 2010."

Speaking about TE Nicholas, a minister of religion who was one of the best known opponents of the war, Dr Eirug said: "He was a Marxist and a Christian. People tend to separate the religious and the political, but for many of these men who opposed the war, they had a moral case against it - they saw it as being capitalist, imperialist and against the working classes. That analysis, which is not just Marxist but moral as well, was quite common on the left within the movement against the war.

"Nicholas was the greatest propagandist of all - certainly in the Welsh language. He was the editor of the Welsh language section of the Merthyr Pioneer, which was the Independent Labour Party paper produced in Merthyr and is a very important source for knowing about the opposition to the First World War.

"My view is that historians have tended to be a bit lazy about interpreting how the war went, and haven't described sufficiently the subtleties in the differences and nuances in responses to the war from 1914 through to 1918, depending on where you are and what you're doing. For example, in 1914 there was recruiting at the beginning of the war, but it was very slow in rural areas of Wales and especially in Welsh-speaking areas. It was only by the end of that year that it started to pick up, and actually it dipped in 1915 after about April and May - which is partly why they had to bring in conscription in 1916. They were getting desperate for men to come into the army.

"In 1916 was the [Battle of the] Somme and a huge realisation of the cost of the war. 1917 was a period of terrible economic and social dislocation - economic crisis partly caused by the intervention of German submarine warfare and so forth. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Historians Have Been 'Lazy about Interpreting How the War Went' in His Latest Martin Shipton Meets Podcast, Our Chief Reporter Talks to Dr Aled Eirug, a Journalist Turned Academic Who Has Written a Book Called the Opposition to the Great War in Wales 1914-1918
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.