The Historiography of the British Empire-Commonwealth: Trends, Interpretations and Resources

By Robin W. Winks | Go to book overview

IRELAND'S COMMONWEALTH
YEARS, 1922-1949

Helen F. Mulvey

IRELAND'S TWENTY-SEVEN YEARS in the British Commonwealth is an episode of much interest and is deserving of more attention than it has received.1 For students of Irish history it is a reminder of the power of the past; for students of Commonwealth affairs it is at the very center of those developments which move in the 1920's toward the Statute of Westminster, and in the 1930's follow from it. All the work, of course, which deals with Ireland in these years is not oriented solely to Ireland in the Commonwealth. Ireland, the new nation, has an interest all its own, an interest heightened in these days of new nations fiercely independent in spirit if not in power, and aggressively neutral in disposition.

For Ireland's Commonwealth history, certain large themes command the attention. Was Lloyd George's hope of reconciling Irish national aspirations with membership in the British Commonwealth foredoomed to failure? If India could so easily be accepted within the Commonwealth as a Republic in 1949, why, even allowing for twentyfive years difference in experience, was de Valera's "external association," or something like it, so impossible in 1921? How significant was Ireland's responsibility for pushing the Commonwealth toward a sharper definition of status and function? These questions suggest the force of Irish nationalism existing in the new context of the Common-

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1
This essay is based on a selection of books which are important for interpretation or information. For all the sources which bear on any one of the subjects mentioned, the student will have to turn to British as well as Irish materials. An essay on Ireland in the Commonwealth cannot be the same kind of essay as one on Canada. The prelude would be a more extensive essay on British and Irish affairs than is possible here. For a recent interpretive essay see James C. Beckett, The Study of Irish History: An Inaugural Lecture... 13 March 1963 ( Belfast, 1963). For bibliography on Irish internal history, see my "Modern Irish History Since 1940: A Bibliographical Survey (1600-1922)", The Historian ( Allentown, Pa.), XXVIII ( August, 1965), 516-59.

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The Historiography of the British Empire-Commonwealth: Trends, Interpretations and Resources
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Contributors ix
  • Introduction 3
  • The American Continental Colonies in the Empire 23
  • The Empire Since 1783 46
  • Canada 69
  • Australia 137
  • New Zealand 174
  • The British Territories in the Pacific 197
  • South Africa 212
  • British Central Africa 237
  • British East Africa 248
  • British West Africa 261
  • Egypt and the Sudan 279
  • Great Britain and Inter­national Trusteeship: the Mandate System 296
  • Gibraltar, Malta, and Cyprus 312
  • Ireland's Commonwealth Years, 1922-1949 326
  • The British West Indies 344
  • India 357
  • Pakistan 396
  • Ceylon 421
  • Burma 448
  • Malaysia 460
  • Commonwealth Literature: Developments and Prospects 493
  • Appendix: An American Report 523
  • Index 529
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