Search results

This book re-examines the campaign experience of British soldiers in Africa during the period 1874–1902—the zenith of the Victorian imperial expansion—and does so from the perspective of the regimental soldier. The book utilises a number of letters and diaries, written by regimental officers and other ranks, to allow soldiers to speak for themselves about their experience of colonial warfare. The sources demonstrate the adaptability of the British army in fighting in different climates, over demanding terrain and against a diverse array of enemies. They also uncover soldiers' responses to army reforms of the era as well as the response to the introduction of new technologies of war.

Open Access (free)
Edward M. Spiers

The South African War (1899–1902) posed an unprecedented challenge for the Victorian army and eventually involved the services of 448,435 British and colonial troops in a series of major battlefield engagements, sieges, relief operations and protracted counter-guerrilla campaigns. The volume of correspondence from British soldiers was prodigious, and some of these letters

in The Victorian soldier in Africa
Open Access (free)
Edward M. Spiers

columns – only one of which materialised), he requested the dispatch of British soldiers. In doing so, he accepted Cardwell’s instructions that ‘every preparation should be made in advance’, that these forces should not be disembarked until the decisive moment occurred, and that they should operate only in the most favourable climatic conditions, namely the four months from December to March. 13

in The Victorian soldier in Africa
Author:

Anglophobia in Fascist Italy traces the roots of Fascist Anglophobia from the Great War and through the subsequent peace treaties and its development during the twenty years of Mussolini’s regime. Initially, Britain was seen by many Italians as a ‘false friend’ who was also the main obstacle to Italy’s foreign policy aspirations, a view embraced by Mussolini and his movement. While at times dormant, this Anglophobic sentiment did not disappear in the years that followed, and was later rekindled during the Ethiopian War. The peculiarly Fascist contribution to the assessment of Britain was ideological. From the mid-1920s, the regime’s intellectuals saw Fascism as the answer to a crisis in the Western world and as irredeemably opposed to Western civilisation of the sort exemplified by Britain. Britain was described as having failed the ‘problem of labour’, and Fascism framed as a salvation ideology, which nations would either embrace or face decay. The perception of Britain as a decaying and feeble nation increased after the Great Depression. The consequence of this was a consistent underrating of British power and resolve to resist Italian ambitions. An analysis of popular reception of the Fascist discourse shows that the tendency to underrate Britain had permeated large sectors of the Italian people, and that public opinion was more hostile to Britain than previously thought. Indeed, in some quarters hatred towards the British lasted until the end of the Second World War, in both occupied and liberated Italy.

Jacopo Pili

a farmer, slapped him, and robbed him of his bike; at Fasano four drunk English soldiers robbed another farmer, other English soldiers robbed a haberdashery at San Vito dei Normanni, and one drunk and aggressive British soldier was wounded by a gunshot at Catiano.62 Churchill’s speech at the Commons (in September) had produced a very good impression as it had been considered a step towards a real alliance.63 However, these incidents proved how the relationship with the British remained tense. Things were better with the Americans, however. In October, it was

in Anglophobia in Fascist Italy
Open Access (free)
Edward M. Spiers

of local auxiliaries to assist in scouting, transport and combat), and that all these enemies had specific military skills (even the much-maligned Egyptians who had professional training and aptitudes in engineering and gunnery). While British soldiers relished the prospect of prevailing over these foes, with the possibility of earning promotions and medals, they realised, too, that African service was

in The Victorian soldier in Africa
Edward M. Spiers

the heavy marching’ (as their horses had yet to arrive from Natal), soldiers rapidly recovered at the camp site which had ample water, trees, shrubs and plenty of fresh meat from nearby sheep, goats and cattle. 6 Visitors were surprised to see British soldiers (apart from the Royal Scots) wearing ‘rough corduroy’ suits with their formerly white helmets ‘travel-stained to a dirty brown’. 7 Julius M

in The Victorian soldier in Africa
Charles V. Reed

promises of imperial service and citizenship during and in the aftermath the war. 9 In India, British soldiers opened fire on civilians protesting against the Rowlatt Act, an extension of the oppressive wartime ‘emergency measures’, in the Amritsar Massacre (1919), which proved to be a turning point for many Indian nationalists. The white colonies of settlement earned their spurs during the war, as

in Royal tourists, colonial subjects and the making of a British world, 1860–1911
Jacopo Pili

and losses.’61 The Italian press did what it could to emphasise the narrative described above. Notions that the Regia Marina and Regia Aeronautica were so strong that Britain was now the minor force in the Mediterranean, as well as stereotypes about the undisciplined, unmotivated British soldier, became commonplace.62 As early as 1934, La Stampa had observed that any foreign surveyor of ‘British things’ could not help but notice that British military might was going through an unprecedented period of weakening.63 In 1936, the writer and journalist Guido Piovene had

in Anglophobia in Fascist Italy
Open Access (free)
Edward M. Spiers

experiences (not merely letters, poems and diaries but also oral testimony on tape and in film). There is obviously less scope for examining the military experience of the British soldier in the late nineteenth century when the numbers involved, the degree of literacy and the facilities for recording opinions were less extensive. Nevertheless, Victorian soldiers wrote letters to family and friends at home

in The Victorian soldier in Africa