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Field Marshal Sir Henry WilsonA Political Soldier$
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Keith Jeffery

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780199239672

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199239672.001.0001

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Politics, the Irish question and war

Politics, the Irish question and war

(p.107) 7 Politics, the Irish question and war
Field Marshal Sir Henry Wilson


Oxford University Press

Henry Wilson's reputation as a ‘political’ general, with an unrivalled name for mischievous intrigue, substantially stems from the years 1912–1914, when the balance of politics in Britain, the continuing campaign for conscription, and the Irish question combined to intensify his engagement with party politics. Wilson was an up-and-coming officer, to whom the highest ranks of the army were beginning to beckon. Johnnie French had suggested that he might be sub-Chief of the Imperial General Staff by 1918 which, at the age of 53 or 54, would put him next to the very top. Increasingly, too, Wilson was coming into contact with senior politicians. This chapter discusses Wilson's political activities in the years immediately preceding World War I, the growing crisis over Irish home rule and the campaign for unionism, the Curragh crisis, and Britain's joining France in the war with Germany.

Keywords:   Irish home rule, unionism, World War I, Ireland, Curragh crisis, France, Germany, politics, conscription

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