The next #AskLetters1916 Twitter chat will take place on Tuesday 4 August 2015 from 5.30 – 6.30pm (GMT). The topic for the chat is:
Our next chat which explores letters from the collection which were written #OnThisDay (4 August 1916) will be hosted by newest member of the Letters of 1916 team, Dr Mel Farrell.
#OnThisDay is aTwitter hashtag which is used to highlight events or pictures which happened on a particular date in history.
At 19.00 on 4 August 1914, Great Britain declared war on Germany, following an unsatisfactory reply to its ultimatum that Belgium be allowed remain neutral. With nineteenth-century conflicts as their main point of reference, most Belligerents went to war with expectations of a short conflict that could be over by Christmas 1914. The British, for instance, believed that its contribution would be rather traditional, naval and financial, with perhaps small professional forces operating on the continent. Military parades in this period still reflected traditional conceptions of conflict: gaudy uniforms, fifes and drums.
Yet, two years on, the war plans of each side lay in tatters as military tactics lagged behind technological advances thus creating a deadly cycle of escalation and stalemate. Indeed, 1916 would bear witness to two of most brutal, bloodiest battles of the First World War at Verdun and the Somme. On 4 August 1916, the second anniversary of British involvement, had not yet even reached its midway point. A further twenty-seven months of fighting and a type of suffering never before encountered in human history lay ahead before the Armistice of 11 November 1918 finally brought the first global conflict to an end.
Meanwhile, during 1916, armed conflict arrived on the streets of Dublin. It is impossible to understand the events of Easter 1916 without reference to the First World War. The IRB dictum ‘England’s difficulty is Ireland’s opportunity’ had underscored separatist resolve to declare a Republic in arms while Great Britain was entangled on the continent. The events of Easter Week, and particularly the executions of fourteen ring-leaders between 3-12 May 1916 would have a profound effect on Irish society. On 3 August 1916, a fifteenth, Sir. Roger Casement, was hanged for high treason at Pentonville Prison.
We will be online and tweeting from 5.30pm on Tuesday 4 August 2015 and we would love to hear from you!