A Framework for Comparison

T. K. Wilson

in Frontiers of Violence

Published in print June 2010 | ISBN: 9780199583713
Published online September 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191723056 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Historical Monographs

A Framework for Comparison

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  • Modern History (1700 to 1945)


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This chapter establishes a comparative framework for evaluating possible explanations for the striking discrepancy in conflict intensity between Ulster and Upper Silesia. It surveys the historical background and development of both conflicts. It considers the relative importance of factors such as the impact of the World War, militarism, class tensions, and international intervention, but these are not convincing as explanations for contrasts in conflict intensity. Finally, the chapter examines the importance of demographic structure: the balance of Irish nationalists and unionists in Ulster and of ‘Germans’ and ‘Poles’ in Upper Silesia. This approach inevitably raises the question of the nature of the boundaries separating these communal categories. It is argued that the ethno-linguistic boundary worked far less effectively to differentiate rival national movements in Upper Silesia, than did its ethno-religious equivalent in the north of Ireland.

Keywords: Upper Silesia; Ulster; Northern Ireland; borderlands; militarism; class structure; international intervention; demography; ethno-religious; ethno-linguistic

Chapter.  22189 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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