Loyalism and Violence

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

Loyalism and Violence

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  • Modern History (1700 to 1945)


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This chapter examines the loyalist militants that sought to keep Ulster within the United Kingdom and Upper Silesia within the German Reich through participation in violence. It compares the relationship of these militants to the state and wider loyal communities that they claimed to defend. Here, the far greater willingness of German loyalists in Upper Silesia to indulge in transgressive practices such as rape and mutilation is noted. It is argued that loyalist violence in Ulster and Upper Silesia served differing purposes at the local level. Loyalist violence in Ulster was primarily concerned with the limited task of maintaining an existing boundary between rival communities that could be easily defended. By contrast, loyalist violence was more concerned with the much more ambitious task of creating a ‘national’ boundary within what remained a recognisably homogenous Upper Silesian society.

Keywords: Northern Ireland; Ulster; Upper Silesia; communal boundary; loyalism; Ulster loyalism; atrocity; rape; mutilation

Chapter.  18478 words. 

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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