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  • Print publication year: 2019
  • Online publication date: October 2019

5 - Race, Conscription, and the Meaning of Sovereignty in War


Chapter 5 takes the narrative to the outbreak of the First World War, and compares the colonial response to the mobilization for South Africa at the beginning of the book. The chapter focuses mainly on conscription, the ultimate expression of state sovereignty over individuals, and the way conscription forced a reckoning with unresolved political questions across the empire. It covers the fraught attempts by the British government to resolve the racial exceptions listed in Military Service Act 1916, and the debates in Australia, New Zealand, and Canada about whether to follow in Britain’s footsteps on their own unprecedented military manpower problems.

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