Centenary of Outbreak of First World War 1914

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Historical Background

The weeks following the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria heir to the Austro-Hungarian empire and his wife Duchess Sophie in Sarajevo were ones of tumultuous change for Europe with declarations of war by various countries cumulating in Germany declaring war on France and Belgium on 3rd August 1914 and on the following day 4th August, the United Kingdom declaring war on Germany. During the next 4 years, millions of men and women died in one of the bloodiest periods of military history which finally ended on 11th November 1918 with the armistice and surrender of Germany. The political and geographic map of Europe radically changed following the war and Treaty of Versailles which was signed in 1919.

Image of Royal Dublin Fusiliers - Courtesy of Dublin City Public LibrariesThe Royal Dublin Fusiliers was an infantry regiment of the 16th Irish Division during the First World War (WW1) / Great War.

The regiment was created on 1 July 1881 by the amalgamation of the 102nd Regiment of Foot (Royal Madras Fusiliers) and the 103rd Regiment of Foot (Royal Bombay Fusiliers) to form the 1st and 2nd Battalions, The Royal Dublin Fusiliers. Predominantly Dubliners joined this regiment but soldiers from all over Ireland served in the ranks. The regiment saw fighting in many of the battlefields of Europe throughout the 4 years of the war.

Commemorative Events

The Dublin City Archives and the Dublin and Irish Collections have extensive material relating to the Great War. The collections are being added to on a regular basis and in 2012 received significant donations to the Royal Dublin Fusiliers Association Archive. A number of exhibitions drawn from these collections were staged in 2014, including Dublin and the First World War, Letters from the Great War, Stories from the Great War, Stories from Gallipoli.

Dublin Festival of History  2014 featured talks on The First World War, the Warsaw Uprising, Women in war, while The Green Fields brought poems, songs, speeches and letters of the Great War to the stage. Listen back to Dublin Festival of History 2014 podcasts.

Letters and Postcards from The Great War - courtesy of Dublin City Libraries