In 1948, as citizens of Birmingham and London attempted to recover from the destructive effects of World War Two, they were perhaps unaware that another barrage was about to be unleashed upon them, this time in the shape of migrants rather than bombs. As commonwealth and Irish migrants streamed into postwar England, they instigated enduring tensions around issues of citizenship, housing, and employment, which irrevocably altered the makeup of the nation in the process. Mostly poor workers from Ireland, the Caribbean and South Asia, these migrants were welcomed bluntly with signs stating, “No Blacks, no dogs, no Irish.” My study of the experiences of white and non-white immigrants in this period aims to add to existing political analyses with a sociocultural exploration of migrants' adaptations to life in post-imperial Britain. By analyzing the Irish experience as well as those of non-white immigrants, I attempt to fragment monolithic assumptions of a singular “whiteness,” which implies that Irish migrants adapted in postwar British society free of the ethnic tensions that other migrants endured.
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John Corbally; The Jarring Irish: Postwar Immigration to the Heart of Empire. Radical History Review 1 January 2009; 2009 (104): 103–125. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/01636545-2008-070
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