Soldiers of Empire Dissertation

A dissertation presented
Andrew Tait Jarboe

In late 1914, the British Empire deployed Indian soldiers (called sepoys) to
Europe in a desperate bid to halt the advancing German army and thereby save the
Empire. Although a variety of studies have explored the subject of Indian soldiers in
Europe, few venture beyond their military contributions to the situation on the Western
Front. In contrast, I devote considerable attention to the more ―intimate frontiers‖ of the
British and German Empires, especially British hospitals for wounded sepoys and
German prison camps where captured sepoys were detained. Comparison of the policy
and practice of British and German military authorities, vis-à-vis Indian soldiers, is
therefore one contribution of this work. I argue that tactical, military considerations and
imperial concerns – namely, protecting racial hierarchies and the loyalty of Indian troops
– shaped the experiences of sepoys in Europe.

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