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103 MIN READ TIME

The lasting effect of the First World War on CRIME IN SCOTLAND

The impact of military service made it difficult for many veterans to return to everyday life and the demands of family and employers

For many the relationship between war and crime is a simple one. Crime drops during wartime due to the removal of young men, the group most likely to commit crime, and then rises again following demobilisation when hostilities end. It also assumed that post-war societies experience a lasting rise in crime due to the economically and socially disruptive effects of war. In 1926 Thorsten Sellin, arguably the leading pioneer of scientific criminology, published a statistical analysis that suggested that violent crime had risen significantly in Europe since the end of the First World War. Sellin’s analysis then seemed to vindicate the conventional wisdom on crime and war. Yet while the murder rates of France, Germany and Italy saw significant rises, England and Wales broke the trend of established criminological thought and experienced only a brief rise in crime. Although in 1919 there were 123 murders known to the police, in 1921, by which point most men had been demobilised, there were only 90. Apart from the war years, this was the lowest number of murders since 1910.

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About History Scotland

After the Great War: Rebuilding a nation Five great reasons to read History Scotland this month * New research on what life was like between the World Wars * Exploring the link between crime and military service * Special report on underwater archaeology at the German High Seas fleet scuttle site in Orkney * The women registrars who broke into an all-male profession * A new study of the controverial marriage of Queen Victoria's daughter Louise BONUS DIGITAL-ONLY CONTENT: Video report on a forgotten treasure trove of Victorian photos Exhibition preview: Russia, Royalty and the Romanovs Video: living history food & drink experience

Other Articles in this Issue


History Scotland
Those of us who lived through the Second World War
NEWS
Remarkable images of pioneers boring through rocky mountainsides during the construction of the Katrine aqueduct have been rescued from a skip as work takes place on refurbishment of the aqueduct
Newly-discovered Mary Queen of Scots letters shed light
A team of archaeologists who have been working on a project to locate the remains of Coldingham monastery in Berwickshire have revealed the results of their first set of radiocarbon dates
The National Wallace Monument has released new visuals
This month Neil McLennan takes a new approach to his hidden histories explorations, introducing a thematic trail that takes in newly-installed memorials to the country’s war poets
IN-DEPTH FEATURES
Dr J.J. Smyth and Dr Michael Penman discuss Scottish Great War memorials, asking what the huge volume and diversity of memorialisation projects can tell us about the way Scots sought to remember and commemorate their dead in the immediate aftermath of war
Re-assessing the link between war-service and crime in the post-1918 period, Cameron McKay demonstrates that many Scottish veterans had difficulty readjusting to civilian life, leading to a rise in both petty and serious criminality
Dr Margery Palmer McCulloch explores the ‘Scottish renaissance’, an outpouring of literature in the years between the two World Wars, producing a rich body of work from numerous authors that is still appreciated almost a century later
Dr Stephen Bowman examines the relationship between Scotland and the United States in the interwar period, discovering a shared experience of anxiety and social dislocation that was shaped by the historical connection between the two countries
Professor Ewen Cameron explores the experience of the Scottish highlands between 1918 and the late 1930s, a period of sustained discussion about the economic and cultural future of a region reeling from the aftershocks of the First World War
Reflecting on the various ways in which the centenary of the First World War was commemorated in text, Dr Catriona M.M. Macdonald argues that we are developing a new, more democratic narrative of the conflict, putting the people of Scotland, and their stories, centre-stage.
ARCHAEOLOGY NEWS
As the centenary of the scuttling of the German High Seas Fleet approaches, Kevin Heath, Malcolm Thomson, Sandra Henry, Mark Littlewood and Paul Sharman take a look at how the underwater wrecks have been explored and salvaged over the decades
FEATURES
This May marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of Queen Victoria. Margaret Brecknell explores the marriage of Victoria’s daughter Louise – a match that went against the strict conventions of the time
Morag Cross tells the story of how the son of a Glaswegian merchant, born to an African mother on a Caribbean island just after the abolition of slavery, went on to become one of the benefactors of Glasgow’s Mitchell library
REGULARS… IN EVERY ISSUE
Dr Tristram Clarke examines what an historic photograph can reveal about the rise of women registrars in Scotland
Captain Robert Pincarton and Darien
Ben Fanstone delves into the life of James Taylor and his inluence on the development of Ceylon’s exports
Martin Margulies enjoys a reappraisal of the 1745 Battle of Prestonpans
HelenYoung explores a fresh account of early modern Edinburgh and the influences of the Scottish Enlightenment
Experience history first-hand with our pick of outdoor
Peter Tillemans’The Battle of Glenshiel is based on eye-witness accounts of the battle and features figures including Rob Roy MacGregor and General Joseph Wightman
Tullibody is one of Scotland’s oldest villages, with
Ken Nisbet of the Scottish Genealogy Society shares his expert tips for finding an ancestor’s burial records online
Dr Annie Tindley spotlights a collection of strike bulletins that highlight the high level of engagement from the population of Scotland in the general strike of 1926
We talk to Jackie Lee, director of Artemis Scotland, about her work in providing heritage interpretation via costumed characters using storytelling techniques to engage visitors at historic attractions