Main content

Dividing the World's Graves

Santanu Das explores what the 1918 armistice meant to the victorious Allies' colonial subjects after the First World War.

Five historians explore the global impact of the 1918 armistice and the legacy it has left in our world: from the fringes of Europe to the Middle East. They challenge the conventional narrative about the end of the First World War and the peace settlements that followed, with repercussions still felt today.

Today, Santanu Das, Professor of English Literature at King’s College London, explores what the 1918 armistice meant for the victorious Allies’ colonial subjects after the First World War.

He argues that the armistice brought expectations that their war contribution would be rewarded with the granting of dominion status, yet the Paris Peace Conference turned such hopes to dust. Instead of marking peace, the world was convulsed with fresh violence as revolt and reprisal broke out among oppressed subjects in the US, Egypt, Korea, China and, most notably, in India during the Amritsar massacre of April 1919. Here, Professor Das says, the armistice marked the beginning of the end of Empire.

Readings by Will Huggins and Susheel Kumar

Produced by Melissa FitzGerald
A Blakeway production for BBC Radio 4

Available now

14 minutes