Beginnings of Indian Nationalism: In , England decreed the conscription of Ireland's manhood to save her from the great German advance In December, at the General Election, all Nationalist Ireland declared its allegiance to the Republican ideal, and the Sinn Fein policy of abstention from Westminster was adopted. A message was sent to the nations of the world requesting the recognition of the free Irish Sate, and a national government was erected.
This move of England's called forth a secretly built-up Irish Republican Army which, early in , began a guerilla warfare, and quickly succeeded in clearing vast districts of the Constabulary who were ever England's right arm in Ireland. In , the British government attempted to solve the Irish question by passing legislation partitioning Ireland and granting it limited self-government. It believed — wrongly - that this would satisfy the majority of Irish nationalists. From the outset, the IRA campaign was mainly directed against the Royal Irish Constabulary — by June , 55 policemen had been killed, 16 barracks destroyed and hundreds abandoned.
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As a result its conviction rates, recruitment levels and morale, all fell sharply. In response, the British government initiated changes autumn , which in effect transformed the force into an auxiliary army, by equipping it with motor vehicles, rockets, bombs and shotguns. By January , Westminster felt compelled to take more drastic action. It eventually numbered about 10, and quickly acquired an unenviable reputation for ill-discipline.
Owing to the urgent need for men, selection procedures had been increasingly relaxed. Some of those who enlisted had been brutalised by war: almost all were ignorant of Ireland and ill-trained. Moreover, they were attached to scattered RICA barracks, mainly in the south west, under no effective control from police or army officers.
As the IRA campaign intensified, the government responded in July by establishing a second force, the Auxiliaries. They were better-paid and recruited from demobilised army officers. Eventually 1, men were enlisted and these were divided into 15 heavily armed and mobile companies, and deployed in the ten Irish counties where the IRA was most active. But, like the Black and Tans, its members were also ill-trained for guerrilla warfare, and knew little of Ireland.
Though under nominal RICA control, they generally operated independently and they also established a reputation for drunkenness and brutality. Meanwhile, during , troop numbers in Ireland were steadily increased and their powers extended. In August, they were empowered to intern citizens without trial and court-martial those suspected of political offences. These ranged from assaults on IRA suspects and supporters, occasionally causing death, to the sacking of towns, such as Limerick and Balbriggan.
The price however was the alienation of public opinion, both in Ireland and in Britain. The worst reprisals occurred during the crescendo of terror and counter-terror in October Later that day, Auxiliaries who were despatched to a football match at Croke Park to search for wanted men, fired indiscriminately into the crowd, causing 12 deaths and wounding Two days later their Auxiliary colleagues, along with Black and Tans, entered Cork and sacked and burnt part of the city centre.
Reluctantly, the British government was thus compelled to declare martial law over much of south-west Ireland. By mid the British government had become more amenable to a political settlement with the IRA. In two and a half years over 1, people had died in the conflict of them troops and police , yet military victory still seemed a remote and uncertain prospect.
Bloody Sunday also marked an emotional turning-point in the War of Independence and has gone down as a central event in nationalist history.
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Although thousands were in attendance at Croke Park that day, the exact events which led to the killings have never been conclusively proven, with each side contradicting the other. The only public statement issued by the authorities was one hurriedly drafted by Dublin Castle, blaming the IRA for shooting at Crown forces when they arrived to raid Croke Park. No authoritative account from the British side had ever been published. Now, after almost 83 years, the official British record of a military inquiry, known to have been carried out in lieu of an inquest on the fourteen Irish fatalities but held in camera, has recently become available in the British Public Record Office at Kew.
It finally enables rival accounts to be compared. The loss of life is heartrending. All humane people, however they may differ about all else to do with Ireland, must lament it. There is the usual flat contradiction between the official account of what happened, what some eyewitnesses are saying, and the accounts coming from within the Bogside. If the Army's account is accepted, then the IRA gunmen have directly brought on their own people so many deaths and so much suffering.
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If the accounts from the Bogside are anything like correct, It would seem that the IRA has now got what it has long been trying to provoke without success: a breakdown of battle discipline in the Army or a major operational misjudgment. If what occurs does not appear in firm outline in the course of the next few days from a comparison of the testimony of credible witnesses, it will be necessary to institute a court of inquiry.
I guess the Irish Catholics are after all expendable. Come tell us how you slew them poor Arabs two by two, Like the Zulus they had spears and bows and arrows, How you bravely faced each one with your pounder gun, And you frightened them poor natives to their marrow. Come let us hear you tell how you slandered great Parnell, When you thought him well and truly persecuted, Where are the sneers and jeers that you bravely let us hear When our heroes of '16 were executed?
The priest Georgy Gapon — , hoping to present workers' request for reforms directly to Nicholas II, arranged a peaceful march toward the Winter Palace. Police fired on the demonstrators, killing more than and wounding several hundred more. The massacre was followed by strikes in other cities, peasant uprisings, and mutinies in the armed forces. For the Brits, modern conflict in Ireland has always been a test of their deeply held self-image as the arbiters of fair play.
In November , the Times denounced Lloyd George's campaign against the Irish separatists not in terms of its effect on Ireland, but as an affront to Britain's reputation as a champion of civilisation. Just over 50 years later, a member of the committee appointed by Edward Heath's government to investigate the interrogation methods employed in Nortern Ireland condemned them as " Taylor identifies Bloody Sunday when the paratroopers killed 13 civilians in Derry in as the pivotal event of the British war against the Irish Republican Army. It provided the IRA with recruits and boosted their fragile authority to wage war against soldiers.
And it eventually convinced the British military that conventional methods could not be used to defeat the IRA while Britain remained committed to the rule of law. The march had been banned The march was prevented from entering the city centre by members of the British Army.
Some stones are known to have been thrown at soldiers in William Street. A squad of the Parachute Regiment moved into the Bogside apparently to make arrests. Shots were fired, and 13 people lay dead and many others injured.
The soldiers later said that they had come under sustained gun and bomb attack by the IRA, but such a view of events has been denied by eye-witnesses for two decades, and particularly the contention that those killed all by single shots to the head and body the classic indications of deliberately aimed shots, not mere panic firing - were carrying weapons or bombs. Not a soldier boy was bleeding When they nailed the coffin lids!
Gord's Notebook : 06/01/ - 07/01/
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Terence MacSwiney Irish playwright, author and nationalist politician. Traolach Mac Suibhne attivista, politico e scrittore irlandese. Author , Editor. DA, Project Page Feedback Known Problems.
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