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What is it like to be in the I.R.A. - or at their mercy? This fascinating study explores the lives and deaths of the enemies and victims of the County Cork I.R.A. between 1916 and 1923 - the most powerful and deadly branch of the I.R.A. during one of the most turbulent periods in twentieth-century Ireland. These years saw the breakdown of the British legal system and police authority, the rise of republican violence, and the escalation of the conflict into a full-scale guerilla war, leading to a wave of riots, ambushes, lootings, and reprisal killings, with civilians forming the majority of victims in this unacknowledged civil war. Religion may have provided the starting point for the conflict, but class prejudice, patriotism, and personal grudges all fuelled the development and continuation of widespread violence. Using an unprecedented range of sources - many of them only recently made public - Peter Hart explores the motivation behind such activity. His conclusions not only reveal a hidden episode of Ireland's troubled past but provide valuable insights into the operation of similar terrorist groups today.
Between 1919 and 1923, Ireland was engulfed by violence as the Irish Republican Army (IRA) fought a guerrilla campaign against the British state and later fellow Irishmen and women in pursuit of an Irish Republic. Police barracks and government offices were attacked and burned, soldiers and policemen were killed and the economic and social life of the country was dislocated. Britain itself was a theatre in the war too. 'In the heart of enemy lines', as one IRA leader put it, cities such as London, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Glasgow and their environs saw the establishment of IRA companies, Irish Republican Brotherhood circles, Cumann na mBan branches and Na Fianna Éireann troops. Composed of Irish emigrants and the descendants of emigrants, these organizations worked to help their comrades across the Irish Sea. Their most important activity was gunrunning, acquiring and smuggling weapons to Ireland. In November 1920, setting fire to warehouses and timber yards in Liverpool, they launched a campaign of violence. Meanwhile, mass-membership organizations such as the Irish Self-Determination League of Great Britain and Sinn Féin sought to persuade the British public of Ireland's right to independence. Republican leaders such as Michael Collins, Rory O'Connor and Liam Mellows took a keen interest in these exploits. Making extensive use of archival sources and memoirs, The IRA in Britain is the first book to study this little known aspect of the Irish Revolutionary period. Tracing the history of the Irish Volunteers in Britain from their establishment in 1914 and participation in the Easter Rising two years later, through the weapons' smuggling activities and violent operations of the War of Independence to the bitter divisions of the Civil War and the response of the authorities, The IRA in Britain highlights the important role played by those outside of Ireland in the Revolution.
This book examines the grass-roots relationship between the Irish Republican Army (IRA) and the civilian population during the Irish Revolution. It is primarily concerned with the attempts of the militant revolutionaries to discourage, stifle, and punish dissent among the local populations in which they operated, and the actions or inactions by which dissent was expressed or implied. Focusing on the period of guerilla war against British rule from c. 1917 to 1922, it uncovers the acts of 'everyday' violence, threat, and harm that characterized much of the revolutionary activity of this period. Moving away from the ambushes and assassinations that have dominated much of the discourse on the revolution, the book explores low-level violent and non-violent agitation in the Irish town or parish. The opening chapter treats the IRA's challenge to the British state through the campaign against servants of the Crown - policemen, magistrates, civil servants, and others - and IRA participation in local government and the republican counter-state. The book then explores the nature of civilian defiance and IRA punishment in communities across the island before turning its attention specifically to the year that followed the 'Truce' of July 1921. This study argues that civilians rarely operated at either extreme of a spectrum of support but, rather, in a large and fluid middle ground. Behaviour was rooted in local circumstances, and influenced by local fears, suspicions, and rivalries. IRA punishment was similarly dictated by community conditions and usually suited to the nature of the perceived defiance. Overall, violence and intimidation in Ireland was persistent, but, by some contemporary standards, relatively restrained.
The Irish revolution of 1920-1921 ended in a military and political stalemate, resolved only through the mutual compromise incorporated in the Anglo-Irish Treaty. Historians have long accepted that the one conflict in which there was a clear winner was that of Intelligence, where British ineptitude was painfully exposed by the organizational genius of Michael Collins. This judgement is challenged by the recent release of two confidential self-assessments prepared for the army and the police in 1922. Through many setbacks and inefficiencies, the police report indicates a marked improvement in operations superintended by that "wicked little white snake", Sir Ormonde de l'Epee Winter (1875-1962). His report, though self-serving and flawed, provides a uniquely detailed and personal account of Intelligence from the inside. The editor's introduction assesses the purpose, reliability and significance of these reports. Their publication is a significant contribution to the study of Irish revolutionary history.
The study of Irish history, once riven and constricted, has recently enjoyed a resurgence, with new practitioners, new approaches, and new methods of investigation. The Oxford Handbook of Modern Irish History represents the diversity of this emerging talent and achievement by bringing together 36 leading scholars of modern Ireland and embracing 400 years of Irish history, uniting early and late modernists as well as contemporary historians. The Handbook offers a set of scholarly perspectives drawn from numerous disciplines, including history, political science, literature, geography, and the Irish language. It looks at the Irish at home as well as in their migrant and diasporic communities. The Handbook combines sets of wide thematic and interpretative essays, with more detailed investigations of particular periods. Each of the contributors offers a summation of the state of scholarship within their subject area, linking their own research insights with assessments of future directions within the discipline. In its breadth and depth and diversity, The Oxford Handbook of Modern Irish History offers an authoritative and vibrant portrayal of the history of modern Ireland.
A gripping narrative of the most critical years in modern Ireland's history, from Charles Townshend The protracted, terrible fight for independence pitted the Irish against the British and the Irish against other Irish. It was both a physical battle of shocking violence against a regime increasingly seen as alien and unacceptable and an intellectual battle for a new sort of country. The damage done, the betrayals and grim compromises put the new nation into a state of trauma for at least a generation, but at a nearly unacceptable cost the struggle ended: a new republic was born. Charles Townshend's Easter 1916 opened up the astonishing events around the Rising for a new generation and in The Republic he deals, with the same unflinchingly wish to get to the truth behind the legend, with the most critical years in Ireland's history. There has been a great temptation to view these years through the prisms of martyrology and good-and-evil. The picture painted by Townshend is far more nuanced and sceptical - but also never loses sight of the ordinary forms of heroism performed by Irish men and women trapped in extraordinary times. Reviews: 'Electric ... [a] magisterial and essential book' Irish Times About the author: Charles Townshend is the author of the highly praised Easter 1916:The Irish Rebellion. His other books include The British Campaigns in Ireland, 1919-21 and When God Made Hell: The British Invasion of Mesopotamia and the Making of Iraq, 1914-21.
A timely work of major historical importance, examining the whole spectrum of events from the 1916 Easter Rising to the current and ongoing peace process, fully updated with a new afterword for the paperback edition. ‘An essential book ... closely-reasoned, formidably intelligent and utterly compelling ... required reading across the political spectrum ... important and riveting’ Roy Foster, The Times ‘An outstanding new book on the IRA ... a calm, rational but in the end devastating deconstruction of the IRA’ Henry McDonald, Observer ‘Superb ... the first full history of the IRA and the best overall account of the organization. English writes to the highest scholarly standards ... Moreover, he writes with the common reader in mind: he has crafted a fine balance of detail and analysis and his prose is clear, fresh and jargon-free ... sets a new standard for debate on republicanism’ Peter Hart, Irish Times 'The one book I recommend for anyone trying to understand the craziness and complexity of the Northern Ireland tragedy.’ Frank McCourt, author of Angela’s Ashes
Packed with violence, political drama and social and cultural upheaval, the years 1913-1923 saw the emergence in Ireland of the Ulster Volunteer Force to resist Irish home rule and in response, the Irish Volunteers, who would later evolve into the IRA. World War One, the rise of Sinn Fin, intense Ulster unionism and conflict with Britain culminated in the Irish war of Independence, which ended with a compromise Treaty with Britain and then the enmities and drama of the Irish Civil War. Drawing on an abundance of newly released archival material, witness statements and testimony from the ordinary Irish people who lived and fought through extraordinary times, A Nation and not a Rabble explores these revolutions. Diarmaid Ferriter highlights the gulf between rhetoric and reality in politics and violence, the role of women, the battle for material survival, the impact of key Irish unionist and republican leaders, as well as conflicts over health, land, religion, law and order, and welfare.
National Symbols and Political Conflict in Twentieth-century Ireland
Author: Ewan Morris
National symbols have long been highly contentious in Ireland, and they remain so today. While there have been a number of studies which have examined the role of symbols in the contemporary conflict in Northern Ireland, as yet there has been no detailed study of debates about national symbols in twentieth-century Ireland. This book fills that gap, outlining the historical background to the continuing controversy about national symbols in Ireland and shedding new light on the deep political divisions which have marked Irish society throughout this century. Our Own Devices focuses on the crucial period from 1922 to 1939 which saw the creation and consolidation of new governments in the Irish Free State and Northern Ireland. It also examines in detail the selection of official symbols of state by governments in both parts of Ireland, and public responses to those symbols. Having discussed the conflicts over symbols which took place in the early decades of the two states, the book concludes by bringing the story up-to-date and relating earlier controversies about national symbols to current debates about the role of symbols in conflict and peacemaking in Northern Ireland. This study is a pioneering work in this relatively new area of Irish history, and is based on extensive original research, using many sources which have not previously been cited in published works.
Using a transnational approach, this volume surveys the origins of Irish terrorism and its impact on the Anglo-Saxon community during an era of intense imperialism. While at times it posed sharp disagreements between Britain and the United States, their ideological repulsion to terrorism later led to cooperation in counter-terrorism strategies.