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The IRA And The Irish Civil War

Civil Wars pit brothers against brothers and fathers against sons. They rip countries and families apart. The Irish Civil war even pitted religions, Protestant and Catholic, against each other. Much blood was shed in this lengthy war. Ireland, a land of green grasses and proud people, had long desired to be independent and in December 1922 that independence from the kings of England was granted, but the independence did not bring peace. This resulted because the Republican and Provisional sides did not agree on many things and the initial delay and eventual results of a proposed June election.

Initially the independence granted gave Ireland a release from the United Kingdom, but still granted inclusion in the British Empire. 26 of the 32 regions were granted the right to self govern and self protect. England did not completely grant freedom to those 26 regions, in fact the oath part of the treaty still required an allegiance to King George V. Additionally; the most prosperous ports of Ireland were still controlled by the British Army. The Republican Party greatly resented what they though was control by England. They wanted a complete break. Michael Collins was a recognized leader of the Republican Party. The party was often referred to as the IRA (Irish Republican Army). He pushed and proclaimed that the treaty did not give the full rights that any nation would naturally desire.

The looming June election was important; as many matters were not resolved concerning how much role the British should play in the country. Michael Collins and Liam Lynch, an IRA leader, worked valiantly to bring together a peaceful accord. The British rebuffed their efforts as being against the initial terms of independence. The British threatened military intervention. The angry opposition went into the elections being called Sinn Fein and the results were in their favor as they won with almost 100,000 more ballots. This set off the bloody Irish Civil War. Dublin became the first scene for many subsequent battles of the Sinn Fein against the British military. This Civil War involved nasty trench warfare, bombings, and ghastly executions. Michael Collins and Liam Lynch both lost their lives. The war’s many treaty attempts, battles, and deaths could fill volumes and volumes. In 1931, The British Parliament gave up its rights to dictate for members of the British Commonwealth, but residual bombings and attacks lasted well into the 1950s.

The Irish Civil War was complex and tragic. It resulted from many detailed agendas including, Ireland’s desire for complete independence, the British strongholds, and that results of the June elections.


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