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Was The Irish Civil War A Ð''Natural' Conclusion To The Events Of Previous Years?

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Was the Irish Civil War a Ð''natural' conclusion to the events of previous years?

Some historians will say that the Civil War was a Ð''natural' conclusion to the activities of the previous year others will disagree. This essay will take the line that yes; the civil war was a natural and inevitable conclusion to the Anglo-Irish difficulties. In order to understand why the Civil War came about one must first understand how it came about by studying the actions of the previous years, the War of Independence and the Anglo-Irish Treaty. Then it is necessary to look at the feelings of the opposing sides of the Civil War. Finally one must look at history itself and compare the Irish War of Independence and the Civil War with similar cases. Once all steps have been taken the ultimate aim of this essay is to prove that the Civil War was a Ð''natural' conclusion to the previous years.

The War of Independence (WOI) was fought between the years 1918 and 1921 and Ð''was mainly limited to Dublin and the province of Munster, and the IRA victories were few and far between' . Ireland had forgotten about its aspirations for Home Rule and was now looking for a more drastic form of Independence. The war had its origins in the formation of unilaterally created independent Irish parliament, called DÐ"ÐŽil Ð"‰ireann, formed by the majority of MPs elected in Irish constituencies in the Irish (UK) general election, 1918. This parliament, known as the First DÐ"ÐŽil, and its ministry, called the Aireacht declared Irish independence. The DÐ"ÐŽil knew that Ð''England's difficulty (was) Ireland's opportunity' and ceized the day. After the failed rebelion of 1916 public sympathies slowly but surely swung to the millitant IRA (and Sinn Fein). By 1921 the WOI was a cause of British anxiety and embarressment and something had to be done. Once the Ulster province had been calmed by the Government of Ireland Act in 1920, the Lloyd George turned to its Nationalist neighbour. A Sinn Fein delegation, including Michael Collins and Arthur Grifith was sent to Westminster to negotiate the Anglo-Irish Treaty. It is important to note that President DeValera was not present. It is very possible that he knew there would have to be some compromise

made and he didn't want to make it. After heated discusions and debates the delegation were given 2 days to sign the treaty or except war. Ireland could not support another war and so the delegation were forced to sign the Treaty and bring it home for ratification.

The Treaty caused heated debate with some agreeing with Michael Collins that the Treaty Ð''gives us freedon- not the ultimate freedom that all nations desire and develop to, but the freedom to achieve it.' In fact, Ð''the population at large was strongly in favour of the terms' . However there was a strong minority within the Dail that were strongly apposed to it and agreed with DeValera that Ð''the minority have not the right to do wrong' . The Second DÐ"ÐŽil formally ratified the Treaty in December 1921 and the Civil War was begun.

The anti-Treaty forces were vehiment that it did not succeed and were not apposed to the use of violence. There were two main points that they could not agree to: the Oath of Allegiance to the King and the Partition of Ireland. They felt that Ð''it was a cowardly betrayal of Ireland's martyr's, particularlly the most recent'. The women in and out of parliament were the most strongly opposed. They had lost sons and husbands, fathers and brother, they were not going to stain their memories. Mary MacSweeny (sister of Terence) stood up in the Dail and announced that Ð''if England exterminates the men, the women will take their places, if she exterminates the women, the children are rising fast.' She and other women would continue to fight in the place of their men. It was not only women who felt that the Treaty was shaming the martyr's and so the anti-Treaty force grew and were militarilly superior to the pro-Treaty forces (National Army). Ð''With nearly 7000 rifles, the anti-treaty forces were outwardly more impressive than the IRA as a whole had been at the height of the Anglo-Irish War.'

It didn't take Michael Collins long to get his act together and organise



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