Breakdown in relations: 1916-21

Edexcel AS History

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  • Created on: 17-05-11 19:10

Reaction to the Easter Rising

- In Britain, the reaction to the Easter Rising was one of great concern.

- Augustine Birrell (chief secretary for Ireland), addressed house of commons in may 1916 stating that he HAD MISJUDGED SINN FEIN - although the easter rising had not been work of sinn fein.

-12th may- Prime Minister Asquith travelled to dublin

- consequences of the visit - executions stopped - sentences of 97 others due to be executred were imprisoned instead

- asquith asked David Lloyd George to resolve differences between unionists and irish party on HOME RULE.

-redmond and belfast nationalist leader joe devlin persuaded northern nationalists that the only way for home rule to go ahead would be TEMPORARY EXCLUSION OF SIX COUNTIES OF ULSTER. - made at conference of northern nationalists - belfast - june 1916

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A report by W.H Owen to Lloyd George, June 1916

- W.H Owen - Lloyd George's eyes and ears in ireland - sent reg reports

-"on entering the hall i found the very rev. canon keown of inniskilling speaking again against the proposals... the speaker followed the common lines..

-laying stress on the DOUBT as to the TEMPORARY of the scheme

-suggesting that a SEPERATE EXECUTIVE was to be set up in belfast

-that an exhibition of COURAGE and DETERMINATION in opposing the present scheme, would result in OTHER and MORE ACCEPTABLE terms being offered by the government.

-mr joseph devlin rose to speak... firmly believed that if the proposals were adopted and an IRISH PARLIAMENT SET UP IN DUBLIN, the benefits attendant upon a scheme of that nature would soon become evident to the EXCLUDED COUNTIES AND THEY WOULD OF THEIR OWN ACCORD VERY SOON SEEK TO BE INCLUDED UNDER THE JURISDICTION OF A IRISH PARLIAMENT - it is not too much to say that Mr Devlin's words turned the tide in favour of proposals.

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- IRISH PARTY prepared to compromise - UNIONISTS in ASQUITH'S cabinet were not. 

-July 1916 - Government announced Lloyd George's initiative - END - humiliation for redmond

-November 1916 - Daniel O'Leary won west cork by-election for the Irish Party 

-Decline in electoral fortunes of the irish party reflected the rapidly changing political attitudes which swept ireland in the wake of the easter rising.

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Eamon de Valera (1882-1975)

- Born in the USA but brought up in Ireland - after leaving college became a mathematics teacher - joined gaelic league and in 1913 he became a member of the irish volunteers - commited to armed rebellion, de valera was sworn into the irish republican brotherhood in 1915 - commandant during easter rising

- spared execution because army felt it had executed enough of the risings leaders - held an american passport - de valera imprisoned in england but released as part of a general amnesty in june 1917 - elected MP for east clare, president of Sinn Fein and Irish Volunteers

- may 1918 - arrested in 'german plot' - escaped from lincoln gaol in 1919 - elected as president of the first Dail Eireann - (irish parliament) - went to US for a year to raise funds for new republic

- de valera did not participate in negotiations with the british government at the end of the Anglo-Irish war - rejected terms of anglo-irish treaty signed in 1921 - led the anti-treaty forces in the subsequent irish civil war - seved as both taoiseach and president of ireland - died in 1975

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Separatist Nationalism

- by election victories in 1917 by nationalists who supported complete separation from Britain provided impetus for further political change 

- candidates stood on a platform of abstentionism - not take seats if elected

- feb 1917 - count george plunkett - independent with sinn fein support - won by-election in north roscommon - plunketts son executed after rising in 1916

- may 1917 - joe macguinness - fought in easter rising - imprisoned in lewis gaol - won by election in longford south - macguinness backed by william walsh - archbishop of dublin

- july 1917 - eamon de valera - won by election at east clare - constituency seat became vacant after willie redmond (brother of john redmond) died. willie redmond died leading irish troops at battle of messines ridge on western front in belgium.

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Significance of the ard-fheis, october 1917

- end of summer of 1917, still no political party that represented all strands of separatist nationalism

- october 1917 - sinn fein held its teth ard-fheis (party conference).

-marked a significant turning point for the party and irish politics

- until 1916 - sinn fein had been a political party based on cultural nationalism - hadn't been on forefront of easter rising - misunderstanding that it had been

- irish volunteers returned from internment in england - summer 1917 - got public support and sympathy - sinn fein backed candidates performed well in by-elections- realignment of political perspective of nationalist movement possible - realisgnment would marry two strands of seperatist nationalism - threat of violence with ballot box - at ard-fheis in october 1917, de valera was elected as president of sinn fein - arthur griffiths chosen as vice president  

sinn fein was to stand for the establishment of an independant irish republic.

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irish reaction to conscription

- march 1918 - german armies launched great spring offensive on western front

- allied armies pushed back over forty miles with considerable losses

- turn of events damage position of irish party - regiments made up of national volunteer soldiers were decimated in fighting - april 1918 - david lloyd george attempted to extend conscription to ireland 

introduction of a MILITARY SERVICE BILL - government had power to impose conscription in ireland without debate - attempted to sweeten acceptance of conscription with promise of immediate home rule - cynical

britain's reasons for the proposal

-britain and allies on brink of military defeat

-other members of the empire (canada and australia) introduced conscription

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German Plot

- reaction of british government to anti-conscription to campaign - arrest leaders

- 17 may 1918 - viceroy in dublin, lord french, ordered arrest of 73 sinn fein leaders, including de Valera and Griffiths - part of a german plot to undermine britain

- served to stroke up further resentment - those who had been moderate in their viewpoint of sinn fein

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Coupon Election, 1918

- general election of december 1918 marked formal end of electoral dominance of the irish party

- representation of the people act 1918 - given vote to all men over 21 and all women over 30 with certain qualifications (increased size of electorate to 2m; 1910 it was 700,000) 

-conscription crisis and german plot gave sinn fein a electoral boost

-sinn fein stood on platform - appealed to broad section of population - issues were mainstream radical nationalist issues such as land issues

-during first world war, liberal party split between followers of DAVID LLOYD GEORGE, led coalition government from december 1916 to the end of the war and the official leader of the liberal party, HERBERT ASQUITH. run up to general election - 159 liberal candidates - supporting lloyd george - sent joint letter of backing from lloyd george and andrew bonar law - leader of conservative party. - asquith nicknamed letter a 'coupon' election given same nickname.

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Victory for Sinn Fein - Creation of Dail Eireann

- general election resulted in victory for sinn fein

- out of 105 seats, sinn fein won 73 - irish party won 6

- sinn fein won just under 48% of national vote 

-in catholic west of ireland, sinn fein won twenty-five constituencies - cadidates were unnoposed 

-irish party's vote had been taken over by sinn fein - popular expression of irish nationalism - party of john richmond was finished

- sinn fein claimed to be inheritors of traditon of parnell - threat of violence mixed with parliamentary politics - 73 sinn fein MPs elected to parliament in december 1918 took their seats on 21 january in dail eireann in dublin and declared birth of an irish repulblic - de valera was president - griffiths was vice president - dail quickly set about creating town and county councils were dominated by sinn fein - looked to the dail rather than west minster as irish parliament

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- joined sinn fein in 1908, IRB in 1909 and IV in 1914

- believed in violence as best way to end british rule - helped organise easter rising 

- did not take part in fighting - imprisoned in england

- minister of finance in self styled irish republic in 1919 - masterminded IRA's campaign during war of independence - created 'twelve apostles'

- collins was one of delegates who travelled to london to negotiate anglo-irish treaty - signed in december 1921 - accepted partition of ireland - first step to 32 county ireland ( in collins views ) . after signing treaty collins wrote to friends - signed his own death warrant - collins led pro treaty group of nationalists - chairman of provisional government and minister for finance in dail government - commander in cheif of pro treaty army - civil war broke out between supporters and opponents - 22nd august 1922 - collins assasinated at Beal na mBlath near Macroom county cork

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Anglo-Irish War 1919-21

-january 1919 - armed conflict between british forces in ireland and irish nationalists - divided into three phases

- phase 1: january 1919 to january 1920 - fought as a terrorist war by members of IRA - january 1919 - IRA declared a state of war between britain and ireland - their actions should not be treated as acts of terror but acts of war - chosen targets were members of the RIC (royal irish constabulary) - campaign of terror in 1919 did not win support from catholic church or from many within sinn fein who hoped the versailles treaty would deliver self determination for ireland - not until april 1921 that sinn fein took responsiblitly for actions of IRA - by end of 1919 - 18 policemen killed.  - anglo irish war began with murders of two irish policemen at soloheadbeg in jan 1919 - murders caused unease among politicians

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phase 2: early 1920 to summer

- IRA attacks on RIC barracks in first half of 1920 resulted in destruction of sixteen defended RIC barracks - damage to 29 - burning of 424 abandoned buildings

- many RIC officers left force - didn't want to face hatred of local population

- response by british government was to recruit ex soldiers (BLACK AND TANS) to serve in the RIC. effective in imposing MARTIAL LAW.

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phase 3: summer 1920 to july 1921

- associated with actions of mobile ira - flying columns

- growing concern in england about violence in ireland - october 1920 - sinn fein scored a great propaganda victory - lord mayor of cork - terence macswiney died in brixton prison after 74 days of hunger strike

-IRA 'flying columns took part in a number of high profile ambushes - killing of 18 auxilliary soldiers in kilmichael in november 1920 - minister of finance in Dail - michael collins - was director of intelligence for IRA - november 1920 - gunmen killed 12 intelligence officers and 2  auxiliaries 

- response - black and tans fired into a crowd at croke park killing ten civilians - 


- december 1920 - black and tans burned centre of cork in responce to IRA ambush - may 1921 - ira launched large scale attack on custom house in dublin - home to civil service records - came at a heavy price - june 1921 - parliament of northern ireland opened - partition reality 

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