An Analysis of a History Coursework in the Conflict in Ireland

Category: Conflict, Nationalism
Last Updated: 22 Mar 2023
Pages: 4 Views: 88

There are two main groups in Ireland, these being Republicans and Unionists. Republicans want Ireland to be free of British rule and for Ireland to be united within itself and have no connections with Britain. Unionists support the union of Great Britain and Ireland and want it to stay that way. Republicans believe that the conflict started way back in the history of Ireland. Observers believe that because Ireland has had a history of conflict then conflict is inevitable.

The way in which people involved in the conflict use history can feed the views of people of the present day who are re-fighting battles of the past. However, the views of some historians is that the problem is not history itself but the way people use history. There is an important difference between what actually happened and the way that it is interpreted, and particularly the myths which develop from it.

Another difference between the Republicans and Unionists groups is when the Anglo-Irish treaty of 1922 was released, this resulted in a bitter war when the British government partitioned Ireland and created Northern Ireland it caused controversy. Most Unionists didn't want partition, they wanted the whole of the country (including the countries made into Northern Ireland) to be independent of Britain. There was soon to be a war between Michael Collins and Arthur Griffith against other Nationalists who thought the partition was an unacceptable compromise. They didn't want Britain to help Ireland Ireland now because in the potato famine of 1845-51 Britain wouldn't help at all.

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The Easter Rising of 1916 is very important in shaping the views of Republicans, Unionists, Protestants and Catholics. It began in the spring of 1916- The IRB were concerned that the issue of Irelands freedom was being ignored because of the First World War. They thought that only armed action would put some life back into the Republicans movement. The exact aims were unclear, some people suggest that its leader Padraig Pearse saw the rebellion as a "blood sacrifice". In other words he knew the rising was hopeless but he feared that without some action Republicanism would disappear in Ireland. It was not certain that this plan would work, the reasons being, firstly the original plan was that the rebellion should involve a much larger force than the rebels ended up with.

Secondly, Pearse was allied with more practical men such as James Conally who would not have supported the rising if he thought it had no chance of being successful. Some Irish historians believe, however, that there may have been more support than first thought. Everyone was assumed the rising was organised by Sinn Fein but it wasn't. The rising shaped the views of Unionists because most of them were also Protestant and they opposed home rule because they feared it would set up a Catholic ascendancy.

In 1912, nearly half a million men and women signed the Ulster convenant movement and the moderator of the presbyterian church supported armed resistance against Britain because they wanted to be free of British rule. It also shaped the views of Republicans because most of these people were Catholic and obviously they supported the Catholic ascendancy. Catholics weren't allowed to attend Protestant churches and children of mixed marriages were to be brought up in the Catholic faith. In the 1960's Catholics supported civil rights movements but when the IRA took up arms the Catholic church was its worst critic.

The biggest problem which needs to be overcome is the major suspicion because both sides are so suspicious of each other they are reluctant to meet up and discuss a compromise. This is because both sides are dead certain of what they want and neither side will budge on their decision. When Ireland was partitioned by the Anglo-Irish treaty in 1920 it created two governments, this was an attempt to keep the peace, the unionists who implemented the act obviously accepted it but the Republicans didn't agree. They supported the Anglo-Irish war. This didn't help conflict, it created more.

The British government decided on partitioning Ireland because the politicians of the world wanted to create long lasting peace. This brought continuing conflict to Ireland because the Unionists were again reluctant to accept this but they knew they were losing sympathy in Britain. A way in which both sides could show trust in each other would be to disarm, this would show good faith and each side would want the other to do something back in good favor.

If the IRA disarmed there would surely be a lower death rate and everyone would be happier so i think if each side would take one small step at a time maybe something could be sorted out but there needs to be give and take on both sides. Whilst the IRA are still dropping bombs and wounding and killing people the conflict is never going to be resolved.

The evidence I have gathered in this coursework gives me the impression that all this conflict and constant struggle for peace could be sorted out by the few people who are high up enough in the system to step back, forget about pride and trying to be better than the others and saying right we'll give you this as a sign of our trust and you give us something in return and we'll at least make an effort and try to sort things out because it isn't a nice predicament for anyone to live or deal with.

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An Analysis of a History Coursework in the Conflict in Ireland. (2023, Mar 22). Retrieved from

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