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The Irish Civil war was a revolutionary war that happened in Ireland from 1922 to 1923. The Irish Civil War was more of a request for political change gone violent than a takeover. The Irish Civil War was a war for independence and it established the Irish Free State. This revolution started four years after World War I ended and it came just in a time of rest for Great Britain. This is a big part of why it was so successful and how it created Ireland.
The war had many causes but it was mainly about the political standing of Ireland and the people wanting independence. Before the revolution, Ireland had always had a conflict with England that dated back to the 12th century and it has been the start of many attempts made by Ireland for freedom. However, the Irish Civil War was different because it had a new strategy. It was inspired by the American and French Revolutions, and it made an attempt at diplomacy before bloodshed. Apparently, not all of Ireland wanted to be a free state and they were willing to fight to stay with England. In the article titled Why there was a civil war in Ireland by David Turner, he described how the army had been split down the middle. “The minister of Defence said the army would remain the army of the Irish Republic, the I.R.A., would remain to be loyal to the Provisional Government. The reality was that the army had split right down the middle.” He showed how the war for freedom required unity and Ireland didn’t have total unity. That is why the civil war broke out.
The Irish Civil War was only a year long so it was a very short war but a lot happened in that time. The war started with a small revolt called the Easter Rising. It was called the Easter Rising because it happened on Easter Monday of 1916. This revolt called for serious change. An article called From Gunmen to Statesmen: The Impact of Terrorism and Political Violence in Twentieth-Century Ireland by Robert White clearly states the causes of the Easter Rising and what the revolt accomplished. This revolt was caused by the lack of representation for the Irish peoples in the British government and people were unhappy with the union between Ireland and England. There was also the religious element where Catholics weren’t allowed to sit on parliament. The revolt failed miserably but it caused a shockwave in the Irish community. It was a massacre but it caused the rest of the Irish people to push for change and eventually, in 1886 they got a bill passed that created a separate parliament based in Dublin. However, this bill was widely rejected by the protestant pro-union part of the Irish community. This was most of the Northeast part of Ireland. They feared they would be outvoted by Catholics in a home parliament in Dublin, because of this there were major riots in Belfast that same year. In 1912 the Third Home Rule Bill was passed and it gave Ireland significant control over internal affairs which helped it strengthen itself rather than relying on foreign aid. These bills eventually snowballed into an Irish free state and that is where a build-up of power started happening. Now, this took considerably longer than going to war again but it would prove to be way more successful.
At first glance, the revolution was a disaster. Dublin was destroyed, the leaders of the revolution were executed and their followers were sent to prison. Now it may look like the revolution failed but it made a shockwave of change that will cause a massive change in Ireland further down the line. Soon after the revolution Ireland received home rule and created a small free state. This free state slowly grew in political power until 1948 when it was basically a republic, and this was all started by a tiny revolt that was turned into a massacre. Now on the surface of the Easter Rising, nothing changed very quickly. Events like the American Revolution and the French Revolution had immediate change and it was very dramatic. In Ireland however, the change happened over the course of around 30 years later. The Irish Revolution over time had a huge impact on Ireland and the surrounding areas because it showed how being subtle and not rushing into battle pays off. It showed how you don’t need a war to be free and you don’t need to be all gung-ho from the start to win a war, instead if you have patience and use politics to slowly get your way you’ll eventually have enough power to break free.
- Beatty, Aidan. “An Irish Revolution Without A Revolution.” Journal of World-Systems Research, 2016, jwsr.pitt.edu/ojs/index.php/jwsr/article/view/602.
- White, Robert. “From Gunmen to Statesmen: The Irish Republican Army and Sinn Fein (1916-48).” Journal of Conflict Studies, 2007, journals.lib.unb.ca/index.php/jcs/article/view/10542/11752.
- Walsh, Oonagh. “Ireland’s Independence, 1880-1923.” Questia, 2002, www.questia.com/library/102839806/ireland-s-independence-1880-1923.
- Kissane, Bill. “After Civil War: Division, Reconstruction, and Reconciliation in Contemporary Europe.” Questia, 2015, www.questia.com/read/124287639/after-civil-war-division-reconstruction-and-reconciliation.
- Hopkinson, Micheal. “A New History of Ireland.” Questia, 1976, www.questia.com/read/118525331/a-new-history-of-ireland.
- Dorney, John. “The Irish Civil War – A Brief Overview.” The Irish Story, 22 Aug. 2018, www.theirishstory.com/2012/07/02/the-irish-civil-war-a-brief-overview/#.XJ7EmVNKjEY.
- Ferriter, Diarmaid. “Hearts of Stone in Ireland’s Civil War.” The Irish Times, The Irish Times, 7 Mar. 2015, www.irishtimes.com/culture/heritage/century/the-civil-war/hearts-of-stone-in-ireland-s-civil-war-1.2125800.
- Turner, David P. “Why There Was a Civil War in Ireland.” 1916 Rebellion Walking Tour, 0AD, www.1916rising.com/pic_civilwar.html.
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