1893-1914 1921-1937

World War I : Ireland 1914-1922

The situation in Ireland had improved since the GREAT FAMINE, Irish Catholics had been granted the right to vote, and they had made use of it. Yet, the Irish population made out only a tiny fragment of the population of Britain and Ireland; many Irish still regarded the British as foreign occupants.
When World War I broke out, the Entente propaganda propagated the slogan that the war was fought to liberate the ethnic minorities living under Austro-Hungarian, Ottoman and German rule; the aim, as formulated in U.S. President Wilson's FOURTEEN POINTS was self-determination for the peoples of Eastern Central Europe. Early in the war, British Parliament passed an IRISH HOME RULE BILL, to be implemented after the war.
The principles underlying Wilson's 14 Points were just what many Irishmen wanted for their country, the only difference being that they were not suppressed by one of the Central Powers, but by Britain. On Easter 1916, occupied the Dublin Post Office (EASTER RISING OF 1916). Soon, they had to surrender to the British; however, they had made the news.
The Irish patriots knew that they did neither have the men not the armour to openly fight the British. They organized IRISH REPUBLIC as an underground government, under president EAMON DE VALERA, the IRISH REPUBLICAN ARMY, which, under MICHAEL COLLINS developed the strategy of terrorist campaigns against the British occupation. Collaborators were warned and, if they continued to collaborate, executed. British agents were the target of assassinations.
Both the successful terror campaign and diplomatic pressure from the United States resulted in Britain offering negotiations. In 1922, Ireland was declared a FREE STATE within the British Commonwealth - not a Republic, and without Northern Ireland, which, with it's protestant majority, was separated from the Free State.
The treaty was accepted by the Irish parliament, but Eamon de Valera's faction refused to acknowledge it; a civil war followed.

DOCUMENTS James Connolly, Insurrectional Warfare, 1915, from CELT
Proclamation of the Irish Republic 1916, from UTexas
Irish Declaration of Independence, January 21st 1919, from UTexas
De Valera/Lloyd George, Official Correspondence relating to the Peace Negotiations June-September, 1921, from CELT
Debate on the Treaty between Great Britain and Ireland, signed in London on the 6th December 1921: Sessions 14 December 1921 to 10 January 1922, from CELT
Anglo-Irish Treaty of 1921, from National Archives of Ireland
Irish Constitution of 1922, with more recent amendments, from Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies
The Path to Freedom, Notes by Michael Collins, 1922, from CELT
A calendar of printed material kept in the Linenhall Library relating to Sinn Fein propaganda, 1915-1920, from Univ. of Belfast, Historical Documents Project
James Conolly, Irish folk song on this leader of the 1916 Easter Rising, from The Christy Moore Pages
REFERENCE Article : Ireland, in : New International Year Book 1921 pp.373-379 [G]
Roger Casement, The Crime Against Europe (1915), posted online by Gutenberg Library Online
James Stephens, Insurrection in Dublin (1916), posted by Gutenberg Library Online
D.D. Sheehan, Ireland since Parnell (1921), posted by Gutenberg Library Online
Hang up your brightest colours. The Life and death of Michael Collins, 90 min. documentary video, 1997, from Irish Visions; Michael Collins, 1996, cc, video

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted on April 26th 2002, last revised on October 24th 2007

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