Was the Irish Civil War a ‘natural’ conclusion to the events of previous years?
Some historians will say that the Civil War was a ‘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 ‘natural’ conclusion to the previous years.
The War of Independence (WOI) was fought between the years 1918 and 1921 and ‘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 Dáil Éireann, formed by the majority of MPs elected in Irish constituencies in the Irish (UK) general election, 1918. This parliament, known as the First Dáil, and its ministry, called the Aireacht declared Irish independence. The Dáil knew that ‘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 comprimise 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 ‘gives us freedon- not the ultimate freedom that all nations desire and develop to, but the freedom to achieve it.’ In fact, ‘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...