Why The British Troops Were Sent Into Northern Ireland In 1969

2972 words - 12 pages

Why the British Troops Were Sent into Northern Ireland in 1969

In 1969 British Troops were sent into Ireland because Irish police
could no longer cope with the violence between the Unionist Protestant
population and the Catholic Nationist population. The events that
meant it was necessary for British troops to be sent in stretch back a
long way. This essay presents the main long term and short term
explanations as to why troops were needed.

The tensions between Catholic and Protestant citizens had been
mounting for many years. During the sixteenth century there was a lot
of rivalry between the Catholic Church and Protestants and when King
Henry VIII broke away from the Pope and became Protestant, Ireland
remained strongly Catholic. This caused conflict as in 1602 Elizabeth
I gained control of Ireland. In 1603 King James I planted Protestants
in a region of Ireland called Ulster. Various massacres took place,
Protestants remember the massacre of Protestant settlers by Irish
Catholics in 1641 and Catholics remember the massacre of Catholics
troops by Protestant troops in 1649, although these are different
events they were both used against the other side, and any fault of
their own side was justified, this increases tension between the two
and validates hatred. Generally the people in Ulster remained strong
to the English crown, these are called Unionists and wanted to stay
part of the United Kingdom. The original Irish, almost all Catholics
were called Nationalists and wanted to become independent with their
own government.

From the point when James II the Catholic king was defeated by William
of Orange who was a Protestant in 1690 at the Battle of the Boyne.
Catholics suffered discrimination from the reforms onwards; they saw
this as part of being ruled by Britain. Many poor Protestant and
Catholic farmers and citizens were swayed towards nationalism between
1845 and 1851 when Ireland suffered from a tragic famine in which many
people died. Both the English and Catholic churches and many local
charities rushed in to help, yet English aid was not very helpful and
inadequate to the large Irish population. Many of the Irish emigrated
and England's rule over Ireland was questioned. With religious and
historical conflicts the two communities found it very difficult to
reach an understanding and an agreement as to what they both wanted.

Many Irish people who had immigrated to America supported home rule of
Ireland, many Irish and not just Catholics but a few rich Protestant
land owners who believed they could govern Ireland and tenant farmers
also supported this idea as the president would help them buy the land
they farmed. Others, mainly Protestants thought this would be a bad
idea because being part of England they have a share in the empire,
the United Kingdom and have an...

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