Anglo-Irish War

General election 1918

  • Sinn Fein went from just 7 seats to holding majority in Ireland with 73
  • The Irish Nationalists fell to just 6 seats and were forgotten
  • The Sinn Fein members refused to take up seats in Westminster and set up their own parliament in Dublin, Dail Eireann

The Government of Ireland act 1920

  • The Dail Eireann refused to cooperate with British administration
  • By the end of 1919, Lloyd George proposed a new solution, the government of Ireland act
  • It proposed
  • Ireland was to be partitioned
  • Separate seats in Dublin and Belfast, with 28 and 52 respectively
  • 42 Irish MPs would continue to attend Westminster
  • British government still retained control over foreign affairs, defence and monetary matters
  • A council of Ireland with 20 members each from Dublin and Belfast
  • The bill was dismissed by Sinn Fein and accepted reluctantly by Unionists

Anglo-Irish war 1921-22

  • Sinn Fein’s military wing the Irish Volunteers reformed as the IRA
  • These were determined to wage a guerrilla war against the British administration
  • Around 3000 activists were against around 40,000 British troops including the ‘Black and Tans’ a group of non-commissioned soldiers
  • The war was marked by acts of deliberate cruelty and atrocities by both sides
  • The Black and Tans became hated in Ireland for their violent methods
  • Burning villages and terror drove the Irish into supporting the IRA
  • The IRA disguised as civilians were impossible to detect and this led to appalling reprisals by the British
  • On 11th July 1921 Lloyd George was convinced that a settlement had to be reached and called a truce

Anglo-Irish Treaty 1921

  • Lloyd George managed to convince the Irish to sign the Treaty
  • He declared that  if this meeting failed he would be forced to resign and Bonar Law would take office who would be far stricter
  • On 6th December 1921 the treaty was signed
  • Southern Ireland became the Irish Free State and was given dominion status
  • It had its own parliament, but remained part of the British Empire
  • 6 Ulster provinces formed Northern Ireland and remained part of UK

The treaty

  • Conservatives were appalled that Ireland had been handed over to common gunmen
  • However, they were relived Ulster had been preserved
  • The treaty split the IRA, many believing they had been betrayed by their leaders who had promised an Irish Republic
  • The treaty failed to bring an end to the troubles but gave some breathing space for future negotiations
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