Page
  1. 1
    1
  2. 2
    2
  3. 3
    3
  • Level: GCSE
  • Subject: History
  • Document length: 1342 words

Describe and explain the reactions of Unionists groups to the Partition Treaty of 1921

Extracts from this essay...

Introduction

a) Describe and explain the reactions of Unionists groups to the Partition Treaty of 1921 In 1918 World War 1 ended and an Irish General Election was held. Sinn Féin received the most votes. The Irish Unionist Party won 26 seats, mostly in Ulster. All 73 Sinn Féin MPs refused to go to Westminster, and instead sat in their own Parliament in Dublin. Called Dail Eireann, it first met on 21st January 1919, although it had no power to exercise. Sinn Féin represented a vote for complete independence, which was a dramatic change because the Irish people had always voted for Home Rule before. Now Sinn Féin had won the election, they set up their own law courts, police and government. The Irish volunteers were renamed the Irish Republican Army (I.R.A). Unionists were apprehensive and scared. They feared being a united Ireland with Catholics as the majority, as they were Protestants. Whatever the Catholics wanted, would always overrule the Protestants. In 1919, the powers in Europe sat down to redraw the boundaries of Europe. Sinn Féin attended these meetings and attempted to have Ireland included in this redrawing. They argued that Ireland should be granted independence through the treaty. However the leaders in Europe largely ignored Sinn Féin and they returned home again empty-handed.

Middle

The old, all-Ireland police force called the Royal Irish Constabulary, were split up by the act of partition and renamed. They were split up into the 'Garda Siochana' for the twenty-six counties, and for the North the 'Royal Ulster Constabulary' for the other six counties. The outbreak of civil war relieved the government of Northern Ireland of pressure and allowed them to use extremely repressive measures against the nationalist population. The result in the North was a semi-permanent peace. The Political Divide After the Anglo-Irish Civil war of 1918-1921, Ireland was partitioned into the North and South. Six northern counties (Armagh, Antrim, Down, Tyrone, Fermanagh and Londonderry) remained part of the U.K of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The twenty-six remaining counties in Ireland formed part of what is known as the 'Irish Free State' and would have its own army, although it would remain within the British Commonwealth. Britain would also have a representative in Ireland and would keep some naval bases in Irish waters. The partition treaty also set up a Boundary Commission that was to fine-tune the border to take account of Unionist/Nationalist communities close to it. The Sinn Fein leader, Eamonn de Valera, became the first Prime Minister of the Irish Free State. He was a very devout Catholic and strengthened the Catholic Church in the new state.

Conclusion

The fixing of boundaries in this way was called gerrymandering. After the divide, the Unionists didn't want anything to do with the South as they were seen as traitors and back-stabbers. Unionists believed Catholicism was an oppressive, backward religion and feared that Home Rule would result in 'Rome Rule'. Moreover, they believed a parliament in Dublin run by what they regarded as 'primitive' Catholic farmers would be bad for Protestant business. The Unionists were sceptical of the divide at first, as they thought is would better to be in the majority of land - the more land they had, the more power they had in the Civil war. Catholic Reactions to the Divide The Catholic reaction to the divide of Ireland into the establishment of the Northern Ireland state was consistently hostile. In one response, the I.R.A (before and after the Anglo-Irish Treaty) was to use physical force against the new state. This was not successful and gave Sir James Craig (1871-1940) the first prime minister of Northern Ireland, the excuse to introduce three classes of parliamentary police to support the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC), of whom the 'B Special' constabulary were hated by the Catholic minority. Another response from the old Nationalist Party was to point out the lack of safeguards in the 1920 Act for the minority community, but neither the Unionists nor Britain took any notice.

The above preview is unformatted text

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • Over 150,000 essays available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Over 180,000 student essays
  • Every subject and level covered
  • Thousands of essays marked by teachers

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Northern Ireland 1965-85 essays

  1. Did Partition solve the problems in Ireland

    As a result of this 16 of the leaders were made into martyrs when executed two of the most significant being Padraig Pearce and James Connolly. During the rising the people of Ireland thought it stupid but after the

  2. Why was Ireland Partitioned in 1921?

    the following crops for the next five years because the fungal disease was still evident in most areas of Ireland. One to two million people died of starvation due to the great potato famine. Most of the people who died of starvation during the great potato famine were poor Catholic

  1. The History of Conflict in Ireland.

    So, the prisoners played the role. But the strategy was something which, again, was embedded in the Republican psyche. It was simply reaching into the recesses of their communal memory, and remembering what happened after 1916. The symbolism, the imagery, was something which came to them as second nature.

  2. How Effectively did Irish Catholic and Nationalist Leaders advance their Cause in the years ...

    Isaac Butt was the first figure in the movement for constitutional change. He was a Protestant lawyer who began his political career as a Tory in favour of the Union, but he became increasingly upset by England's lack of support for Ireland, and as a result of defending the Fenians, some of their ideas rubbed off on him.

  1. The Development of the IRA with special regard to the fate of Bobby Sands

    The six men were taken to Castlereagh and were subjected to brutal interrogations for six days. Bobby refused to answer any questions during his interrogation, except his name, age and address. In a poem written in 1980, entitled 'The Crime of Castlereagh', Bobby tells of his experiences, his fears and thoughts at the time: 'Just sign the line!'

  2. The 1913 lockout, 1916 rising, the treaty of 1921 and the causes of the ...

    While this was happening a German boat called "The Aud" arrived off the Old Head of Kinsale with Captain Spindler in charge. But the volunteers who drove down from Dublin didn't know the area very well and ended up driving straight into the harbour as they couldn't see threw thick fog.

  1. Why Did The British Government Partition Ireland in 1922?

    Protestant and Catholic churches and local charities made great efforts to provide relief to the rural areas of Ireland, especially the west, where the famine hit worst. The British effort, however, was minimal and very late. It was not substantial enough to help all of the affected areas, and was only offered to those who would work in return.

  2. What Were the Characteristics of Ulster Unionism From the 1880's Until The Partition?

    When determining unionist reaction to the first home rule bill, there are three main topics of concern; the first of these being religious for many Ulstermen the 'phrase of the day' was 'home rule is Rome Rule', Ulster was predominantly protestant.

  • Over 180,000 essays
    written by students
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to write
    your own great essays

Marked by a teacher

This essay has been marked by one of our great teachers. You can read the full teachers notes when you download the essay.

Peer reviewed

This essay has been reviewed by one of our specialist student essay reviewing squad. Read the full review on the essay page.

Peer reviewed

This essay has been reviewed by one of our specialist student essay reviewing squad. Read the full review under the essay preview on this page.