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History Northern Ireland coursework GCSE

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Northern Ireland Coursework Question 2: why interpretations differ? The events of 30th January 1972 that occurred in Derry have become known as bloody Sunday, which was a dark day felled with remorse and heart ache for Northern Ireland. This happened when a huge protest march against internment that was organised by the civil rights movement, turned into a running battle down Rossville Street when the British army opened fire. This resulted in 13 dead men and another man, John Johnston dying months after the incident, as a result of his injuries from Bloody Sunday. The exact events of the day are still unknown and there are many different historical interpretations. The paratroopers believe that they were fired at first and were being attacked by the crowds; therefore they acted not just because they were fired on but the Para's look for targets and shoot. The people in the crowds believe that the men that were shot were innocent people who had no arms or bombs. From looking at source A I can clearly see that the soldiers felt that "We came under fire and under attack. It is strange how new evidence is coming out when nobody mentions the nail bombs and acid bombs they threw at us." From this I can clearly see that the paratroopers really believe that they were right to fire on the Catholics, because they believe they were attacked first and that the Catholics were armed. ...read more.


After Bloody Sunday, an inquiry by UK Prime Minister Edward Heath followed the incident. Lord Widgery concluded in his investigation and reports that the soldiers had been fired on first. He says there would have been no deaths if there had not been an illegal march, which had created "a highly dangerous situation". No action was taken against the soldiers. Reports and Scientific evidence on bloody Sunday has shown that evidence he used in his report may be wrong and incorrect. Lord Widgery concluded that the soldiers had been fired on first; although Widgery admitted that the soldiers' firing "bordered on the reckless". Source A shows us that DR John Martin, who had given evidence to the Widgery hearing that Mr. Wray had been handling guns or explosives, has reversed his opinion. Lord Widgery said that "at one end of the scale, some soldiers showed a high degree of responsibility; at the other end, firing bored on recklessness". He is saying that the paratroopers didn't do anything wrong and no action need to be taken against them. Lord Widgery had other evidence; he had pictures of Gerald Donaghy with 4 nail bombs in his pocket. But when people were trying to find identification, they found no sign of nail bombs in his pockets and doctors said they had searched his pockets and found nothing before the pictures were taken. ...read more.


The soldiers must have been under enormous pressure and were eager to get there own back. I can also see why the protesters, if they did, would fire on the Army. They saw the Army as a force of oppression and wanted to break free, they didn't want to be controlled by the English. With such heated rivalry and conflicting interpretations it is difficult to make any judgment. I think that there are so many different historical interpretations and conclusions about what occurred on Bloody Sunday, because there are many different people who have different views of what occurred on Bloody Sunday. Such as the Paratroopers, the Catholics, the Protestants, the protestors, the 14 Families of the killed men, the Scientists, the general public, and many other groups of people that have different interpretations of the events of bloody Sunday. As there are so many different views and groups, the evidence has come from many different people. Consequently the different views of people changed the interpretation of the events. Therefore this causes many different views to what actually happened on Bloody Sunday which is why it is so hard for new inquiry's, like Lord Savilles's inquiry, to find the correct facts. To find out what really happened on Bloody Sunday and to find who is too blame for the deaths of 13 men and the other man who later died from his injuries. ?? ?? ?? ?? Camilla Sampson ...read more.

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