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The events that occurred in Derry on 30th January 1972 became known as 'Bloody Sunday'. Why have these events produced such different historical interpretations?

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Introduction

The events that occurred in Derry on 30th January 1972 became known as 'Bloody Sunday'. Why have these events produced such different historical interpretations? The Bloody Sunday march was supposed to be a peaceful and non-violent protest. But the events that resulted in the death of fourteen people meant that the outcome of the protest was different than of that which was expected. There are two main reasons which suggest why there are different interpretations: Having access to different information. Many people who were at Derry witnessed different accounts of what had occurred. Many people had access to different types of information and different amounts. Including people who may have been proceeding on different information based upon different experiences. As well as this the interpretations of people may have changed with the passage of time. "I was one of more than a 1000 people lying flat on their faces as the shooting continued. Pinned to the ground, it was impossible to tell who fired the first shots..."- this shows that even people who had been at Derry during the march had different experiences and therefore have different views of what had occurred. Different perspectives arising from different political and cultural stand points. This would result in people portraying the events at Derry in different ways because of loyalty. ...read more.

Middle

Nevertheless this source does create an impression within the readers mind and therefore change the interpretation the reader may have about the events of Bloody Sunday. It creates an impression that the army were sent to Ireland to 'clear' it out meaning that if they had shot the first bullet it would not have been surprising. The first group of people are the army. The British army had been situated in Northern Ireland for three years. Throughout this time they had witnessed many attacks and killings within their camps. A feeling of antagonism and hatred begin to brew within the British Army. The British army didn't apprehend the march as being peaceful. The paratroops regiment which were involved in the deaths of the fourteen people had been placed at Derry to seek out and arrest ring leaders. There statement was that they had been using self defence, they stated they had been fired upon first and therefore their retaliation was justified. "We came under heavy fire from the bottom of the flats. We were also petrol bombed and had some acid poured on us. When we're fired at, we must protect ourselves."- Commander of the First Battalion Parachute Regiment. The army had to stand by this view because if it was revealed or if they accepted that they had murdered fourteen innocent Catholics then the Catholics would feel discriminated against and therefore want to act and seek revenge. ...read more.

Conclusion

I say it without reservation - it was sheer unadulterated murder." Therefore there are many different interpretations because of the different amount of information and the different cultural and political background the person approached the different views on Bloody Sunday. For a member of the army, it was simple that they had to convince the public that there act was an act of self-defence. For the Catholics it was an opinion of another act of oppression and that the army were responsible for the innocent deaths of fourteen Catholics. For the Protestants the events at Derry did not mean a major event, it was just another point which emphasised their view that this was another Catholic rebellion and therefore they sided with the army. Each different cultural and political group stuck with its predictable, core opinions. In some cases they had to protect themselves and in other cases they stuck by their values. This was encouraged by their previous clashes with different groups and if their were people from groups which shared contrasting views then this would cause an outrage. But the opinion of e.g. Paratrooper 027 is an example of where a member of a certain group did not stick with its views. Therefore these opinions are what results in people thinking twice about the events which occurred at Derry and therefore changing their primary view. These views and opinions also resulted in many people who arrived with a neutral view leaving with a view based upon others interpretations. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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