The events that occurred in Derry on the 30th January 1972 became known as 'Bloody Sunday'. Why have these events produced such different historical interpretations?
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Victoria Harmer The events that occurred in Derry on the 30th January 1972 became known as 'Bloody Sunday'. Why have these events produced such different historical interpretations? In this essay I am going to try to explain what happened after 'Bloody Sunday' and why there are such different interpretations of the event. I am going to look at 4 different sources; 2 newspaper reports, an ITN news report and also a video of a BBC documentary. I will also use my own knowledge to interpret the sources. After the event an enquiry known as the, 'Widgery Report' came to a verdict that the army was not to blame for what happened where as Nationalists see the verdict as wrong and believe this is a reason which has stopped independence in Ulster. On the 29th January 1998 the Prime Minister Tony Blair ordered another enquiry into 'Bloody Sunday' which is still on going to the present day and is the 'Saville Report'. The troubles in Ulster had hit an all time high in 1969 and after that marches and parades were usually an excuse for violence and rioting between Catholics and Protestants.
The source explains that unlike the Widgery report new evidence has come forward to support that of the 14 people killed they had not been handling weapons which is why the British paratrooper's claim they had to shoot to protect themselves, it is something civilian witnesses have always said. The article also mentions that the Widgery Report states that Barnley McGuigan was shot through the back of the head by a 'dum-dum' bullet. This is a bullet which explodes on impact and once hit with there is little chance of survival, these are illegal under the Geneva Convention and therefore must have been from the IRA. But new evidence in the Saville report from John Martin, a forensic scientist, who carried out the original tests now says developments show the same findings could now be explained by contamination and there could no longer be a 'strong suspicion' that any of the victims held or were near weapons. Overall I think this source is very much in favour of the Saville Report, the sub-heading, "This backs up what we have been saying all these years: the victims were innocent", in my opinion proves this.
They signed what was known as the Downing Street declaration which started the peace talks. Ian Paisley a strong Unionists wasn't happy about what was happening and quoted, "Sold out Ulster to buy off fiendish republican scum". Again after a few years labour came to power and Tony Blair was Prime Minister in May 1997. After peace talks on the 10th April 1998 the 'Good Friday Agreement' was signed. Then finally after years of waiting, Nationalists hear the news that on the 29th January 1998 Tony Blair orders another inquiry into Bloody Sunday. I think these events will affect the sources I have looked at because after the Brighton bombing feelings towards Nationalists may have been hatred because of the plot which was believed to be the IRA. Also things which may have happened in Northern Ireland may have been asked by the government to keep quiet as peace talks were been discussed therefore the sources may be limited. Overall I think Northern Ireland will never be peaceful there will always be one debate or another and Bloody Sunday is one which wont be forgotten. The outcome of the Saville Report may help to determine whether Northern Ireland will become independent.
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