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Why did it prove so difficult to find a solution to the Irish question during the period 1912-22?

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Introduction

Why did it prove so difficult to find a solution to the Irish question during the period 1912-22? There were many different groups of people with different views representing the Nationalists, the Ulster Unionists and The British government during this time period. Nationalists consisted of moderate, normal Irish Catholics to extreme Irish Nationalists such as those in the IRA and Sinn Fein. The British government changed from Liberal to Conservatives and thus their outlook on Home Rule changed too. These factors, complicated by external ones, made agreements on how to solve the Irish problem extremely hard to reach. The Liberal Home Rule Bill that was introduced in 1912 contained flaws. The Liberal aim was to please both Republicans and Unionists. However this meant making the bill more moderate than Gladstone's previously proposed one, whilst assuming that the Unionist resistance was only superficial. Therefore the bill was too moderate for many Republicans and made without any real consent from the Unionists. Furthermore, Redmond needed to maintain his credibility as a nationalist Irish leader, whilst the stubbornness of the Unionists meant that they would not give way. ...read more.

Middle

This continued to be an obstructing factor to each attempt made by Asquith. This was also at a time in which the UVF were authorised to use arms and a civil war was drawing near. The amending bill produced by Asquith was dismissed by Carson as a 'stay of execution' and was in any case destroyed by the House of Lords. When the Home Rule Act was finally passed in 1914, its actual functioning was put on hold until after the war finished. Therefore the First World War only further delayed any overall solution regarding the Irish question from being made. The war dragged on much longer than the Nationalist's had expected and with the appointment of Carson and other leading Unionists to Asquith's coalition ministry in 1915, the implementation of the Home Rule Act seemed even more remote. This resulted in the extreme nationalist's actions in the Easter Rebellion, 1916. However this was only supported by the extreme nationalists themselves and many normal ant-unionists resented it and deemed it traitorous. In fact it only proved to be another obstacle to Home Rule and it frustrated Redmond who felt it only hindered Ireland's chances of obtaining Home Rule. ...read more.

Conclusion

The incidents of the Anglo-Irish war left the British government disillusioned with the IRA who were undergoing a murder campaign against the British troops. Lloyd George and his cabinet's refusal to recognise the war in Ireland, together with the IRA and Sinn Fein becoming proscribed organizations only increased tensions and the war to progress. The Anglo-Irish war brought nothing but deaths, and with Britain not prepared to carry out a full-scale war against the Irish, a truce was eventually reached in 1921. After much negotiation and discussion the British, the Ulster Unionists and even Sinn Fein agreed to the Anglo-Irish treaty of 1921. To conclude, it was very difficult to find a solution to the Irish question during the period 1912-1922 as there was always a lack of agreement between the sides involved. The aims and the extremity of the Irish Nationalists and the British government never seemed to be clear. Furthermore, external factors such as the Anglo-Irish war, World War I and the different organizations that emerged only complicated matters further. The 'solution' that was eventually established only took place after a lot of concessions made from both the British and the Irish. ...read more.

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