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Why Did the IRA step up their campaign in 1972?

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History Coursework Essay Question Why Did the IRA step up their campaign in 1972? In 1972 the Provisional IRA stepped up their campaign in order to retaliate against both military and political actions by the British government. Throughout 1971 many protests had been held against internment and against ill treatment in the 'H-Blocks'. On Sunday 30th January 1972 a civil rights march was held in the city of Derry. During the proceedings the British Paratroopers opened fire on the protestors, claiming that they had been fired upon first. It is unclear how the events took place but in the fire fight that followed the British Paratroopers shot dead 13 unarmed protestors. This event provoked retaliation from the IRA. Including an arson attack on the British embassy in Dublin. Subsequently, William Craig, Ex-Home Affairs Minister of the Unionist Government, founded a new movement that would ally loyalists, orange and unionist groups. Their main aim was to extirpate the IRA. Thanks to this radical new movement the British government started to believe that The Northern Ireland Government was abusing it's power and so it was suspended and direct rule from Westminster was reinstated. ...read more.


The bombing took place in December, a time when many people would have been preparing for Christmas and Harrods would be preparing for it's busiest time of the year. The attack was presumably held at this time to cause ultimate disruption for the British public and that an attack on a house hold name such as Harrods would get the attention of much of the world. The attack gained little or no support from the British public, however support for the IRA grew slightly in Ireland. The attack on the Grand Hotel was an assassination attempt on Margaret Thatcher, the Prime minister at the time. Margaret Thatcher survived the attack although one conservative mp and 6 leading party members were killed. Prison Protests took place to win support to the IRA cause. They did this by shocking the public, as well as showing that the Protestors were willing to do anything for their cause. The Prison Protests took place in 2 main forms, 'The Dirty Protests' and Hunger Strikes. The 'dirty protests' started in 1978, they involved prisoners not washing and making their cells as unhygienic as possible by spreading their own faeces on the walls. ...read more.


After 4 more months and many more deaths of hunger strikers, the strike was called off with the belief that the government might submit to the demands. "Sinn F�in seeks the establishment of a new Ireland based on sustainable social and economic development; genuine democracy, participation, equality and justice at all levels of the economy and society; and a lasting and meaningful peace with unity of purpose and action." Sinn Fein has been called the legitimate political front of the IRA, but Sinn Fein always denied this. Their aim is to unite Ireland by having an independent Irish Government, away from British Rule. The IRA has changed their tactics numerous times since 1972. There are many reasons why but the main one is possibly down to how acceptable the tactics they used were. At one time it might have seemed reasonable for the IRA to use bombing tactics to get the attention of the public, however not any more. The tactics that the IRA used also depended on how many recruits were available at the time and the public opinion of the IRA. IRA tactics have seemed to be effective over the last 30 years, as many agreements have been made between the IRA and the British government. ...read more.

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