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Why was there nearly a civil war in Ireland in 1914.

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Introduction

Why was there nearly a civil war in Ireland in 1914? Ireland was invaded by the Norman King, Henry II in 1155. In 1169 Dermot Macmurrough the Irish King of Leinster needed help in a rebellion. Therefore, he went and asked Henry II who sent Strongbow to his aid. Strongbow sent soldiers and later married Macmurrough's daughter, and later became King of Leinster when Macmurrough died. Afraid that Strongbow was becoming to powerful, Henry II decided to become the ruler of Ireland himself. The invasion of Ireland brought the Norman and English settlers and Irish natives together which led to friendliness. To prevent this, the Laws of Kilkenny were passed in 1366. In the 1530s the English tried to extend there control over the Irish. The English King Henry VIII broke away from the Roman Catholic Church and set up his own Protestant Church in England. He tried to enforce this in Ireland but was met with strong opposition. He then passed laws to extend English control over Ireland by making the Irish speak English and adopt the English way of life. The conflict in Ireland continued in the reign of Queen Elizabeth I (1558-1603). Many Irish Catholic lords rebelled against Protestantism and English rule. Elizabeth was afraid that Ireland would ally with England's Catholic enemies. ...read more.

Middle

These places were cut of from each other, causing the towns and cities to be divided into two communities. Competition for jobs and close proximity increased the tension which led to riots. Ireland consists of 70% of farmland. But in 1870 only 3% of the population were landowners. Hatred of the landowners was common and aggravated by the fact that most of them were descended from the Scottish and English Protestants who had settles on land taken away from the Catholics. The Catholics lived as tenants but felt they had more right to the land than their landlords. To solve this problem the British Government put controls on the power of landlords. By the end of the nineteenth century many Protestant landlords were selling off their land. The British also helped Tenants to buy land by passing many acts. In 1846 there was a total failure of the potato crop in Ireland. Ireland was a land of peasant farmers. They lived almost entirely on potatoes. When all the food was gone, thousands began to die of starvation and disease. A million people died in the potato famine. Others tried to escape misery and death by emigrating. They went to United States and others to Canada. The potato famine of the 1840s nearly halved the population. ...read more.

Conclusion

The House of Lords could now only delay bills for two years. In 1912 another Home Rule Bill was introduced. It was due to become a law in 1914. The Unionists, were furious and prepared to resist Home Rule in Ulster. In 1913 the Ulster Volunteer Force was formed to resist Home Rule by force. In 1914 most Protestants wanted Ireland to remain united with Great Britain under the Act of Union of 1800. In a united independent Ireland Roman Catholics would outnumber them and be able to outvote them. The Unionist leaders prepared to make Ulster independent of both Ireland and Great Britain. In March 1914 the Liberal Government suggested that the British army would be used to force the Unionists to accept Home Rule. Large amounts of money were raised to buy guns from Germany to arm the UVF. A Civil War looked inevitable both the Irish Volunteers and the UVF were prepared to fight. Yet Ulster was still loyal to the King of England. This loyalty was put to the test when England went to war with Germany and Austria in August 1914. To win the Unionists' support it was agreed to delay Home Rule until the war was over. The threat of civil war between Irish Nationalists and Protestants in Ulster was lifted by the outbreak of the first World War in 1914. Randeep Karwal ...read more.

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