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Why Were British Troops Sent into Northern Ireland in 1969?

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Introduction

Why Were British Troops Sent into Northern Ireland in 1969? To answer the question I am going to look at the short term factors, then the long term factor. Then look at the importance of individuals, and followed by a hierarchy of these factors. Catholics played a large part in sparking off anger which fuelled the events in 1969. It began in October 1968, with the forming of a civil rights movement, trying to follow the success of black people in America. At a march on October 5th 1968, peaceful marchers were met with violence from R.U.C.s; this was broadcast on national television, and gained a lot of support from Catholics. In January 1969, The People's Democracy organised a march from Belfast to Derry. Catholics and Protestants met at Burntollet Bridge. Despite warnings of danger, the marchers walked into an ambush from Protestants, although nobody died, the marchers walked into Derry blooded and bruised, causing Catholics to riot in Derry, this led to the Siege of the Bogside, Catholics built barricades to protect themselves from police and Protestants. The British Troops were sent in to keep the peace, but troops being there protected the Catholics, they were sent in because of the increasing violence directed to the Catholics. Protestants are certainly not blameless in sparking of violence. ...read more.

Middle

On August 12th, Protestants march through Derry, celebrating a victory in 1688, on this day 13 apprentice boys shut the gates of Derry on the disgraced Catholic King of England, James II. Then followed the Siege of Derry, 30,000 protestants were cut off in Derry with no food. Although Catholics attacked the walls, they stuck to their chants of "no surrender." Every year they march through Derry with orange sashes, celebrating their triumph, boosting in the faces of Catholics. The march was a catalyst for the troops being sent in, in 1969, Catholics rioted after the march, and the hostility meant that the next days the troops were sent in. After the Wolfe Tone rebellion in 1798, the British lost trust in the Irish to govern themselves. The Act of Union was passed in 1800, this meant that the Irish parliament no longer resided in Ireland; instead it was moved to Westminster. After this the British government has been directly linked to all Irish affairs. If the Act of Union was never made it would be unlikely that it would be British troops being sent in, as the British would feel no responsibility for Irish Rebellions, it may have been southern Ireland troops as they would've still governed themselves. In 1921, a group of Sinn Fein and I.R.A. ...read more.

Conclusion

This movement showed that Catholics wanted change. It showed other Catholics what they could do to make a difference. Actions like these would've inspired marchers fighting for their cause in 1969. Some of these factors are more important than others, I think that the most important factor to these events which led to troops being sent to Ireland would be Henry VIII, and I think he was the most significant because he created the blank canvas on which the two separate sides were always bound to disagree. The arguments in Ireland can all be traced back to the reason that the two sides have different religions. Had Henry VIII not changed the religion then there would be no problems in Ireland. I think that the Protestant role in the Apprentice boys' march was very important too, this event in 1969 immediately sparked off riots and it only took two days before they were totally out of hand. The R.U.C.s and B Specials also affected the situation greatly, had the police force been working properly and retained the trust of the people then there would have been no reason to send in troops, it should be the police's responsibility to keep everybody under control. Not many individuals imposed an extremely important role in these occurrences, but I think that Bernadette Devlin affected a lot of people, first by gaining support for her caused, but it was her who addressed the situation in this light at parliament. ...read more.

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