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Why Were British Troops sent to Northern Ireland in August 1969?

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Introduction

Why Were British Troops sent to Northern Ireland in August 1969? British leaders saw Northern Ireland as a growing battlefield; something had to be done to slow down the progress of fights and riots, which began breaking out in Ireland in 1969. This was due to the Civil Rights Protests formed by the Catholics who lived in absolute poverty, poor housing and famine and believed they suffered more than the Protestants. The Catholic population believed they were on the receiving end of unequal rights because of biased Protestant leaders who had, in the years passed, made unfair and anti-Catholic laws. These laws devastated the way of living for Catholics and made them very angry against Protestant communities. After the Civil Rights Protests had begun, Stormont used its only line of defence; its 'Royal Ulster Constabulary' (RUC) who were alleged to be completely anti-Catholic and only helped the Protestant people. The RUC were sometimes violent towards Catholics because the unit was mainly made up of Protestant people. ...read more.

Middle

Catholics were still bitter. The Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association (NICRA) made sure more and more protests took place and they planned to demonstrate peacefully and get out of the way of the RUC. They made another petition against Stormont in Jan 1969 at Burntollet Bridge, this was organised by an extreme wing of the Northern Irish Civil Rights Association. The protest was planned to go through some extremely Protestant areas, which some Catholics tried to prohibit. On the 4th of January, whilst approaching Londonderry, they crossed the Burntollet Bridge the route planned to get into Londonderry. The demonstrators were met by a Unionist mob who were equipped with crude riot weapons such as stones and bottles. The protesters were unarmed and unprotected. The RUC made no effort to look after the NICRA members and some even joined in the attack. After the march, no Unionists were arrested and yet 80 Marchers were put in jail. ...read more.

Conclusion

B-Specials were called in and the fighting escalated into a long-lasting battle between Protestants and Catholics. The battle of Bogside the main reason Britain sent troops into Northern Ireland. The government in England saw the risk of a full-blown civil war in Ireland and decided that this would damage Economic properties in England. They sent troops in to Bogside and all the other places where fights had broken out and they protected both communities from damaged. One more reason that Britain sent the troops in was that the British intelligence thought that the IRA was gaining quick influence and power but in reality, the IRA was growing weaker in the light of British troops and the slow down in Catholic protests. The main decision to send in the troops was made on the conclusion that both communities in Ireland would see the British Troops as mediators and not biased for or against either side, they would protect both sides of the wall and make sure no one got killed. No more suffering on the side of the Catholic and Protestant people. ...read more.

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