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Why were British troops sent to Northern Irelandin 1969?

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Introduction

Leah Harland Mrs Buttery's Group Modern World Conflict Assignment 1: Why were British troops sent to Northern Ireland in 1969? In August of 1969 British Troops were sent to Northern Ireland under the order of Harold Wilson, the British Prime Minister. This action was due, to growing tensions between the Catholic and Protestant communities all over Ireland since the turn of the 20th Century. There had always been long term problems between the Catholics and Protestants of Northern Ireland which are rooted deep in the histories of England and Ireland. There were also many short-term factors and triggers which caused Prime Minister Wilson to take the action that he did. There are many elements to these factors and they built up over many years. Some of them even stem back to the 12th Century! From the 12th Century up until the 1900's the tensions between the Catholics and Protestants continued to grow. In 1969 the R.U.C (Royal Ulster Constabulary) lost control of the riots, started when peaceful Catholic Civil Rights protests and marches came under attack from the Protestants. On the 13th August 1969 Jack Lynch, the Prime Minister of the Irish Republic, made a speech on National Television criticising the Northern Ireland Government. This Speech caused Harold Wilson to send members of the British Army over to the streets of Ireland to restore order. The long term causes of the problems between the Catholics and Protestants of Northern Ireland are rooted in the histories of England and Ireland. ...read more.

Middle

Collins also built up the I.R.A. This was a group of volunteers who were prepared to fight for the new Republic in Ireland. The British Government banned all republican newspapers and speakers and arrested De Valera. Collins managed to escape. Over the next two years he organised ruthless I.R.A murder squads, developed a new kind of warfare using secret, sudden murders and bombings, inspired others to fight for freedom from British Control, built up a network of spies, including some who worked inside the British Headquarters, ordered the deaths of many British Government Officials and Irish Policemen, risked his life to take messages between The British Government were determined to end the violence caused by the I.R.A in Ireland. They recruited over seven thousand ex-soldiers from England to deal with the I.R.A. These soldiers soon became known as the Black and Tans due to the colour of their uniform. They soon proved that they were prepared to be as ruthless as the I.R.A in their actions. By July 1919 both sides were committing attacks that were beyond belief. The worst incident came on the 21st November 1920. It was known as Bloody Sunday. In the early hours of the morning Collins sent his men to break into the homes or hotel rooms of fourteen British Agents and kill them. Within hours the Black and Tans reacted by firing into a crowd of eight thousand spectators at a Gaelic football match. ...read more.

Conclusion

They would then want something doing about it quickly. Harold Wilson sent in the British Troops because he thought that they would ease the tensions between the Catholics and Protestants by introducing a neutral force which enabled both groups to have faith in one individual group. He also hoped that these troops would set an example to the Protestants that a mutual agreement could be brought about without the use of violence. He would also be under pressure from groups like NICRA, the U.S.A and British Citizens would now feel very strongly about the issues involved. From this evidence we can see that the deployment of troops was due to a build up of Long Term factors, Short Term Factors and Triggers. Included in these factors were Bloody Sunday, the Easter Rising of 1916 and the growth in support for the political party of Sinn Fein. I think that the main reason that Harold Wilson sent troops onto Ireland was when the Battle of Bogside began. Mr Wilson knew that the situation in Ireland was out of control, but he still trusted in the Irish Government to sort it out. When the Battle of the Bogside began, Wilson knew that something had to be done before Ireland turned into one huge blood bath. The Catholics had already barricaded themselves into the Bogside area and were prepared to do whatever necessary to keep the Protestants and R.U.C out. Mr Wilson could also see that necessary action needed to be taken before Ireland broke out into Civil War. This is why he sent troops in to Ireland. ...read more.

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