British Troops in Northern Ireland in 1969
In August of 1969 British Troops were sent to Northern Irelandunder
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
There are many elements to these factors and they built up over ...view middle of the document...
The religious side to the conflict started in 1534 when Henry 8th
broke away from the Pope and set up a new Church of England, but the
Irish wished to remain Roman Catholics and did not want to be forced
to swear loyalty to Henry. He also passed laws whereby every person
should use the English Tongue and Language. Furthermore, houses should
be kept "according to English order, condition and manner". In 1534 he
announced that he was also King of Ireland, undoubtedly causing
additional bad feeling towards the English.
From the 12th Century up until the start of the 1900's there had been
tensions in Ireland between the Catholics and Protestants and towards
the British Government. These tensions grew over the years and soon
became major factors in the lead up to the deployment of troops in
Then in 1914 Irish MP's had persuaded the British Government, under
the instruction of David Lloyd-George, to grant Home Rule for Ireland.
This meant that Ireland still kept its links with Britain but was
allowed to set up its own Parliament.
This "rule" pleased the Parliamentary Catholics as this was exactly
what they wanted. The Revolutionary Catholics believed that the island
of Ireland should severe all links with Britain and should be given
complete independence by the British Government. However the
Protestants wanted Ireland to stay exactly the same way as it had
always been. That was, to be governed by the British Government and to
keep all links with Britain.
The British Government granted Home Rule for Ireland. Protestants got
ready to fight against Home Rule and Catholics got ready to fight for
Home Rule. The result was that Ireland was on the verge of Civil War.
However, the outbreak of the First World War delayed the
implementation of Home Rule. Both Catholics and Protestants joined up
to fight for Britain.
An Irish man called Michael Collins did not join up. He thought that
fighting for Britain was a ridiculous idea. Collins wanted more than
just Home Rule for Ireland. He wanted an Irish Republic which was
completely free from British control. On the 24th April 1964at around
noon two thousand men led by Padhraic Pearse, one of the leaders of
the Irish Republican Brotherhood, seized control of the post office in
Dublin and other major buildings in the city. Collins then announced
that he had set up a provisional government of the Irish Republic.
Additional positions were occupied by the rebels during the night, and
by the morning of April 25th they controlled a considerable part of
Dublin. The counter-offensive by British forces began that afternoon
with the arrival of reinforcements. Martial law was proclaimed
throughout Ireland. Bitter street fighting developed in Dublin, during
which the strengthened British forces steadily dislodged the Irish