The Anglo-Irish Treaty

Introduction

100 years ago today, the fateful Anglo-Irish treaty negotiations began at 10 Downing Street. Read our article to learn about its many controversies, what it actually achieved, and why it sparked not only the creation of the Free Irish State, but also a civil war.

Listen to our episode or read our article below

Setting the Stage

The Treaty is an incredibly controversial document for two reasons. First, it formally acknowledged partition (which was official British policy by 1921) while turning Ireland into a dominion (NOT an independent state) and required an oath to the king. Second, it triggered a civil war that took many of Ireland’s best and brightest.

While the Treaty was the spark, I would argue a split (if not a civil war) amongst the Republican forces was inevitable. As we discussed elsewhere on this blog and in my podcast, tensions were high amongst IRA forces and command, heightened by the brutality of the war and the return of Eamon DeValera from the United States.

While he was fundraising in the United States, DeValera missed most of the war and was blindsided by what awaited his return. The movement DeValera helped create was no longer recognizable to him nor did he fully understand the rules of they war they were fighting, believing that the assassinations and ambushes were detrimental to the IRA’s cause and they should fight more traditional battles. He was also dismayed to see how much power gathered by the military side and worked hard with Minister of Defense, Cathal Brugha, to reassert the Dail’s power-as well as his own.

This, seemingly, brought him onto a collision course with Michael Collins (a man who also disliked being held accountable by another-no matter how much he respected DeValera). DeValera furthered strained that relationship by trying to send Collins to America in January-a command Collins flatly refused and DeValera dropped. Yet, DeValera entered negotiations confident and seems to have believed it was his moment to solidify the fact that he, DeValera, was the leader of Ireland.

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Episode 20-Interview with James Nagle

Today we have a very special episode where we spoke to James Nagle about what life was like for an average IRA recruit and a British soldier. If you enjoyed our big picture overview but want to dive deeper into what life was like for an IRA recruit on the run, a civilian having to please both the IRA and the British, or a Black and Tan riding a convoy worried about an ambush, this is the interview for you!

James is the host of the Irish Nation Lives, a history document on YouTube about the Irish War of Independence. Be sure to check his videos out and follow James on Twitter!

History in 5ish minutes 5 facts about Arthur Griffith

History in 5ish minute: 5 Facts About Arthur Griffith

Welcome to History in 5ish minutes, a new episode format in which we discuss a historical event or person in roughly 5 minutes. Today we’ll be discussing the 5 facts about Arthur griffith

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History in 5ish minutes: 5 tactics the IRA used to defeat the British during the Irish War of Independence

Welcome to History in 5ish minutes, a new episode format in which we discuss a historical event or person in roughly 5 minutes. Today we’ll be discussing the 5 tactics the IRA used to defeat the British during the Irish War of Independence

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Episode 17-the 1921 Anglo-Irish Treaty

In today’s episode we discuss the 1921 Anglo-Irish Treaty, including the many controversial decisions made by DeValera during the Truce, the struggle Prime Minister David Lloyd George, Michael Collins, and Arthur Griffith faced from internal and external stakeholders during the negotiations, and the tragic fracture that occurred within the Irish people after the Dail approved the Treaty.

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Episode 16-Cathal Brugha and the Irish War of Independence

Today we’ll be discussing Cathal Brugha’s role during the Irish War of Independence, including his struggles as minister of defense, his difficult relationship with Collins and Mulcahy, and his role in the Treaty debates.

Transcript

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Resources

Irish Nation Lives Episode on Cathal Brugha

Cathal Brugha by Fergus O’Farrell 2018, University College Dublin Press

The Republic: the Fight for Irish Independence by Charles Townshend, 2014, Penguin Group

Fatal Path: British Government and Irish Revolution 1910-1922 by Ronan Fanning, 2013, Faber & Faber

Easter 1916: The Irish Rebellion by Charles Townshend, 2015, Penguin Group

A Nation and Not a Rabble: the Irish Revolution 1913-1923 by Diarmaid Ferriter, 2015, Profile Books

Richard Mulcahy: From the Politics of War to the Politics of Peace, 1913-1924 by Padraig O Caoimh, 2018, Irish Academic Press

Episode 14-Northern Ireland and the Irish War of Independence

Episode 14-Northern Ireland and the Irish War for Independence

Today we discuss Northern Ireland and the role it played during the Irish War Of Independence, discussing figures such as James Craig, Edward Carson, and David Lloyd George.

Transcript

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References

https://www.irishtimes.com/culture/heritage/james-craig-backbone-of-revolt-the-soul-of-intransigence-1.508452

https://www.irishtimes.com/culture/heritage/ireland-s-first-world-war-veterans-shunned-ostracised-murdered-1.3691036

https://www.irishnews.com/news/easterrising/2016/03/26/news/1916-46-000-from-belfast-volunteered-for-first-world-war-443443/

The Republic: the Fight for Irish Independence by Charles Townshend, 2014, Penguin Group

Fatal Path: British Government and Irish Revolution 1910-1922 by Ronan Fanning, 2013, Faber & Faber

Easter 1916: The Irish Rebellion by Charles Townshend, 2015, Penguin Group

A Nation and Not a Rabble: the Irish Revolution 1913-1923 by Diarmaid Ferriter, 2015, Profile Books

Episode 13 Michael Collins’ Intelligence War

Episode 13-Michael Collins’ Intelligence War

Today we discuss Michael Collins and his intelligence war including the formation of the Squad, his spies such as Ned Broy, David Neligan, and James MacNamara, and Bloody Sunday

Transcript

Theme Sound: Symphony no. 5 in Cm, Op. 67 – III. Allegro

Image designed by @GraphicsHub3

References:

The Republic: the Fight for Irish Independence by Charles Townshend, 2014, Penguin Group

Fatal Path: British Government and Irish Revolution 1910-1922 by Ronan Fanning, 2013, Faber & Faber

Richard Mulcahy: From the Politics of War to the Politics of Peace, 1913-1924 by Padraig O Caoimh, 2018, Irish Academic Press

A Nation and Not a Rabble: the Irish Revolution 1913-1923 by Diarmaid Ferriter, 2015, Profile Books

Michael Collins and the Anglo-Irish War: Britain’s Counterinsurgency Failure by J. B. E. Hittle, 2011, Potomac Books

Michael Collins and the Making of the Irish State by Gabriel Doherty, 1998, Mercier Press

https://www.irishcentral.com/roots/history/michael-collins-the-squad

https://www.irishexaminer.com/opinion/commentanalysis/arid-30939952.html

https://www.irishcentral.com/roots/history/michael-collins-the-squad

https://www.irishcentral.com/roots/history/michael-collins-twelve-apostles-who-was-in-charge

https://www.irishcentral.com/opinion/others/spies-in-the-castle-michael-collins

https://www.irishtimes.com/culture/heritage/michael-collins-s-women-spies-couriers-and-mothers-1.3071543

Episode 12-Hunger Strikes During the Irish War of Independence

 

In this episode, we discuss the role of hunger strikes during the Irish War of Independence, including the story of Thomas Ashe, the Mountjoy Prison and General Strike of 1918, and Terence MacSwiney.

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Episode 11-Interview with Dr. Mary McAuliffe

 

We are very excited to interview Dr. Mary McAuliffe about her new biography on Margaret Skinnider and the experience of Irish women during the Irish War for Independence and the Irish Civil War.

Buy Dr. McAuliffe’s biography on Margaret Skinnider here: http://www.ucdpress.ie/display.asp?isbn=9781910820537&

Follow Dr. McAuliffe of Twitter: https://twitter.com/marymcauliffe4

If you enjoyed this episode, please donate to our Ko-Fi

Transcript coming

Theme Sound: Symphony no. 5 in Cm, Op. 67 – III. Allegro

Image designed by @GraphicsHub3

Episode 10-Richard Mulcahy and the Irish War of Independence

In this episode we discuss Richard Mulcahy’s role as Chief of Staff of the IRA during the Irish War of Independence, including his efforts to instill discipline and organization, his difficult relationship with Brugha and DeValera, and his increased radicalization.

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Transcript

Theme Sound: Symphony no. 5 in Cm, Op. 67 – III. Allegro

Image designed by @GraphicsHub3

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Episode References

The Republic: the Fight for Irish Independence by Charles Townshend, 2014, Penguin Group

Richard Mulcahy: From the Politics of War to the Politics of Peace, 1913-1924 by Padraig O Caoimh, 2018, Irish Academic Press

A Nation and Not a Rabble: the Irish Revolution 1913-1923 by Diarmaid Ferriter, 2015, Profile Books

Valiulis, M. G. (1993). Portrait of a Revolutionary: General Richard Mulcahy and the Founding of the Irish Free State. Lexington, KY: University Press of Kentucky.

Episode 8: Anglo-Irish War Part III 1921

Before we begin, we want to make it clear that this podcast and website knows Black Lives Matter and support the protesters demanding justice and arguing for the abolition of the police. There are links below on how we can help support the movement and challenge our own prejudices and educate ourselves.

This is the third and final episode in our three part special about the Anglo-Irish War. In this episode we briefly discuss Britain’s final attempts to defeat the IRA, DeValera’s return to Ireland and his attempts to exert control over the war, Mulcahy’s efforts to reorganize the IRA to ensure its survival, and the events that lead up to the truce.

Transcript coming

Theme Sound: Symphony no. 5 in Cm, Op. 67 – III. Allegro

Image designed by @GraphicsHub3

BLM Links

Movement for Black Lives
SURJ Chicago
Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression
8toAbolition

Episode References

The Republic: the Fight for Irish Independence by Charles Townshend, 2014, Penguin Group

Richard Mulcahy: From the Politics of War to the Politics of Peace, 1913-1924 by Padraig O Caoimh, 2018, Irish Academic Press

A Nation and Not a Rabble: the Irish Revolution 1913-1923 by Diarmaid Ferriter, 2015, Profile Books

Michael Collins and the Anglo-Irish War: Britain’s Counterinsurgency Failure by J. B. E. Hitte

Eamon DeValera by Ronan Fanning, 2016, Harvard University Press

Fatal Path: British Government and Irish Revolution 1910-1922 by Ronan Fanning, 2013, Faber & Faber

 

Episode 4-The First Dail

Episode 4- The First Dail

In this episode we talk about the creation of the first Dail and its relation with the IRA

Transcript coming

Theme Sound: Symphony no. 5 in Cm, Op. 67 – III. Allegro

Image designed by @GraphicsHub3

References:

The Republic: the Fight for Irish Independence by Charles Townshend, 2014, Penguin Group

Fatal Path: British Government and Irish Revolution 1910-1922 by Ronan Fanning, 2013, Faber & Faber

A Nation and Not a Rabble: the Irish Revolution 1913-1923 by Diarmaid Ferriter, 2015, Profile Books

Eamon DeValera by Ronan Fanning, 2016, Harvard University Press

Episode 3-Ireland 1917-1918: Resurrecting a Rebellion

In this episode we talk about Ireland between 1917 and 1918, focusing on how Sinn Fein and the Irish Volunteers were able to rebuild themselves after Easter Rising.

Transcript

Theme Sound: Symphony no. 5 in Cm, Op. 67 – III. Allegro

Image designed by @GraphicsHub3

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Irish Women Who went on Hunger Strike

Hunger strikes are a familiar weapon in the war against colonial policies and wrongful imprisonment. Although today it is associated primarily with Gandhi or with the IRA, like Bobby Sands, it is an old tactic practiced all over the world and by all genders, such as revolutionaries in Imperial Russia, suffragettes in Britain and the U.S., and men kept in Guantanamo or the U.S.’s concentration camps on the American-Mexican border.

The tactic of voluntarily giving up food until a political demand is won, originated with the Russian Revolutionaries in the 1890s. It is a versatile weapon that requires utmost dedication from the striker while placing all the moral and legal responsibility on the oppressor and highlighting the wretched conditions that enables a striker to go on hunger strike in the first place.

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Review for Fatal Path

Fatal Path: British Government and Irish Revolution 1919-1923 by Ronan Fanning, Faber and Faber, 2013

4/5

A light and easy read about the British perspective during the Anglo-Irish War. I greatly enjoyed this book. Since I normally read about the conflict from the side of the IRA/Irish Nationalist’s, this book was enjoyable and provided needed context for the British reactions to the Irish rebels. Fanning is a strong writer and takes the minutia that is British parliamentary politics and make it easier to understand as well as interesting.

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Book Review of Richard Mulcahy from the Politics of War to the Politics of Peace 1913-1924

Book Review of Richard Mulcahy from the Politics of War to the Politics of Peace 1913-1924 by Padraig O Caoimh, Irish Academic Press 2019

Rating: 4.5/5

Pros:

  • A long overdue biography on a vital founder of the Irish Free State and Irish Army
  • Rich analysis that is easy to read
  • Provides needed context on the IRB’s role during the Irish-Anglo War and the Irish Civil War

Cons:

  • Provides little personal information about Richard Mulcahy
  • A few chapters are dense because of the amount of information being presented
  • There needs to a second volume

This biography is long overdue and excels at bringing Mulcahy out of Collin’s shadow, highlighting a career of various ups and down during the Irish War of Independence as well as the Irish Civil War.

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The Battle of Ashbourne

Tuesday 25, April 1916 was a fine, spring day. There had been gentle showers earlier, but the land had dried since then, and the rest of week promised to be warm. After a disastrous start on Easter Sunday, things had gone as smoothly as could be expected for Irish Volunteer, Lieutenant Richard Mulcahy. After reporting to the GPO in Dublin on Monday, he and two other Volunteers were sent into the countryside to destroy the telegraph lines at Howth. Despite one Volunteer needing to be sent back for his rifle and briefly being stopped by the Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC), they reached their target and easily severed the lines[1]. Mulcahy on his way back to headquarters, stumbled upon the Fingal (5th) battalion, led by the charismatic and courageous Commandant Thomas Ashe. Mulcahy was instantly recognized and made Ashe’s second in command[2]. Together, they would spend a week, utilizing basic guerilla tactics to terrorize British forces in the countryside of Dublin County and capture three different British garrisons. They would end the week, with the Battle of Ashbourne, a desperate struggle that would pit Ashe’s leadership and Mulcahy’s analytical mind against the RIC’s discipline, arms, and experience. The battle, while often overshadows by the drama unfurling within Dublin, would provide a taste of what was to come during the Anglo-Irish War.

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Book Review: Portrait of a Revolutionary

Portrait of a Revolutionary General Richard Mulcahy and the Founding of the Irish Free State by Maryann Valiulis Published in 1992 by University Press of Kentucky

Richard Mulcahy is a criminally underappreciated Irishmen. Born in the 1890s and starting his career as a postal worker, he would eventually study to become an engineer, before taking part in Easter Rising, and ending up as Chief of Staff of the IRA. Working together with men like Michael Collins, Eamon De Valera, and Cathal Brugha, Mulcahy struggled to install order on an unruly group of insurgents. His most important contribution to the creation of the Irish Free State, however, was his firm leadership during the Irish Civil War and the 1924 Mutiny that followed. The Mutiny pushed him to the background as De Valera took the spotlight, but Mulcahy remained a permanent feature of Irish Politics becoming party leader of Fine Gael in 1944 and serving in a various number of ministries throughout his long life. He even cobbled together a coalition government that forced De Valera’s party to the opposition in the 1948 elections. He died in 1971 at the age of 85.

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Eamon de Valera Part I

There are few men who participated in the Anglo-Irish War and the Irish Civil War who have as complicated a legacy as Eamon de Valera. He was a mathematics professor, last man to surrender during Easter Rising, leader of the Dáil and the IRA, instigator of the anti-treaty movement, political outcast, and Taoiseach, and, finally, president of Ireland. He did more to shape the Irish constitution and its relations with both North Ireland and England than any other single person. His decisions didn’t always make sense and he hurt his own legacy as much as it was twisted over the trauma of the civil war and his lengthy presidency. However, it is his legacy and the mythos that surrounded him that makes him an interesting historical figure to study. I will discuss his life and legacy in two different posts. This first post will discuss de Valera’s leadership during the Anglo-Irish and Civil War and the second post will de Valera’s presidency and later period of his life.

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