My podcast series on the History of Terrorism continues with the story of Irish Terrorism. This episode looks at the origins of the conflict between the Irish and the British, moves through the 19th century and the establishment of the Irish Republican Brotherhood then goes all the way to Michael Collins and the Irish Free State.
You can download this podcast episode on Irish Terrorism at my Patreon page.
British Settlement and the Seeds of Conflict in Ireland
The first part of this podcast episode on the history of Irish Terrorism looks at the seeds of the conflict.
We visit the timeline of when British settlement of Ireland began to take place around the same period as the European wars of religion were ongoing on the continent. In a sense, the settlement of British Protestants in Northern Ireland during this time period infected Ireland with religious sectarianism that was afflicting much of Europe at the time.
The Rise of Britain and the Irish Republican Brotherhood
Generations passed and we arrive at the 19th century when Britain’s dominance on the world stage began to take a significant effect on of its closest colonies – the Irish. As the British were ascending globally, the Irish were experiencing the Great Potato Famine. This had two significant results. First, it stirred up Irish nationalism and resentment toward the British and allowed for the formation of the organizations who would eventually sponsor Irish Terrorism. Notably, this included the Irish Republican Brotherhood. Second, it spawned a massive migration out of Ireland to places like the United States where Irish-Americans contributed their own part to the history of Irish Terrorism.
Sinn Fein and Michael Collins
Next, we arrive at the end of World War I and the Hail Mary effort of the Irish Republican Brotherhood and Sinn Fein to rescue Irish nationalism. Events like the Easter Uprising are only part of the story. The most significant contributor to Irish Terrorism at this time was the brutal crackdown and response of the British to the Irish rebels. This, as much as anything or anyone else, stirred up Irish terrorism in the early 20th century.
The episode ends with the rise, success, and ultimately tragic end of the life of Michael Collins, a rising star in Sinn Fein. This powerful figure in the history of Irish terrorism includes tales about terrorist strategies and players like “The Squad” and “The Twelve Apostles.” These were crack terrorist units utilized by Michael Collins and the Irish terrorism movement to effectively retaliate against British oppression.
History of Irish Terrorism
Can Terrorism Succeed?
The question is often asked – Has terrorism ever been effective? This is an important consideration and in the case of the history of Irish Terrorism and Michael Collins the answer is a definite yes. That is the short term story though. We then have to consider what the gains won by terrorism actually bring to the people.
This is the History of Terrorism podcast series and the story of Irish Terrorism. (Note, we will cover The Troubles as part of the story of Irish Terrorism in a future podcast episode in this series.)
If you enjoyed this podcast episode check out the complete series on the History of Terrorism.