It is without doubt one of the most emotive times that Ireland as a country went through. Culminating in the killing of Collins and it is this action that is the key to what happened subsequently. I have no doubt in my mind that the Civil War would not have been as devastating to the country but for Collins being killed. This action lead to the Pro-treaty forces unleashing actions that Collins if he had been alive would not have stood by. As for the North you have to remember that the IRA in the North was Pro-treaty for the most part and this was down largely to Collins as well. Indeed it was no secret that Collins was arming the IRA in the North to counter act against the British/Unionist forces that were hell bent on attacking Nationalists.
I recommend that anyone interested in this period in the North read Jim McDermott's excellent book on the time Northern Divisions: The Old IRA and the Belfast Pogroms 1920-22. As for celebrating the Treaty I hardly think that the people on both sides of the conflict that occurred would find little to celebrate in the deaths of their loved ones, or forebears.
Perhaps a national day of mourning? A ceremonial lowering of the flag? What would you have in mind?
In contrast to the declaration of the Republic in 1916, the 'treaty' circumscribed a dominion state's independence rather than giving it. Rather than freely given, the terms were determined by what could be established by force of arms, or the threat and it was subsequently enforced by the same means.
Enda Kenny referred to the signing of the treaty in his national address last night, he was interesting in his language on the nation and the state:
Published on Sunday 4th December 2011
Taoiseach Enda Kenny – Address to the nation
It's rather ambiguous, necessarily I suppose, because to be more specific could be quite contentious. How should one commemorate the founding of a state that ''made its way to becoming" something else, still far short of what it was originally declared to be?In Ireland, an island nation – we cannot operate in isolation. We are part of the European Union.
Next Tuesday December 6th is the 90th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty in 1921.
Just as our fledgling state made its way to becoming a Republic then – I believe with all my heart, that we the Irish people can now make our way to recovery, to prosperity and to the fulfilment of the dreams of our children and the founding fathers of our nation.
This seems to identify the 'island nation' with a state founded by signatories to treaty, and perhaps those who subsequently made that state become 'a Republic'.
[Adds: To commemorate the treaty? Have Enda walk the National Stepping Stones -- a Takeshi's Castle style memorial]
Last edited by harry_w; 5th December 2011 at 03:18 AM.
I will probably get hammered for simplification here but what in the end were the delegates sent to London meant to do ? the IRA was on its last legs , the people of the Ireland were tired of war and the suffering it was causing . There was simply no desire to take on Britain who lets be honest could have flattened the country with impunity if it so desired, remember they had just fought a war that cost millions of lives and a few thousand more in Ireland would not have worried them. Also there was no way the majority in the NE would have joined a 32 county State without bloodshed to both sides. The obvious answer was to get a deal with the least number of concessions you can and move on from there once further positions of strength have been gained , its the way most conflicts end !
Fact is that there were many complications and no way was every interest going to be satisfied , the Independance movement was a mixture of politicians , pragmatists and military , some of the military leaders seeming hell bent on Junta style military rule despite any democratic objections. There may have been a different way looking back at it now but I believe they did the best they could in most aspects from a position that on reflection was incredibly weak.
Today in Irish History, 6 December 1921, the Anglo-Irish Treaty is Signed | The Irish Story
In my opinion, and it is no more than that, there was probably a bit more give left in the British on the question of 26 co sovereignty (if not on partitition).
Lloyd George successfully bullied the Irish delegation with his talk about 'immediate war', but the British public wouldn't have had the stomach for it. Collins and Griffith should have called his bluff and held out for some concession on the Oath of Allegiance. Some sort of face-saving spin could have been put on it and civil war avoided.