Viewing posts tagged ireland

Victory of the Icon 2

Winston Churchill was the British Secretary of State for War in 1920.  As such, he was the British politician most directly and personally responsible for the Black and Tans, the notorious 'special policemen' (paramilitaries really) sent in to help the Royal Irish Constabulary put down the revolt against British rule.  The Irish people had rejected Home Rule in a referendum... only to find that the British were going to try to impose it by force.  This triggered the conflict - a nationalist revolt met by imperial repression - that is known as the 'Anglo-Irish War'.

The Black and Tans went on a rampage of violence, targeting civilians alongside anyone suspected of involvement in the revolt.  Indiscriminate reprisals and revenge killings were the order of the day.  Many whole towns and villages were besieged and sacked, often simply as collective punishment for the killings of RIC officers.  They beat, shot, starved and tortured people.  They tore out people's fingernails in front of their families.  'Murder squads' disguised in civilian clothes roamed the streets.  The Tans sacked Cork and left the city centre in smoking ruins.  The RIC murdered the Mayor in front of his wife and son.

All this horror on ...

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