Chapter

‘The dark hours are dreaded’

D M. Leeson

in The Black and Tans

Published in print August 2011 | ISBN: 9780199598991
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191730597 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199598991.003.0003
‘The dark hours are dreaded’

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This chapter provides a brief general narrative of the Irish War of Independence from the summer of 1920 to the summer of 1921, along with a more detailed local narrative of the struggle in West Galway. It argues that the struggle between the guerrillas and the police passed through four distinct phases: a growing guerrilla offensive up to the summer of 1920; a violent police counteroffensive in the autumn; a period of deadlock and attrition in the winter of 1920–1; and a renewed guerrilla offensive in the spring of 1921. By mid-May 1921 the British government’s nondescript policy had failed completely: faced with a choice of either negotiating with the insurgents or waging all-out war, the government finally chose negotiation. Events in West Galway are examined closely, both as a case study, and to show how local events could exercise an important influence on the wider conflict.

Keywords: Ireland; Galway; Connacht; War of Independence; guerrilla warfare; policing; reprisals

Chapter.  12490 words. 

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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