D M. Leeson

in The Black and Tans

Published in print August 2011 | ISBN: 9780199598991
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191730597 | DOI:

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This chapter begins by providing a brief summary of the book’s answers to the questions posed in its introduction, and then goes on to show how the Irish case was far from unique. Social psychologists have studied other, more repressive regimes and other, more atrocious internal wars, and have concluded that under the right conditions, ordinary men have been willing and able to torture and murder the regime’s real and imagined enemies. Indeed, such ordinary men are actually preferable to sadists and sociopaths. The Black and Tans and Auxiliaries were not the jail-birds and down-and-outs of legend: they were ordinary men as well. Like the guards and prisoners in the Stanford Prison Experiment, their behaviour was the product of their social circumstances, rather than their pre-existing dispositions.

Keywords: Black and Tans; Auxiliaries; reprisals; atrocities; social psychology; Stanford Prison Experiment

Chapter.  1797 words. 

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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