The Meaning of August 1969: Calibrating the Standard Republican Narrative

Timothy Shanahan

in The Provisional Irish Republican Army and the Morality of Terrorism

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print December 2008 | ISBN: 9780748635290
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748652884 | DOI:
The Meaning of August 1969: Calibrating the Standard Republican Narrative

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This chapter assesses the accuracy of the standard republican narrative in order to arrive at a more accurate account of the Provisional IRA' s armed struggle. The weight of the evidence suggests that the pre-split IRA was instrumental in the origins of the civil rights movement, that the movement had its own non-republican agenda aimed at improving the conditions of Catholics in Northern Ireland, but that the full potential of this movement to achieve this goal was thwarted when what was to become the Provisional IRA exploited it in order to advance its own ideological agenda. The Provisional IRA did not arise simply as a consequence of state violence. Elements of it were already in place in 1969, and these individuals seized the opportunity afforded by the violent clashes of 1968–9 to resurrect the ideal of an armed struggle in pursuit of a united independent Ireland.

Keywords: Provisional IRA; armed struggle; civil rights movement; Catholics; Northern Ireland

Chapter.  11728 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: UK Politics

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