The 1956–62 armed campaign and the reorganisation of the IRA

Matt Treacy

in The IRA 1956-69

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print April 2011 | ISBN: 9780719084720
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781700068 | DOI:
The 1956–62 armed campaign and the reorganisation of the IRA

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The Irish Republican Army's (IRA) ‘border campaign’ of 1956–1962 occupies a peculiar place in the history of Irish republicanism. For republicans during the period, it was important in terms of assessing both why the campaign had failed and more importantly what lessons could be drawn from it in order to make the IRA more effective militarily or indeed to move away from militarism and towards popular revolutionary struggle. The tensions which that brought about eventually led to the split in 1969 and 1970. Operation Harvest had begun on December 11, 1956, with thirteen attacks on targets within Northern Ireland. British military Intelligence, well briefed by Garda Special Branch Chief Superintendent Philip McMahon, had been confident that there was little likelihood of IRA actions in Britain. Sinn Féin won four seats and took 5.5 per cent of the votes in the 1957 general election. This chapter focuses on the IRA's 1956–62 armed campaign and the reorganisation of the IRA.

Keywords: Irish Republican Army; border campaign; republicanism; Northern Ireland; Britain; Operation Harvest; Philip McMahon; election; Sinn Féin; reorganisation

Chapter.  8423 words. 

Subjects: International Relations

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