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Why the British Troops Were Sent into Northern Ireland in 1969

Powerful Essays
Why the British Troops Were Sent into Northern Ireland in 1969

In 1969 British Troops were sent into Ireland because Irish police

could no longer cope with the violence between the Unionist Protestant

population and the Catholic Nationist population. The events that

meant it was necessary for British troops to be sent in stretch back a

long way. This essay presents the main long term and short term

explanations as to why troops were needed.

The tensions between Catholic and Protestant citizens had been

mounting for many years. During the sixteenth century there was a lot

of rivalry between the Catholic Church and Protestants and when King

Henry VIII broke away from the Pope and became Protestant, Ireland

remained strongly Catholic. This caused conflict as in 1602 Elizabeth

I gained control of Ireland. In 1603 King James I planted Protestants

in a region of Ireland called Ulster. Various massacres took place,

Protestants remember the massacre of Protestant settlers by Irish

Catholics in 1641 and Catholics remember the massacre of Catholics

troops by Protestant troops in 1649, although these are different

events they were both used against the other side, and any fault of

their own side was justified, this increases tension between the two

and validates hatred. Generally the people in Ulster remained strong

to the English crown, these are called Unionists and wanted to stay

part of the United Kingdom. The original Irish, almost all Catholics

were called Nationalists and wanted to become independent with their

own government.

From the point when James II the Catholic king was defeated by William

of Orange who was a Protestant in ...

... middle of paper ...

... did. The Catholics

welcomed the forces into Northern Ireland as they knew they now had a

force which would not only protect the Protestants.

British Troops had not been asked for earlier, as the former Prime

Minister O'Neill had expected the situation to resolve itself,

Chichester-Clark saw the worst of the protests and found very little

option but to call the British troops in to N. Ireland, at first the

British troops were reluctant because they feared violence would reach

Britain, but in the end they had little choice but to act. There was a

lot of hatred in Northern Ireland that had built up over hundreds of

years, this tension had developed slowly and the battle of the

Bogside, which was the immediate reason forces were sent into N.

Ireland, was with the peak of the anger and friction between all the

sides.
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