Northern Ireland Coursework The Start of the Troubles – The Civil Rights Movement
Background to the “Troubles” • Following Partition in 1921 the Protestants took steps to ensure they had control • ‘Gerrymandering’ was used to keep control of town and city councils • This meant they could control the allocation of new housing and many different jobs • Catholics were second class citizens
The Nationalist Campaign • Many Nationalists refused to accept Partition • The IRA fought a campaign in the countryside trying to force a solution
IRA Campaign fails • As newspaper shows the campaign was doomed to fail • Problem was lack of support from the people
The Civil Rights Movement • By the 1960s inspired by the success of men like Martin Luther King moderate nationalists formed the NICRA • Their slogan was the song “We shall overcome”
The March in Derry • For many the NICRA were too soft • The organisation organised a big meeting in Derry • Londonderry was the best example of Protestant control
The Battle of Duke Street • The Civil Rights supporters then tried to march down Duke Street • They were stopped by the RUC
The Consequences • One of the consequences of the break up of the demonstration in Duke Street was that press and television reports ensured that some very damaging pictures of police violence were seen throughout the United Kingdom and abroad. This produced a violent reaction of feeling in many places ...
The People’s Democracy • A new group now appeared – the People’s Democracy • A march was planned from Belfast to Derry • Loyalists turned out to block the route
Burntollet Bridge • As the marchers got close to Derry a crowd of Loyalists and RUC men were waiting at Burntollet Bridge • As the marchers approached the attack began
After the Battle • About fifty yards ahead a group of men armed with sticks and bars formed a road block. One carried a hatchet, another a billhook. For a few minutes it seemed that they were going to drag us from the ambulance. But then the leader contented himself by saying, you got a lot less than you deserved. Next time we see you, it will be the last rites, as you call them, that you'll need. We'll kill each last one of you that turns up in this area again'."
Reactions to the Civil Rights Movement “The Civil rights people don’t believe in civil rights at all, they’re just a bunch of republican rebels, that’s what they are … they mean to destroy this country, and we mean to see that this country is not destroyed.” [Ian Paisley, Jan 1969] “…there can be no justice while there is a Unionist Party, because while there is a Unionist Party they will, by their gerrymandering, control Northern Ireland and be the government of Northern Ireland”. [Bernadette Devlin, 1969]
The Fall of O’Neill • February 1969 O’Neill called a general election • Ian Paisley stood against him and only narrowly lost • O’Neill realised he was losing support and resigned
The Battle of the Bogside • The new PM – Major Chichester-Clark was no more successful • More trouble flared in August with the Orange Marches • This ended in the fighting in the Catholic Bogside
British Troops in the North • Trouble spread from Londonderry to Belfast • Thousands were burnt out of their homes • There was a real possibility of a massacre of the Catholics • Troops were sent in to keep the peace
The ‘Honeymoon’ • At first the troops were seen as defenders by the Catholic community • They were given food and drink by the community • The Protestants were not happy with this!
The end of the ‘honeymoon’ • Within a few months the situation changed • The Army was told to look for IRA men • Their heavy handed tactics turned the Catholics against them • Bricks and stones replaced tea and biscuits
The bombing starts • As hatred of the Army grew the support for the IRA rose • The IRA now began to attack • Bombs in the North became almost a daily occurrence as well as attacks on police and troops