Abby Newlon
Period 8
Historical Investigation

A. Plan of Investigation

To what extent was the creation of Fianna Fail, and its political disagreements with Sinn Fein and Fine Gael, the main cause of increased tensions throughout Ireland after the Irish Civil War?
The Irish Civil War lasted from June of 1922 to May of 1923. Even though the conflict was brief, the political rifts during the following two decades are often considered the sole reasons for post war upsets and tensions . The purpose of this investigation is to compare the politics with other causes of conflict from 1923 to 1940 by analyzing primary and secondary sources, such as Eunan O’Halpin’s book, Defending Ireland: The Irish State and Its Enemies Since 1922 and The History of Ireland by Daniel Webster Hollis III.

B. Summary of Evidence

Politics
Sinn Fein:
  • Opposed British control of Ireland.[i]
  • It had two divisions: the first, members joined the IRA. The second (in 1926), members created Fianna Fail.[ii]
  • Cosgrave focused on foreign policy with Britain and Ireland’s national security. He attempted to dissolve the Dail Eireann (Ireland’s parliament established right before the war)[iii] while dealing with other economic pressures.[iv]
  • Cosgrave established the Censorship Bureau in 1925 to “maintain neutrality during the war against Britain”[v] and created the Government of Ireland Act in 1920, which declared Northern Ireland neither a state nor a nation.[vi]
Fianna Fail:
  • This party was created by Eamon de Valera (former member of Sinn Fein who left the party during its second split)[vii] to “promote [Ireland’s] full independence from the United Kingdom.”[viii]
  • De Valera would originally not run in the Dail elections due to its ties with Britain, but he broke this boycott. During his campaign, his strategy of promising equal opportunity for all and a self-sufficient economy was effective because Fianna Fail gained and maintained a house majority for two decades.[ix]
  • His win into power triggered the idea that “constitutionality had finally triumphed over conspiracy in mainstream Irish national politics.”[x]
  • Fine Gael, originally a pro treaty party, was quickly taken over (by de Valera) due to its weakness and lack of organization[xi]
  • His policies laid the foundation for Ireland’s official break with Britain in 1938[xii]

IRA:Short for the Irish Republican Army, this extremist wing of Sinn Fein was “dedicated to ending British control of Northern Ireland”[xiii]through acts of violence, such as exterminating the police force.[xiv]It successfullydisrupted Sinn Fein's plan to unite Northern and Southern Ireland[xv]and attempted to interfere with foreign policy by attacking British troops (hoping to start another war). The plan backfired and not only did Britain begin sympathizing with Cosgrave [xvi],butde Valera effectively declared it an illegal organization in 1936.[xvii]

Other Conflicts

Police Force:
  • The IRA was still armed and ready to continue fighting, so Cosgrave decided that it was up to the military to restore order.[xviii]
  • Directly after the war, the police force throughout Ireland was weak. In 1923, the Garda (or republican police) was in the early stages of development but nowhere near ready to defend the state. Therefore, the idea of a secret police emerged. This never became a driving force but Cosgrave reached his goal of “attaining a state of normality in which an unarmed police force and ordinary law [was] sufficient to maintain tranquility.”[xix]
  • Todd Andrews, former member of the IRA, stated that “we Republicans were at complete mercy of the police” after the Treasonable Offense Act (a permanent anti Republican measure creating a unitary police force for civilian policing throughout Ireland) was established.[xx]

Sean Keating and the arts:Along with other struggling artists, Keating was frustrated with the lack of “national and international cultural and political developments.” He consistently stated that the Dail was ignoring the arts but his attempts to change this were never successful.[xxi]

Communication:After the Civil War and especially at the start of World War II, the government realized that the country was living in an outdated state.[xxii]It recognized that the transportation systems (railways, roads, etc.) were extremely damaged, but because other threats were of a greater concern, nothing was resolved.[xxiii]

Britain:After the Civil War, rifts between Britain and Ireland were never resolved.[xxiv]“British political and administrative establishment collectively washed their hands of Irish affairs in 1922,” but the economic connection remained. The Dail worked for years on breaking this connection, but Britain remained a main source of extremist intelligence (the IRA) and there were constant security concerns on the Irish end.[xxvi] To combat this, the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act of 1935 was passed, ending British citizenship in the Free State, along with the Aliens Act of 1935, wich declared that British citizens were Irish aliens.[xxvii]


C. Evaluation of Sources

O'Halpin, Eunan. Defending Ireland: The Irish State and Its Enemies since 1922. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1999. Print
This book was written in 1999 by Eunin O’Haplin, Professor of Contemporary Irish History at Trinity College in Dublin. The purpose is to inform the reader on Ireland and its enemies since 1922. Some of these enemies were external, such as Britain. But others, such as the IRA were found inside the country. This book focuses on apolitical events that caused tensions after the Civil War, such as issues created by the IRA, Britain, and the Irish economy. A value of this source is that the author is the son of an IRA member and therefore gives the perspective from someone who was on the “extremist” side, along with other primary sources. But a limitation is that it does not take into account the actions of different political parties in combination with those of the IRA and Britain.

Hollis, Daniel Webster. The History of Ireland. Westport, CT: Greenwood, 2001. Print.
Daniel Webster Hollis III is Professor of History at Jacksonville State University in Alabama and has published for databases such as ABC- CLIO. Hollis had an advisory board overseeing the creation and publication of the book, including professors of History from the University of Kansas, Texas, and Florida. The chapter titled “The Irish Free State (1918- 1938)”, was written to inform readers on Ireland’s economic, political, and social environment from 1918 until 1938. It provides information on each party’s actions as well as those of the IRA and Britain. A value is that it gives detail on the Free State's struggles, as well as the Cosgrave Era and Fianna Fail’s ruling period. It was written in chronological order, so the chapter is easy to comprehend and is extremely specific. Despite the positives, a limitation is that it only provides a 20-year time span and does not focus on Northern Ireland’s feelings during the time period.

D. Analysis

When considering post war influences, politics are often given the heaviest grief for creating pressure. Surprisingly, Fine Gael, one of the most influential parties of 20th century Ireland, played no part in these issues. It was a prominent force before the Civil War but after, due to its poor organization, de Valera took over the party as a whole.[xxviii] This left Fianna Fail and Sinn Fein both attempting to end British control. While Sinn Fein held a parliamentary majority directly after the Civil War[xxix], Fianna Fail was a growing force preparing to take over. Therefore, for the first decade after the war, Cosgrave was the leader making the most noticeable actions and mistakes. His Censorship Bureau, while meant to keep Irish neutrality, caused issues with the citizens and de Valera.[xxx] Cosgrave’s attempt to dissolve the Dail worsened this new mistrust [xxxi] and exacerbated the natural disagreements between the parties, therefore weighing heavily on the idea that he was the main reason for conflict within the country.
Not only did Cosgrave create issues, but Sinn Fein’s extremist branch, the IRA, simultaneously added to the tension while attempting to end British control.[xxxii] But its methods of violence did more than cause tensions between the parties and Britain. Both Cosgrave and de Valera agreed that the IRA was potentially dangerous and ended up working together to stop its actions, eventually disbanding the organization completely.[xxxiii] Therefore, the IRA can be seen as more than a destructive force during post war Ireland.
Even though the IRA created a common bond between the feuding parties, de Valera’s win in the Dail elections- ending Cosgrave’s long-lasting government majority- refueled tensions. De Valera’s ability to convince the people that “constitutionality had finally triumphed over conspiracy” was not popular with Cosgrave.[xxxiv] Fianna Fail’s quick win into power robbed Sinn Fein of its influence and undermined its work to end British control of Ireland. This switch in political control, along with constant policy disagreements between the parties, created a continuously weak government and changed the blame for tensions from Cosgrave to de Valera.
Politics clearly played a large part in establishing tensions throughout Ireland after 1923. But what many forget to consider are the apolitical factors. Because there was no official treaty that ended the war, rifts between Britain and Ireland remained at large. Ireland wanted Britain out of the country but Britain refused, and at this point the government was too weak and wary of another war to take action. After years of negotiating, Britain withdrew its forces and Ireland began to become an independent nation. Though Britain claimed that it had “washed [its] hands of Irish affairs in 1922,” the economic connections that remained crippled Ireland greatly.[xxxv] Not only did this connection bring fiscal dilemma’s that the government wasn’t strong enough to handle, but the fact that Britain was one of the IRA’s main sources of extremist intelligence also created huge security concerns that the police force was not strong enough to deal with.[xxxvi] Therefore, Britain and its politicians can not be directly blamed for tensions, but the remaining connections between the countries clearly did not assist a move towards peace.
As previously mentioned, the police force created a sense of weakness and therefore tensions throughout the country. Cosgrave worked to maintain an apolitical police force that was run by the military in order to “attain a state of normality,”[xxxvii] but his goals were to combat the IRA. This peace was maintained with the Treasonable Offense Act[xxxviii] but the police was not strong enough to deal with foreign countries. A factor of this weakness was lack of communication. At the time, Ireland was one of the least advanced countries in the world. After the War, the roads were destroyed, there was little electronic advancement, and transportation remained outdated.[xxxix] But these setbacks were never improved because other threats were more important to the government. So even though Britain and the IRA were not the single handedly main causes of tensions after the Civil War, the sources together combined with the police force's inability to deal with them stressed Ireland's inability to fight, which only increased tensions.
The last factors of instability are the groups of people who felt that they were unrepresented, such as the artists (many of whom were extremists). These outspoken groups of citizens felt that the Dail was not only ignoring their needs, but also censoring their ability to perform their trade due to the Censorship Act.[xl] Even though this factor was not large, it gave the government yet another obstacle to overcome in order to keep the country somewhat stable yet strong enough to avoid another war.

E. Conclusion

There is no doubt that after the Irish Civil War there were political conflicts left for the government to resolve. But these politically driven arguments are in no way the main cause of conflict throughout the state. It is not possible to gauge which group or factor was the main cause of these conflicts but it can be concluded that the government and politics of early 20th century Ireland were not the sole reason for increased tensions after the Civil War.

F. List of Sources

Belliveau, Scott. “Sinn Fein: Cold War.” World at War: Understanding Conflict and Society. ABC- CLIO, 2012. Web. 11 Jan. 2012.

"Dail Eireann." Daily Life Through History. ABC- CLIO, 2012. Web. 8 Feb. 2012.

"Fianna Fail." Daily Life Through History. ABC-CLIO, 2012. Web. 11 Jan. 2012.

"Fine Gael." Daily Life Through History. ABC-CLIO, 2012. Web. 11 Jan. 2012.

Hollis III, Daniel Webster. The History of Ireland. Westport: Greenwood, 2001. Print.

"Irish Republican Army." Daily Life Through History. ABC-CLIO, 2012. Web. 8 Feb. 2012.

Keating, Sean. Sean Keating in Context: Responses to Culture and Politics in Post- Civil War Ireland. Ed. Eimear O’Connor. Dublin: Carysfort, 2099. Print.

O’Haplin, Eunan. Defending Ireland: The Irish State and Its Enemies since 1922. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1999. Print.

Trefs, Mattias. “Eamon De Valera.” World at War: Understanding Conflict and Society. ABC- CLIO, 2012. Web. 11 Jan. 2012.

Word Count: 2,000



[i]Belliveau, Scott. “Sinn Fein: Cold War.” World at War: Understanding Conflict and Society. ABC- CLIO, 2012. Web. 11 Jan. 2012.
[ii] ibid
[iii]"Dail Eireann." Daily Life Through History. ABC- CLIO, 2012. Web. 8 Feb. 2012.
[iv] Hollis III
[v] O’Halpin
[vi] Hollis III
[vii]Trefs, Mattias. “Eamon De Valera.” World at War: Understanding Conflict and Society. ABC- CLIO, 2012. Web. 11 Jan. 2012.
[viii]"Fianna Fail." Daily Life Through History. ABC-CLIO, 2012. Web. 11 Jan. 2012.
[ix] Hollis III
[x] O’Halpin
[xi]"Fine Gael." Daily Life Through History. ABC-CLIO, 2012. Web. 11 Jan. 2012.
[xii] Hollis III
[xiii] ibid
[xiv] ibid
[xv]Hollis III, Daniel Webster. The History of Ireland. Westport: Greenwood, 2001. Print.
[xvi]O’Haplin, Eunan. Defending Ireland: The Irish State and Its Enemies since 1922. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1999. Print.
[xvii] Hollis III
[xviii] O’Halpin
[xix] Hollis III
[xx] ibid
[xxi]Keating, Sean. Sean Keating in Context: Responses to Culture and Politics in Post- Civil War Ireland. Ed. Eimear O’Connor. Dublin: Carysfort, 2099. Print.
[xxii] O’Halpin
[xxiii] ibid
[xxiv] Hollis III
[xxv] ibid
[xxvii] ibid
[xxviii] ibid
[xxix] Dail Eireann
[xxx] Hollis III
[xxxi] ibid
[xxxii] O’Halpin
[xxxiii] Hollis III
[xxxiv] O’Halpin
[xxxv] Hollis III
[xxxvi] ibid
[xxxvii] ibid
[xxxviii] ibid
[xxxix] O’Halpin
[xl] Keating
























Belliveau, Scott. “Sinn Fein: Cold War.” World at War: Understanding Conflict and Society. ABC- CLIO, 2012. Web. 11 Jan. 2012.
This article was found on the online database ABC- CLIO and is written by Scott Belliveau. It was written to inform the reader on one of Ireland’s main political parties, Sinn Fein, and its actions from the years 1905 to 2005. The main focus is on the Cold War Period and the party’s responses to major political events within the country during that time. It highlights all of the party splits, as well as specific political policies made in response to Britain’s actions and the creation of Fianna Fail and the Irish Free State. It also gives background information of influential party leaders and other mentionable people of the time, specifically on de Valera (leader of the Fianna Fail Party). All of this information is valuable not only because of its content but because it was found off of a database, which means that it is reliable and up to date. The article is in no way short, but it is not extremely long. It could be longer and therefore contain more detailed information. Some of the events are simply mentioned and not explained, which leaves questions as to why it happened and what the responses were. It also continuously mentions party splits, but for many the reason is left unexplained.

O'Halpin, Eunan. Defending Ireland: The Irish State and Its Enemies since 1922. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1999. Print
This book was written in 1999 by Eunin O’Haplin, graduate of the University of Cambridge and Professor of Contemporary Irish History at Trinity College in Dublin. He specializes in British and Irish history and politics of the 20th century and is the son of an IRA member. The book was published in 1999 by Oxford University Press in Oxford but has also been published in New York City. The purpose is to inform the reader on Ireland and its enemies since 1922 (after the Irish Civil War). Some of these enemies were external, such as Britain. But some of these enemies were found inside the country, like the IRA. Unlike the previous book that I have used for research, this one focuses on events in Ireland determined by people other than the government. Instead of talking about the political happenings that caused tensions within the country after the civil war, O’Halpin sheds light on the issues caused by the IRA, Britain, and the economy. Another value is that the author is the son of an IRA member and therefore gives the perspective from someone who was on the “bad” side instead of a government official or a historian with no personal recollection of the fighting. It also includes a lot of primary sources within book. A limitation of this source is that it doesn’t really take into account the actions of different political parties in combination with those of the IRA and Britain. It only focuses on the outside influences instead of combining with the inside. It is also very text heavy and therefore some of the valuable information is lost due to the length.

Keating, Sean. Sean Keating in Context: Responses to Culture and Politics in Post- Civil War Ireland. Ed. Eimear O'Connor. Dublin: Carysfort, 2099. Print.
Sean Keating was a former president of the Royal Hibernian Acadamy in Ireland and a well-known Irish romantic realist painter. This book is compiled of his accounts and was edited by Eimear O’Connor, art historian and art researcher at Trinity College of Dublin. Published in 2009, the main publication location is in Dublin, Ireland. This book is compiled of Keating’s accounts of Irish life after the Irish Civil War (1923 to the mid 1950s). Its purpose is to inform the reader on not only the artists’ lives and viewpoints in post- war Ireland, but also on the realities of the ways of life and governmental actions. Keating’s opinion that Ireland was willing to blame everyone for their problems is probably some of the most valuable information for this project because it gives the perspective of an Irish citizen who was not involved in any form of IRA or government organization. While the book sheds light on an artist’s point of view, it sometimes focuses too much on the artistic side, and my research requires more of a political viewpoint.

Hollis, Daniel Webster. The History of Ireland. Westport, CT: Greenwood, 2001. Print.
Daniel Webster Hollis III is Professor of History at Jacksonville State University in Alabama. He has frequently taught Irish history and has published for databases such as ABC- CLIO. This book also had an advisory board overseeing the creation and publication. This board included John Alexander, Professor of History at University of Kansas, William Cohen, Professor of History at Indiana University at Bloomington, Robert Devine, Professor of American History Emeritus at University of Texas at Austin, and John Lombardi, Professor of History at University of Florida. Greenwood Press in Westward, Connecticut and London published this book in 2001. The chapter that I read, titled “The Irish Free State (1918- 1938)”, was written to inform readers on Ireland’s economic, political, and social environment from 1918 until 1938. It provides information on each political party’s actions as well as those of the IRA and Britain. It gives detail on the Free State and its newfound struggles, as well as the Cosgrove Era, Fianna Fail’s ruling period, and life in Northern Ireland during the time. The book was written in chronological order, so within the chapter it is easy to follow and the information is easily digested because of this. It is also extremely specific, such as how many seats a party had in parliament or what leader resigned and why. It gives detailed background of each leader of a political party, military leader, and any other important figure of the time. This chapter only gives information on a 20-year time span, which is not very long. It also does not focus on Northern Ireland and its happenings during the time period. There are about 25 pages in the chapter and only four focus on Northern Ireland.

Belliveau, Scott. “Sinn Fein: Cold War.” World at War: Understanding Conflict and Society. ABC- CLIO, 2012. Web. 11 Jan. 2012.
Origin: This article was found on the online database ABC- CLIO and is written by Scott Belliveau. I can’t find information on the author but I am sure that he is an expert of some sort on this topic due to the fact that ABC- CLIO database included it in its files.
Purpose: This article was written to inform the reader on one of Ireland’s main political parties, Sinn Fein, and its actions from the years 1905 to 2005. The main focus is on the Cold War Period and the party’s responses to major political events within the country during that time.
Value: This article highlights all of the party splits, as well as specific political policies made in response to Britain’s actions and the creation of Fianna Fail and the Irish Free State. It also gives background information of influential party leaders and other mentionable people of the time, specifically on de Valera (leader of the Fianna Fail Party). All of this information is valuable not only because of its content but because it was found off of a database, which means that it is reliable and up to date.
Limitations: The article is in no way short, but it is not extremely long. It could be longer and therefore contain more detailed information. Some of the events are simply mentioned and not explained, which leaves questions as to why it happened and what the responses were. It also continuously mentions party splits, but for many the reason is left unexplained.

O'Halpin, Eunan. Defending Ireland: The Irish State and Its Enemies since 1922. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1999. Print
Origin- This book was written in 1999 by Eunin O’Haplin, graduate of the University of Cambridge and Professor of Contemporary Irish History at Trinity College in Dublin. He specializes in British and Irish history and politics of the 20th century and is the son of an IRA member. The book was published in 1999 by Oxford University Press in Oxford but has also been published in New York City.
Purpose- The purpose of this book is to inform the reader on Ireland and its enemies since 1922 (after the Irish Civil War). Some of these enemies were external, such as Britain. But some of these enemies were found inside the country, like the IRA.
Value- A value of this source is that unlike the previous book that I read, it focuses on events in Ireland determined by people other than the government. Instead of talking about the political happenings that caused tensions within the country after the civil war, O’Halpin sheds light on the issues caused by the IRA, Britain, and the economy. Another value of this source is that the author is the son of an IRA member and therefore gives the perspective from someone who was on the “bad” side instead of a government official or a historian with no personal recollection of the fighting. It also includes a lot of primary sources within book.
Limitations- A limitation of this source is that it doesn’t really take into account the actions of different political parties in combination with those of the IRA and Britain. It only focuses on the outside influences instead of combining with the inside. Another limitation is that it is very text heavy and therefore some of the valuable information is lost due to the length

Trefs, Mattias. “Eamon De Valera.” World at War: Understanding Conflict and Society. ABC- CLIO, 2012. Web. 11 Jan. 2012.
Origin: This is an article found on the ABC- CLIO online database written by Matthias Trefs. Trefs is the author of numerous other articles on the database, such as “Sean Lemass” and “Gerard Adams Jr” (these are also articles about Irish political history and the Sinn Fein party).
Purpose: The purpose of this article is to inform the reader on who Eamon de Valera was and how his role impacted the Sinn Fein party as well as Ireland’s stance on unification.
Value: This article provides valuable information on Eamon de Valera’s roles within the Irish government (founder of the Fianna Fail party, prime minister from 1932-1948, and president of Ireland from 1959-1973). It also explains how his international reputation helped pass a new constitution for Ireland in 1937 and how his strict policy of neutrality during World War II prevented the British government from attempting to increase influence in Ireland (again). One of the most important pieces of information throughout the article is the explanation of de Valera’s prevention of the unification of Northern Ireland and Eire, which is the main focus of my research paper.
Limitation: The main limitation of this article is its length. Because it is less than a page, most of the information is not very specific. Even though this lack of length allows it to focus on the most important aspects of his life, it does not allow much room for emphasis of specific events or detailed explanations of important points.