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“Strange Creatures We Are, Even to Ourselves”: Understanding Insurgency and Counterinsurgency Efforts in the Irish War of Independence

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“Strange Creatures We Are, Even to Ourselves”: Understanding Insurgency and Counterinsurgency Efforts in the Irish War of Independence

Cody Mattern

In director Ken Loach’s film "The Wind That Shakes the Barley", actor Cillian Murphy’s reluctant rebel Damien O’ Donovan resolutely claims that “It’s easy to know what you’re against, quite another to know what you are for.”[i] This statement, which seems to reinforce the idea of standing firm against the things you truly oppose at the core of your being, simultaneously carries with it the undercurrent that just action brings with it the unpleasant baggage of grappling with what it is you are and are not willing to do in order to achieve victory. Ultimately, this quote serves as a reflection of the nature of the Irish War of Independence, insofar as it was a war that required both the Irish and the British to constantly engage with and challenge the ideas and goals that motivated them, and how vicious and ruthless they would need to be in order to secure their desires.

Given the intricate nature and moral quandaries the conflict brought about, it is perhaps unsurprising that "The Wind That Shakes the Barley" was lauded upon its release, winning the highest prize awarded at the Cannes Film Festival in 2006 (the Palme d’Or) and setting a record as the highest-grossing Irish-made independent film (until being surpassed by John Michael McDonagh’s The Guard in 2011).[ii] The popularity of the film abroad and in Ireland shows the enduring nature of the Irish War of Independence in the global zeitgeist. It speaks to the idea of just rebellion and the suffering it brings, and to the Irish served to further codify and reinforce their cultural identity as it relates to pain and struggle in the face of overwhelming odds and in the service of true freedom and self-governance. Why, given the intricate and bloody path of history and its numerous violent conflicts, has the idea of the Irish fight for independence continued to engage and inspire us in equal measure? To understand that, one needs to examine the numerous parties and fascinating particulars of this war and the lessons that it can teach us.

Background and Characteristics of the Insurgency

The Irish War of Independence, sometimes alternatively identified as the Anglo-Irish War, was a protracted armed struggle between the insurgent forces of the Irish Republican Army (the IRA, or Volunteers; the Irish forces never formally adopted the IRA moniker themselves) and the British forces—in the form of the British Army, the Royal Irish Constabulary (the RIC, often nicknamed the “Black and Tans” as a result of their colorful and slapdash uniforms), the Auxiliaries and the Ulster Special Constabularyover the issue of Irish independence and the creation of a free Republic of Ireland from 1919 to 1921.[iii] This struggle is sometimes considered the “first modern guerrilla war.”[iv] Centuries of British oppression had made the Irish sick with anger.[v] Irish administrative infrastructure had been decaying since the 1880s, and the weakening RIC could do little to quell a growing Irish nationalist fervor (it should also be noted that it is of significant import that attempts to warn British leadership of the developing situation were largely ignored).[vi]

Following the brutal fashion in which the British quelled the Easter Rising in 1916 by Irish Republicans (those who supported the idea of an independent Republic of Ireland) and considering the high number of casualties (450 rebels killed and 2,614 wounded) they inflicted, conflict was unlikely to abate.[vii] The Rising, far from breaking Irish spirits, firmly entrenched in many the idea that victory over the British could be achieved if they were willing to sacrifice.[viii] The death of prominent Republican Thomas Ashe from being forcibly fed while on hunger strike inflamed Irish passions further, and attempts to conscript the Irish into service in World War I went very poorly, with widespread opposition being raised and the editor of the Irish Homestead G.W. Russell writing that “if they [the British Government] persist in enforcing military service upon Ireland, if they insist on breaking the Irish will, there will not be a parish here where blood will not be spilt. There will grow up A HATE WHICH WILL NOT BE EXTINGUISHABLE lasting from generation to generation. It will be fed by tradition everywhere and our people live by tradition.”[ix] Tensions among the British and the Irish were extremely high, and following the victory of Sinn Féin (the Republican party) in the Irish parliament in 1918 and the subsequent formation of a breakaway government (Dáil Éireann, led by President Eamon De Valera) and an Irish declaration of independence in 1919, further armed conflict between the British and the Irish became an inevitability.[x] The catalyst for the outbreak of this conflict came on the evening of January 21, 1919 (the same day that the Dáil formally declared their independence), when IRA volunteers ambushed an explosives shipment and shot two RIC members dead in Soloheadbeg.[xi]

Irish attacks on the British and their proxies began in earnest. 21 policemen were murdered in short order, barracks were raided monthly and ambushes and sabotage became commonplace.[xii] The British were hesitant to engage with the idea of the developing Irish situation being more than simple “criminal action” that was not supported by the Irish population at large, and it was not until April 4, 1920, when the IRA destroyed all of the tax records in Ireland and burned more than 300 local government buildings, that the British (perhaps fearing a daisy chain of imperial disintegration should Ireland be freed from their grasp) felt compelled to act.[xiii] In May, Prime Minister David Lloyd George appointed Major General Sir Henry Hugh Tudor to serve as “Police Advisor to the Viceroy on the Royal Irish Constabulary and Dublin Metropolitan Police” and directed him to work in concert with the newly appointed Army General Officer Commanding, General Sir Nevil Macready.[xiv] Macready endeavored to control the operational aspects of the campaign while Tudor focused on intelligence efforts, with both reporting to civilian leadership in the form of the Lord Lieutenant, Lord French.[xv]

Violence between the IRA and British forces would continue to escalate, with ambushes, assassinations and attacks on Army and police personnel becoming near-daily occurrences. Of particular note was an incident on November 21, 1920 (termed “Bloody Sunday”), in which IRA gunmen worked to systematically assassinate British intelligence servicemen, killing a core group of fourteen in total.[xvi] This dealt a significant blow to burgeoning British counterinsurgency efforts, and made it clear to the British and to the Irish people that easy victory for the British was an unlikely event.[xvii] On November 28th, 18 Auxiliaries were killed in an attack near Macroom that would mark the most famous ambush conducted during the course of the war.[xviii] Ultimately in the face of an ever more costly struggle, an agreement for an official truce was implemented on July 11, 1921 at the request of the British.[xix] An Anglo-Irish Treaty which secured the creation of an Irish Free State (as a self-governing dominion of the British Empire), mandated the Dáil swear an oath of allegiance to the British crown, permitted British strategic use of certain ports and ensured the continued British control of Northern Ireland (as part of an option the Northern Irish were given to opt out of the Free State) was approved on December 6, 1921 and ratified by the Dáil on January 7, 1922, bringing a formal (and divisive) end to the war.[xx]

All in all, the national consciousness had been awakened, and a mature and capable IRA and Dáil Éireann came to be firmly entrenched in the national and international view as the legitimate governing body in Ireland. While still brutal, the Irish War of Independence ended with relatively little loss of life (some estimate that less than 2,000 lives were lost during the conflict) in order to secure the independence of three million people.[xxi] In order to understand the result of this war and its enduring nature, it becomes incumbent upon us to examine the strengths and weaknesses of the combatants in order to understand the factors that led to its conclusion.

Strengths of the Insurgents

Effective Use of Terror and Assassination: The IRA directed an effective campaign of terror against the British apparatus as represented by the courts, the police, the magistracy and other local authorities, to the degree that they abandoned their duties and left the politicians of the Dáil Éireann to seize control of governance in their stead.[xxii] The almost daily assassinations of members of the RIC resulted in mass resignations and an inability to effectively police or control the Irish cities and countryside (11 members of the police force were killed in 1919, 39 were killed from the beginning of January to the end of June 1920 and 55 were killed from the beginning of July to the end of September).[xxiii] Dáil Éireann came to be viewed by the people as the legitimate government, and requests from the populace to be policed by the IRA showed that they viewed that group as their legitimate protectors.[xxiv] Irish violence provoked British counter-violence, driving the people further and further towards the cause of the IRA.[xxv]

Selective assassination was an oft employed tool, as exemplified by the events of “Bloody Sunday.”[xxvi] Police, magistrates and informers were often shot in broad daylight.[xxvii] Michael Collins himself had a group of full time assassins in his employ, known alternatively as “The Squad” and “The Twelve Apostles.”[xxviii] On the necessity of assassinations he said “England could always reinforce her Army. She could replace every soldier that she lost ... but there were others indispensable for her purposes which were not so easily replaced. To paralyse the British machine it was necessary to strike at individuals.”[xxix]

Ideological Devotion: From the late-19th to early-20th century a cultural movement in Ireland was fostered by organizations such as the Gaelic Athletic Association, the Gaelic League, the Christian Brothers, the Irish Republican Brotherhood and various sections of the priesthood.[xxx] A revival in Gaelic literature gave rise again to a pervasive idea of “Irishness” and of a distinct national identity free of British control.[xxxi] This idea would become a focal point of the Irish revolutionary movement, wherein it became paramount to convince the populace that Irish independence was a cause worthy of martyrdom.[xxxii]

Irish leaders like Michael Collins and Padraig Pearse effectively channeled and directed Irish nationalistic energy and extolled the virtues of sacrifice, with the effective nature of this narrative being reinforced by the strong religious beliefs of the Irish community.[xxxiii] Violence in the name of Ireland was viewed as righteous and holy, with Pearse writing “bloodshed is a cleansing and sanctifying thing, and the nation which regards it as the final horror has lost its manhood. There are many things more horrible than bloodshed and slavery is one of them.”[xxxiv] The British leadership, which was becoming less and less interested in the particulars of holding onto Ireland and which was employing forces motivated mainly by the pay they would receive, faced an extremely difficult opponent that was, on the whole, willing to kill, die and go to any extremes for a cause they viewed as just and godly.[xxxv]

A Well-Defined Political Arm: In a similar manner to how in the Second-Sino Japanese War Mao Zedong realized the dissemination of political ideas was key to promoting national unity and organizational coherence, Irish leadership (in particular Michael Collins) realized the importance of the same thing.[xxxvi] At the heart of the Irish Volunteers was the Irish Republican Brotherhood (IRB), a society directed by Michael Collins in a dual role as President and as Director of Organization of the Army.[xxxvii] Formed in 1858 with the express intention of overthrowing the English government in Ireland and establishing an Irish Republic, the members of the IRB were organized into a distinct hierarchy, with members of multiple sections making up a “circle” in each locality, with each “circle” being led by elected officials and a key leader, the “centre.”[xxxviii] “Centres” would come together and elect a “district centre”, who served to direct operations within his designated area of responsibility.[xxxix] Districts would further coalesce into counties and divisions, with the main governing body of the IRB being the Supreme Council.[xl] The Council directed the military, propaganda and political efforts of the IRA, giving their actions an air of democratic legitimacy and civilian oversight, and was further supported by the efforts of Sinn Féin, which provided additional political support and legitimacy, and directed significant amounts of recruits and funding to IRB and IRA activities through a wealth of Irish political and social clubs.[xli]

The propaganda apparatus of the IRA was developed and efficient. The pro-Republican Irish Bulletin was distributed freely to press correspondents and liberally-minded men and women in England, and British atrocities were covered and criticized in leading British publications of the time such as The Manchester Guardian, The London Daily Herald and The New Statesman.[xlii] Information on Irish efforts and British atrocities found its way into every European capital and made its way to the US as well, framing the struggle firmly in a pro-Irish context.[xliii]

A Well-Defined Intelligence Arm: Under the direction of Michael Collins, the extensive intelligence network the IRA maintained was a major asset to their efforts against the British.[xliv] Key to the tactics Collins advocated were the removal of spies and informers, who were hunted down and dealt with brutally.[xlv] Between January and April 1921, 73 bodies with signs around their necks declaring an informer had been removed were found on Irish streets.[xlvi] The secrecy of IRA operations was rigorously ensured.[xlvii] The majority of IRA companies and battalions had an intelligence officer, who made frequent reports to a Central Office in Dublin.[xlviii] The IRA efforts were supplemented by a significant network of civilian spies in every part of Ireland and some parts of England.[xlix] Collins even possessed spies who worked in the Dublin Metropolitan Police, allowing him at one point to directly access information identifying formerly unknown detectives in plain clothes who could undermine IRA efforts, most of whom were then systematically assassinated.[l]

The Support of the People: The necessity of this point cannot be overemphasized. By the end of the War, it became readily apparent that the Irish people were firmly on the side of self-governance, and Irish efforts as a whole were viewed as just internationally.[li] The popularly elected Sinn Féin and Dáil Éireann came to represent the legitimate government, and the violence that was being perpetrated against British forces did little to reinforce the idea of British control.[lii] Irish Republicans boycotted the police and refused to sell them food and fuel, wouldn’t give information or serve on juries and turned instead to Republican police and Republican courts.[liii] IRA soldiers were hidden by members of the population so as to avoid British reprisals, and civilians comprised a great deal of the IRB and IRA intelligence gathering and political structure.[liv] Michael Collins summed things up nicely when he said “Ireland’s story from 1918 to 1921 may be summed up as the story of a struggle between our determination to govern ourselves and to get rid of British government and the British determination to prevent us from doing either. It was a struggle between two rival Governments, the one an Irish Government resting on the will of the people and the other an alien Government depending for its existence upon military force—the one gathering more and more authority, the other steadily losing ground.”[lv] 

A Developed Military Hierarchy: Irish actions in the War were coordinated by a carefully orchestrated campaign plan.[lvi] The IRB directed Volunteer efforts efficiently, and a great deal of stock was placed in the capabilities and understanding of local leadership in relation to the terms of unit disposition, creation and initiative.[lvii] Training and organization were thorough; Ireland was divided into brigade areas, with each brigade consisting of four battalions.[lviii] Army Staff headquarters (General Headquarters or GHQ) was in Dublin, and organizational procedures and responsibilities were clearly defined.[lix] Training was uniform throughout the Army, and covered drill, cycling, scouting, engineering and first aid.[lx] Every effort was made to enlist and rely on the knowledge and experience of ex-soldiers.[lxi]

Effective Use of Guerrilla Tactics: IRA activities were typical of a guerrilla force, and included attacks on police barracks and on Army and police patrols and convoys, assassination of individuals, destruction of government property and robbery.[lxii] Frequent attacks on police barracks by IRA units not only limited the authority of the police in the eyes of the local community, it also afforded IRA members the chance to secure vital arms and ammunition.[lxiii] Under the guise of gathering in support of sporting events, IRA members were able to meet in large numbers before attacks and limit the suspicion being placed upon them.[lxiv]

IRA ambushes were often conducted after dark and in such a fashion that British relief forces were unable to support their compatriots.[lxv] Following an attack, IRA soldiers could blend in with the residents of local villages or city crowds, who would provide them with protection and alibis.[lxvi] The IRA were extremely effective at striking first and disappearing before they could be struck in return.

The IRA knew its limitations and understood that the best way to defeat the British was to fight them like insurgents and to outlast British political will.[lxvii] The military forces of the IRA remained highly flexible and highly mobile, and effectively utilized the structure of “flying columns”, which are described in the U.S. Marine Corps’ Small Wars Manual thusly “The mission of the flying column will be to seek out the hostile groups, attack them energetically and then pursue them to the limit. Therefore, there should be nothing in its composition or armament that would tend to reduce its mobility or independence of action beyond that absolutely necessary for combat and subsistence.”[lxviii] The operations of the IRA during the course of the War were defined by competent planning (as a result of a capable intelligence-gathering network), speed and aggressively seizing the initiative.

Weaknesses of the Insurgents

Excessive Use of Violence: The use of violent action in any conflict is a double-edged sword. In the case of the IRA, assassinations and ambushes likely appeared to have such a significant effect that they are what, in essence, brought the British to the negotiating table. It is extremely likely that every civilian the IRA killed was not a spy, and attacks on members of the Protestant minority seem to fall out of the purview of fighting the British.[lxix] The heavy use of violence resulted in the British leadership viewing their Irish counterparts as “murderers” rather than lawful combatants, perhaps making them reluctant to engage politically and instead making them less hesitant to resort to more drastic and violent measures themselves, escalating the conflict.[lxx] Of particular note in amplifying British recalcitrance to negotiate were the ambushing of police officers, the killings on “Bloody Sunday” (some of the men were killed in bed or in the presence of their wives) and the killing of Alan Bell, an unarmed civilian (who was admittedly collaborating with the British and warned by the IRA beforehand); the infrequent execution of surrendering soldiers and prisoners did little to help matters.[lxxi]

Lack of Equipment and Manpower: It should be stated that the IRA did not have the capacity to field more than 3,000 equipped fighters at one time, despite having tens of thousands of volunteers.[lxxii] Equipment, specifically arms and ammunition, could really only be readily obtained through potentially dangerous raids on police barracks.[lxxiii] In terms of manpower and equipment, the British had an overwhelming advantage.[lxxiv]   

Weaknesses of the Counterinsurgent Forces

Lack of Seizing the Initiative: In contrast to their IRA counterparts, the actions of the British during this conflict were far more hesitant and reactionary.[lxxv] The IRA were, for the most part, free to move and operate in their native country with relatively little fear of significant reprisal.[lxxvi] The inability of the British to seize the initiative can also be attributed to their more rigid command structure (and fear of IRA ambush), whereas the IRA relied greatly on seizing the initiative and the understanding of local leadership to identify and coordinate attacks.[lxxvii]

Underestimating the Irish: The British leadership early on underestimated the resolve and capabilities of the IRA and the Irish population.[lxxviii] They viewed the IRA as a “murder gang” with little popular support, and ultimately failed to understand the situation they were facing until it was too late.[lxxix] As the IRA grew and continued to achieve small military victories, the British unwillingness to engage with the idea that they were at war with the Irish (who they viewed as inferior) significantly hindered their counterinsurgency efforts.[lxxx]

Lack of a Clear Command Structure and Lack of Counterinsurgency Understanding: The British campaign suffered from the lack of a coherent strategic and tactical approach to dealing with the IRA from a counterinsurgency standpoint outside of a need to “restore order”, and the British were unprepared for counterinsurgency efforts having just come from fighting (to date) the world’s largest conventional war.[lxxxi] Mixed messages from British political leadership did not help matters in terms of establishing clear rules of engagement or conditions to achieve victory. London wanted to conduct a police action, but it was very much fighting a war that had already progressed into the late second phase of Mao Zedong’s Three Phases of Insurgency (increasing direct action against the government), making such a course of action less than viable.[lxxxii] Until the attempts to reform British intelligence efforts under Major General Tudor and Brigadier General Winter discussed in greater detail below, the intelligence-gathering efforts of the disparate British groups in Ireland could charitably be described as “incompetent.”[lxxxiii]

Viciousness and Brutality: The Irish War of Independence is notorious for violence, with a great deal of that violence being attributed to the “Black and Tans”, the Royal Irish Constabulary that was in large part composed of approximately 10,000 Irishmen and 9,000 British ex-servicemen.[lxxxiv] The majority of the 9,000 were young working-class World War I veterans, who joined the RIC because the pay was good and because they had limited skills with which to find work.[lxxxv] These individuals were stationed in Ireland only after two or three weeks of training, and found themselves introduced into a bitter and bloody conflict that they were unprepared to deal with, and which ultimately frustrated them to the point of violence.[lxxxvi] It was not uncommon for members of the RIC to demand quarter in Irish homes, smash windows, light fires, shoot wildly and even throw grenades whenever they felt the need for reprisal was necessary.[lxxxvii] IRA volunteers and collaborators were often tortured or shot dead without due process.[lxxxviii] Perhaps the most famous of these incidents is the Croke Park Massacre (a reprisal during “Bloody Sunday”), wherein fourteen civilians (including two children) were shot dead by British soldiers and auxiliaries at a Gaelic football match.[lxxxix] The reports of violent incidents in Britain served to divide political discourse and to mobilize Britain’s liberal-minded leaders to oppose engagement in Ireland, a sentiment that ultimately quashed the rhetoric of the more imperially-minded.[xc]

Lack of Support Among the People: Already facing the difficulty of Protestant rule over a nation with a Catholic majority, by 1920 British and pro-British forces faced an untenable situation.[xci] In the face of resurgent Irish nationalism and as a consequence of their violent actions during the war, the British and their auxiliaries found little in the way of support in terms of information, shelter, fuel or provisions and the situation had progressed to such a degree that police were unable to patrol except in large numbers.[xcii] The efforts of the British were faced with a general hostility and were viewed on the international stage as oppression due to effective Irish propaganda.[xciii] 

Strengths of the Counterinsurgent Forces

British Forces: The forces of the regular British Army (and a portion of their supplementary forces) were, on the whole, well-trained and well-equipped.[xciv] They were experienced fighters who had gained a wealth of experience during World War I, and while they had little counterinsurgency knowledge, they were extremely capable and had the support of an extensively developed military support and logistical structure.[xcv] The British Army regulars were a significant resource possessed by the British Empire.

Developing and Directing Intelligence Efforts: Whereas the British intelligence efforts early in the conflict were extremely lacking, British leadership should be commended for understanding and working to address the issue.[xcvi] Major General Tudor determined that the existing intelligence system in Ireland was broken, and resolved to reform its efforts by merging police and army intelligence into a single branch under his direct control.[xcvii] This group, termed the Irish Combined Intelligence Service, was helmed by Brigadier General Sir Ormonde Winter, a veteran of World War I and of British “secret service work” who was described bombastically by Mark Sturgis, the assistant undersecretary of Ireland, as “a marvel”, “a wicked snake” and “entirely non-moral.”[xcviii] Following the merger by Winter of the Special Branch of the RIC and the Detectives Department of the Dublin Metropolitan Police, a new Central Intelligence Bureau was established in Dublin.[xcix]

Intelligence bureaus were established throughout every police district in Ireland, and police constables and soldiers were directed to submit any intelligence, no matter how seemingly insignificant, to these bureaus, who in turn supplied this information to the Central Intelligence Bureau.[c] Winter established a center in London with the goal of collecting information on the Irish community in Britain, founded a Raids Bureau to collect and analyze intelligence from police raids and provide relevant information to higher-level leadership and developed an increasingly well-staffed and efficient intelligence and reporting apparatus.[ci] Under Winter’s auspices, intelligence collection efforts in Ireland became streamlined under a central system with a clear hierarchy and uniform procedures that (by two years into the conflict) had begun developing detailed reports about insurgent leaders.[cii]

The reforms brought about by Winter were unfortunately implemented too late into the conflict to make a significant difference, and British intelligence proceedings were dealt a significant blow by the events of “Bloody Sunday.”[ciii] By the time that Winter was appointed, the British had already lost the battle for the hearts and minds of the Irish.[civ] Despite the failure of overall British efforts, attempts to reform British intelligence-gathering efforts under Winter illustrated the important principles of developing a well-structured intelligence apparatus and promoting interagency cooperation, lessons which the British would learn to apply well later on in Malaya.[cv]

Coercive Measures and Reconciliation: Greatly increased British troop commitments in the spring and summer of 1921 made the threat of a greater war in Ireland more apparent and brought the IRA to the negotiating table, which resulted in the signing of the Anglo-Irish Treaty of 1921.[cvi] Whereas the particulars were not wholly what each side wanted, the British understood the importance of concessions and were able to secure major terms which required a new Irish state to acknowledge a continuation of British sovereignty, permitted the British strategic use of Irish ports and demanded the IRA and Dáil Éireann forget the unity of the whole of Ireland.[cvii] The acceptance of these terms and the end that it brought to the war show that eventually, British leadership understood the value of coercive over punitive actions.[cviii]

Examination and Key Takeaways

The case of the Irish War of Independence presents an opportunity to examine the particulars of a number of theoretical concerns related to the effective conduct of counterinsurgency (COIN) operations. When one frames a COIN engagement as one in which insurgents, the local government and external actors act as three major “players” and compete for the support of the civilian population and victory is almost wholly dependent upon that condition, the victory of the Irish insurgent forces makes sense. British violence perpetrated in the Irish context alienated the group that they most needed the support of in order to keep control over Ireland tenable, and a British unwillingness to recognize the widespread popular support of the independence movement limited their effectiveness against the propaganda and political machine that was the IRB.[cix] In contrast, the IRB and the IRA had strong support among the people throughout the conflict, worked to avoid civilian casualties and treat the local population with respect and care, framed their struggle politically and religiously as part of a resurgent Irish nationalist movement in order to inspire and incentivize the population to support their efforts, ensured the underground government of Sinn Féin and Dáil Éireann represented the legitimate government of the people and utilized violence effectively on British forces to make the idea of the Empire’s control over the Irish seem tenuous at best and illusory at worst.[cx] If the struggle for victory in a counterinsurgency situation is dependent upon the support of the civilian population, then British counterinsurgency efforts began in a difficult situation (as a result of hundreds of years of oppression against the Irish) and ended in an intolerable one.[cxi]

An individual can also consider the conflict in terms of the two fundamental requirements (sometimes termed the “big pillars”) of COIN, the first of these being Civil COIN, a catch-all term for counterinsurgency efforts which focus on addressing the structural and governmental issues that have led to the creation and proliferation of an insurgency. These issues include (but are not limited to) things like corruption, economic turmoil, poverty and ethnic and religious strife. In terms of engagement with Civil COIN, the Irish-proxy government of the British and the British themselves failed spectacularly. Instead of addressing the grievances of the Irish population following the Easter Rising and in the context of the greater conflict itself, the British doubled down on violence and punitive measures and drove the Irish people further into the arms of the IRA.[cxii] British effectiveness in Civil COIN relates solely to their efforts to reconcile with the Irish dissidents in the later stages of the conflict.[cxiii] The British, in their treaty negotiations, came to (at least on a surface-level) understand the concerns and grievances of the Irish as they related to self-governance, and drafted terms that the Irish and they themselves would find agreeable.[cxiv] The necessity of these terms was reinforced by the threat of an increased British military presence, one that the Irish would likely have been unable to overcome and would have been ill-advised to ignore.[cxv]

In terms of the “Security” pillar of COIN (wherein the efforts of local and national police, military forces and intelligence services work to counter, contain and eliminate an insurgency), British misunderstanding in regards to the nature and severity of the Irish situation made certain their response was inadequate.[cxvi] With the framing of the War as the criminal actions of a group of extremist thugs with limited popular support, the British attempts to maintain and control the proceedings under the auspices of a police action were ineffective.[cxvii] The RIC started and (for the most part remained) poorly equipped to deal with the burgeoning insurgency, and the flexibility, speed and precision of IRA attacks (in addition to the sanctuary they possessed among the people) ensured that attacks on British forces were both damaging to the British and of limited harm to their IRA counterparts.[cxviii]

Lack of a clearly defined objective beyond the idea of “restoring order” and mixed political messaging prevented the British military from being able to engage in effective action, and a lack of counterinsurgency experience as a result of coming off of the world’s largest conventional war to date (World War I) and an underdeveloped intelligence apparatus (at the beginning of the war) made seizing the initiative difficult against a fluid and aggressive opponent well-versed in assassination and guerrilla warfare.[cxix] The violent reprisals of the British forces against the Irish public did little to help matters, and were an overreaction the insurgents desired.[cxx] In terms of effective British “Security” actions, the development of the British intelligence network in Ireland under Major General Tudor and Brigadier General Winter was very successful late into the conflict, with key points of import being a clearly-defined intelligence collecting procedure and coordinated efforts focused on interagency cooperation.[cxxi] In most cases, both of the “pillars” are crucial and must be addressed in order to effectively overcome an insurgency. Overall, British Civil COIN and Security efforts were not hopeless, but were plagued by significant problems and disadvantages. The presence of a viable alternative to the civil and security concerns of the populace in the form of the courts and officials of Dáil Éireann and the IRA made British efforts towards these concerns seem illegitimate.[cxxii]

There are significant predictors to the success of an insurgency that can be also be examined. Frequently, an insurgency triumphs when the insurgents have sanctuary, have outside sources of support (from external state and non-state actors) and face a weak local government. If these factors are indeed predictors of insurgent success, the success of the Irish insurgents is understandable. Whereas the IRA did not possess much sanctuary in the traditional sense (they particularly lacked cross-border sanctuary in another nation), they enjoyed significant sanctuary among the populace and could hide freely among them in the countryside and blend into crowds of them in the city, easing the conduct of ambushes and assassinations.[cxxiii] The Irish enjoyed little in terms of tangible support from external actors (that is to say monetary support and arms and ammunition), but the political support they enjoyed was substantial.[cxxiv] The British were, on the whole, viewed as unjust oppressors, and the international political pressure the British faced to peaceably resolve the Irish situation was not trifling.[cxxv] Finally, the British proxy government as exemplified by administrative personnel and the RIC were viewed as illegitimate and were unequipped to deal with effective governance in the face of a violent insurgency.[cxxvi] Although supported by the incredibly powerful British Empire, the local government the Irish Volunteers had to overcome was vulnerable in and of itself.[cxxvii]

Overall, it is understandable that the British lost this conflict. They were unprepared to fight an insurgency, failed to seize the initiative and allowed the insurgents to determine the course of the war, lacked unity of command and a clear vision to achieve victory, underestimated the Irish, used excessive violence and lacked the support of the local population.[cxxviii] Additionally, they completely ignored the importance of Civil COIN (until the final stages of the conflict, wherein they provided a peaceful path to change) and improperly identified and managed the struggle they faced in terms of the Security pillar of counterinsurgency.[cxxix] While they learned effectively as the war went on and enjoyed significant advantages in terms of manpower and equipment, the British were ultimately unable to triumph because they faced a capable opponent who understood how to carry out an insurgency and because they lacked the support of the people.[cxxx]

An Irish victory is similarly understandable. The Irish insurgent forces effectively used terror and assassination against the British forces, were devoted ideologically to the idea of a free Ireland, had well-developed military, political and intelligence organizations, conducted guerrilla warfare excellently and enjoyed the support of the majority of the Irish population.[cxxxi] While the Irish forces occasionally relied too heavily on violence and lacked the equipment, armaments and training to match the British in a conventional war, the war the Irish Volunteers fought was an unconventional one.[cxxxii]

Ultimately, the Irish victory in the Irish War of Independence came with noteworthy caveats in relation to the goals they had set out to achieve.[cxxxiii] Following the Anglo-Irish Treaty, an Irish Civil War was waged from June of 1922 to May of 1923 between the army of the Irish Free State and the Anti-Treaty Irish, who felt that the terms of Irish reconciliation with the British were unacceptable, and that status as a dominion of the British Empire and the mandated oath of loyalty to the crown illustrated that Ireland was not truly free.[cxxxiv] This war was as violent as its predecessor and claimed the lives of such notables as Michael Collins himself, but was ultimately quashed by the forces and democratically elected leadership of the Irish Free State, illustrating the power a strong local government viewed as legitimate by the people has in regards to defeating an insurgent movement.[cxxxv]

Regardless of what followed, the Irish War of Independence itself likely remains such a strong part of the culture of Ireland and the greater world because it is viewed on the whole as a just war conducted in conjunction with the will of the people against a brutal foreign oppressor. It illustrates to those who seek to understand counterinsurgency numerous lessons related to securing victory, chief among these the importance of securing the support of the local population and understanding your opponent, the essential need to apply only the minimum necessary use of force, the value of intelligence operations, the necessity of providing a peaceful path to change and the critical nature of having a clear operational goal. From an insurgent standpoint, this case demonstrates the ways in which targeted use of terror, effective use of guerrilla tactics, the creation of well-defined political, military and intelligence organizations and the support of the people can make an insurgency much more dangerous and difficult to overcome. When it comes to understanding the true nature of the war and the Irish victory, its dynamism becomes apparent in the dichotomous nature of noble rebels grappling with acts of unbridled savagery. The whole of the picture may be difficult to understand in a modern sense (although there a number of conclusion we can draw), for the motivations of men cannot be as easily codified as their actions. As Damien O’ Donovan mused to his lover Sinead, “Strange creatures we are, even to ourselves.”[cxxxvi]

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End Notes


[i]“The Wind That Shakes the Barley-Quotes,” IMDb, https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0460989/quotes?ref_=tt_ql_trv_4 (accessed July 24, 2019).

[ii] “The Wind That Shakes the Barley-Trivia,” IMDb, https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0460989/trivia?ref_=tt_ql_trv_1 (accessed July 24, 2019); “The Guard' Topples 'Barley' to Become #1 Indie Irish Film”, IFTN, September 9, 2011, http://iftn.ie/news/?act1=record&only=1&aid=73&rid=4284243&tpl=archnews&force=1 (accessed July 24, 2019).

[iii] Michael Hopkinson, The Irish War of Independence, (Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2004), 3-313

[iv] Colin S. Gray, “The Anglo-Irish War, 1919–21: Lessons from an Irregular Conflict,” Comparative Strategy 26 no. 5, (2007): 371

[v] Maura R. Cremin, “Fighting on Their Own Terms: The Tactics of the Irish Republican Army 1919-1921,” Small Wars and Insurgencies 27 no. 6, (2015): 912-915

[vi] Tom Bowden, “The Irish Underground and the War of Independence 1919-1921,” Journal of Contemporary History 8 no. 6 (1973): 4-8

[vii] Gray, “The Anglo-Irish War, 1919–21: Lessons from an Irregular Conflict,” 379

[viii] Bowden,  “The Irish War of Underground and the War of Independence 1919-1921,” 10-11

[ix] Bowden, “The Irish Underground and the War of Independence 1919-1921,” 10

[x] Giovanni Costigan, “The Anglo-Irish Conflict, 1919-1922: A War of Independence or Systematized Murder?,” University Review 5 no. 1 (1968): 69-70

[xi] Benjamin Grob-Fitzgibbon, “Intelligence and Counterinsurgency: Case Studies from Ireland, Malaya and the Empire,” RUSI Journal 156 no.1 (2011): 73

[xii] Grob-Fitzgibbon, “Intelligence and Counterinsurgency: Case Studies from Ireland, Malaya and the Empire,” 73

[xiii] Grob-Fitzgibbon, “Intelligence and Counterinsurgency: Case Studies from Ireland, Malaya and the Empire,” 73

[xiv] Grob-Fitzgibbon, “Intelligence and Counterinsurgency: Case Studies from Ireland, Malaya and the Empire,” 73

[xv] Grob-Fitzgibbon, “Intelligence and Counterinsurgency: Case Studies from Ireland, Malaya and the Empire,” 73

[xvi] Costigan, “The Anglo-Irish Conflict, 1919-1922: A War of Independence or Systematized Murder?,” 75

[xvii] Bowden,  “The Irish Underground and the War of Independence 1919-1921,” 4

[xviii] Costigan, “The Anglo-Irish Conflict, 1919-1922: A War of Independence or Systematized Murder?,” 84

[xix] Gray, “The Anglo-Irish War, 1919–21: Lessons from an Irregular Conflict,” 379

[xx] Gray, “The Anglo-Irish War, 1919–21: Lessons from an Irregular Conflict,” 372-387

[xxi] Costigan, “The Anglo-Irish Conflict, 1919-1922: A War of Independence or Systematized Murder?,” 67-68

[xxii] Bowden, “The Irish Underground and the War of Independence 1919-1921,” 4

[xxiii] Bowden, “The Irish Underground and the War of Independence 1919-1921,” 7; David Leeson, “The ‘scum of London’s underworld’? British Recruits for the Royal Irish Constabulary, 1920-21,” Contemporary British History 17 no. 1 (2003): 3

[xxiv] Bowden, “The Irish Underground and the War of Independence 1919-1921,” 6-7

[xxv] Gray, “The Anglo-Irish War, 1919–21: Lessons from an Irregular Conflict,” 386

[xxvi] Bowden, “The Irish Underground and the War of Independence 1919-1921,” 3-19

[xxvii] Bowden, “The Irish Underground and the War of Independence 1919-1921,” 19

[xxviii] Bowden, “The Irish Underground and the War of Independence 1919-1921,” 20

[xxix] Bowden, “The Irish Underground and the War of Independence 1919-1921,” 20

[xxx] Bowden, “The Irish Underground and the War of Independence 1919-1921,” 9-14

[xxxi] Bowden, “The Irish Underground and the War of Independence 1919-1921,” 10

[xxxii] Bowden, “The Irish Underground and the War of Independence 1919-1921,” 10

[xxxiii] Bowden, “The Irish Underground and the War of Independence 1919-1921,” 10

[xxxiv] Bowden, “The Irish Underground and the War of Independence 1919-1921,” 10

[xxxv] Costigan, “The Anglo-Irish Conflict, 1919-1922: A War of Independence or Systematized Murder?,” 80

[xxxvi] Mao Zedong, On Guerrilla Warfare (Middletown: CreateSpace Independent Publishing), 49-51

[xxxvii] Bowden, “The Irish Underground and the War of Independence 1919-1921,” 12

[xxxviii] Bowden, “The Irish Underground and the War of Independence 1919-1921,” 13

[xxxix] Bowden, “The Irish Underground and the War of Independence 1919-1921,” 13-14

[xl] Bowden, “The Irish Underground and the War of Independence 1919-1921,” 13-14

[xli] Bowden, “The Irish Underground and the War of Independence 1919-1921,” 14-16

[xlii] Bowden, “The Irish Underground and the War of Independence 1919-1921,” 18; Francis J. Costello, “The Role of Propaganda in the Anglo-Irish War 1919-1921,” Canadian Journal of Irish Studies 14 no. 2 (1989): 20

[xliii] Bowden, “The Irish Underground and the War of Independence 1919-1921,” 18

[xliv] Bowden, “The Irish Underground and the War of Independence 1919-1921,” 16

[xlv] Bowden, “The Irish Underground and the War of Independence 1919-1921,” 16-17

[xlvi] Bowden, “The Irish Underground and the War of Independence 1919-1921,” 17

[xlvii] Bowden, “The Irish Underground and the War of Independence 1919-1921,” 17

[xlviii] Bowden, “The Irish Underground and the War of Independence 1919-1921,” 17

[xlix] Bowden, “The Irish Underground and the War of Independence 1919-1921,” 17

[l] Bowden, “The Irish Underground and the War of Independence 1919-1921,” 18

[li] Bowden, “The Irish Underground and the War of Independence 1919-1921,” 12-22

[lii] Bowden, “The Irish Underground and the War of Independence 1919-1921,” 12-22

[liii] Leeson, “The ‘scum of London’s underworld’? British Recruits for the Royal Irish Constabulary, 1920-21,” 3

[liv] Bowden, “The Irish Underground and the War of Independence 1919-1921,” 17; Costigan, “The Anglo-Irish Conflict, 1919-1922: A War of Independence or Systematized Murder?,” 82

[lv] Bowden, “The Irish Underground and the War of Independence 1919-1921,” 23

[lvi] Bowden, “The Irish Underground and the War of Independence 1919-1921,” 12

[lvii] Bowden, “The Irish Underground and the War of Independence 1919-1921,” 12-16; Gray, “The Anglo-Irish War, 1919–21: Lessons from an Irregular Conflict,” 380

[lviii] Bowden, “The Irish Underground and the War of Independence 1919-1921,” 16

[lix] Cremin, “Fighting on Their Own Terms: The Tactics of the Irish Republican Army 1919-1921,” 914-916

[lx] Bowden, “The Irish Underground and the War of Independence 1919-1921,” 16

[lxi] Bowden, “The Irish Underground and the War of Independence 1919-1921,” 16

[lxii] Bowden, “The Irish Underground and the War of Independence 1919-1921,” 18-19

[lxiii] Bowden, “The Irish Underground and the War of Independence 1919-1921,” 19

[lxiv] Bowden, “The Irish Underground and the War of Independence 1919-1921,” 19

[lxv] Bowden, “The Irish Underground and the War of Independence 1919-1921,” 19

[lxvi] Bowden, “The Irish Underground and the War of Independence 1919-1921,” 19; Costigan, “The Anglo-Irish Conflict, 1919-1922: A War of Independence or Systematized Murder?,” 82

[lxvii] Bowden, “The Irish Underground and the War of Independence 1919-1921,” 20; Gray, “The Anglo-Irish War, 1919–21: Lessons from an Irregular Conflict,” 373

[lxviii] Bowden, “The Irish Underground and the War of Independence 1919-1921,” 20; Department of the Navy, United States Marine Corps, Small Wars Manual, 1940, FMFRP 12-15 (SWM 5-8), Washington, DC: United States Government Printing Office

[lxix] Julia Eichenberg, “The Dark Side of Independence: Paramilitary Violence in Ireland and Poland after the First World War,” Contemporary European History 19 no.3 (2010): 239

[lxx] Costigan, “The Anglo-Irish Conflict, 1919-1922: A War of Independence or Systematized Murder?,” 64-86

[lxxi] Costigan, “The Anglo-Irish Conflict, 1919-1922: A War of Independence or Systematized Murder?,” 75-86

[lxxii] Cremin, “Fighting on Their Own Terms: The Tactics of the Irish Republican Army 1919-1921,” 915

[lxxiii] Bowden, “The Irish Underground and the War of Independence 1919-1921,” 19

[lxxiv] Costigan, “The Anglo-Irish Conflict, 1919-1922: A War of Independence or Systematized Murder?,” 80

[lxxv] Bowden, “The Irish Underground and the War of Independence 1919-1921,” 21

[lxxvi] Bowden, “The Irish Underground and the War of Independence 1919-1921,” 20-21

[lxxvii] Gray, “The Anglo-Irish War, 1919–21: Lessons from an Irregular Conflict,” 380

[lxxviii] Gray, “The Anglo-Irish War, 1919–21: Lessons from an Irregular Conflict,” 390

[lxxix] Gray, “The Anglo-Irish War, 1919–21: Lessons from an Irregular Conflict,” 390

[lxxx] Gray, “The Anglo-Irish War, 1919–21: Lessons from an Irregular Conflict,” 384

[lxxxi] Gray, “The Anglo-Irish War, 1919–21: Lessons from an Irregular Conflict,” 383-392

[lxxxii] Zedong, On Guerrilla Warfare, 3-74

[lxxxiii] Grob-Fitzgibbon, “Intelligence and Counterinsurgency: Case Studies from Ireland, Malaya and the Empire,” 73-75

[lxxxiv] Leeson, “The ‘scum of London’s underworld’? British Recruits for the Royal Irish Constabulary, 1920-21,” 3

[lxxxv] Leeson, “The ‘scum of London’s underworld’? British Recruits for the Royal Irish Constabulary, 1920-21,” 2

[lxxxvi] Leeson, “The ‘scum of London’s underworld’? British Recruits for the Royal Irish Constabulary, 1920-21,” 2-31

[lxxxvii] Leeson, “The ‘scum of London’s underworld’? British Recruits for the Royal Irish Constabulary, 1920-21,” 5-31

[lxxxviii] Leeson, “The ‘scum of London’s underworld’? British Recruits for the Royal Irish Constabulary, 1920-21,” 5-31

[lxxxix] “Ceremony to Mark Grave of Bloody Sunday Victim,” Hoganstand, August 12, 2016, http://www.hoganstand.com/article/index/259444 (accessed July 24, 2019)

[xc] Gray, “The Anglo-Irish War, 1919–21: Lessons from an Irregular Conflict,” 380

[xci] Eichenberg, “The Dark Side of Independence: Paramilitary Violence in Ireland and Poland after the First World War,” 244

[xcii] Leeson, “The ‘scum of London’s underworld’? British Recruits for the Royal Irish Constabulary, 1920-21,” 3-5

[xciii] Costello, “The Role of Propaganda in the Anglo-Irish War 1919-1921,” 20

[xciv] Costigan, “The Anglo-Irish Conflict, 1919-1922: A War of Independence or Systematized Murder?,” 80

[xcv] Costigan, “The Anglo-Irish Conflict, 1919-1922: A War of Independence or Systematized Murder?,” 80; Leeson, “The ‘scum of London’s underworld’? British Recruits for the Royal Irish Constabulary, 1920-21,” 2

[xcvi] Grob-Fitzgibbon, “Intelligence and Counterinsurgency: Case Studies from Ireland, Malaya and the Empire,” 73-75

[xcvii] Grob-Fitzgibbon, “Intelligence and Counterinsurgency: Case Studies from Ireland, Malaya and the Empire,” 74

[xcviii] Grob-Fitzgibbon, “Intelligence and Counterinsurgency: Case Studies from Ireland, Malaya and the Empire,” 74

[xcix] Grob-Fitzgibbon, “Intelligence and Counterinsurgency: Case Studies from Ireland, Malaya and the Empire,” 74

[c] Grob-Fitzgibbon, “Intelligence and Counterinsurgency: Case Studies from Ireland, Malaya and the Empire,” 74

[ci] Grob-Fitzgibbon, “Intelligence and Counterinsurgency: Case Studies from Ireland, Malaya and the Empire,” 74

[cii] Grob-Fitzgibbon, “Intelligence and Counterinsurgency: Case Studies from Ireland, Malaya and the Empire,” 74

[ciii] Cremin, “Fighting on Their Own Terms: The Tactics of the Irish Republican Army 1919-1921,” 920; Grob-Fitzgibbon, “Intelligence and Counterinsurgency: Case Studies from Ireland, Malaya and the Empire,” 74

[civ] Grob-Fitzgibbon, “Intelligence and Counterinsurgency: Case Studies from Ireland, Malaya and the Empire,” 74

[cv] Grob-Fitzgibbon, “Intelligence and Counterinsurgency: Case Studies from Ireland, Malaya and the Empire,” 74-75

[cvi] Gray, “The Anglo-Irish War, 1919–21: Lessons from an Irregular Conflict,” 385-387

[cvii] Gray, “The Anglo-Irish War, 1919–21: Lessons from an Irregular Conflict,” 385-387

[cviii] Gray, “The Anglo-Irish War, 1919–21: Lessons from an Irregular Conflict,” 385-392

[cix] Gray, “The Anglo-Irish War, 1919–21: Lessons from an Irregular Conflict,” 390

[cx] Bowden, “The Irish Underground and the War of Independence 1919-1921,” 3-23

[cxi]  Maura R. Cremin, “Fighting on Their Own Terms: The Tactics of the Irish Republican Army 1919-1921,” Small Wars and Insurgencies 27 no. 6, (2015): 912-915

[cxii] Leeson, “The ‘scum of London’s underworld’? British Recruits for the Royal Irish Constabulary, 1920-21,” 1-31

[cxiii] Gray, “The Anglo-Irish War, 1919–21: Lessons from an Irregular Conflict,” 385-387

[cxiv] Gray, “The Anglo-Irish War, 1919–21: Lessons from an Irregular Conflict,” 385-387

[cxv] Gray, “The Anglo-Irish War, 1919–21: Lessons from an Irregular Conflict,” 385-387

[cxvi] Gray, “The Anglo-Irish War, 1919–21: Lessons from an Irregular Conflict,” 390

[cxvii] Gray, “The Anglo-Irish War, 1919–21: Lessons from an Irregular Conflict,” 390

[cxviii] Leeson, “The ‘scum of London’s underworld’? British Recruits for the Royal Irish Constabulary, 1920-21,” 1-31

[cxix] Gray, “The Anglo-Irish War, 1919–21: Lessons from an Irregular Conflict,” 371-392

[cxx] Gray, “The Anglo-Irish War, 1919–21: Lessons from an Irregular Conflict,” 386

[cxxi] Grob-Fitzgibbon, “Intelligence and Counterinsurgency: Case Studies from Ireland, Malaya and the Empire,” 74-75

[cxxii] Bowden, “The Irish Underground and the War of Independence 1919-1921,” 4; Leeson “The ‘scum of London’s underworld’? British Recruits for the Royal Irish Constabulary, 1920-21,” 3

[cxxiii] Costigan, “The Anglo-Irish Conflict, 1919-1922: A War of Independence or Systematized Murder?,” 80

[cxxiv] Bowden, “The Irish Underground and the War of Independence 1919-1921,” 18; Costello, “The Role of Propaganda in the Anglo-Irish War 1919-1921,” Canadian Journal of Irish Studies 14 no. 2 (1989): 5-22

[cxxv] Bowden, “The Irish Underground and the War of Independence 1919-1921,” 18; Costello, “The Role of Propaganda in the Anglo-Irish War 1919-1921,” Canadian Journal of Irish Studies 14 no. 2 (1989): 5-22

[cxxvi] Bowden, “The Irish Underground and the War of Independence 1919-1921,” 6-7; Leeson, “The ‘scum of London’s underworld’? British Recruits for the Royal Irish Constabulary, 1920-21,” 3

[cxxvii] Bowden, “The Irish Underground and the War of Independence 1919-1921,” 4

[cxxviii] Bowden, “The Irish Underground and the War of Independence 1919-1921,” 3-23; Gray, “The Anglo-Irish War, 1919–21: Lessons from an Irregular Conflict,” 371-392

[cxxix] Gray, “The Anglo-Irish War, 1919–21: Lessons from an Irregular Conflict,” 385-392

[cxxx] Bowden, “The Irish Underground and the War of Independence 1919-1921,” 3-23; Bowden, “The Irish Underground and the War of Independence 1919-1921,” 3-23; Gray, “The Anglo-Irish War, 1919–21: Lessons from an Irregular Conflict,” 371-392; Grob-Fitzgibbon, “Intelligence and Counterinsurgency: Case Studies from Ireland, Malaya and the Empire,” 73-75

[cxxxi] Bowden, “The Irish Underground and the War of Independence 1919-1921,” 3-23; Bowden, “The Irish Underground and the War of Independence 1919-1921,” 3-23; Gray, “The Anglo-Irish War, 1919–21: Lessons from an Irregular Conflict,” 371-392

[cxxxii] Costigan, “The Anglo-Irish Conflict, 1919-1922: A War of Independence or Systematized Murder?,” 64-86; Gray, “The Anglo-Irish War, 1919–21: Lessons from an Irregular Conflict,” 371-392

[cxxxiii] Gray, “The Anglo-Irish War, 1919–21: Lessons from an Irregular Conflict,” 385-387

[cxxxiv] Gray, “The Anglo-Irish War, 1919–21: Lessons from an Irregular Conflict,” 372, 385-392

[cxxxv] Gray, “The Anglo-Irish War, 1919–21: Lessons from an Irregular Conflict,” 385-387

[cxxxvi] “The Wind That Shakes the Barley-Quotes,” IMDb, https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0460989/quotes?ref_=tt_ql_trv_4 (accessed July 24, 2019).

About the Author(s)

Cody Mattern is a graduate student at George Mason University currently studying for a master’s degree in Global Affairs with a specialization in Conflict and National Security. In addition to his studies, Mr. Mattern works full-time for the International Rescue Committee, an organization focused on refugee resettlement.