Irish War of Independence - Course of The War - Violence Spreads

Violence Spreads

Volunteers began to attack British government property, carried out raids for arms and funds and targeted and killed prominent members of the British administration. The first was Resident Magistrate John C. Milling, who was shot dead in Westport, County Mayo, for having sent Volunteers to prison for unlawful assembly and drilling. They mimicked the successful tactics of the Boers, fast violent raids without uniform. Although some republican leaders, notably Éamon de Valera, favoured classic conventional warfare in order to legitimise the new republic in the eyes of the world, the more practically experienced Michael Collins and the broader IRA leadership opposed these tactics as they had led to the military débacle of 1916. Others, notably Arthur Griffith, preferred a campaign of civil disobedience rather than armed struggle. The violence used was at first deeply unpopular with the Irish people and it took the heavy-handed British response to popularise it among much of the population.

During the early part of the conflict, roughly from 1919 to the middle of 1920, there was a relatively limited amount of violence. Much of the nationalist campaign involved popular mobilisation and the creation of a republican "state within a state" in opposition to British rule. British journalist Robert Lynd wrote in The Daily News in July 1920 that:

So far as the mass of people are concerned, the policy of the day is not active but a passive policy. Their policy is not so much to attack the Government as to ignore it and to build up a new government by its side.

Read more about this topic:  Irish War Of Independence, Course of The War

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