Why did the IRB and the ICA continue with the uprising despite the certain knowledge that the British Government knew of their plans? Essay

The Irish Republican Brotherhood and the Irish Citizen army decided to continue with the uprising because they thought that they might be able to win. As the British army knew of their plans the leaders of the rebellion would probably be executed anyway. They had to go ahead with the rebellion as they simply had no choice.

The first flaw in the plan for the rebellion is that the German warship that was carrying 20,000 guns and ammunition was captured and as a consequence there were a number of arrests made to link in with this event. In particular Sir Roger Casement who was the man who persuaded the Germans to send arms.

Despite the fact that the British Government know had knowledge of the upcoming events, the rebels wanted an Irish republic and after waiting hundreds of years and months of planning they were not planning on throwing away their chances now. They were willing to kill and be killed for this very purpose.

“Ireland will not find Christ’s peace until she has taken Christ’s sword”

There were other reasons why the rebels carried on with the rebellion. They believed that they still had a chance of winning. Britain was currently caught up halfway through the First World War, and the rebels did not expect a violent reaction. Also in conjunction with this they expected Germany to send troops and heavy weapons to help them.

The rebels believed that even if they were defeated then they would be able to change the course of Irish future. Their view was such that they had nothing else to lose and that this was their chance to push the British when they had their backs turned. They also thought that if they were defeated then they would make a statement, with inspirational leaders such as Michael Collins then they were willing to sacrifice their own lives. Any person who lost their lives in the rebellion they would be honoured as a Martyr.

The rebels thought that they would be able to gain support from the Irish people, the IRB and the ICA hoped to raise awareness among the Irish people and that the rebellion would have a knock-on effect, making more Irish Catholics.

To conclude this question I believe that the Rebels carried on with the rebellion because they were desperate to make Ireland a free republic. They had waited for seven hundred years; the rebels were willing to do everything within their power to bring the rule of the British government to an end. Secondly the rebels thought that the rebellion would succeed because they expected support from Germany who were one of the worlds great powers, and had Britain tied up in the First World War. The British Troops were trained in trench fighting and not used to the guerrilla techniques used in the streets.

Not only this but the rebels thought that the “home rule act” was going to be passed whatever the outcome. Whatever the outcome, victory or defeat, they hoped to raise awareness amongst the Irish people.

Question 2.

Why did the uprising fail?

From the rebels point of view, they considered themselves to have a very good chance of winning, though the overlooked many key strategic elements. There was also a division in the rebels who were bickering and could not agree on many subjects.

The rebels underestimated the reaction from the British government. At the start of the uprising the rebels were outnumbered 3-1. This could still be an advantage though as they were using guerrilla tactics. However, in the space of 48 hours 16-1 outnumbered the British troops poured into the city and the rebels! Even their leaders now doubted that they had a chance of winning

“We are going out to be slaughtered.”

Another factor why the uprising failed was because they had a lack of weapons. The German boat that was carrying 20,000 rifles and ammunition was captured. This gave Britain a chance to prepare against the rebellion. They were firing revolvers and were even fighting against 18mm artillery. They also put allot of trust in other people. The expected Germany to help them, but after the loss of their transport ship, they wanted no further relation with the rebels. They also miscalculated the reaction from the British Government.

They considered that the British would be too involved in the First World War, but in context, they couldn’t have been wrong. If the British had let the rebels carry on with the uprising then they would have considered it to be a thorn in their side, which would have gradually grew to interrupt with their war effort. The rising had to be dispatched of quickly. The Brits used 18-ponder guns at close range, and their infantryman were well armed and disciplined. They used the river Liffey running through Dublin and the Gunboat Helga to bombard key strategically targets. The rebels were tactically inferior and they chose poor targets, which could be picked off easily by the British artilley.

Another factor was that the Irish citizens, instead of being in strong support of the uprising, they were against it. It was expected that the rising would have a snowball effect across Ireland, however this never reached far from Dublin. They considered that the rebels would have ruined any chance of home rule as most of the Irish citizens were rooting for home rule. Although the opinion of the Irish people changed after they saw how ruthless the British could be, they offered only passive support.

To conclude this question, I believe that the Uprising failed because the rebels had not thought through their plans of action after they had taken the General Post Office and had no clear idea to secure the centre of Dublin.

Question 3.

How would a Catholic and a Protestant have reacted at the time to the events of 1916?

At the time of the rebellion many Catholics and Protestants would have reacted the same while others would have reacted differently. Many Catholics might have only verbally supported the rebellion. They were afraid for there own safety, which was understandable. Catholics would have also been shocked by the British reaction, the British were going around unmercifally slaughtering the Irish catholics although they may not have had any connection with the uprising.

The British obviously wanted to make a statement to put-off any other ideas for an uprising. The cathoilcs were being shot in cold blood, one such incident was that of Francis Skeffington. Francis Skeffington went into Dublin to try and help the wounded and to prevent his fellow citizens from looting and wrecking. However, as he returned home, he was arrested by Captain J.C Bowen-Colthurst. After he was arresested, Skeffington saw Bowen-Colthurst shoot an unarmed youth. The next day,Skeffington was taken out and executed without trial. The Human cost of the rebellion was 300 civillians, 60 rebels and over 2,000 were injured. This caused a stir among the catholic people. Their opinions of the uprising and of the rebels started to change, they began to support the rebellion instead of rejecting.

Also, they considerd the leaders of the rebellion to be martyrs instead of heritics. The protestants on the other hand would have considerd the executions to be fair and just as their opinions of the rebels was that they were disturbers of the peace. Their toughts on skeffington would be that he was helping the catholics and was considerd a traitor. They would have been a bit biast in defence of the british army but would have reacted viscously against the catholics. They would have been annoyed with them because while the Ulster Volunteer Force was fighting in the trenches, the IRB and the ICA refused. It outraged the protestants.

However, the Catholics would not have shown the same level anger because they were still concerned with their own affairs.

Early on in the rising, the Irish Protestants may well have been worried about the fact that the rising might very well succeed. This would turn them into the back-ground minority with cathlicism being the main religion. However, the catholics, although only offered passive support still wanted this to happen. This led way to an increase in support for the British government.

In 1916, the Catholics were poorly treated, they were givern poor housing and were givern poor;y paid jobs. The protestants were obviously relieved when the strike failed.

To conclude, on the events around the time of the rising, the catholics mostprobablt rejected the rebels, the protestants considerd them to be heretics. Most of the other time they has split views and this led to hostility between the two sides.

Q4. What might be the feelings and thought of Gerry Adams and Ian Paisley be today when looking baxk at these events?

Gerry Adams is an extreme Nationalist, he is also a devout Catholic. He would have looked at the easter rising ad he may see it as a stepping stone for the Irish republic. He would consider the leaders of the Easter Rising to be Martyrs, along with the other catholics who died fighting the British Government.

Ian Paisley is the leader of the Protestant church in Ireland. He is a stubborn Protestant who strongly despises the catholics. He encourages his people to fight back against the Irish. Unlike Adams, Paisly would consider the leader of the easter rising to be cowardly heretics as they fought the British when thry were at their most vulnerable.

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