The United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland, United States and the conflict in Northern Ireland, August 1971 - September 1974

MacLeod, Alan Stuart (2012) The United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland, United States and the conflict in Northern Ireland, August 1971 - September 1974. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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This thesis offers a new interpretation of the international history of the early period of Northern Ireland’s ‘Troubles’. Such a revision is necessary given the recently released material in the national archives of the United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland and the United States, and in the personal archives of those involved. Furthermore, by adopting a different methodology, made possible by the recent archive material, further new perspectives emerge of the international dimension. Rather than taking a single element of the international history of the Troubles – for example, the ‘Irish dimension’, ‘American dimension’, the Cold War, or European integration – this thesis takes a multidimensional approach analysing the impact of the interactions of each of the international actors.
The starting point for this multidimensional analysis is the introduction of internment without trial on 9 August 1971. This was not just a significant event in Northern Ireland, but also had the effect of internationalising the Troubles. Over the months that followed the international dimension developed two distinct spheres of activity – a political sphere and a security sphere. Different combinations of actors interacted in each of these spheres. In addition to the moderate Northern Irish parties, the British and Irish governments participated in the political sphere. The US government eventually ruled itself out of this sphere following the US presidential election in November 1972, but only after it had flirted with intervention. However, interventions by the US Congress’s ‘Irish Caucus’ continued. Meanwhile, in the security sphere, comprehensive Anglo-Irish security cooperation proved impossible to achieve. Instead, Anglo-American and Hiberno-American security cooperation developed – with Dublin eventually exerting as much of an influence on US policy as the UK. However, the US government’s attempts to supress IRA support were seriously restricted by the administration’s unwillingness to pick a fight with the Irish Caucus.
The international dimension was an integral component of the peace process that resulted in the establishing of a cross-community power-sharing executive and the Sunningdale Agreement of December 1973. Even when this process was brought to an end by a Protestant backlash in May 1974 the principles developed during this period were confirmed and were to be central to future peace initiatives in Northern Ireland, including the Good Friday Agreement.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Northern Ireland, troubles, international dimension
Subjects: E History America > E151 United States (General)
D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D901 Europe (General)
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts > School of Humanities > History
Supervisor's Name: Ball, Prof. Simon J.
Date of Award: 2012
Depositing User: Mr Alan S MacLeod
Unique ID: glathesis:2012-3359
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 15 May 2012
Last Modified: 05 Oct 2015 15:15

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