The War of Independence

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  • History: The Full Story

In 1919, a war began against the British forces in Ireland. This war was called the War of Independence. The Irish Republican Army (IRA) wanted to force the British out of Ireland. They began to attack the Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC), the police force in Ireland, because they were seen as supporting British rule and British law. The IRA burned their barracks and captured their arms. Many members of the police force were killed, and others resigned.

The IRA also fought British soldiers using guerrilla tactics. This meant that they attacked the British soldiers by surprise and then escaped quickly before they could be caught. The British government sent more forces to Ireland. One group was known as the Black and Tans because of their uniforms. The Black and Tans often punished the local population and because of this they were feared and hated by ordinary civilians. The IRA fought against them.

In 1921, a truce was called and treaty talks took place in London to try to find a way of ending the war. Michael Collins and Arthur Griffith were among the Irish representatives at the talks. In December 1921, a treaty was signed which soon brought about a new country called the Irish Free State. It was decided that the new state would be made up of twenty-six of the thirty-two Irish counties.