In October 1968, a problem which the British people thought vanished forever re-emerged. For the first time in nearly half a century, Irish questions began to make headlines in the British press, and a catalog of expressions with which past generations were only too familiar—"loyalist," "separatist," "Ulster Volunteer Force," and "Irish Republican Army"—once again became the everyday reading of the British public, to their dismay and disbelief.
This book analyzes British attitudes about the "Irish question" between 1918 and 1922, examining the part played by public opinion in the formulation of government policy during this period. It begins with the general election of December 1918, when Lloyd George and his coalition colleagues asked for, and received, a mandate to introduce a measure of self-government to Ireland. The ensuing conflict is traced and the theme pursued up to June 1922, when the British Government accepted the draft constitution of the Irish Free State, thus initiating the Irish civil war.
The author has drawn on a wide range of British newspapers, periodicals, pamphlets, and other literature, as well as on private papers of the leading protagonists. His investigation helps to elucidate the complex issue of British involvement in Ireland and the historical processes leading to the crisis which began October 1968. On a broader scale, the book is a fascinating examination of the relationship between public opinion and government policy in a democracy.
D. G. Boyce was born in 1942. He was educated at Lurgan College, County Armagh, and Queen's University, Belfast, where he took an honors degree in modern history. He moved to England in October 1968 and worked in the Department of Manuscripts at the Bodleian Library, Oxford, until 1971, when he became Lecturer in Politics at University College, Swansea and has held a personal chair there since 1989. He teaches the politics of Ireland and the evolution and character of modern warfare. His publications include The Irish Question and British Politics, 1868-1996 (1996), The Making of Modern Irish History (1996), and Britain & Decolonisation (1999). He has published articles in learned journals, including Irish Historical Studies, Historical Review, and Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History. Englishmen and Irish Troubles was his first book.