The Civil War 1922 - 1923

The Anglo-Irish Treaty, negotiated during the truce and signed on 6 December 1921, caused deep divisions within nationalist Ireland. Those who favoured acceptance argued that the powers it granted made it worthy of support and the only alternative was renewed war with Britain.

The Treaty’s opponents criticised it most for its failure to achieve the status of a republic for Ireland. Debates in the Dáil on the Treaty became bitter and personal. The Anti-Treaty IRA seized barracks and public buildings as British civil servants and troops departed.

Field Marshal Sir Henry Wilson was shot in London on 22 June 1922 and as a result the British Government insisted that the Irish Government take action against the Anti-Treaty IRA or it would consider the Treaty to have been broken.

On 28 June 1922 the National Army, as the Pro-Treaty IRA now become known, bombarded the Four Courts in Dublin which was occupied by the Anti-Treaty forces leadership. The Civil War had begun. After a period of conventional warfare the Anti-Treaty side reverted to a guerrilla campaign. This was accompanied by assassinations and the destruction of buildings, bridges and other installations.

The Provisional Government adopted special powers and executed 77 prisoners before the opponents of the Treaty called a cease-fire on 24 May 1923. As many as 4,000 were killed during the Civil War.


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