England and Ireland Research Papers
Research papers on the current struggle for peace between the England and Ireland show that the struggle dates back to the beginning of this century. By the time of Queen Victoria’s death in 1901, other nations, including the United States and Germany, had developed their own industries; the United Kingdom’s comparative economic advantage had lessened, and the ambitions of its rivals had grown. The losses and destruction of World War I, the depression of the 1930s, and decades of relatively slow growth made it difficult for the United Kingdom to maintain its preeminent international position of the previous century.
To politically comprehend Britain and Ireland, one must understand exactly who is fighting whom.
- The struggle is NOT between Great Britain and the Republic of Ireland
- It is NOT, Sinn Fein often claims, between the nationalists and Great Britain
- Rather, the real antagonists lie within Northern Irish society
On one side there is the Northern “loyalist” or communities that are descendants of 16th-century Scottish plantation and have maintained their allegiance to Great Britain. They are the result of an innate racism towards the Irish “natives.” Upon the island’s division, these “native” descendants, or northern Irish “nationalists” were effectively cut off from the south, thanks to skillful political maneuvering on the part of Northern Ireland’s loyalist leadership. As a result, Britain retained six Northern counties, and further maintained leadership over an oppressively divided society. Catholic nationalists, cut off from the autonomous Irish Republic, remained subject to severe political oppression, not directly from Great Britain, but from the North’s ruling loyalist government (a situation, which for political reasons of its own, Great Britain is severely guilty of maintaining). But because Northern Irish economics linked themselves closely to Great Britain’s–downward through the depression and, more importantly, upward through the postwar boom–improvements in welfare, housing, and education affected both loyalist and nationalist community alike.