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Session 7

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1. The rise of the Blueshirts was a sign that Ireland had its share of fascists and socialists in the 1930's. How can you explain the failure of the Blueshirts to make any lasting impact upon the Irish scene?
You must look at the bigger picture and try to understand the (to us, nowadays) incredible popularity of fascism and socialism throughout Europe (and in the US also) in the years between the two World Wars. The fascist parties of Europe were usually designated by the color of their shirts - Blackshirts (Italy under Benito Mussolini; UK, British Union of Fascists under Oswald Mosely), Brownshirts (Sturmabteilung, Germany's SA); Romanian fascists wore green shirts.

2. "The acceptance of the Government of Ireland Act (1920) which established the Northern Ireland parliament was a compromise both from the point of view of the British government and the Ulster Unionists." Discuss.
Understand that neither the creation of Northern Ireland (the Six Counties) in 1920 nor the creation of the Irish Free State in 1921-22 was ever put to a plebiscite. No Irishman of whatever political hew was ever consulted. Britain acted likewise with several of her colonies. Northern Ireland remains a colony of Britain's: what was created as the 'Irish Free State' (the 26 Counties) gradually established her independence between 1922 and 1948.

Copyright ©2008 Aidan Breen, Ph.D.