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The Politics of the Irish Civil War$
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Bill Kissane

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780199273553

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199273553.001.0001

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(p.231) 10 Conclusion
The Politics of the Irish Civil War

Bill Kissane (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter summarizes the conclusions of the book and identifies areas requiring further study. It suggests that the geo-political context of the early 1920s is the crucial reason why state formation was accompanied by civil war in Ireland, and that British imperial interests were served by the conflict. In this sense, the Irish conflict has parallels with similar conflicts which took place in eastern Europe at the time, such as the Finnish civil war. Local variation in the amount of violence in Ireland suggests that the existing literature should be supplemented by local studies, particularly in the southwest, where the violence was most pronounced. Moreover, there is little comparative work on how civil wars affect national political development generally, and such work would help explain the enduring civil war divide in Irish politics. The continuance of this divide today is somewhat artificial, since the basic choice facing the Irish in 1921 is unlikely to be replicated in a post-imperial world.

Keywords:   state formation, British Imperialism, civil war divide, local studies, southwest Ireland

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