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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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Decolonization and Civil War in Comparative Perspective

Decolonization and Civil War in Comparative Perspective

(p.14) 2 Decolonization and Civil War in Comparative Perspective
The Politics of the Irish Civil War

Bill Kissane (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter assesses the extent to which the Irish civil war was a forerunner of conflicts which broke out elsewhere in the post-colonial world in the 20th century. It shows that contrary to received wisdom, conflicts over Treaties of association were actually very rare during the decolonization process. Through comparisons with Algeria and the Philippines, it shows how unusual the Irish conflict was, and suggests that a combination of unique factors — Ireland's proximity to the UK, the existence of a long standing moderate form of nationalism, and the early timing of Irish independence — best explains the Irish deviance from the norm of initially peaceful decolonization. In particular, it suggests that the Treaty touched the raw nerve of a movement which had within it different variants of self-determination, and which was brought to electoral dominance in 1918 by the sudden democratization of the British political system.

Keywords:   Algeria, Philippines, Treaty, self-determination, democratization

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