THE NORTHERN IRELAND TROUBLES: OPERATION BANNER, 1969-2007
OSPREY PUBLISHING, 2011
QUALITY SOFTCOVER, $19.95, 96 PAGES, PHOTOGRAPHS, CHRONOLOGY, MAPS
Underlying a persistent conflict in Northern Ireland (Ulster) are three factors: a centuries-old antagonism between the British and the Irish, long seen as strife between Protestants (British) and Roman Catholics (Irish); pressures to force Ulster (about 60% Protestant) into political union with Eire or Ireland (about 95% Roman Catholic); and the presence in Ulster of a Roman Catholic minority held back by economic and political power. This explosive mixture began to ignite in 1968, when Roman Catholics staged a civil rights protest and the resulting violence led to the importation of British troops. Militant groups like the Irish Republican Army (IRA), its radical offshot, the Provisional Wing (Provos) of the IRA, and the Protestant Ulster Defense Association intensified hostilities through demonstrations, street fights, bombings, and assassinations in 1969. The animosity was so fierce that the British government suspended the Northern Irish Stormont (parliament) in 1972 and ruled directly.
When a 1973 plebiscite indicated that an overwhelming Ulster majority rejected union with Eire, a new parliamentary election was held, and a coalition government was formed by Catholic groups and others. But Protestant militants like the Reverand Ian Paisley vowed to destroy the coalition by electing hard-liners to the Westminster (British) parliament. Violence continued with killings in both Ulster and Britain until a new plan for union with Eire was developed in 1984. But the tradition of strife was so firmly a part of Northern Ireland's culture that it wouldn't be until April, 1998 in a landmark document in which Protestants and Catholics in Northern Ireland would govern jointly in a 108-seat National Assembly, which would work with the Irish Republic in a newly formed North-South legislative council.
THE NORTHERN IRELAND TROUBLES: OPERATION BANNER, 1969-2007 is a new account of this controversial and trying time in Northern Ireland's history which saw in 38 years of fighting, more than 3,000 men, women, and children killed by one side or the other as well as the subsequent deployment of over 10,000 British troops with armored vehicles and helicopters to stop the intercommunal violence. Author Aaron Edwards has drawn on newly released information that considers the strategic, operational, and tactical aspects of Operation BANNER. The author has presented a fresh and new perspective on one of Europe's most recent bloody and protracted conflicts that will give the reader a better understanding of the nature of this conflict as well as the successes and failures of Operation BANNER.
Lt. Colonel Robert A. Lynn, Florida Guard