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Heroes or Traitors?Experiences of Southern Irish Soldiers Returning from the Great War 1919-1939$
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Paul Taylor

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9781781381618

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.5949/liverpool/9781781381618.001.0001

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date: 20 July 2018

Violence and Intimidation

Violence and Intimidation

(p.19) 1 Violence and Intimidation
Heroes or Traitors?

Paul Taylor

Liverpool University Press

The opinion of historians as to whether ex-servicemen were intimidated due to their war service is partly dependent on their view with regard to the relationship between the ex-servicemen and both the IRA and the general population; whether they were an isolated minority, or part of the fabric of society. Using the records of the victims (Irish Grants Committee files) and the perpetrators (IRA Witness Statements) this chapter examines violence towards the ex-servicemen. According to the IGC files, few ex-servicemen made claims that they suffered intimidation, and of those that did, fewer still said it was due to war service. The reasons given, for example, member of a particular class such as landowners or Protestants, were applicable to other segments of the population. From the perspective of the perpetrators, most intimidation of ex-servicemen was for suspected spying and joining the Crown Forces. The evidence from both files indicates that there was incriminating evidence against those accused of spying. Given the devastating impact informers had on their ranks, the IRA targeted anyone they suspected of collaborating. War service per se was mostly not the cause of intimidation, although their military background made veterans more likely to associate with or join the Crown Forces.

Keywords:   Irish Grants Committee, protestants, IRA, witness statements, intimidation, spying, Crown Forces

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