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British Intelligence in Ireland, 1920-21, The Final Reports

{Dr. Peter Hart}
Dr. Peter Hart

Edited by Dr. Peter Hart
The Irish revolution of 1920-21 ended in a military and political stalemate, resolved only through the mutual compromise incorporated in the Anglo-Irish Treaty.

Historians have long accepted that the one conflict in which there was a clear winner was that of Intelligence, where British ineptitude was painfully exposed by the organizational genius of Michael Collins.

This judgment is challenged by the recent release of two confidential self-assessments prepared for the army and the police in 1922. Though documenting many setbacks and inefficiencies, the police report indicates a marked improvement in operations superintended by that "wicked little white snake," Sir Ormonde de l'Épée Winter (1875-1962). His report, though self-serving and flawed, provides a uniquely detailed and personal account of Intelligence from the inside. The editor's introduction assesses the purpose, reliability and significance of these reports. Their publication is a significant contribution to the study of Irish revolutionary history.

Dr. Peter Hart holds the Canada Research Chair of Irish Studies at Memorial University. His research examines Irish identity and politics in the 19th and 20th centuries, focussing on nationalism, ethnicity and the relationship between Protestants and Catholics. As part of the project, he will also be looking at transatlantic networks linking Ireland with North America.

"My work is aimed at reconstructing how people saw themselves and others in religious, social and political terms," said Dr. Hart. "Fundamentally, I want to understand why people killed and were killed on account of these identities."

Dr. Hart is the author of The IRA and Its Enemies, which won three awards, including the Christopher Ewart-Biggs Memorial Prize (1998).

[Image of Book Cover]

{Memorial University of Newfoundland}