1920 Burning of Cork by British Forces

Dec 2012
651
Dublin
#1
Today marks the 95th anniversary of the burning of the commercial and municipal heart of Cork city in southern Ireland by British forces acting on behalf of empire. That year was a fateful one for Ireland. The republican Lord Mayor of Cork, Tomás MacCurtain, had been murdered in front of his family in March 1920 by members of the security forces. MacSwiney's death focussed world attention on British policy in Ireland. The USA led international condemnation of it. A Cork jury cited David Lloyd George as being responsible for MacCurtain’s murder. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tomás_Mac_Curtain

MacCurtain successor Terence MacSwiney died on hunger strike in Brixton Prison, London, in October, in protest at his illegal arrest. He was Lord Mayor of Cork city in Ireland and a republican. He went without food for 74 days and died despite being force fed in the last week of his hunger strike. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terence_MacSwiney

In November in Croke Park football ground British forces whose commander claimed they were ‘out of hand’ killed 14 spectators, including one of the players. Even if we accept that someone in the crowd fired first, a British court of enquiry found that the shootings ‘exceeded the demands of the situation and were indiscriminate’. These finding were all buried as classified by the British government until 2000 when the papers were released.

Less than two months later the Auxiliaries (Auxiliary Division of the Royal Irish Constabulary), better known as the Black and Tans and the brainchild of Winston Churchill, burned some five acres of the centre of Cork city. The heart of the city's commercial and civic life was destroyed, including many of the city's civil records, the Carnegie Library and department stores. Over 30 businesses were destroyed and 2000 people lost their livelihoods.

The British government initially (and characteristically) blamed the citizens and rebels of Cork city itself and not its own agents of law and order. Anyone using or quoting Hansard as a primary source for this event will obviously be entirely misled. However, the evidence of who was responsible is now irrefutable.

The following 50 minute long documentary produced by the Irish national TV broadcaster, RTE, covers all of the main events of 1920 in Cork that led to the burning of the city.

Part 1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rXT105miU44

Part 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6iRngkPexYk

Part 3: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pFZr6YxIhuQ

Part 4: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TjbO4wFqH-c
 
Nov 2015
1,016
Ayton
#2
How am I supposed to feel about that?

Since that time, Millions of Jews have been exterminated. Millions of Russians murdered.
Tens of thoudands of young men from all sides killed in WWII. Half a million hacked to death in Rwanda. A war in Vietnam which cost millions of lives. Never have America's young men been so miss spent. THere was 9/11 which made some of the Irish Americans bethink themselve regarding funding the IRA.
THere has been truth and reconciliation in South Africa. Power Sharing in Northern Ireland and a Scottish Parliament. THere has even been a vote on Scottish Independence.

THrough all of that, a minority of Irish and Scottish people spend their time picking scabs and reviving old hurts. Understand this my farm labourer ancestor had as much say in the workings of politics as yours did. My Granddad was as much of a victim of the First World War as some who died in it. My Granddad didn't end up in the 'Black and Tans', he just went where he was put.

AS with him and his 'present', I and my 'present' can do naff all about what happened in Ireland 95 years ago. Knowing all this, why do I and my fellow countrymen have to live in this 'State of Constant Grievance?'
 
Dec 2012
651
Dublin
#3
How am I supposed to feel about that?
Who asked you to feel anything? You have not been asked to feel anything? There is no place for emotion on these boards.
a minority of Irish and Scottish people spend their time picking scabs and reviving old hurts. ... why do I and my fellow countrymen have to live in this 'State of Constant Grievance?'
This is a history forum as I frequently keep having to point out. I feel no grievance about these matters but live quite happily in the Republic of Ireland. Are you suggesting that Irish history should not be repeatedly 'revived' or presented on this history forum?
 

Pendennis

Ad Honorem
Mar 2013
3,386
Kirkcaldy, Scotland
#5
Harpo- my fellow Celt, its all all part of a certain gentleman 's historical polemic by grandstanding routine.
''A sense of grievance???-I thought that 's what motivated our southern neighbours into their present frantic anti-EU behaviour patterns ?
Talk about the Anglo pot calling the Celtic kettle black???
 
Nov 2015
1,016
Ayton
#6
Who asked you to feel anything? You have not been asked to feel anything? There is no place for emotion on these boards.

This is a history forum as I frequently keep having to point out. I feel no grievance about these matters but live quite happily in the Republic of Ireland. Are you suggesting that Irish history should not be repeatedly 'revived' or presented on this history forum?
Funny should say that. I was walking the dog and I thought 'Why did I react so strongly?'
I'm still working on an answer and apologise for the outburst.
 
Dec 2012
651
Dublin
#7
Funny should say that. I was walking the dog and I thought 'Why did I react so strongly?'
I'm still working on an answer and apologise for the outburst.
There is really no need to apologise. We have all been guilty of ill-judged posts and strong reactions from time to time. With further reflection we are all the better for being more objectively self-aware.

I agree with your sentiment, however, that people today are not responsible for what happened in the past but we should, nevertheless, be able to present any and all history on this forum openly and without censorship. Irish history is as relevant in this place as any other history, and attempts to silence or exclude it cannot be countenanced.
 
Dec 2012
651
Dublin
#8
Burnt cork?-wasn't that what great American singer Al Jolson used to use to black up his face for certain songs he sang like ''Mammy?''
An Americanized Lithuanian Jew singing about his 'Alabammy' Mammy! Of course, you would need to black up somehow but I think theatrical facepaint probably did the trick better! I know that K Company of the Auxiliary Division of the RIC sported burnt corks as a 'badge of honour' to their burning of that city.
Harpo- my fellow Celt, its all all part of a certain gentleman 's historical polemic by grandstanding routine.
''A sense of grievance???-I thought that 's what motivated our southern neighbours into their present frantic anti-EU behaviour patterns ?
Talk about the Anglo pot calling the Celtic kettle black???
There’s a theme here, Pendennis – burnt cork, Al Jolson’s face, black pots and black kettles! Remember the Black and White Minstrels.

Admittedly, there is a tinge of theatrical farce about Cameron's European politicking.

Very often the facts are overwhelmed by perception or cannot be allowed to spoil a cherished interpretation. But we are all susceptible to this.
 
Aug 2011
5,441
Amerikay
#9
A side note the British authorities said the citizens of Cork did it themselves and the British Insurance companies refused to pay claims.
 
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