Saturday, 16 January 2016

16‭ ‬January‭ ‬1939:‭ ‬The Irish Republican Army,‭ ‬led by Sean Russell,‭ ‬declared War on Britain on this day.‭ ‬Russell had already sent a formal letter of intent to the British Prime Minister,‭ ‬Neville Chamberlain stating that:

I have the honour to inform you that the government of the Irish Republic,‭ ‬having as its first duty towards the people the establishment and maintenance of peace and order,‭ ‬herewith demand the withdrawal of all British armed forces stationed in Ireland.

The IRA man had given the British Leader‭ ‬96‭ ‬hours to reply before the DOW would take effect.

Copies were also dispatched to Adolf Hitler,‭ ‬Benito Mussolini and Lord Brookborough in the North.‭ ‬Soon afterwards IRA bombs started to go off in England and eventually about‭ ‬200‭ ‬devices exploded causing limited material damage,‭ ‬many injuries and a few deaths.‭ ‬The worst such incident occurred in the City of Coventry in August‭ ‬1939‭ ‬when seven innocent people were killed and nearly a‭ ‬100‭ ‬injured in a no warning attack.‭

The Bombing Campaign though eventually petered out.‭ ‬The IRA never really had  sufficient numbers of Volunteers nor enough trained personnel to conduct a sustained campaign in Britain to other than annoy the British.‭ ‬Nothing they could realistically achieve would have made them change their minds over their presence in Ireland.‭

Ironically when Britain declared War on Germany in September‭ ‬1939‭ ‬the Ultimatum presented by Neville Chamberlain to the German Chancellor bore more than a few passing echoes to the one Sean Russell had sent to the very same British Prime Minister at the beginning of that fateful year.‭ ‬At least Russell had given Britain‭ ‬96‭ ‬hours grace to end their Occupation but Chamberlain had in effect given Hitler less than‭ ‬48‭ ‬hours in which to end his one‭!

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