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Bitter Divisions

Explore themes and events of the Irish Civil War, and how former War of Independence comrades became enemies.

During the Civil War, both the Free State and the anti-Treaty IRA took actions they believed to be justified, but which the other side considered to be inexcusable.  The memory of these very personal betrayals divided friends and relatives, and contributed to a long-lasting schism in Irish society, which is only now being healed.
How did men who had fought together for the ideal of a free and independent Ireland come to kill each other? To a great extent the division was between those who had worked with Michael Collins and been influenced by his charismatic personality, and those fighters far from Dublin who had followed other leaders with different views. Few of the IRA commanders in the field supported the treaty, and the majority of rank and file men followed their local commander.

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