ABSTRACT

And too many had sought to end war by employing negotiations, by accepting less than the ideal. The most dedicated had been seduced: Michael Collins and De Valera and Sean MacBride and then all those in Dublin GHQ in 1969, the Officials, Goulding, Garland, Ryan, and the rest. Endgames were always very much in the minds of the Provisional Army Council, in the minds of most veteran Republicans. Endgames that were not about defining the terms of British withdrawal were futile. The Provisionals knew that once a campaign was tolerated by the Irish people in time, this time or at worst next time, the British would withdraw. They knew the British. They knew their own, their history, had decades of their own experience and the wisdom of their elders as text. They knew the game. And they knew that at the end the real dangers would emerge - not death but dishonour would be the great danger. In 1969-70 none of this needed be sifted again. For once objective reality and Republican analysis proved identical, so that by 1971 the IRA had what they had always wanted: an escalating armed struggle sup­ ported or tolerated not simply by those with pressing grievances but also apparently by most of the nationalists on the island.