Wednesday 22 November 2017

Postwar era filled with empty words

We should be wary of the corrupting potential of speech integral to armed struggle, writes John-Paul McCarthy

Michael Collins (far right) himself told a Cork newspaper in 1922 that he was not convinced in retrospect that IRA violence in and of itself did the trick. Also pictured (l-r): Arthur Griffith, Éamon de Valera, Laurence O’Neill, and Michael Collins. Photo: RTE
Michael Collins (far right) himself told a Cork newspaper in 1922 that he was not convinced in retrospect that IRA violence in and of itself did the trick. Also pictured (l-r): Arthur Griffith, Éamon de Valera, Laurence O’Neill, and Michael Collins. Photo: RTE
PROPAGANDIST: For Danny Morrison the Section 31 broadcasting ban constituted a serious hardship

John-Paul McCarthy

Tony Judt's great history of modern Europe, Postwar (2005), was really an analysis of a paradox.

The "very scale of the collective misery that Europeans had brought on themselves in the first half of the century had a profoundly de-politicising effect: far from turning to extreme solutions ... the European publics of the gloomy post-World War Two years turned away from politics."

We may well be in the midst of a similar process as the Northern Ireland nightmare fades into the middle distance.

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