Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



First Advisor

Mark Walker




volunteers, ws, bmh, british


The Easter Rising of 1916 and subsequent Anglo-Irish War were two seminal events in contemporary Irish history, and are especially pertinent as the 100th anniversary of the Rising approaches this year. In this thesis, I examine the underlying causes of the Easter Rising, specifically the growing influence of the Irish Republican Brotherhood and an increase in Irish Nationalism. I then trace the planning, preparation, and execution of the Easter Rising, which was not a popular uprising, but rather an armed insurrection led by a small group of militarized radicals. I also analyze the political, social, and economic consequences of the failed Rising, which inevitably led to a continuation of hostilities during the Anglo-Irish War, one of the earliest recorded instances of urban and rural guerrilla warfare. Finally, I examine the tactics used by the Irish Republican Army during the Anglo-Irish War, which enabled them to best a better trained, better equipped, and professional military force through the use of highly refined guerrilla tactics and the growing support of the Irish population. This study utilizes numerous oral histories collected by the Irish Bureau of Military History, published memoirs of notable figures from the Republican movement, archived newspaper articles, and other historical publications to construct a narrative of the events as seen through the eyes of the participants. Careful analysis of this narrative deconstructs the chain of 3 events, and seeks to further explain how such wanton acts of violence occurred in a Western, modern, and industrialized state. The results of the Anglo-Irish War continue to have direct political effects today, as some small terrorist groups in Northern Ireland continue to claim lineage from, or at least the namesake of, the group founded by Irish Nationalists in 1913 and reorganized by the Dáil Eireann in 1919. An understanding of the historical context behind this group is necessary to fully grasp the contemporary political situation, and explain the bulk of 20th Century Irish history, especially “The Troubles” of Northern Ireland.