Foreign Correspondents & the Irish Revolution 1918 - 1923

Walsh, Maurice. 2006. Foreign Correspondents & the Irish Revolution 1918 - 1923. Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London [Thesis]

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Abstract or Description

The Irish revolution of 1918-1923 not only led to the establishment of an independent Irish state; it is also recalled for the notoriety of the Black and Tans, the gendarmerie of war veterans recruited by the British government to fight a war of reprisals against the IRA. Historians have held that public perceptions of the war in Ireland were crucial to its outcome. In particular they cite critical press coverage as instrumental in turning the British public against the government's policy in Ireland. But there has been no study which thoroughly examines the work of journalists and writers who went to Ireland at this time.

This thesis uses the published work of journalists and writers, evidence from archives in Britain, Ireland and the United States, journalists' memoirs and contemporary press criticism to explain the role journalists played in the conflict. It shows how British and American newspaper correspondents were able to report from Ireland with far greater freedom than they enjoyed during the First World War. Aided by their sympathy for the Irish cause and splits among the political elite in London, British correspondents set out to restore their reputation as crusading truth tellers by making visible practices of colonial warfare that would usually have remained hidden. American correspondents were enlisted by British officials as mediators. The war occurred in an age when the press and public opinion were thought to have a crucial influence on politics. Both the British government and the Irish revolutionaries tried to define the news. While examining the professional assumptions and rituals of the correspondents, the thesis examines the impact of wider political ideas on journalism. And it looks at how famous literary journalists used Ireland as a site for debates about their own societies.

Item Type:

Thesis (Doctoral)

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Journalism, Irish Revolution, foreign correspondents, Ireland

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Date Deposited:

11 Jun 2020 13:51

Last Modified:

08 Sep 2022 12:39


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