• 10am - 5.30pm
  • FREE
  • Chelsea, London
National Army Museum
  • 10am - 5.30pm
  • FREE
  • Chelsea, London

War in Peacetime: The British in Ireland, 1920-21

British soldiers carry out official reprisal in a village in West Cork, January 1921

British soldiers carry out official reprisal in a village in West Cork, January 1921

Join Dr Edward Madigan, in conversation with Professor Dan Todman, as he examines the British experience of the Irish War of Independence with a particular focus on the role of the British Army.

With the Armistice of November 1918, the hostilities that had raged in Europe and across the globe for more than four years came to an end and the ‘war to end all wars’ was over. Yet within just a few months, a conflict of steadily increasing violence had broken out across the Irish Sea.

By the summer of 1920, the forces of the British Crown and the Irish Republican Army were locked in a full-scale guerrilla war and dozens of combatants and civilians were being killed each week. The violence finally ended when a truce was concluded in July 1921.

The Irish War of Independence is seen by many in Ireland as a dramatic, nation-making event, which ultimately led to sovereignty for most of the island. It holds a major place in the popular imagination and has been commemorated with enthusiasm during the recent centenaries. In Britain, by contrast, the war has no place in popular culture, its dead are not remembered, and the centenaries of its key milestones have received hardly any media attention.

Edward Madigan is Senior Lecturer in Public History at Royal Holloway, University of London. His work combines cultural, religious and military history, and he is particularly interested in the British and Irish experience and memory of the First World War.

His publications include 'Faith Under Fire: Anglican Army Chaplains and the Great War' (2011), 'Towards Commemoration: Ireland in War and Revolution, 1912-1923' (with John Horne, 2013), and 'The Jewish Experience of the First World War' (with Gideon Reuveni, 2018). He also co-edits the Historians for History blog and acts as director of the London Centre for Public History.

Daniel Todman is Professor of Modern History at Queen Mary University of London. He was named The Times Young Academic Author of the Year in 2005 for 'The Great War: Myth and Memory'. He previously taught in the Department of War Studies at the Royal Military Academy. His latest book, 'Britain’s War: A New World 1942-47', his second volume history of Britain’s Second World War, has been awarded the Templer Medal Prize 2021.

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