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Conflict, Crisis and Collapse - May 1969 to March 1972

Part C:

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2. Background activities

i.  Young people who are studying this period should be separated into class groups, with each group looking at some of these different topic areas. They can create a power point presentation or some­thing similar on the reasons for the emergence of the troubles and their political effects by March 1972. Such an exercise will encourage students to display cross-curricular skills (namely UICT) and thinking skills (WO).

Suggested group activities include:

  1. Why were sectarian tensions worsening by July 1969?
  2. How did London and Dublin respond to events in Derry /Londonderry in August 1969 and why?
  3. What did republican paramilitaries want to achieve by violent methods and who supported them by 1972?
  4. What did loyalist paramilitaries want to achieve by violent methods and who supported them by 1972?
  5. Why was internment introduced by Faulkner and what were the political effects of internment by March 1972?
  6. Who organised the Bloody Sunday march and what were the aims of the leaders of this march?
  7. Explain how Nationalists responded to the events of Bloody Sunday?
  8. Explain the reasons for the fall of Stormont in March 1972 and how Unionists and Nationalists reacted to this event.

Concentrating on their chosen topic areas (or policy area), students must assess;

  • The political situation in July 1969
  • How the political situation had deteriorated by March 1972
  • The role of Stormont and its political impact
  • The role of British and Irish governments from August 1969 to March 1972
  • The reasons for the emergence of paramilitary groups and the effects of violence by March 1972
  • The role of the RUC and the army, the differing responses to their security measures by March 1972
  • The role of NICRA and its leaders by March 1972

ii.  These group exercises can be followed by a class based discussion, in which groups can debate one or all of the propositions given below. (COMM, WO)

  • “The outbreak of the troubles in August 1969 in N. Ireland was inevitable”
  • “The events of Bloody Sunday led to the end of NICRA as an effective political group”
  • “Faulkner’s poor leadership was solely to blame for the end of Stormont in March 1972”

iii.  Individual students should then draw up the following lists (SM).

  • Which of NICRA’s main demands had been achieved by March 1972?
  • Reasons for the outbreak of the troubles in August 1969 (long term and short term)
  • Political effects of Bloody Sunday by March 1972
  • Reasons why the British government suspended Stormont in March 1972

iv.  Finally, in this section students will update their personal profiles (fact files) of the four key political figures from May 1969 up to March 1972. They will then undertake their own independent research and use some pictorial sources, in order create a fact file on these two key political figures (PS and UICT).

  • Key figure 5: Brian Faulkner
  • Key figure 6: Bernadette Devlin