Conflict, Crisis and Collapse - May 1969 to March 1972

Part C:

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3. Museum related activities

Pre-visit

For this section, students should watch the two short films below.

  • Film 8: “Missed Opportunities”
  • Film 9: “Final Summary”

 

After these two films have been shown to the students, the teacher should start a discussion, to ascertain what students have learnt from each film. Suggestions for themes to explore include:

  • The role of the media (television, radio and newspapers)
  • The impact of protests in Europe and the USA
  • The role of the British government in the search for a political solution by March 1972
  • The intervention of the Irish government and its effects by March 1972

Students should then be split into groups and asked to work more closely on the following questions:

  1. What were the missed opportunities to prevent the outbreak of the troubles in August 1969?
  2. To what extent did growing divisions within the Civil Rights movement lead to increased tensions between the two communities by the summer of 1969?
  3. To what extent was the Stormont government to blame for the outbreak of the troubles in August 1969?
  4. What were the political failures of NICRA by March 1972?
  5. What were the political successes of NICRA by March 1972?
  6. According to Austin Currie what had Unionist leaders failed to achieve by the summer of 1969?
  7. Why does Ivan Cooper describe as this “as the most exhilarating period ever?”
  8. To what extent was the British government to blame for the deepening political crisis in N. Ireland between August 1969 and March 1972?

These key points should be used for class-based discussions, in order to prepare students for their visit to the Ulster Museum.

 

Visit activities

During their educational visit to the Museum students should proceed to the Troubles Gallery (1970s) where they can look for the following items and display panels. They can use the objects and displays outlined below to answer the following questions (PS). Students should keep written and visual records during the visit (WO, UICT).

Item A: Photograph of events in Belfast, August 1969

  • What is happening when this photograph was taken?
  • Who was carrying out these attacks and why?
  • What is the man carrying and why is this significant?
  • How useful is this photograph as historical evidence about the events of 1969?

 

Item B: Ulster (the facts), a leaflet from September 1969

  • Who is the woman in the left-hand picture and why was she an important figure by the summer of 1969?
  • Why was this leaflet produced in the summer of 1969?
  • Does the authorship of this leaflet make it less useful as historical evidence about the events of 1969?

11-Ulster_the_facts_a_leaflet_from_September_1969

Item C: Anti-internment booklet (published 1971) by the North Derry CRA

  • Why was this booklet produced in late 1971?
  • Who supported this rent and rates strike in late 1971 and why?
  • Does the authorship of this booklet make it less useful as historical evidence about the events after August 1971?

 

Item D: Massacre in Derry booklet (published 1972) by NICRA after Bloody Sunday

  • Why was this booklet produced in 1972?
  • What were the reactions of Nationalists at that time to the events of Bloody Sunday?
  • What were the reactions of Unionists at that time to the events of Bloody Sunday?
  • Explain why Bloody Sunday is still a controversial issue even today?

13-Massacre_in_Derry_booklet_published_1972_by_NICRA_after_Bloody_Sunday

Item E: RUC riot helmet (damaged by a petrol bomb), RUC riot shield, CS gas cartridges and a rubber bullet cartridge case (these objects are all from the early 1970s)

  • Which paramilitary groups were attacking the police and the army by 1972 and why?
  • How did the police and the army deal with attacks by republican paramilitaries by 1972?
  • How did the police and the army deal with attacks by loyalist paramilitaries by 1972?
  • Why has 1972 been called the “blackest year” of the troubles in N. Ireland?