The ceasefire between Irish republicans and British forces that began at noon, July 11, 1921, staunched two and a half years of bloodshed. The truce, announced days earlier, headlined the front pages of American newspapers.
“Peace was settling over Ireland today,” United Press wrote in a July 9 story from Dublin. “For the first time since the Easter rebellion of 1916, hostilities were actually dying down, under the truce signed between the Sinn Feiners and representatives of the British government.”Multiple dispatches in the Evening Herald (Shenandoah, Pa.), July 9, 1921.
The truce came as a relief to the four-month-old administration of U.S. President Warren G. Harding and “reduced both the pressure on the State Department to act on Irish matters and the temperature of the U.S.-British relationship,” historian Bernadette Whelan wrote. “The majority of the U.S. press, public, politicians, and Catholic Church welcomed the truce.”Whelan, Bernadette, United States Foreign Policy and Ireland: From Empire to Independence, 1913-29. Four Courts Press, Dublin, 2006, Ch. 9, p. 349.
Typical of foreign news coverage 100 years ago, United Press reported on commentary from local papers. “The London press was jubilant today in its comment on the Irish truce,” the wire service reported. It also quoted the Dublin-based Freeman’s Journal, which wrote the truce “raises hopes in the hearts of the people which have not been felt for many months.”
Other wire services filed multiple dispatches from both capitals. These July 11 ledes from the Associated Press are typical:Multiple dispatches in the Brooklyn (N.Y) Daily Eagle, July 11, 1921.
London: Eamonn de Valera will come to London on Thursday of this week for his conference with Prime Minister Lloyd George to discuss the basis of a settlement of the Irish problem.
Dublin: The truce in Ireland, agreed upon by Government officials and Republican leaders pending peace negotiations, went into effect at noon today.
The Hearst-owned International News Service also reported from Dublin:
The armistice between the Irish Republican army and the British crown forces is now officially in effect in Ireland. Armistice celebrations were held here and elsewhere in Southern Ireland. There were frequent toast to ‘the future of Ireland.'”Irish Truce In Effect As Police Now Patrol Streets Weaponless”, The Washington (D.C.) Times, July 11, 1921.
The Evening World in New York City editorialized the truce represented “an auspicious beginning of what may prove the most momentous week in Ireland’s history.” The Pulitzer-owned paper condemned “the Belfast Orange newspapers” for sounding “an irreconcilable note.””Truce In Ireland”, Evening World (New York, N.Y.), July 11, 1921. The second day of the truce got tangled in the usual sectarian troubles of annual July 12 Orange Order marches in Northern Ireland, partitioned a month earlier from the rest of the island. I’ll explore that in the next post.
Later this month I will post examples of Irish-American and Catholic press coverage of the truce. See earlier work from my American Reporting of Irish Independence centenary series.
|↑1||Multiple dispatches in the Evening Herald (Shenandoah, Pa.), July 9, 1921.|
|↑2||Whelan, Bernadette, United States Foreign Policy and Ireland: From Empire to Independence, 1913-29. Four Courts Press, Dublin, 2006, Ch. 9, p. 349.|
|↑3||Multiple dispatches in the Brooklyn (N.Y) Daily Eagle, July 11, 1921.|
|↑4||”Irish Truce In Effect As Police Now Patrol Streets Weaponless”, The Washington (D.C.) Times, July 11, 1921.|
|↑5||”Truce In Ireland”, Evening World (New York, N.Y.), July 11, 1921.|