Civil War

The Irish Civil War which lasted from 27 June 1922 to 24 May 1923 was fought between Free State Forces and Anti-Treaty rebels. Objections to the Treaty were led by President of the Dáil, Eamon de Valera because it included an 'Oath of Allegiance' to the British Crown. Furthermore, under the treaty, the state was not to be called a republic but a "free state" and it would be limited to the 26 of the 32 counties. When Dáil Éireann passed the Anglo-Irish Treaty by 64 votes to 57 on 7 January 1922, Eamon de Valera resigned. In March 1922, an ad hoc Army Convention repudiated the authority of the Dáil. A general election was held on 18 June 1922 which gave an overwhelming victory for Pro-Treaty candidates. De Valera rejected the will of the people saying 'the majority have no right to do wrong.'

On 27 June, the National Army under Michael Collins as Commander-in-Chief attacked Anti-Treaty rebels holding up in the Four Courts and forced them to surrender. The Civil War had begun. It was short and bloody. It cost the lives of many public figures, including Michael Collins, Cathal Brugha and Liam Lynch. Both sides carried out brutal acts: the anti-treaty forces murdered TDs and the government executed anti-treaty prisoners in reprisal. It claimed more lives than the War of Independence that preceded it, and left Irish society divided and embittered for generations. Today, the two of the main political parties, Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael, are direct descendants of the opposing sides in the war.