Sinn Féin ("We Ourselves") founded in 1902 by Arthur
Griffith, became a political party; initially it was largely a pacifist,
propagandist organisation promoting Irish economic welfare and full
Implementation of the Third Home Rule Bill, introduced in 1912 and
passed by the House of Commons in 1913, suspended on the outbreak
of World War I. Pro-British nationalists established paramilitary
Ulster Volunteer Force to resist Home Rule. The Irish Volunteers,
subsequently formed by nationalists as a rival military force, was
the core of what by 1919 had become the Irish Republican Army (IRA).
Easter Rising, armed uprising in Dublin, suppressed after six days
by British troops. The executions that followed gained many new
recruits for the Irish cause.
Sinn Féin adopted a revolutionary and republican constitution.
Subsequently, under Eamon de Valera, one of the leaders of the Easter
Rising, it became the dominant party in Ireland, excluding Ulster.
After winning almost all the Irish seats outside Ulster in the 1918
general election, Sinn Féin established an Irish parliament,
the Dáil Éireann, in Dublin, and set up its own administration.
War of Independence, precipitated by the killing of two members
of the armed police force by Volunteers. The British authorities
introduced the "Black and Tans" in response to the IRA's
successful use of guerilla tactics.
Government of Ireland Act effectively partitions Ireland by establishing
separate home-rule parliaments- one for the six Protestant-dominated
counties of Ulster and one for the rest of the country.
The Ulster parliament established in June. The Anglo-Irish Treaty,
providing for a self-governing Irish Free State with dominion status,
was signed on December 6, passed by Dáil Éireann on January 7, 1922,
and came into effect on December 6, of that year.
The Irish Civil War, caused by a split within Sinn Féin and
the IRA over the signing of the Anglo-Irish Treaty: Michael Collins
was a leader of the pro-Treaty faction; De Valera of the anti-Treaty
group. The pro-Treaty group was ultimately victorious and went on
to form the governments of the Free State as the Cumann na nGaedheal
Party, later Fine Gael.
Sinn Féin split again over recognition of the legitimacy
of the Free State. De Valera led the pro-recognition majority out
of the party and established the Fianna Fáil Party.
The Statute of Westminster enacted, recognising the legislative
autonomy of the British dominions and establishing the Commonwealth.
Fianna Fáil was elected to government, and remained in power until
1948. De Valera began implementing more radical policies, including
the repeal of a law restricting IRA activities, abrogating the oath
of allegiance, and withholding certain land annuity payments to
Britain, which led to a six-year tariff war.
The new republican constitution was approved in a referendum. The
Irish Free State was replaced by Éire, and remaining constitutional
ties with Britain were severed.
Irish writer and patriot Douglas Hyde became the first president
of Éire, and De Valera its first prime minister. The tariff
war with Britain was ended.
Éire declares itself neutral on the outbreak of World War