'Miserable Conflict and Confusion'

Book'Miserable Conflict and Confusion'

'Miserable Conflict and Confusion'

The Irish Question and the British National Press, 1916-1922


April 1st, 2022





This book investigates the way the British national press covered Ireland and the ‘Irish question’ from the aftermath of the Easter Rising in 1916 to the ratification of the Anglo-Irish Treaty in 1922. Bridging the fields of history and media studies, it seeks to add to our understanding of the complex relationship between the press and politics. Using a case study of eleven newspapers, Erin Kate Scheopner investigates daily press coverage from the formative 1916-1922 period to offer broader contextualisation and critical analysis of what the press, the reading public, and the government recognised to be happening in Ireland. The material examined includes articles, dedicated series, editorials, cartoons, letters to the editor, and reports from outside journalists and foreign press outlets. This research confirms that the British national press were not neutral bystanders in the Irish question debate but were active participants, helping to shape and influence the course of events that led to the signing of the Anglo-Irish Treaty.

'Providing a unique insight into the interaction between media and politics at a crucial period of Irish history, this book demonstrates the key role of the press in shaping and interpreting the events that shaped the destiny of a nation. Based on extensive original research, it provides a nuanced appreciation of the press as a player in, and an observer of, the world of politics as the demand for Irish independence grew in intensity.'
-Mark O'Brien, Associate Professor of Journalism History, Dublin City University

'This well-researched and intriguing study offers the first detailed examination of how the British people and government came around to offering a home rule scheme in 1921 that in many ways far exceeded what they were willing to grant just a few years earlier. It validates the argument that the British negotiators were, as Collins and Griffith believed, genuinely offering all that was politically possible at that time.'
- Michael de Nie, Professor of History, University of West Georgia


Author Information

Erin Kate Scheopner lectures in history at Goldsmiths, University of London and Lawrence University London Centre.

Table of Contents

Section TitlePage
1. ‘Fallen as a bombshell’: The Rise of Republicanism, 1916-18
2. ‘A new Ireland surges into view’: Home Rule Reassessed, 1919-20
3. A ‘nightmare to the mind and a laceration to the soul’: The Irish Question, 1920-21
4. ‘A first practical step towards peace’: Truce, 1921
5. The ‘elements of a solution are there’: Treaty, 1921-22
Conclusion: ‘Let us put an end to it’: Anglo-Irish Relations and the Treaty