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The Chamberlains, the Churchills and Ireland, 1874-1922

Chambers, Ian (2001) The Chamberlains, the Churchills and Ireland, 1874-1922. PhD thesis, Murdoch University.

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Ireland had a profound influence on the British Parliament in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. This study examines the actions of two fathers and their sons who were leading players in the political events of that period. The Conservative, Lord Randolph Churchill, and the Liberal, Joseph Chamberlain, were on opposite sides of the House yet they both opposed all attempts to bring a measure of independence to Ireland because it was not consistent with their view of the Empire or Ireland’s place within it. Their actions were to play a large part in delaying independence until 1922. New light is shed on Joseph Chamberlain’s actions during the ‘Kilmainham Treaty’ negotiations, demonstrating the unscrupulous way in which he dealt with the Irish Parliamentary party.

The sons, Winston Churchill and Austen Chamberlain, inherited the views of their fathers and continued to obstruct Irish aspirations until the political situation changed and the pressures of political expediency forced a change in their approach. Winston Churchill’s actions during the ‘Curragh mutiny’ are given a new interpretation which removes the stigma attached to his involvement in the events surrounding the dispatch of the Third Battle Squadron to Lamlash. This study traces the political actions of these four key men in regard to Ireland over a period of forty years. Without the selfseeking actions of men such as these, the whole history of British-Irish relations might well have been much different.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Division of Social Sciences, Humanities and Education
Notes: Note to the author: If you would like to make your thesis openly available on Murdoch University Library's Research Repository, please contact: Thank you.
Supervisor(s): Jalland, Patricia, Hooper, John and Reece, Robert
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