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The American Commission on Conditions in Ireland: Interim Report (1921)

What is inside?

The published Interim Report for the American Commission on Conditions in Ireland is a published account of oral and written testimonies from witnesses in Ireland dating from the end of 1920 and beginning of 1921 and as such detail the events and circumstances in Ireland during the last months of Britain's dominion in Ireland. The evidence collected by Commission was eventually presented to its parent body, the American Committee of One-Hundred on Ireland. Like later commissions on Northern Ireland, the intention of the America Commission was stated to be the impartial account of the atrocities committed in Ireland by both sides during the War of Independence and it was hoped that by so dealing the situation in Ireland could be better understood and a healing process could begin. However, as the Commission pointed out, the eventual interim report was highly Republican in its eventual tenure. The Commission did not hesitate in pointing out that this was through no fault of its own, as all levels of both sides of the conflict had been requested to take part in the Commission's inquiry. The initial signs from the British Government had been encouraging. However, it quickly became apparent that at best the British Government would benignly not interfere in the process by not disallowing Irish witnesses visas and passports to travel to America to give their testimony. However, as the process of inquiry got under way, witnesses sympathetic to the the cause of Irish independence were denied permission to travel and faced other forms of duress to prevent their testimony. Despite the British Government's best efforts in preventing the Commission undertaking a thorough inquiry into the political conditions prevailing in Ireland during the War of Independence, its efforts were in vain. Many witnesses were smuggled illegally into America or written testimonies were provided in their stead. The Commission's published Interim Report provides a fascinating account from eyewitnesses and combatants alike into some of the more notorious events of the War of Independence. These included the killing of civilians, such as the Lord Mayor of Cork as well as members of the Republican forces. The Commission also conducted investigations into the conduct of the auxiliary forces, Black and Tans, Royal Irish Constabulary and well as the regular armed forces. The Commission's Interim Report is replete with many fascinating photographs on all aspects of the conflict. Fully indexed, this digital republication on the American Commission on Conditions in Ireland provides wonderful first-hand eyewitness testimony on the Irish War of Independence and is a must for anyone interested in this turbulent period of Irish history.

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