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Winston Churchill's View

The Hay Plan & Conscription In Ireland During WW1

2. Winston Churchill's View
Winston Churchill, however, had a different view on Irish conscription when he said, 'I have not met not one soldier in France who does not think we shall get good fighting material from Ireland. I think the decision of the War cabinet is a battlefield decision, but a wise one'. [7] Field Marshall Sir Douglas Haig agreed with Churchill's views. Haig had been the Commander-in-Chief of Allied forces in France since 1916 after taking over command from Lord French, who would later play an important role in Ireland. [8]

One week later, on 6 April, the final report on the Irish Convention had been released. One day earlier, on 5 April, Ireland's Chief Secretary offered the government a chance to introduce Irish conscription only if Home Rule had been passed into law. [9] The Cork Examiner on the same day described the proposal as 'so utterly fantastic that it may be described as stupidly absurd'. [10] On 8 April, the Cork Examiner's editorial believed that the government's plans to introduce military conscription for Ireland 'as far as may be learned, appear yet to definite shape'. [11] The following day, the Irish Independent editorial headline 'The Conscription Threat' stated:

The Irish people are acting with their eyes open. They will consent to no bargaining with or trucking to, a Prime Minister who, to borrow the words of a Party organ, has shown 'a tendency towards trickery in all situations of political difficulty'. [12]

Author: Dave Hennessy

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