"The Troubles" of Northern Ireland really came to a head in 1969, when, as a result of escalating sectarian conflict, British troops were deployed to Belfast and (London)Derry to act as a buffer between the 'Nationalists' (mostly Catholic) and the 'Loyalists' (mostly Protestant).
Initially the troops were welcomed by the nationalists but inevitably, as time passed, the troops found themselves attacked on both sides, loved by none. Although violence and the killings peaked in the seventies, the low-level war continued into the nineties.
At one point, during Operation Motorman (which the author witnessed first hand), there were nearly 25,000 troops deployed. By the time the Good Friday Agreement was signed in 1998, over three and a half thousand people had been killed, and many more wounded, as the violence spread from Northern Ireland to Eire, England and even mainland Europe.
How did this come about? There were long-term grievances held by a signifi.....
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