The reshaping of Ireland
After the Easter Rising of 1916 Ireland was relatively stable. Most of the leading radical Nationalists (Republicans) were in gaol. However, the radicals were still active.
In 1918, a general election brought stunning victories for Sinn Féin. Redmond’s moderate Nationalists were virtually wiped out.
The Republicans were determined to use their support to end British rule and make Ireland a Republic. They formed their own government called Dáil Éireann.
At the same time, activists of the Irish Republican Army began a bitter underground war against the police and British army.
As the War of Independence raged in much of Ireland, Ulster Unionists were determined not to be part of an Irish Republic.
As Republicans and Unionists dug in, Partition seemed the only solution to a British government desperate to bring peace to Ireland.