BOOK PRESENTATION: Uncivil War: The British Army and the Troubles, 1966–1975
hosted by Professor
Cardiff University, UK
When Operation Banner was launched in 1969 civil war threatened to break out in Northern Ireland and spread over the Irish Sea. Uncivil War reveals the full story of how the British army acted to save Great Britain from disaster during the most violent phase of the Troubles but, in so doing, condemned the people of Northern Ireland to protracted, grinding conflict. Huw Bennett shows how the army's ambivalent response to loyalist violence undermined the prospects for peace and heightened Catholic distrust in the state. British strategy consistently underestimated community defence as a reason for people joining or supporting the IRA whilst senior commanders allowed the army to turn in on itself, hardening soldiers to the suffering of ordinary people. By 1975 military strategists considered the conflict unresolvable: the army could not convince Catholics or Protestants that it was there to protect them and settled instead for an unending war. HUW BENNETT
Huw Bennett is a Reader in International Relations at the School of Law and Politics of the Cardiff University.
He specializes in strategic studies, the history of war, and intelligence studies, and works on both historical and contemporary issues concerning the use of military power. His research focuses on the experiences of the British Army since 1945, in the contexts of British politics, the Cold War, the end of empire, and the War on Terror.