How valuable are sources 1,5,6,7,8,9 in explaining the events of Bloody Sunday Essay Example
How valuable are sources 1,5,6,7,8,9 in explaining the events of Bloody Sunday Essay Example

How valuable are sources 1,5,6,7,8,9 in explaining the events of Bloody Sunday Essay Example

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  • Pages: 2 (1004 words)
  • Published: November 5, 2017
  • Type: Essay
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On Sunday, 30th January 1972, 13 Nationalist were shot dead by British Paratroopers during a march against internment in Londonderry.

A 14th person died later in hospital. The exact events of "Bloody Sunday" are unclear, the enmity between the Nationalists and Unionists is so deep rooted in history that all accounts of the day are, to some extent, biased to either party. Source 1, a print created in 1587 as catholic propaganda, shows the alleged treatment of catholic bishops by English troops. The bishops are shown solemnly praying, still dressed in ceremonial robes and mitre, while being hanged and tortured.Although it is undeniable catholic priest were subjected to such torture during the British colonisation of Ireland, it is unlikely the specific events depicted in the source ever actually happened.

It is far more probable that the print is a generalisation of events in Ireland, a composite of various separate events to alert catholic in England and Ireland of the plight of the Catholic bishops. Source 1 is an example of the long-term history behind Bloody Sunday. Images like this have been shown to each generation of Catholics at face value, as though the source images show the absolute truth.Propaganda like this, used by both Catholics and Protestants, is used to create hatred towards the other sect.

The blind faith people of both sects place in the propaganda, and the hatred this creates, is a key factor in explaining events of Bloody Sunday. With this animosity between English and Irish, and the bloodshed it has creat


ed in the past, an event like Bloody Sunday was inevitable. Without the unfounded animosity between the two groups, events like Bloody Sunday would never have the chance to happen.Source 5 is an eyewitness account of Bloody Sunday, made by a Catholic Priest. He claims he saw no-one shooting at the Paratroopers, and that they shot indiscriminately and unprovoked.

The statement comes from a Priest, and therefore should have integrity, however the priest is a Catholic and may by biased towards the nationalist perspective. Whatever his belief, what he saw on the day would have been limited; he was only in one small area on the day and therefore could not have seen everything that happened. Its value in explaining events, however, its strengthened by Source 7.Source 7 is a statement from a report for "The Guardian" newspaper. He claims that, apart from one shot from Rossville Street, there was no gunfire or bombs from the IRA.

The report had heard many nail bombs before; therefore his testimony of hearing no bombs is more likely to be true. To have heard nail bombs before suggests he had been in violent areas in the past. His limited view on these events may have allowed him to build up prejudices towards the British, especially if he had been in a Nationalist area.The content of his statement is so close to that of Source 5 is an indication that both statements are truthful. However the apparently minor discrepancy between the Sources in Source 7, where the reporter states one shot was fired from Rossville Street, reinforces the point that

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both witnesses only had a limited line of sight and therefore, all eyewitness reports of the day have limited value in giving the whole picture of events on Bloody Sunday.

Source 6, an eyewitness report from Lt. Col. Wilford, the highest ranking Para in Londonderry on Bloody Sunday, totally contradicts Sources 5 and 7.Wilford claims the Paras were attacked with petrol bombs and acid from the Rossville flats, from where they also came under fire. Reports of acid and petrol bombs are also seen in witness statements for Lord Widgery's Inquiry into Bloody Sunday, however all these statements come from Paratroopers and are denied by all other witnesses of the events and one solider who made the claim in the report has since admitted it was false.

Source 8 is taken from the report into Bloody Sunday by Lord Widgery.The source states the Paras acted responsibly and there was no breakdown in discipline, However, Widgery goes on to say, "Firing bordered on reckless. " The Paratroopers are an elite fighting unit trained in not only the firing of weapons but also in the control of said fire. The fact that some "Firing bordered on reckless" yet there was no breakdown in discipline seems impossible. The report also says "each soldier was his own judge of whether he had identified a gunman," again, this is not how the Paratroopers are supposed to act, they have always stated that 'In urban combat, communication is the key.

The complete lack of communication between ground troops suggests a breakdown in disciple. In 1998 Tony Blair announced a new Inquiry into Bloody Sunday, after finding Lord Widgery's report to be unreliable. However, this does not reduce the value of the source. The fact the report contains blatant lies and false witness statement suggests the government felt they had something to lie about, which suggest they were at fault. Source 9 is an extract from 'Provos' by Peter Taylor, A journilist with a lifetimes experience in Ireland.He suggests there was no government cover up (suggest in source 8) and Bloody Sunday was simply the inevitable result of centuries of conflict between the two groups.

This sentiment is strongly backed up by such long-term causes as Source 1. The conclusion '[Bloody Sunday] was a tragedy waiting to happen' is a very fair one based on the evidence gathered, although, it still was the Paras one pulled the trigger and killed 13 people.Taylor's lifetime experience in Northern Ireland may have given Taylor a clearer view of events in the country, conversely, it may have given him time to build up prejudice against one of the groups. While writing 'Provos' Taylor spent much of his time living in derry, and around the bogside, this suggests Taylor may have been lenient towards the IRA and Nationalists.

However, with the fair, reasoned conclusion Taylor reaches, this seems insignificant, even if he was biased, the source is reasoned enough to make itself very valuable.