The Ideological Weekly History Thread

Welcome to this week’s History Thread!

This week we’re going to discuss ideologies in history: political, philosophical, religious or other. I’m casting the net as broadly as possible to encourage a wide-ranging discussion. What systems of government or economics have worked best in human history, and which are the worst? Which, if any, comes closest to the ideal? How much are the effectiveness and impact of implementing ideology influenced by circumstances and/or personalities? So much to discuss, I expect some interesting responses!

This week’s picture: 102 years ago today, a small conglomeration of Irish nationalists launched the Easter Rising in Dublin, attempting to seize power and gain independence from Britain while the Empire was preoccupied with the First World War. Never numbering more than about 1,200 men, armed with an ad hoc collection of small arms and machine guns, the Irish Volunteers, Irish Citizens Army and the Fianna nonetheless managed to seize much of Dublin for six days, defeating initial attempts by the British to reassert control. But their hopes of inspiring a mass rising failed, as Dubliners remained indifferent, if not hostile towards the rebellion. British troops under Sir John Maxwell soon arrived in force to crush the rebellion, using artillery and armored cars to overrun the poorly armed rebels and smash up the city.

Despite the Rising’s failure, it became a pivotal moment in the history of Irish nationalism. Britain’s decision to execute all of the Rising’s major leaders, including Patrick Pearse, James Connolly and Thomas MacDonough, led to a massive backlash, both domestically and abroad. This action, along with British atrocities and civilian deaths during the reconquest, turned the rebels into martyrs, and ensured that once the First World War ended, Ireland would no longer accept complete domination from England.