a memorial for all wars: the Polynational War Memorial


Northern Ireland, The Troubles

Years: 1971-1998
Battle deaths: 2,978 [1]
Onesided violence: 32 [2]

Nation(s) involved and/or conflict territory [note]
Ireland, United Kingdom

Published prior to 2013 | Updated: 2014-08-15 16:40:03
The Troubles is a generic term used to describe a period of sporadic communal violence involving paramilitary organisations, the police, the British Army and others in Northern Ireland from the late 1960s until the mid-1990s. (Another term, common among British commentators is the "Irish Problem", though this is seen as pejorative by many Irish people as it seems to absolve Britain of any blame for the conflict and portray it as a neutral party.) It could also be described as a many-sided conflict, a guerrilla war or even a civil war. The Provisional IRA maintained their violent campaign was armed resistance to British occupation. The Troubles were another chapter in the long-running hatred between Northern Ireland’s Protestant and Roman Catholic communities. Brought to an uneasy end by a peace process which included the declaration of ceasefires by some paramilitary organisations, the withdrawal of some troops from the streets and the creation of a new police force in a series of reforms, most notably the Belfast Agreement (commonly known as the Good Friday Agreement).

Though the number of active participants in the Troubles was small, and the paramilitary organisations that claimed to represent the communities were, in reality, unrepresentative of the general population, the Troubles touched the lives of most people within Northern Ireland on a daily basis, while occasionally spreading to Great Britain and the Republic of Ireland. Between three and four thousand people (many of them civilians) died as a result of the violence. Many had their political, social and communal attitudes and perspectives shaped by the Troubles.

Though not itself part of the Troubles, the Civil Rights campaign in the mid to late 1960s in Northern Ireland, which was largely modelled on the American Civil Rights campaigns of Martin Luther King and others in the United States, was seen by some in the Unionist community as the starting point for the Troubles. They argue that it led to a destabilisation of government and created a void filled later by paramilitary groups. Others, mainly though not exclusively nationalist, disagree, arguing that the Civil Rights campaign was a reaction to a corrupt system of government, the failure to reform the system causing the collapse in law and order that was the Troubles. All are agreed that the Troubles does include the Bloody Sunday, Bloody Friday, Internment without trial, the suspension of the unionist-dominated Stormont Home Rule government, the campaigns of violence by the various paramilitary organisations, including the Dublin and Monaghan Bombings, the La Mon bombing, the killing of Lord Mountbatten and his family, the assassination of Sir Christopher Ewart-Biggs, the then British Ambassador to the Republic of Ireland, the attempted assassination of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and most of her cabinet in the Brighton hotel bombing, the assassination of Airey Neave and the attempted assassination of John David Taylor, the Enniskillen and Omagh bombings, the hunger strikers in the Maze prison, the creation of the Peace People organisation (which won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1976), the splits in the IRA and ultimately the Belfast Agreement.

Source: Wikipedia, published under the GNU FDL. Retrieved [dat]


Data Sources

[1] Battle deaths: PRIO Battle Deaths Dataset v3.0 (link) (1946-88) UCDP Battle-Related Deaths Dataset v. 5-2014 (link) (1989-) ID: #119
Low: 586 High: 2,982

[2] UCDP One-sided Violence Dataset v. 1.4-2014 (1989-2013)(link) including actors: UDA
Low: 32 High: 32

More about sources


NOTE! Nation data for this war may be inconlusive or incomplete. In most cases it reflects which nations were involved with troops in this war, but in some it may instead reflect the contested territory.



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