John Redmond MP –  portrait by artist Henry Jones Thaddeus. Courtesy of the National Gallery of Ireland
To stand with the Empire

‘The life of a politician, especially of an Irish politician,” a weary and disheartened John Redmond reflected as his life was drawing to a close, “is(...)

Professor Ronan Fanning said ‘British failures were responsible for violence and the triumph of violence in Ireland’. Photograph : Matt Kavanagh/The Irish Times

Veteran historian Professor Ronan Fanning has said violence worked in Ireland during the revolutionary period because of the “pusillanimous and inept (...)

Understandably, the Tories and Lib Dems are increasingly feeling the need to stress their own identity as they prepare for Election 2015, making it more difficult to agree on legislation to put before the Commons. Photograph: Getty Images

Former Conservative defence secretary Liam Fox once said the Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties, who are now four years into their coalition, a(...)

Scottish Labour politician James Keir Hardie (1856 - 1915), addressing a peace meeting in Trafalgar Square, London, from the plinth of Nelson’s Column. Keir Hardie was born in Legbrannock, in Lanarkshire, and worked in a coalpit from the age of 10. After working as a journalist he turned to politics. The founding Chairman of the Scottish Labour Party (1888), Keir Hardie was elected to Parliament in 1892 for West Ham South, and then in 1900 for Merthyr Tydfil. He was the first leader of the Labour Party in Parliament (1906-07).  Photograph: Hulton Archive/Getty Images

T wo days after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife in Sarajevo, Liberal Prime Minister Herbert Asquith stood in the Commons, d(...)

Kaiser Wilhelm II, Emperor of Germany and King of Prussia,. Helmuth Von Moltke, German army chief of staff, and Admiral Alfred von Tirpitz on December 8th 1912, after news from London that Britain would not tolerate the crushing of France, Wilhelm met his top military, including both men. At what became known as “the War Council”, Moltke argued in favour of war, “the sooner the better”. Tirpitz argued “the navy would prefer to see the postponement of the great fight for one and a half years”. (Photo by Universal History Archive/Getty Images)
What will the British do?

‘The influence of the Irish crisis on German policy has generally been underestimated,” Northern Ireland historian ATQ Stewart wrote in his thriller-l(...)

1914: Edward Carson inspects a parade of armed Ulster Volunteers. By the time Carson announced in Belfast that an Ulster Division would be formed from the UVF, many young men, impatient with waiting, had already enlisted.  Photograph: Central Press/Getty
From brink of civil war

One hundred years ago, in spring 1914, the idea of an imminent world war was far from the minds of Ulster people. The focus was much closer to home. M(...)

In his splendid new book on Britain’s Irish policy in these formative years, Ronan Fanning stresses that his topic is not Anglo-Irish relations in the(...)