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Encyclopedia > Peter Hart

Peter Hart is a Canadian historian, specialising in modern Irish history. Peter E. Hart is chairman and president of Ricoh Innovations, which he founded in 1997. ... Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR), is a media criticism organization based in New York, New York, founded in 1986. ... Main articles: History of Canada, Timeline of Canadian history Canada has been inhabited by aboriginal peoples (known in Canada as First Nations) for at least 40,000 years. ...



Hart was born and raised in St. John's, Newfoundland. He studied for one year at the Memorial University of Newfoundland before moving to study at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario. He graduated from there with an Honours BA degree. Subsequently, Hart completed a Masters degree in International Relations at Yale University. He then moved to Ireland to do PhD work at Trinity College, Dublin. His thesis was on the Irish Republican Army in county Cork, which was the basis of his first book, "The IRA and its Enemies". After completing his doctorate, Hart accepted a five year teaching and research position at Queen's University Belfast. In 2003, having completed this contract, Hart moved back to Canada to take up the position of Canada Research Chair in Irish Studies at the Memorial University of Newfoundland. He is also an associate professor at Memorial University. Nickname: Motto: Avancez (Go forward) Coordinates: , Country Province Established August 5, 1583 by Royal Charter of Queen Elizabeth I Government  - City Mayor Andy Wells  - Governing body St. ... This article is about the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador. ... Memorial University of Newfoundland, (popularly known as Memorial University or MUN) is a comprehensive university located primarily in St. ... Queens University, generally referred to simply as Queens, is a coeducational, non-sectarian public university located in Kingston, Ontario, Canada. ... Murney Tower, Kingston The Fort Henry Guard performing an historical demonstration The Prince George Hotel. ... Motto: Ut Incepit Fidelis Sic Permanet (Latin: Loyal she began, loyal she remains) Capital Toronto Largest city Toronto Official languages English (de facto) Government Lieutenant-Governor David C. Onley Premier Dalton McGuinty (Liberal) Federal representation in Canadian Parliament House seats 107 Senate seats 24 Confederation July 1, 1867 (1st) Area... A B.A. issued from the University of Tennessee. ... Yale redirects here. ... PhD usually refers to the academic title Doctor of Philosophy PhD can also refer to the manga Phantasy Degree This is a disambiguation page — a list of pages that otherwise might share the same title. ... For other institutions named Trinity College, see Trinity College. ... For other uses, see Dublin (disambiguation). ... This article is about the historical army of the Irish Republic (1919–1922) which fought in the Irish War of Independence 1919–21, and the Irish Civil War 1922–23. ... Statistics Province: Munster County Town: Cork Code: C (CK proposed) Area: 7,457 km² Population (2006) 480,909 (including City of Cork); 361,766 (without Cork City) Website: www. ... Queens University Belfast is a university in Belfast, Northern Ireland and a member of the Russell Group (a lobby group of major research universities in the United Kingdom). ... Canada Research Chairs (CRCs) are Canadian university research positions that were created in 2000 and funded by the Government of Canada (who have provided 900 million Canadian dollars). ...


He has written several books to date on what he terms the "Irish Revolution" of 1919-23 (more commonly referred to as the Irish War of Independence 1919-21 and the Irish Civil War 1922-23). Combatants Irish Republic United Kingdom Commanders Michael Collins Richard Mulcahy Cathal Brugha Important local IRA leaders Henry Hugh Tudor Strength Irish Republican Army c. ... The Irish Civil War (June 28, 1922 – May 24, 1923) was a conflict between supporters and opponents of the Anglo-Irish Treaty of December 6, 1921, which established the Irish Free State, precursor of todays Republic of Ireland. ...

The first of these books is titled The IRA and Its Enemies, Violence and Community in Cork (1998). This is an in-depth study of the organisation, social composition and actions of the Irish Republican Army in County Cork during the War of Independence. This book won three awards, including the Christopher Ewart-Biggs Memorial Prize (1998). This article is about the historical army of the Irish Republic (1919–1922) which fought in the Irish War of Independence 1919–21, and the Irish Civil War 1922–23. ... Statistics Province: Munster County Town: Cork Code: C (CK proposed) Area: 7,457 km² Population (2006) 480,909 (including City of Cork); 361,766 (without Cork City) Website: www. ... The Christopher Ewart-Biggs Memorial Prize was created in 1977, in memory of Christopher Ewart-Biggs, British Ambasssador to Ireland, who was assassinated by the IRA in 1976. ...

Hart has since published British Intelligence in Ireland 1920-21: the Final Reports (2002) and The IRA at War 1916-23 (2004), a collection of essays on various social, political and military aspects of the IRA in these years.

Peter Hart’s latest work is a biography of Michael Collins, which is titled simply Mick. For other persons named Michael Collins, see Michael Collins (disambiguation). ...

Hart has also contributed to the volume, The Irish Revolution (2002)[1] , which is a collection of articles by various historians of the period.


A number of the claims Hart has made in his books have attracted controversy.

Kilmichael ambush

Hart has attracted criticism for his chapter on the Kilmichael Ambush of November 1920, in which he argues that IRA commander Tom Barry killed wounded British Auxiliaries after they had surrendered. Barry's eyewitness account of the event states that the Auxiliaries made a false surrender, killing the IRA member who stood to take it, after which he ordered that no prisoners should be taken. Hart argues that this is fabrication and that Barry had the wounded Auxiliaries killed after they had surrendered. He cites anonymous interviews which he conducted with two IRA veterans of the ambush and an unsigned typed account of the encounter from British records purporting to be the 'Rebel Commandant's Report'. Combatants Irish Republican Army Royal Irish Constabulary Commanders Tom Barry Francis Crake† Strength 36 IRA volunteers of the West Cork Flying column 18 officers of the RIC Auxiliary Division Casualties 3 dead 17 dead 1 wounded The Kilmichael Ambush on November 28, 1920 was a turning point in the Irish... This article is about the Irish republican. ... The Auxiliary Division of the Royal Irish Constabulary, generally known as the Auxiliaries or Auxies, was a paramilitary organization within the RIC during the Anglo-Irish War. ...

Historian Meda Ryan has cast doubt on the veracity of Hart's sources. She points out in her book, Tom Barry, IRA Freedom Fighter[2] that Hart dates an interview with a veteran of the ambush (named 'AF') six days after the last known veteran, Edward (Ned) Young, died on November 13, 1989, aged 97. Apart from Young, who was impaired in his declining years, there were no other surviving veterans during the timeframe of Hart's anonymous interviews. Ryan dismissed as a British forgery a 'Rebel Commandant's Report' that Hart advanced in defence of his view. Ryan argues that the account contains knowledge about an Auxiliary (Guthrie) being "missing" and about the precise quantity of British arms, known only to the British and unknown to Barry. The 'Report' also contains factual errors regarding the sequences of events and Irish fatalities in the ambush, which were known to Barry but clearly unknown to the author of the account. The 'Report' states that one IRA member was killed outright at the ambush and that two died later of their wounds; the opposite was in fact the case. Ryan suggests that this is not something which Barry would likely get wrong.

Dunmanway killings

see also Dunmanway Massacre The Protestant Massacre refers to the killings of thirteen Protestant civilians, allegedly by maverick elements of the Irish Republican Army, in West Cork] between 26 April/28 April 1922, apparently triggered by the killing of a member/volunteer of the IRA, Michael ONeill, Acting Officer Commanding of the Bandon...

Another controversial aspect of The IRA and its Enemies is Hart's claim that the IRA in Cork undertook a campaign of ethnic cleansing against Protestants before and after the truce that ended hostilities with Britain in July 1921. In particular Hart pointed to the killing of 12 Protestants in Dunmanway in April 1922 to support his thesis. Again, this is contentious, as Meda Ryan and another historian Brian Murphy point to the omission by Hart of relevant information.[3] For instance, Hart quotes a sentence from a British intelligence assessment, "The Record of the Rebellion in the 6th Divisional Area", to bolster his view that the shootings were sectarian, but left out a sentence immediately following indicating that they were not. Brian Murphy pointed this out in his review of The IRA and its Enemies in 'The Month', in 1998. Ryan revealed that the names of those shot were on list of “helpful citizens” left behind by British Auxiliaries after they evacuated their quarters in Dunmanway Workhouse. Hart did not have access to these names and made assumptions about the victims of the April 1922 shootings. For the video game, see Ethnic Cleansing (computer game). ... WGS-84 (GPS) Coordinates: , Irish Grid Reference W228530 Statistics Province: Munster County: Population (2006) 2,328 Website: www. ... Brian Murphy may refer to: A British actor most noted for his role as George Roper in the sitcom George and Mildred A former mayor of Moncton in New Brunswick, Canada A former captain of the Zimbabwean cricket team A mathematician An ice hockey player in the National Hockey League...

In addition, in a critique of Peter Hart's use of sources,[4] Murphy points out that Hart's subsequent editorship of ‘The Record...’ omitted an entire section, on 'The People'. This section demonstrated British racist attitudes toward the Irish, but also, significantly, did not allege that their enemy was sectarian. Peter Hart failed to inform the reader of this omission, though other less contentious omissions were signalled.

All sides of then divided – by the terms of the Treaty - republican opinion united publicly to denounce the killings, as they broke the terms of an amnesty for former spies and informers.

Ethnic cleansing

Hart's subsequent book, The IRA at War 1916-23, contains the claim that republican actions during the civil war could be described as ethnic cleansing. However, in a letter to the Irish Times in June 2006 Peter Hart stated that he had never used the term “ethnic cleansing”. For the video game, see Ethnic Cleansing (computer game). ...

The US historian, John Borgonovo, (author of “Spies, Informers And the 'Anti-Sinn Féin Society': The Intelligence War in Cork City, 1920-1921”, 2007) replied (July 14 2006):

“Dr Peter Hart's letter of June 28th stated: "I have never argued that 'ethnic cleansing' took place in Cork or elsewhere" during the War of Independence. That is not accurate. In his article "The Protestant Experience of Revolution in Southern Ireland" (in Unionism and Modern Ireland, Gill & MacMillan, 1996), [republished in 2003 in The IRA at War] Dr Hart wrote of this period: "Similar campaigns of what might be termed 'ethnic cleansing' were waged in parts of King's and Queen's Counties, South Tipperary, Leitrim, Mayo, Limerick, Westmeath, Louth, and Cork".

"He also compared the Irish Revolution to Bosnia and "the postwar 'unmixing' of people in Europe". Dr Hart's landmark book ‘The IRA and its Enemies’ essentially attributed the shooting of Protestant civilians in Cork to the IRA's "fear of a desire for revenge", rather than the actual guilt of those victims. I disagree.

"My upcoming book Spies, Informers, and the "Anti-Sinn Féin Society" studies the executions of suspected informers in Cork city during 1920-1921. Of the IRA's 30 civilian killings, five victims were Protestant and 19 were ex-servicemen.

"The latter number should be placed in the context of the city's large ex-soldier population, which included over 5,500 veterans of the First World War. Overall, my research revealed no IRA campaign against the city's Protestant, unionist and ex-servicemen institutions and leaders.

"Among Cork's executed "spies", clear evidence linked some of them to the crown forces, while others were shot without any explanation. Today it is impossible to establish guilt in many cases. British records about informants are fragmented, incomplete, and often unreliable. IRA records were destroyed during the conflict for security reasons. However, surviving documentation indicates the Cork city IRA only targeted civilians it believed were passing information to the crown forces.

"The Cork city Volunteers certainly had the means to identify local citizens working with British forces. Volunteers systematically intercepted mail, tapped phone lines and monitored telegraphs around the city. Republican spies and sympathisers could be found in key workplaces throughout the town. IRA intelligence officers closely watched British bases and personnel. One IRA spy penetrated the British army's Cork command at its highest level, and had access to sensitive information that we must assume included the identities of local civilian informants. Her story can be found in Florence and Josephine O'Donoghue's War of Independence, which I edited.”


  1. ^ Joost Augusteijn(edited), The Irish Revolution, 1913-1923, Palgrave Macmillan, 2002. ISBN-10: 0333982258
  2. ^ Tom Barry, IRA Freedom Fighter, Meda Ryan, Mercier Press, 2003, ISBN 1856354806
  3. ^ 'The Issue of Sources', Brian Murphy, Irish Political Review Vol 20 No 7 July 2005 (ISSN 0790-7672)
  4. ^ The Origins and Organisation of British Propaganda in Ireland, 1920, Aubane Historical Society, 2006. ISBN 1903497248



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