Forcing Peace: John Hume’s “Long Struggle” in Northern Ireland, 1982–1998

  • Andrea K. Grove


For most of the twentieth century, the citizens of Northern Ireland were caught in a long, bloody struggle between violent and apparently irreconcilable opponents. Alongside the raging dispute between British government troops and paramilitary forces, a battle of ideas raged as well between moderates and radicals on both sides. Extremists embraced violence, viewing it as the only practical alternative and indeed the most heroic path for true patriots. Advocates of nonviolent negotiation found their methods scorned and their proposals rejected as futile. Action—especially violent action—and not talk was perceived to be the most expeditious means of achieving the desired outcome of addressing the second-class role of Catholic citizens in a Protestant-dominated state. In the midst of the overwhelming push to take up arms, John Hume—a Catholic school teacher moved to political action by the injustice he observed in his community—saw the situation differently and employed a range of le dership strategies to mobilize support and move beyond the conflicting parties toward a peace agreement. This chapter describes Hume’s own “long struggle” for peace that culminated in the Good Friday Accords of 1998.


British Government Peace Process Hunger Strike Peaceful Resolution Republican Movement 
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© Andrea K. Grove 2007

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  • Andrea K. Grove

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