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God's Executioner: Oliver Cromwell and the Conquest of Ireland [Englisch] [Taschenbuch]

Michael Siochru


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Kurzbeschreibung

21. August 2008
Cromwell spent only nine months of his eventful life in Ireland, yet he stands accused there of war crimes, religious persecution and ethnic cleansing. The massacre of thousands of soldiers and civilians by the New Model Army at both Drogheda and Wexford in 1649 must rank among the greatest atrocities in Anglo-Irish history: a tale that makes decidedly uncomfortable reading for those keen to focus on Cromwell's undoubted military and political achievements elsewhere.In a century of unrelenting, bloody warfare and religious persecution throughout Europe, Cromwell was, in many ways, a product of his times. As commander-in-chief of the army in Ireland, however, the responsibilities for the excesses of the military must be laid firmly at his door, while the harsh nature of the post-war settlement also bears his personal imprint. Cromwell was no monster, but he did commit monstrous acts. A warrior of Christ, somewhat like the crusaders of medieval Europe, he acted as God's executioner, convinced throughout the horrors of the legitimacy of his cause, and striving to build a better world for the chosen few. He remains, therefore, a remarkably modern figure, somebody to be closely studied and understood, rather than simply revered or reviled.

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Cromwell spent only nine months of his eventful life in Ireland, yet he stands accused there of war crimes, religious persecution and ethnic cleansing. The massacre of thousands of soldiers and civilians by the New Model Army at both Drogheda and Wexford in 1649 must rank among the greatest atrocities in Anglo-Irish history: a tale that makes decidedly uncomfortable reading for those keen to focus on Cromwell's undoubted military and political achievements elsewhere.In a century of unrelenting, bloody warfare and religious persecution throughout Europe, Cromwell was, in many ways, a product of his times. As commander-in-chief of the army in Ireland, however, the responsibilities for the excesses of the military must be laid firmly at his door, while the harsh nature of the post-war settlement also bears his personal imprint. Cromwell was no monster, but he did commit monstrous acts. A warrior of Christ, somewhat like the crusaders of medieval Europe, he acted as God's executioner, convinced throughout the horrors of the legitimacy of his cause, and striving to build a better world for the chosen few.

He remains, therefore, a remarkably modern figure, somebody to be closely studied and understood, rather than simply revered or reviled.

Über den Autor und weitere Mitwirkende

Micheal O Siochru is a native of Dublin, lectures in history at Trinity College, Dublin and has written extensively on seventeenth-century Ireland. His publications include Confederate Ireland 1642-1649: A constitutional and political analysis (Dublin, 1999) and Kingdoms in crisis: Ireland in the 1640s (Dublin, 2001).

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Amazon.com: 3.7 von 5 Sternen  3 Rezensionen
10 von 15 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Fair and Unbiased - Excellent Read 10. September 2010
Von Rosemary - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Taschenbuch
I agree wholeheartedly with a previous reviewer 'William Podmore's' assertion that "we are duty-bound to stick to the VERIFIED FACTS, at whatever cost to our previous judgements."

But making the case that Oliver Cromwell was an "honourable enemy" is akin to trying to convince people that black is white.

Here are some VERIFIED FACTS (Olver Cromwell's own reports):

When Cromwell landed near Dublin on 15 August 1649, he urged his New Model Army to execute 'the great work against the barbarous and bloodthirsty Irish and the rest of their adherents and confederates'.

A Cromwell report to London on 27 September 1649 lists the slaying of 3,000 military personnel, followed by the phrase "and many inhabitants".

In another report to London in September 1649 Cromwell justified his sack of Drogheda as revenge for the massacres of Protestant settlers in Ulster in 1641, calling the massacre "the righteous judgement of God on these barbarous wretches, who have imbued their hands with so much innocent blood." (However, Drogheda had never been held by the rebels in 1641)

Tom Reilly's book goes against the findings of generations of historians and has been widely criticized by numerous scholars since its release.

An excerpt of Eugene Coyle's review of Tom Reilly's book:

"[Tom Reilly] dismisses both the eyewitness accounts, including that of Cromwell himself, and the contemporary accounts as Royalist propaganda or as having been written for 'dishonest political reasons'. He contradicts what has been established by a large number of modern professional historians such as Michael Burke, Peter Gaunt, John Morrill, Antonia Fraser and others. For example, Cromwell justified the Drogheda massacre in which nearly 3,500 died as 'that this is the righteous judgement of God upon these barbarous wretches who have imbrued their hands in so much innocent blood'. About 2,800 of these 'wretches' were Royalist soldiers which left between 500 to 700 civilians and clerics. It is Tom Reilly's contention that only clerics and armed civilians died and that Cromwell honoured the military procedures of seventeenth-century siege warfare. He also maintains that 'there is absolutely no evidence to substantiate the stories of the massacre...not those [words] transcribed years later which nationalist historians have so far relied upon'. Yet eyewitnesses record the fate of Drogheda's garrison commander Aston who had his brains beaten out with his own wooden leg. His head and those of his officers were sent to Dublin on poles. Reilly makes reference to what happened in St Peter's church and claims it as a part fabrication. In fact, according to Cromwell himself, a party of eighty sought refuge in the tower of the Protestant St Peter's church and refused to surrender. He ordered that church furniture be piled up and set ablaze. Most died as they tried to escape. It is generally accepted that popular nineteenth century nationalist historians have distorted the accounts. For example, Fr Denis Murphy described tales of young virgins killed by soldiers, Jesuit priests pierced with stakes in the market place and children used as shields during the attack on St Peter's."

Oliver Cromwell was many things. An "honourable man" is not one of them. No amount of fact twisting or convenient omissions will change that.
9 von 14 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Excellent 13. Mai 2009
Von Jim-Jim - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Taschenbuch
O'Siochru delivers a fine and balanced account of the tumultuous time in which Cromwell invaded Ireland and the havoc he wrought, massacring innocent civilians and leaving an indeliable mark on the Irish psyche. If only more people in UK and USA knew what he did. This book is the best account.
9 von 33 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
1.0 von 5 Sternen Biased account 28. Mai 2009
Von William Podmore - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Taschenbuch
For a more baalanced account, see Cromwell: an honourable enemy. The untold story of the Cromwellian invasion of Ireland, by Tom Reilly.
He finds that, contrary to myth, Cromwell did not indiscriminately massacre ordinary unarmed Irish people.

Before he started the campaign, Cromwell issued a proclamation, "I do hereby warn ... all Officers, Soldiers and others under my command not to do any wrong or violence towards Country People or persons whatsoever, unless they be actually in arms or office with the enemy ... as they shall answer to the contrary at their utmost perils." This was no empty threat: before even reaching Drogheda, Cromwell ordered two of his soldiers to be hanged for stealing hens.

His forces killed the military defenders of Drogheda and Wexford, not the townspeople, acting according to standard 17th-century military norms. There are no eye-witness accounts of indiscriminate slaughter, or of the death of even one unarmed defender or of one woman or child.

After the Restoration, Cromwell was the main target of political and religious attack. The Royalists attacked him on everything, especially the Irish campaign. Irish nationalists, Catholic publicists and infantile leftists assisted with fabrications and propaganda. The Irish bishops lied that Cromwell's religious policies could not be `effected without the massacring or banishment of the Catholic inhabitants', so the propagandists had to allege the massacres.

History is not a matter of opinion, or of repeating allegations without investigation. We are obliged to use evidence, primary sources, and eye-witness accounts, and we are duty-bound to stick to the verified facts, at whatever cost to our previous judgements.
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