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August 22nd 1922 County Cork, southern Ireland: As twilight falls a small military convoy approaches the village of Beal na Blath. Suddenly shots ring out from a hillside overlooking the road. The convoy stops and a brisk fire-fight develops ... The leader of the new Irish Free State drops to the ground. Infamous Assassinations: Michael Collins
The British react to the Republican campaign with ferocity. Irregulars are recruited from unemployed former soldiers to supplement regular forces. Known as the Black and Tans these men become notorious for their savagery. ibid.
As anticipated, the most the British will agree to is a free state still within the British Empire and with the King as titular head. The six counties of Protestant Ulster are to be partitioned off. ibid.
December 6th 1921 London: As he signs the Treaty at two thirty in the morning, Collins says, ‘I may have signed my death warrant.’ ibid.
Amazingly, neither at the time or later is any enquiry held into who killed Collins. ibid.
Collins would find himself directing a guerrilla war. The IRA campaign which began in 1919 was met with fierce reprisals against civilians by security forces like the Black & Tans. Fergal Keane, The Story of Ireland 5/5: Age of Nations, BBC 2011
In October 1921 a Sinn Fein delegation led by Michael Collins arrived in London to discuss a political settlement. ibid.
The slide to civil war had begun. ibid.
Michael Collins was assassinated in County Cork. ibid.
The Irish delegation succumbed to pressure and signed the Treaty. But deeply conflicted by its terms, Collins said that he had in fact signed his own death warrant. The Road to Partition II, BBC 2021
Just two months later in August 1922 the civil war was to take a dramatic turn and claim its most high profile victim: Michael Collins. ibid.