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This Happened

This Happened — May 5: Death Of An Irish Martyr

Bobby Sands died on this day in 1981, after 66 days on a hunger strike. He had refused food in protest of the British government's refusal to grant him and other IRA prisoners political prisoner status.

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Who was Bobby Sands?

Bobby Sands was an Irish nationalist and member of the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA). He was born in 1954 in Northern Ireland and became active in the Irish republican movement in the 1970s. His death from the hunger strike, protesting the British government's refusal to grant him and others political prisoner status, made him a martyr for the Northern Irish national cause.

What was the impact of Bobby Sands' hunger strike?

Bobby Sands' hunger strike and subsequent death had a significant impact on the Irish nationalist movement, as well as on the wider international community. It brought attention to the issue of Irish political prisoners and helped to galvanize support for the republican cause.

What was the reaction to Bobby Sands' death?

Bobby Sands' death sparked widespread protests and violence in Northern Ireland and beyond. Supporters of the Irish nationalist cause saw his death as a tragedy and a symbol of the struggle for Irish independence. The British government expressed regret over Bobby Sands' death but maintained its stance on political prisoner status. Margaret Thatcher, the British Prime Minister at the time, was widely criticized for her handling of the situation.

How is Bobby Sands remembered today?

Bobby Sands is remembered in various ways, including through murals and street art in Northern Ireland, as well as through films, books, and music. His image and legacy continue to inspire those who support the cause of Irish nationalism and independence.

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This Happened—November 29: Robert McNamara Resigns

Updated November 29, 2023 at 12:00 p.m.

As a key proponent of expanding the Vietnam War, Robert McNamara became the target of much the ire of the U.S. anti-war movement. He finally resigned after being the longest serving Secretary of Defense.

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