Ulster Unionist in 1912-1914

Home Rule was due to come into effect in 1914, and unionists were horrified. Sir Edward Carson and Sir James Craig wanted to resist home rule. They organised mass demonstrations, the largest being the signing of the Ulster Covenant as 500,000 signed up to oppose Home Rule. Unionists were then encouraged to form armed groups, called the Ulster Volunteers.

They started off drilling with wooden guns, but they acquired guns and ammunition in 1914, forcing nationalists to take them seriously.

Nationalists set up their own armed force called the Irish National Volunteers to support Home Rule. This worried the Prime Minister, Henry Asquith, as their was two armed forces and had fears that a war might break out. Asquith wanted to avoid war so persuaded John
Redmond(Leader of the Home Rule Party) and Carson to talk about dividing the land. These talks led to partition.

They reluctantly agreed to partition, but they could not agree on where the border should be.

Carson wanted six of the Ulster counties to belong to the Unionists. Redmond believed that unionists were only entitled to four counties as those counties had a unionist majority.

During their discussion about partition, Germany invaded Belgium in 1914. This act caused World War One and the Home Rule crisis was postponed.