Alternate History

Ireland's Great Movement (Napoleon's World)

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Ireland's Great Movement, often shortened to just the Movement, was a conservative sociopolitical movement in Ireland in the 1940's and 1950's that had lingering aftereffects into the 1970's. The phenomenon was born out of  dissatisfaction with the secular, war-mobilized and increasingly corporatized, centralized and urbanized political culture in Dublin and Belfast. The leaders of the Great Movement sought to return Ireland to its decentralized roots, conservative values and strengthen its loosening ties to the Catholic Church, and their main political tool was the Christian Democratic Party. The apex of the Great Movement was between 1948 and 1957, when one of its intellectual leaders, Aidan Bair, served as the President of Ireland and appointed a Cabinet of fiercely conservative legislators and politicians. The Great Movement is often compared to other conservative, grassroots movements in Europe, including the Farmers Strike of 1955 in France and the conservative populism in Oceania in the late 1980's.

The Movement eventually ended due to a combination of factors: a lack of much-needed electoral support in the late 1950's, the election of the secular, progressive Michael O'Shay in 1957, the unpopularity of the Christian Democrat-backed intervention in England, the economic struggles of Ireland during the 1950's, and growing discontent among Protestant and Jewish minorities in the North. Historians later claim that the rift in conservatives - between fiscal conservatives supporting a secular government and social conservatives in favor of increasing the bond between the Church and the Irish state - ushered in decades of liberal reign by the center-left Labour Party or hard-left Civil Party in the Dail, a reign that would not end until the election of the Conservative Party's Albert Reynolds in 1985.

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