UNITED KINGDOM: Smashing London's Face

Almost as often as the wars of Ireland have erupted and receded in tidal flows of violence over the past century, so has one particular fantasy recurred to strategists of the Irish Republican Army: to smash the cool, imperious face of London, the symbol of everything that frustrated their dreams.

In the 1880s, the Fenian movement boldly bombed the House of Commons. In 1903 the Irish waged another bombing campaign, and again, in 1939, they went on a 15-month spree of dynamiting elegant shops, theaters, mailboxes and railway cloakrooms. Joseph Conrad's protagonist in The Secret Agent schemed to blow up the...

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