As stated on the Irish Government Website, “[t]he events of 1916 must be viewed against the backdrop of the broader nationalist movement, the convictions of those who opposed any weakening of the link with the Crown and the momentous events being played out on the battlefields of Europe in one of the bloodiest conflicts that the world had ever seen. It should be noted that the continuing threat of conscription brought about by the manpower needs of the war consolidated the growing rift within the popular opinion. The ongoing frustration within Nationalist Ireland at the lack of progress on Home Rule, the prospect that it would not even be for the whole island, reinforced by the refusal of the British War Office to allow the creation of a distinctly Irish Brigade, and its rejection of even an Irish divisional badge, was compounded by the abhorrence of the executions.”
Professor Lee states: “The surprising feature of the Rising of April 1916, at least in light of the hallowed republican dictum that ‘England’s danger is Ireland’s opportunity,’ was not that it took place, but that it took place so late.” Lee, Ireland 1912-1985 Politics and Society, p. 24. The leaders of the Rising were aware that they needed more men, ammunition and coordination throughout the country; however, they feared World War I would end and so would their opportunity to rise.
Professor Joe Lee is the Director of the Glucksman Ireland House at New York University. He also is Glucksman Chair of Irish History and Professor of Irish Studies and History. Professor Lee came to New York University in 2002 from University College Cork, where he chaired the History Department and served for periods as Dean of Arts and as Vice President. Educated at University College Dublin, the Institute for European History in Mainz, Germany, and Peterhouse, Cambridge, he has also been a Fellow of Peterhouse, and held Visiting Fellow/Professor appointments as Senior Parnell Research Fellow in Irish Studies at Magdalene College, Cambridge; the Austrian Academy, Vienna; the European University, Florence; the University of Edinburgh; Mellon Professor, University of Pittsburgh; Distinguished Professor of World Peace, LBJ Graduate School of Public Affairs, University of Texas at Austin; and Exchange Professor of Government at Colby College.
His books include The Modernization of Irish Society, 1848-1918 and the prize-winning Ireland 1912-1985: Politics and Society. Professor Lee’s op-ed columns for the Sunday Tribune have been collected and published as “The Shifting Balance of Power: Exploring the 20th Century.” Along with Marion R. Casey, he edited Making the Irish American: The History and Heritage of the Irish in the United States.
Professor Lee’s research interests have included nineteenth and twentieth century Irish, European, British, German and most recently Irish-American history and politics, as well as nationalism, imperialism, and post-colonialism. Professor Lee’s current research focuses on nineteenth-century Irish nationalist Michael Davitt and on Irish and Irish-American historiography in a trans-national context.