By A Vyshinsky
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Extra resources for Against preparations for a new war--for a five-power peace pact;: Speech at United Nations Political Committee on November 16, 1949
Author’s collection) Readily acknowledged by friend and foe alike as being an extremely devout man, the fact that Cromwell readily ascribed his victory to divine providence has given his conduct the undertones of a war of religious extermination, something which becomes more understandable when set in context against the actions and opinions of a number of the more extreme officers such as Hewson and Axtell who, whilst brave and capable men, were also unscrupulous in their dealings with those whom they viewed as religious subversives, whether Catholic, Presbyterian or any other confessional grouping that didn’t fall in line with their particular brand of politicoreligious fervour.
When tempers had cooled Cromwell would have been faced with a difficult decision. On one hand, should he accept responsibility for the conduct of the troops under his command or on the other, should he rather choose to discipline a number of his senior officers for theirs; conduct with which the bulk of his army would have had complete and total sympathy. In effect, and whilst conveniently ignoring the fact that a significant number of Aston’s garrison were his co-religionists, what Cromwell does in his accounts of the siege is to divide the occupants of the town neatly into denominational groups, implying that Protestants were a minority in Drogheda rather than the majority and citing the fact that in the days prior to the assault they had been denied the right to practice their faith, thereby ascribing the subsequent fate of Drogheda to divine displeasure.
Unopposed, the Parliamentarian troops now flooded across the drawbridge, and into the northern part of the town, killing indiscriminately and swamping the enemy by sheer weight of numbers. Resistance was quickly limited to a few isolated redoubts such at the bell tower of St Peter’s Church, and some of the gatehouses and towers on the northern circuit of the walls. Having been caught up in the hand-to-hand combat in St Mary’s Churchyard, and perhaps caught up by the madness of an army that is unleashed on a town, when Cromwell began to reassert his command and was asked what should be done about the defenders of St Peter’s, he simply gave orders that the wooden pews be gathered around the tower and the enemy burnt out.
Against preparations for a new war--for a five-power peace pact;: Speech at United Nations Political Committee on November 16, 1949 by A Vyshinsky