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During the Paris Peace Conference the British pleaded the right of nations to self-determination, and yet happenings in Ireland threw doubt on their sincerity. The War had made David Lloyd George more imperial in outlook, and under pressure from Unionists among his Parliamentary supporters, he was half-hearted in his attitude to Irish home rule. He reacted strongly to growing violence in Ireland by allowing the police to recruit former servicemen into their ranks, the "Black and Tans".

But he did recognise that he would have to negotiate a settlement and in these negotiations his political gifts were shown at their best and worst. By persuasion, threats, and guile he managed to achieve the treaty of December 1921; and those that had accepted it and those that had rejected it were left to fight it out. British troops were withdrawn and for about forty-five years Ireland disappeared from British politics, but only at a great political cost to Lloyd George himself from both the Right and the Left.