In the 1960s, Northern Ireland began a period of ethno-political conflict called the Troubles. Through a series of social and political injustices, Northern Ireland had become a religiously divided society between historically mainland Protestants and Irish Catholics. Furthermore, the Irish people had become a fragmented body over a range of issues, identities, circumstances and loyalties. The conflict between Protestants and Catholics spilled over into violence, marked by riots and targeted killings between the groups beginning in 1968.
Greenham Commons outside Newbury, England was purchased in 1939 by the Newbury District Council for the public use of Newbury inhabitants, including the collection of firewood. In 1941 this area was requisitioned by the Air Ministry for an airfield, which was later decommissioned. Despite the decommissioning of the airfield, public ownership of the land was not fully restored. Then in 1979 NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization ) bought the land from the British government for the building of a military base that would house 96 Tomahawk Ground Launched Cruise Missiles (GLCMs).