The plan for the Easter Rising was developed secretly by a Military Council of the Irish Republican Brotherhood. The actual rebellion was to be executed by the paramilitary Irish Volunteers under the guise of a ‘field day’. However, the moderate Chief of Staff of the Volunteers, Eoin MacNeill, discovered the plot. When he also learned that a shipment of German weapons intended to arm the rebellion had been apprehended by the British, he countermanded the orders for the uprising. Regardless, the leaders went ahead, but in the confusion many of the Volunteers did not appear. With the advantage of surprise, the rebels were able rapidly to occupy the centre of Dublin, but failed to occupy a major defensible position like Dublin Castle, or the main railway stations. They were soon trapped within a cordon of British troops, and with massive reinforcements rushed in the insurgency was crushed within five days.
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