Michael Collins was officially voted as Britain’s second greatest foe, only losing to the first American president, George Washington. The competition was hosted by the National Army Museum in London, and the two winners were included in a short of list of five foes that had been whittled down from twenty British enemies.
The Telegraph reports on the outcome of the both public and private votes. “The contest was designed to not only identify Britain's most outstanding opponent, but also to draw attention to some lesser-known adversaries,” writes Jasper Copping for The Telegraph.
Barring domestic political enemies from the competition, those who were included in the vote must have led an army against the British empire. Each contender had to have been active from the 17th century onward, which is the same time period the National Army Museum focuses.
The initial twenty enemies were put up for a public online vote in order to determine the top five foes. Then, once the top was selected, each foe’s case would be defended via a speech that occurred Saturday in the Chelsea area of West London.
Following Washington and Collins in the final vote were Napoleon Bonaparte, Erwin Rommel and Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.
After being chosen from the twenty person pool, the final five were each defended and championed via a 40 minute speech from an expert on each of the foes.
Speaking for Michael Collins was UCC lecturer Gabriel Doherty. Doherty was born in Birmingham to Irish parents and has taught history at UCC for twenty years.
Dr Stephen Brumwell made the case for George Washington and said: "As British officers conceded, he was a worthy opponent."
Ultimately, Brumwell led Washington to first place foe after clinching 45 percent of the vote; Collins followed with 21 percent.