In 1970 the ranks of the IRA had split and the Provisional IRA was established starting a massive bombing campaign across Northern Ireland in attempt to bring the Ulster economy to its knees and to force the British Government to withdraw.
The Unionist Government of Northern Ireland knew the IRA recruitment was increasing and that British control in Northern Ireland was at a major threat from a war with the IRA.
It was decided by Unionists that the Army impose a curfew on the Catholic area of the Falls Road in West Belfast on July 1970 with an aim of flushing out the IRA from the Catholic area.
The raids on Catholic homes from the Army came across as being violent with only a small number of IRA arms being found.
Timeline: Key events of 1971:
6 February Robert Curtis became the first British soldier to die in the Troubles when he was shot by the IRA on New Lodge Road, Belfast.
9 March Three off-duty Scottish soldiers are killed by the IRA. 4000 shipyard workers take to the streets to demand internment in response.
23 March Brian Faulkner became the Prime Minister of Northern Ireland.
25 May The PIRA threw a time bomb into Springfield Road British Army/RUC base in Belfast, killing British Army Sergeant Michael Willetts and wounding seven RUC officers, two British soldiers and eighteen civilians.
8 July During street disturbances, British soldiers shot dead two Catholic civilians in Free Derry. As a result, riots erupted in the city and the SDLP withdrew from Stormont in protest.
9 August Operation Demetrius (or Internment) was introduced in Northern Ireland. The security forces arrested 342 people suspected of supporting paramilitaries. During 9–11 August, fourteen civilians were shot dead by the British Army, and three security forces personnel were shot dead by republicans. In the following days, an estimated 7000 people fled their homes. The vast majority of the dead, imprisoned and refugees were nationalists and Catholics.
September Loyalist groups formed the Ulster Defence Association (UDA). The group would quickly become the largest loyalist group in Northern Ireland.
4 December McGurk's Bar bombing – the UVF exploded a bomb at a Catholic-oned pub in Belfast, killing fifteen Catholic civilians and wounding seventeen others. This was the highest death toll from a single incident in Belfast during the Troubles.