As featured in BBC Northern Ireland's CABINET CONFIDENTIAL programme shown on 1 January, which focused on original documents from 1972 now available for the public to view at The National Archives in Kew.
The views expressed here are those of the producers of Cabinet Confidential and do not necessarily represent the views of The National Archives.
1972 was the worst year of the Troubles. Nearly 500 people died and 5,000 were injured. There were almost 2,000 explosions and over 10,000 shootings. 1972 was also the year when Stormont, Northern Ireland's own Parliament and Government, was suspended and direct rule from Westminster began.
The previous year Northern Ireland's Prime Minister Brian Faulkner had introduced internment without trial which had led to a significant escalation in violence. In July alone, almost a hundred people died in Loyalist and Republican violence.
Marches had been banned, but many took place in protest nevertheless, particularly against internment. The British Government were clearly concerned, and as the one year ban neared its end, they considered their next move.