As the author of many works which swayed public opinion toward the Irish cause, Childers was a natural target of the Crown forces. Also as an Englishman who pressed for the Republican ideal of independence in place of home rule status, Childers came to be mistrusted in spite of his past services as their most moving spokesman. The weapon for which he was arrested and executed was described as 'a tiny delicately-made gun such as a middle-aged lady of timid disposition might carry in her handbag.'

On the evening of his execution Childers declined a blindfold and asked the firing squad "Take a step forward, lads. It will be easier that way.". A man who wrote beautiful prose, he was also a man of strong convictions.