Between the Wars

Ireland 1937-1945

Ireland, technically still a part of the Commonwealth, practically pursued a policy of neutrality. The memories of the bloody struggle for independence, the partition of the country were too fresh for the Irish public to actively join the allied side. Public sentiment rather sympathized with the Germans.
The Irish government, informed about German atrocities, avoided openly taking sides. In summer 1939, the IRA conducted a bombing campaign in London; the Irish government refused any responsibility for IRA actions. In 1940, the British government under Chamberlain considered offering Ireland unification in case the republlic entered the war on the allied side; there was outrage among Ulster's protestants. Irish president Eamon de Valera rejected the offer. On May 31st 1941 the German Luftwaffe accidentally bombed Dublin (the intended target had been Liverpool); 34 people were killed in the event (Kilfeather pp.205ff).
On the occasion of Hitler's death, de Valera expressed his condolences to Germany's government.
Looking back at a history of 7 centuries of foreign rule, it was supporting organizations aiming to achieve the independence of their countries from foreign occupation, such as KOREA'S PROVISIONAL GOVERNMENT, in exile in China (1919-1945).

History of Northern Ireland : 1939-1967 : Relative Calm before the Storm, from BBC education
Biography of Eamon de Valera, from irlgov
DOCUMENTS Churchill's broadcast May 13th 1945 making charges against Ireland, from Taylor Applications; De Valera's reply, from Taylor Applications
Eamon de Valera's Speech on Eire Neutrality, Cork, Ireland, December 12, 1941, from Words of Peace, Words of War
REFERENCE Siobhan Kilfeather, Duvlin : A Cultural History, Oxford UP 2005 [G]
Article : Ireland, in : Americana Annual 1938 pp.345-347, 1939 pp.382-385, 1940 pp.395-397, 1943 pp.389-391, 1944 pp.360-362, 1945 pp.378-380, 1946 pp.380-383 [G]
Article : Ireland, in : New International Year Book 1938 pp.350-352, 1939 pp.379-381, Events of 1940 pp.365-368 [G]
Article : Eire, in : New International Year Book Events of 1941 pp.183-184, 1942 pp.212-214, 1943 pp.178-180, 1944 pp.185-186, 1945 pp.175-176 [G]
Article : Eire, in : Britannica Book of the Year 1944 pp.252-253, 1945 pp.251-252 [G]
Article : Ireland, in : Funk & Wagnall's New Standard Encyclopedia Year Book 1938 pp.274-276, 1939 pp.301-303, 1940 pp.312-314 [G]
Article : Eire, in : Funk & Wagnall's New Standard Encyclopedia Year Book 1941 pp.162-164, 1942 pp.147-148, 1943 pp.150-151, 1944 pp.106-107 [G]
Article : Eire (Ireland), in : Statesman's Year Book 1943 pp.464-480 [G]
Martin S. Quigley, A U.S. Spy in Ireland. The Truth behind Irish "Neutrality" during World War II, Lanham MD : Roberts Rinehart 1999 [G]

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted in 2000, last revised on April 24th 2008

Click here to go Home
Click here to go to Information about KMLA, WHKMLA, the author and webmaster
Click here to go to Statistics

Impressum · Datenschutz