World War II 1949-1969

After World War II, 1945-1949

Status and Foreign Policy : The Republic of Ireland had been unilaterally declared in 1937, but was not recognized by the United Kingdom until 1949. Many other nations were hesitant to recognize the Republic of Ireland. Yet Ireland was diplomatically isolated, as it had refused to join the allied side and as prominent Irish politicians even had expressed their sympathies with the German side. From 1946 onward, Ireland gradually established diplomatic relations with other nations, with Sweden and Australia in 1948.
Ireland provided financial and economic assistance to the countries of Central Europe, suffering from wartime destruction.

The Economy : Having remained neutral throughout World War II, there was no war damage to repair, no necessity to switch the economy from war footing to a peacetime footing.
The economy still was predominantly agricultural; exports remained on a high level, as there was an insatiable demand for food. On the other hand Ireland had not benefitted from a potential influx of money spent by GIs; they had not been stationed on the island as it had stayed out if the war.
Since 1947, Ireland benefitted from the Marshall Plan (-1952). A British temporary ban on coal exports had brought the Irish railroad system to a standstill (Feb. 1947). Late in 1947, Ireland began to experience inflation, as salaries increased considerably, a consequence of the Marshall Plan. In 1949 several steps were undertaken to deregulate the economy, such as permitting the sale of white bread of prewar quality.

Domestic Policy : In 1945-1946, the Irish Red Cross organized Operation Shamrock; over a thousand children from Germany, Austria, but also from France and England, were brought to Ireland, where they lived with Irish families (on the continent, people were starving). Some of these children later were adopted by the Irish host families.
The I.R.A. resumed operations in 1946, causing Irish President Eamon de Valera to declare war on the organization.
The Year 1948 saw a hotly contested election campaign, won by Fianna Fail.

1921-22 : The Irish Free State and Civil War, from BBC Education
Bernadette Whelam, Ireland and the Marshall Plan 1947-1952, from Four Courts Press, abstract
Operation Shamrock, from The Irish Red Cross Society
DOCUMENTS List of Irish presidents, prime ministers, from World Statesmen by Ben Cahoon
Deportation of Germans from Eire 1946-1947, from UK National Archive
REFERENCE Article : Eire, in : Britannica Book of the Year 1946 pp.279-280, 1947 p.285, 1948 p.269, 1949 pp.225-226 [G]
Article : Eire, in : Funk & Wagnall's New Standard Encyclopedia Year Book 1946 pp.140-141 [G]
Article : Ireland, in : Americana Annual 1947 pp.361-362 (on events of 1946) [G]

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted on June 10th 2002, last revised on September 7th 2008

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