13 January 2007

Ireland, neutrality, the IRA and the Reich

A lot is written about Ireland’s neutrality in WWII: Ireland was pro Nazi; U-boats operated out of bases in Ireland; De Valera and President Hyde showed their true colours when offering condolences on the death of Hitler; a statue in a Dublin park commemorates a Nazi collaborator and so on…

I’ve written about these items here myself. Some of these are true, others are sheer rubbish:

  • Eire was neiutral in WWII but its neutrality definitely had a pro allied bias. More on this again in a later post.
  • The idea that U Boats operated out of Ireland is nonsense. While Franco turned a blind eye to the resupply of U boats in Vigo, there was no such operation in any Irish port.
  • On 2 May 1945, de Valera DID call on Eduard Hempel, German Minister to Ireland, to express his condolences on the death of Adolf Hitler. De Valera was a pedantic little man for whom protocol took precedence over common sense. His action was thus a reflection of his rigid adherence to protocol. That said, the people who latch on to this incident seem to forget that De Valera suspended the Dáil earlier in the year to mark the death of President Roosevelt. The Irish National Archiveswebsite has an excellent section dealing with De Valera’s visit to the German legation.
  • The IRA sought to collaborate with the Reich during WWII. IRA Chief of staff Sean Russell whose statue blights a Dublin park (and was decapitated in 2004) died when being returned to Germany by U Boat. The IRA collaboration was more than just a case of my enemy’s enemy” or Finnish co-belligerence, The IRA of the time did adopt a pro Nazi and decidedly anti Semitic stance. apologists who still take a romantic view of the IRA’s past should take note that the “Boys of the old brigade” were happy to get into bed with Hitler.
It is far too long since I put up any posts on Irish history. It is high time I rectified this. There are some interesting items I have come across regarding nazis and nazi collaborators in Ireland after WWII. I feel a few posts coming on.

19 comments:

Pēteris Cedriņš said...

Looking forward to more on Irish history, Jams!

Adrian said...

The funny thing about that song - "Boys of the Old Brigade" is that it could even be read as a pro-Treaty ditty. It's its use, not its content that is offensive.

I've been meaning to post up some stuff on this subjject too - having just, uncharacteristically, defended Dev - http://newgolddream.dyndns.info/blog/?p=164

jams o donnell said...

Thanks Peteris and keep the Latvian history coming too

Point taken over the Boys of the Old Brigade. I must admit it was the first rebel song that sprung to mind! A fascinating post about Dev. I don't have many kind words to say about him but if it was Dev or O'Duffy I would choose Dev any day!

elasticwaistbandlady said...

I never knew that there was any speculation of Irish/Nazi collaborative efforts. Interesting.

mullet said...

pure sectarianism.....sad part is that most irish folk probably don't even attend the mass/service on a sunday

jams o donnell said...

The IRA were pro Nazi during WWII and tried work with each other to britain's detriment. After the war Ireland did take in a number of war criminals.more on that later

Sectarianism? I spit on sectarianism. Exploiting differences between groups is on page one of "how to keep the people down"

Anonymous said...

Disagree with your final comment, if there is evidence of ideological or institutional anti-semitism i'd love to see it. As for links with Nazi; before Chief of Staff (CS) Russell there was Tom Barry who had consulted with Nazis in person. There was Seamus O'Donovan who was the main contact with Nazis during the period who also negotiated arms and money in person. Frank Ryan worked in Nazi Germany with the Abwehr (Nazi intelligence) to try and recruit an "irish brigade" and conducted radio broadcasts all during WW2. CS informer Stephen Hayes sent an invasion plan to the Germans and so on. It was a case of "englands misfortune is Irelands opportunity" as the mixture of characters above all shared vastly differing ideological stances. Check the entire series of articles I wrote on the subject (to clear up a lot of the common misconceptions on IRA Nazi links in WW2) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IRA_Abwehr_WW2

jams o donnell said...

Thanks for the link Much appreciated. I was aware of Frank Ryan and the failed attempt to recruit and Irish brigade, I did not know Tom Barry ahd met with the Nazis but it doesn't surprise me.

Much of the IRA's views would have been based on "England's opportunity is.... I was a ware of an article by Brian Hanley in History Ireland which certainly dod give the ompression that there were big Pro Nazi and anti semitic elements in the IRA's outlook during WWII.

Anonymous said...

Forgot Moss Towney. Saw the book mentioned in Belshaft Bellylaugh here http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/columnists/article2184197.ece
Skip through the first 13 paragraphs of Catholic bashing to get to it. Will order the book to see what evidence is in there, thanks for the tip.

jams o donnell said...

It used to be available on teh History Ireland website. Sadly it seems to have gone.

Conall said...

i ask anyone looking for Irish history not to read this unionist free state prick.
you're just Britain and now Europe's puppet. no prizes for guessing that you're pro-lisbon.
since you're so into you're "irish" history read what James Connolly said.
Besides, the IRA always came to the fore mainly to protect our nationalist communities and was always Socialist aligned.
Yes they wanted arms from germany, Roger Casement done the same. it was not about no Nazis but getting arms to defeat england and you're british government draped in our nation's flag.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know what happened to the crew of a twin engined Nazi
plane that landed in Ireland about
two days after the official end of WW2. And for that matter what of the aircraft itself?

Anonymous said...

Mid WW2. My Uncle then a Captain in the Royal Marines took part in an attempt which failed to scare
the Eire Govrenment into bgranting permission for the RAF to operate from airfields on the West Coast.
The set up was that a row of anchored ships in the Clyde estuary
had a handful of soldiers lined up to lean against the ships rails,
and in a small boat far below the
local Eire Vice Consul was invited to see this 'invasion fleet'. He
was not convinced! L:ater in the war Uncle flew in an Auster, very unofficially indeed, from Wales to Eire to get food for the units Christmas Dinner!.

Anonymous said...

Have any of you considered that the IRA would have taken aid in the form of guns,ammunition,funds from anyone who would have given it solely to forward their goals? They had no love for the ideology of hitler, stalin, Churchill, or Roosevelt. They were singular in their desire for England to get the hell out of Ireland, period, and would not have accepted any other ideology but their own. Anyone who would have attempted to influence that would have met with the same resistance which they gave to England. Irish independance was primary and the only goal they wished to achieve, and would have used anyone to get it and then behave as a theif when caught by police, claiming innocence while directing blame elsewhere.

Anonymous said...

A lot of 'IRA weren't really pro-Nazi, honest' apologists here. It just doesn't ring true, frankly, and more discerning folk on both sides can see it.

Anonymous said...

And We are helping the EU to bail them out!!

Jonno99 said...

Helping the EU to bail out Ireland has FA to do with it. I could as easily say it's a small price for eight centuries of oppression but I'd view that comment as an irrelevance as well........The IRA in WW2 were looking for any opportunity to remove Britain's political presence in Ireland. The fact is it would have become a nazi run united Ireland, if Germany won ww2. Not the ideal outcome. So win or lose, the IRA's plan was a non starter and not supported......Jonno99

Anonymous said...

There was considerable collaboration between the Irish Security Service G2 and British MI5 in WW2 and Britain sent wireless interception experts and quipment to help G2 to locate German spy transmissions. Read Eunan O'Halpin's excellent book "Spying on Ireland".
Immediately before the declaration of neutrality, MI5 were hoping to intall a direction finding station on The Dingle that would help them locate German Spy tansmissions in Britain.

The RAF were allowed to overfly part of Ireland to shorten their route in the Battle of the Atlantic. However, Britain did operate networks of covert agents in Ireland throughout the war.

Sadly many of the stories of IRA/Nazi collaboration have been shown to be true. O'Halpin is a Trinity man and a first class researcher, his book makes fascinating reading.

Anonymous said...

Whether pro ira or not no one can deny that collaboration with the Nazis would increase their agendas, whatever the motivation. ANY collaboration with the Nazis from anyone in any form is a disgusting betrayal to all those who support freedom and cannot be justified.