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Old 09-10-2016, 02:47 AM   #48
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Irish neutrality in WWII was a major sore point in Anglo/Irish relations for quite some time. Apparently Britain had no problems with the Swedes and the Swiss being neutral, but they were outraged that Ireland didn't leap in on their side. The Irish had been independent for less than twenty years , and that independence only achieved by way of a bloody two year guerilla war.

There was a considerable portion of the Irish population that did favor entering the war, but this was a result of revulsion for the Nazis rather than any loyalty or affection for their former colonial masters.

Even so, Irish neutrality was tilted toward the allies, as has been mentioned British and later American fliers that came down in Ireland were discreetly slipped over the border into Ulster, Luftwaffe air crews were interned for the duration. Given how things turned out for the Germans, sitting out the war in an Irish internment camp was not the worst that could happen to you. then the was the famous case of the Dublin fire brigades racing up the coast and crossing the border to fight the fires after the Luftwaffe bombed Belfast.

As to Irish collusion with the Germans, there simply was none by the Irish government. De Valera had no sympathy for the Nazis, but he was determined to keep Ireland out of the war. Much has been made of the fact that he sent condolences to the German Embassy upon Hitler's death, the reasons were most likely two fold: first, Ireland had diplomatic relations with Germany, protocol would dictate this, the second reason, being personal. It was a slap in the face to the British. De Valera had been sentenced to death by the British government for his role in the Easter Rising in 1916, he was only spared because of his being half American to avoid inflaming Irish American opinion at a time when Britain was courting the US to enter WW1. A death sentence is not an easy one to forgive and forget.

The IRA was another matter. They did actively cooperate with the Germans. There was a loose somewhat far fetched plan of a major IRA uprising in Northern Ireland financed by the Germans and carried out with modern German equipment supplied to the IRA. Again it should be noted that the IRA really no sympathy for the Nazis, it was more of a the enemy of my enemy is my friend type of thing. Many IRA volunteers had fought the fascists in Spain, notably Frank Ryan whose release from one of Franco's prisons was engineered by the Germans so he could return to Ireland.

Back to the Irish governments role, one of the principal reasons the IRA German alliance never came to anything was the ruthless suppression of his former IRA comrades by De Valera. He rightly saw an active IRA as giving Churchill the excuse he needed to invade and reoccupy Ireland.

Last edited by tom8517; 09-10-2016 at 03:26 AM.
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