Remembering men of Ulster and Ireland…

In the past the commemoration of the Somme has been an all Unionist affair in Ireland. Bertie Ahern is determined to follow up the full on commemoration of the Rising with a rather more sobre recognition of the Irishmen who died in the same battle alongside the 36th (Ulster) Division, featured in this Irish stamp and which was launched on Monday. An Post had been lobbied by the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland.

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  • Elliot Mitcham

    Taigs:

    “The British were not the good guys in 1914. They had been locked in an arms race with Germany for at least 20 years priort, most notably with the Dreadnoughts.”

    An arms race started by Germany, there were no ‘good guys’ to be found anywhere. It was a filthy war the victims of which don’t seem to count as far as you’re concerned if they committed the heinous crime of wearing Britsh uniform.

    “The nightmare was not mine but that of the German, Turkish, French and other soldiers killed in that war, and of their families.”

    And it was all just some marvelous dream to the bereaved in Britain was it? You should also take note that these countries tend to remember the dead and missing in a similar fashion to the way they’re remembered here. In fact most countries prefer to remember their war dead in this fashion.

    It’s almost pathetic the way that people here are criticising a commemorative stamp for not being depressing enough, if your sister vanished for a month and turned up headless in a ditch you wouldn’t be using a crime scene photograph for the funeral would you? I thought this stamp was supposed to be celebrating personal courage not wallowing in misery.

  • DavidD

    Stephen
    You object to war memorials with epitaphs that conclude with the words ‘For King and Country’. This simply confers a retrospective interpretation on the attitude of those commemorated. What would you have these memorials say – ‘For the brotherhood of mankind’ or perhaps ‘For the abolition of monarchies’? These men, English, Scottish, Welsh and Irish, fought and died for precisely what is inscribed on their memorials. Now that may not, nearly 90 years later, be what you would have had as their thoughts and feelings, but ‘For King and Country’ is precisely what they and those that survived did fight for. No doubt many of the Irish soldiers (and sailors) desired that this be in the context of Home Rule but that does not make their monarch any other the King George nor their country any other than the UK. If you had suggested otherwise to them then you would have met with the same response that was given to Roger Casement when he tried to recruit Irish POWs for his ‘Irish Brigade’, all but 3% called him a traitor.

  • kensei

    “WWI was triggered by cultural nationalism, not imperialist colonialism. No overweening German cultural nationalism and Slavic particularism, no WWI.”

    I was going to go into this, but it is such a piss poor point I can’t be bothered. Did over zealous Nationalism play its part? Certainly, and on all sides but it is only one of many many reasons.

    “The British in 1914 were the good guys , and the Irish were part of the team- adouble nightmare for you I guess.”

    There were no good guys in WW1, and it certainly wasn’t the Brits.

    As I said before while I cannot support WWI memorials I understand why others do it and it’s entirely up to them. But BBC 1 tonight there is a documentary callend “The Somme – From Defeat to Victory” and I have to say that angered me. There was no victory on the Somme. there was no glory. There was just an insane amount of deaths. Calling the fact that commanders deciding that not endlessing sending your men to certain death and trying something new “victory” is propoganda and insult of the worst kind.

  • Harry

    The Irish should have supported Germany in WW1 if they had a belief in irish spearatism. Germany engaged in Dreadnought building in order to break the ring of british naval steel around it in the baltic and north atlantic, a blockade that prevented them from engaging in worldwide trade for their goods. Britain wanted to block this in the name of empire whereas a German victory, with irish support in ireland, could have ensured a withdrawal of british troops from ireland as part of a subsequent treaty. A strong ireland of 12 million people with a naval and air capacity that was/is not negligible would have been in Germany’s interests and would have been in Ireland’s interests.

    This stamp is part of a general effort to erase this understanding, an understanding that was clear in the minds of the men of 1916 when they spoke of ‘our gallant allies in Europe’. It is part of a revisionism that is bringing us closer to britain, which is in favour of a more british interpretation of those times and events, which is laying our young people out for possible recruitment into the british army and which is designed to make us forget rather than remember the real interests of ireland during those times. The people who founded our state rejected what is glorified in this stamp.

  • kensei

    “The Irish should have supported Germany in WW1 if they had a belief in irish spearatism.”

    No, the Irish should have stayed the fuck out of the road of the Great Powers. One Empire is as bad as another and I wouldn’t want to be a strategic pawn of any of them.

  • Harry

    A unified rebellious ireland at that time would have upset all of britain’s plans, significantly reduced their advantages and may have necessitated britain suing for peace, thus bringing the war to an end earlier. There are varying figures for the numbers of irishmen who fought in the british army, from 150,000 to 250,000 to 500,000. Around 250,000 may be the closest figure. Take 200,000 irish men out of the equation, factor in a hypothetical loss of port facilities for the british in ireland, ports where German ships may now dock, imagine an ireland with guns and artillery and you have a possibility for cowing the british for the first time in 300 years. Irish America, with a large population of german descent, would more than likely have been able to deal with this new political reality, as their desire to stay out of the war for so long shows.

  • Moochin photoman

    Wat did they die for?
    For God and Ulster?……………http://www.flickr.com/photos/23386031@N00/179126976/

  • Nevin

    Harry, it seems the Austrians helped create the chaos: Asquith: “The Shadow of War“.

  • Donegal-John

    Sure didn’t Ireland side with Nazi Germany during the second world war.

    De Valera was born in America and yet he turned his back on his homeland when they were fighting Germany that mekes De Valera a bigger traitor than any Irishman who fought for Britian.

    James Connolly Was born in Scotland and he also turned traitor and fought against his countrymen.

  • Prince Eoghan

    DJ.

    You don’t own naivety, do you?

  • “De Valera was born in America and yet he turned his back on his homeland when they were fighting Germany that mekes De Valera a bigger traitor than any Irishman who fought for Britian”

    Bullshit.

    Ireland’s neutrality was as much of a lie then as it’s neutrality is now. Instead of refueling rendition flights for the CIA, they were a conduit for military brass and diplomats through the flying boats at Foynes. Hell they even flew in uniform.

    Next, ask yourself the question, What in the hell could Ireland do for us that the seaplanes on the Foyle could not do?

    The army is and was so goddamn puny that it can do now and could do then is not much more than to bleed all over the Germans.

    It was too damned far from the European mainland to be worth diddly squat as an air base.

    Cobh and Cork may have been some use for ASW but our jeep carriers were more effective.

    You had nothin’ we wanted, Bubba.

    You still don’t. Get used to it.

  • Harry

    In the First World War whoever controlled the sea controlled the war. And the truth is, Ireland controlled the sea.

  • You guys are so full of yourselves. Ireland’s strategic significance ended in the previous century.

    “In the First World War whoever controlled the sea controlled the war. And the truth is, Ireland controlled the sea.”

    Lusitania.

    You controlled nothin’, fella.

    The Yankees built more ships than the Germans could sink. It’s that simple, no romance, just logistics.

  • kensei

    “You guys are so full of yourselves. Ireland’s strategic significance ended in the previous century. ”

    Not entirely true. No romance, just logistics, Ireland’s ports would have undoubtedly been helpful, particularly when the Americans weren’t yet involved in the war. There was also a point in WW2 were basically any extra capacity to build arms would have been a boost.

    Personally, it would have been good to kick Nazi butt, but that was the only time I can say I would have wanted to get involved in a foreign war and from the perspective of the 1930’s I can fully understand the decision to stay neutral.

  • “Not entirely true. No romance, just logistics, Ireland’s ports would have undoubtedly been helpful”

    One on the Foyle was enough and I really don’t know why we even bothered with that since after landfall in Derry you still had reembark to make it across the Irish Sea before you were safe from the U-Boats.

    Additionally, we would have had to endure the perpetual bickering between the English and the Irish as copiously in evidence on this thread. No one needed that royal pain in the ass in addition to Hitler and Tojo. Life is just too short.

    There are remnants. Last year I dined at a hotel in Derry that was the billet for the US Marines who were guarding the US Naval Base’s ammo dump outside of town. Further evidence of the Irish government’s bullshit neutrality is given by a story of a bomber that a crew of New Zealanders crashed on the wrong side of the border which the Irish, the RAF and the jarheads dismantled and took back over the border with the crew.

  • kensei

    “You had nothin’ we wanted, Bubba.

    You still don’t. Get used to it. ”

    That is of course why Churchill wanted Ireland involved in WW2. But of course, armchair generals know all.

    Though to be honest, I am really rather happy you don’t need anything form us. Can we have the rest of our country back, then 😛

  • Nevin
  • Kensei: What comes out from these Orange posts is a glorification of war, a belief that one imperialist power is always right whether it be in the salughter of the Indian mutiny, or in the arms race leading up to World War One. They also show that this is all about King and Country, not about the poor fools who were led to their slaughter like so many lemmings. They show that “Prince” Charles and the other whackos of the self styled Royal family can always hijacks these events and the goodwill in people for their own ends.

    The Orangies glorify and love war, terorism and death. They remind me of what Churchill said about the Germans: either at your neck or your feet.

    These commemorations of those who put down the Indian mutiny and those who exectured shell shocked victims of the trenches should end.

  • Donnacha

    While I can’t agree with Taigs’ protrayal of the Anzacs as vicious, war-mongering savages, ordered by their Antipodean masters to invade peaceful, loving Turkey, you are entitled to your views. There is much to be ashamed of in the Anzac legend, particularly the differing treatment of returned New Zealand soldiers. However, one minor point: the “ocker” who wrote Green Fields of France and The Band Played Waltzing Matilda was Scottish, not Australian.

  • That is of course why Churchill wanted Ireland involved in WW2.

    But not enough to lock horns with Carson. That should be a calibration point on just how far down the food chain you were.

    But of course, armchair generals know all.

    Naw, never a feckin’ ossifer, an E-5. So where did you serve, supertroop?

    “Though to be honest, I am really rather happy you don’t need anything form us. Can we have the rest of our country back, then 😛

    I’ll give ya this kid, at least you knew enough to go to the right place to ask. We’ll give Blair his marching orders once he climbs out of Bush’s lap. You have to ask nicely, though, since you don’t seem to have any oil.

  • Donnacha: What happened the returend Kiwi servicemen after the great war? I know Mannix in Melbourne got a big salute from them (suurviving Taigs) but what happened in NZ? Eric Bogle, er.

    Smiling Jim: The USA has little to be proud of. An even bigger bully than Britain ever was.

  • Concerning the Unionist/An Post glorification of violence and the day htat’s in it, I thought we should recall another “famous victory” by the “forces of light” as it so much captures the “my master’s country right or wrong mentality of the Sommeniacs.

    July 3 1988: “Mistaking” it for a F-14 fighter plane, the American warship USS Vincennes shoots down Iran Air flight 655, killing all 290 people aboard. Despite his country’s having recklessly downed a passenger airliner while operating inside Iran’s territorial waters, Vice President George Bush declares a month later: “I will never apologize for the United States of America, ever. I don’t care what the facts are.”

    Lest we forget.

  • kensei

    “But not enough to lock horns with Carson. That should be a calibration point on just how far down the food chain you were.”

    Alienating the North would potentially cancel out any gains made. But your premise that Irish ports were of no strategic value is flawed. And you have to remember, that without the US, you were more or less completely fucked.

    Put it this way: would have liked them in Germany hands?

    “Naw, never a feckin’ ossifer, an E-5. So where did you serve, supertroop?”

    I don’t claim any armchair generalship. I merely point out what the PM of Britain at the time wanted.

  • lib2016

    “what the PM of Britain at the time wanted” and what he threatened to invade a neutral country to get, don’t forget.

    As De Valera pointed out the Brits stood alone against Germany for a miserable 18 months. How long have the Irish sought their freedom against a racist and agressive enemy? Puts things in perspective, doesn’t it?

    Ninety years on and ‘the freedom of small nations’ is still a dream. It’s enough to make one wonder why the Brits wallow in their own shame, like beasts rolling in the mud.

  • lib2016: James Connolly’s remarks on gallant Belgium and what is was up to in the Congo are interesting. The colonialists were the savages. No dogs or Chinese and all that. But isn’t there a Loyalist bar in good old Larne with the no dogs or Taigs sign. For Billy Plod, originality is not much in evidence. What a sad lot of w-kers. As regards the Somme and the South, well they wil go a bit of the road with anyone as long as it is not on their dime.

    Vhurchill made a point of mentioning the South in his VE speech. Drunken git. Funny how he gave up the Anzacs at Singapore, drank Joe Kennedy’s smuggled whisky for the war and htey stil admire him.
    As for Dev: the worst thing he did was take up a good seat for all Ireland finals.

  • Crataegus

    Armchair historians, dangerous beasts.

    Kensei

    No, the Irish should have stayed the fuck out of the road of the Great Powers. One Empire is as bad as another and I wouldn’t want to be a strategic pawn of any of them.

    Sound advice.

    However in WW2 Ireland should have thought through its position a little better.

    England may have been the old enemy but Hitler’s Germany was an utter monster. If Britain had lost how long would it have been before Ireland was overrun? The tactics that caused the British grief in Ireland would not have worked on the SS we have seen elsewhere what they were prepared to do. There isn’t much that Ireland could have done in a practical way but I think Ireland did its reputation some damage during that period.

    Currently there seems to be a knee jerk hatred of the English and really time has moved on. Perhaps time to re examine the world and let the past be the past. Good economy, self confident country playing its role in Europe and improving relations with our immediate neighbour and in the end this is more likely to render a united Ireland than the pages of bile.

  • kensei

    “England may have been the old enemy but Hitler’s Germany was an utter monster. If Britain had lost how long would it have been before Ireland was overrun? The tactics that caused the British grief in Ireland would not have worked on the SS we have seen elsewhere what they were prepared to do. There isn’t much that Ireland could have done in a practical way but I think Ireland did its reputation some damage during that period.”

    I agree to an extent, but from the perspective of 1930’s things would have looked somewhat different. The British hadn’t been gone that long, and asking men to die for a British Empire many would have rated no better than the Nazi’s would have been terrifically hard. And I don’t think the full extent of the evil of the Nazi’s (certainly the genocide) had yet come to light, either.

    The Ireland of today could do it, because it is successful, independent and self confident. the Ireland of the 30’s was none of those things.

  • lib2016

    Em – slight over-reaction to the jingoism on this thread I’m afraid, though I still stand by my opinion that our future lies with France and Germany rather than the beaten docket post-Imperial Britain is turning out to be.

    If the Somme shows anything it shows the futility of Imperialism. We have to include the British identity to be inclusive but personally I’m glad Dublin included the Germans etc. as well. There’s only one race – the human race.

    Most British people are beginning to see through the charade which is royalty. Sad to see our Presbyterian fellow Irish men and women betraying what’s best in their heritage.

  • Harry

    I think Ireland did its reputation some damage during that period.

    Really, like Switzerland, Sweden, Spain & Portugal did their reputations damage? I don’t hear anyone berating them too loudly, or is it only those who fall within the british sphere of influence who are supposed to be, as per usual, apologetic?

    WW1 and WW2 were two different things. If britian had been beaten in WW1 – and ireland could have contributed to that – WW2 wouldn’t have happened. And what is the evidence for Germany’s desire for ‘imperialism’ in WW1? I’ve heard it repeated as a truism so often that we’re supposed to believe it but as far as I can see the only proven evidence of imperialistic motives seems to be on the british side. Germany had a booming population, as its numbers in America testify, and was seeking world markets for its goods, markets denied to it by the existence and the desire for supremacy of the british empire. It was britain’s fear of germany and their desire to hem them in that led to WW1.

    The Ireland of today could do it, because it is successful, independent and self confident. the Ireland of the 30’s was none of those things.

    There have always been people of confidence and vision in Ireland, it’s just that the best of them have usually had their views suppressed by the kind of west british bludgeoning propaganda represented by the unnecessary issuing of this stamp.

  • Harry et al: World War 1 had many causes, the chief of which was the formation of two opposing camps. Germany only fell into the war accidentally, Austria gave Serbia no time to back off etc,Here is an excellent book by a prominent historian that tells this bs like it is. Peoples stumble into wars and World War One is an excellent example
    http://tinyurl.com/mhrat
    Look what Blair and Bush have done so recently. Should the “gallant” (thick Mick) Dublins and Munsters be in Iraq getting blown away so “Prince” Charles can lay some poppies for them?

    The Orangies prattle on about their bravery. Here is a guy http://tinyurl.com/rax3y who started as a Commie and ended up hating them. He was also a Jew (he also raped Tony Benn’s wife if memory serves me correctly). Besides pointing out that fascist Greece and others fought with the “democracies” in World war 2, he points out that the Soviets (like the Orangies) would bleat on about the heroism of their mob and their workforce, as if other peoples had not similar traits. The Soviets, like the Orangies, had a different agenda. Both remain yesterday’s people.

    http://tinyurl.com/rezht
    The Forgotten Soldier is probably the best war time account ever written (by a German soldier on the Easten front; the Germans tended to write the best books, as, unlike the English, they could read and write).
    When they’ve been pushed back to near Germany, they are joined by Hitler Youthers who are physically very tough and despise the veterans who have been pushed back all the way from Moscow. In their first encounter with the Reds, Soviet tanks drive over the HY guys, squashing them to pulp. So much for their bravery and for the 36th rabble at the Somme and atr the 1920 Belfast pogroms.

  • Elliot Mitcham

    Harry:

    “Germany had a booming population, as its numbers in America testify, and was seeking world markets for its goods, markets denied to it by the existence and the desire for supremacy of the british empire.”

    Then what, pray tell, was the German Empire doing in the Alsace-Lorraine, Western Samoa, New Guinea, the Caroline Islands, The Marianas, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, a part of Kenya, the Cameroons, Togo, Namibia, Kiao-chau, Shangdong and Huang He?

    One of the primary purposes of a colonial empire was to have a readily available market as well as the resources to fuel it. So in a sense you’re right Harry they did want to expand their market, what you fail to mention is that they were doing it the same way the rest of imperial Europe did. Sorry to ruin your ideal image of those poor poor Germans being menaced by the mean old Brits.

  • Harry

    I’m no more convinced of Poor Jerry than I am of Heroic Tommy, but I do know where Ireland’s interests lay at that time and it wasn’t with defending the British Empire.

    A German victory would have meant a treaty with Britain, for Germany could not have hoped to invade that country. This might have been achieved with less lives lost during WW1 than occurred and with a rebalancing of world trade to take account of German as well as British interests. How Germany would have pursued its freedom is anybody’s guess but it could scarce have been more brutal than the British Empire. WW2 would also likely have not occurred and Europe, instead of ripping itself to pieces and giving 50 years of economic and technological hegemony to America as a result, would now be an economic powerhouse with possibly several decades of advance technologically from where we are now.

    Certainly if WW2 hadn’t happened and a balancing of world trade had occurred rather than british hegemony then many people would have been a lot better off, including a free Ireland.

  • Elliot: I presume you did a Google search on that. If not, I applaud your knowledge of history/geography or whatever. Looks like the Krauts got the scrap, though they are still fondly remembered in Togo, German friends informed me during earlier soccer matches.
    I think you will find by the time of the Great war, mercantilism and therefore your thesis was quite dead, oh by about 138 years. Though maybe Germany was plonking their products on Togo and Huang He and of course, good old Shangdong. Are these the places the “mean old Brits” had been peddling their opium in China? Remember England and the Orangies went ot war with the Chinese to keep them addicted to opium. “THeir finest hour” and all that.

    And, as you stomp about on the glorious 12th, are you also commemorating the brave bigots who fell during the Boxer uprising? How about those who fell fighting the Mau Mau freedon fighters, or EOKA, the Boers or Irgun? Man, you guys have certainly fought a lot of people. Are you not ashamed of that? But then again, the fool knows not that the fool knows not.

    I kinda prefer the slogan of the Irish Citizen Army: Neither King nor Kaiser but Ireland. Call it parochial and small minded but it sure as shit is a lot more sensible and civilized.

  • Crataegus

    Kensei

    I wasn’t suggesting anything too drastic like mass enlistment. Ireland in the 30s was not really in a position to do much and as you say with recent history. Perhaps a more pro allies stand, use of ports and a little more one sided neutrality etc. Certainly after America joined it was really a matter of time and the sooner the end came the better for everyone. It was one of those occasions when to recognise what was at stake was of fundamental importance and a gesture to a former profound enemy can be a mature position.

    With regards WW1 I agree never get involved in such wars and if Ireland was on the side of the Germans God knows what would have happened. I think it would have been a really stupid mistake. Let us imagine some of the possible scenarios like all out war in Ireland.

    If Germany won would we still have the Austro Hungarian and Ottoman Empires? Where does Ireland proud and free fit in? But imagine the gamble didn’t work (and all war is a gamble) does anyone really think Ireland would be independent? Not a chance.

    Wishing for an alternative history is always great on a lazy summer’s day, but sometime what did happen could have been a lot worse.

  • Elliot Mitcham

    Taigs:

    “Remember England and the Orangies went ot war with the Chinese to keep them addicted to opium. “THeir finest hour” and all that.”

    I’m well aware of what went on in China, I don’t see how what my country did can excuse any other from acting the same and vice versa. My point was that Germany had the same imperial mindset as the rest of Europe. If there were any innocent parties in the politics that led to the First World War Germany certainly wasn’t one of them.

    “mercantilism and therefore your thesis was quite dead, oh by about 138 years.”

    That’s as may be but it still didn’t stop the Germans.

    “And, as you stomp about on the glorious 12th, are you also commemorating the brave ###### who fell during the Boxer uprising? How about those who fell fighting the Mau Mau freedon fighters, or EOKA, the Boers or Irgun? Man, you guys have certainly fought a lot of people. Are you not ashamed of that? But then again, the fool knows not that the fool knows not.”

    Also the Orange Order doesn’t have much of a presence in East Anglia (thank Christ) and they and theirs are one of the few things I like less than those like yourself who seem to have little interest in world history that can’t be used as a figleaf for your anglophobia.

    “Are you not ashamed of that?”

    Yes I am. Unlike you I am English and therefore don’t have a basis for resorting to hatefulness in order to try and dissasociate my ancestors from empire they helped build while you can whitewash out the irish troops who also played their part to your hearts content.

  • Elliot Mitcham

    For the sake of clarity by “yes I am” I meant “yes I am ashamed.

    Oops.

  • Harry

    I’m not talking about an alternative history dreamt up on ‘a lazy summer’s day’, I’m talking about what was the express aim of those in 1916, carried out in full awareness of precisely the calculations and understandings I have been pointing out. That is the history. Their narrative won out 3 years later, but from 1914-1916 it had been drowned under a sea of pro-british propaganda, not unlike the issuing of this stamp.

    if Ireland was on the side of the Germans God knows what would have happened.

    Intimidated by the brits again? That’s simply, if you’ll forgive me, gutless and not equal to the reality of the opportunity or the rights of the Irish nation. You have balls enough to send 50,000 Irishmen to their deaths but you hop around like a girl holding her skirts if it’s suggested the Irish defend themselves with equal vigour at home.

  • Donegal-John

    It is interesting that some people are of the opion that foreigners have no right to meddle in Irish affairs.

    De Valera was born in America and James Connolly was born in Scotland and yet people think that these two foreigners were irish heroes.

    De Valera should heve had his brains blown out by a british bullet and only got off due to the fact that Britian wanted America to come into the war and didn’t want to shoot an American.

    De Valera was a crook who misused his position to set his family up in the Irish Press at the expense of irish shareholders.

    I guess crooked politicans are the norm in Rip Off Ireland

  • DavidD

    This topic has ranged widely from the Opium Wars to US fighters shooting down an Iranian passenger plane, from the Indian mutiny to the Boxer rebellion. In passing we have been treated to a variety of ‘what if’ scenarios. This may make for exciting polemics but it certainly makes for damned bad history. The simple fact is that in the nineteenth and early twentieth century imperialism, in international affairs, was the rule and it is better to study it in a neutral way rather than project our own, often muddled, theories onto a bygone era. No imperial nation was uniquely evil or uniquely good even in hindsight. Britain conquered India and much of Africa, France conquered northern and western Africa and Indo-China, Russia invaded the Central Asian territories, Germany seized possessions in Africa and the Pacific, America occupied the Philippines and ruthlessly crushed a local rebellion, Italy took Libya, Japan occupied Korea and parts of China, Turkey controlled vast areas of the Middle East.
    More pertinently to the topic in hand, the people of Ireland were just as much part of this process as any other in Europe. Ireland, pro rata, contributed its full share to the administrators of the British Empire and to the personnel of the army and navy which upheld it. Moreover the Irishmen who ‘took the shilling’ did so for exactly the same variety of reasons as the recruits from Great Britain; some from a sense of duty, some to escape from poverty, some to escape troublesome women, some for security and most for the excitement and adventure that life as a soldier or sailor offered in those days. Whatever their motives these men shared not only comradeship but a broadly common world view of their role and, distressing as it may be now, a common attitude to those they were ruling.

  • Crataegus

    DavidD

    I agree. History is extremely difficult and we tend to look back with today’s values. With regards the Empire people like Arthur Wellesley would have seen themselves very differently than we do today.

  • kensei

    “Intimidated by the brits again? That’s simply, if you’ll forgive me, gutless and not equal to the reality of the opportunity or the rights of the Irish nation. You have balls enough to send 50,000 Irishmen to their deaths but you hop around like a girl holding her skirts if it’s suggested the Irish defend themselves with equal vigour at home.”

    Apparently your not listening. No King, no Kaiser, just Ireland. Ireland would not have been defended by helping Germany and swapping one imperialist clothes for another would have done no good at all.

    “Whatever their motives these men shared not only comradeship but a broadly common world view of their role and, distressing as it may be now, a common attitude to those they were ruling.”

    Yeah, well, thankfully we snapped out of it and the modern Ireland came from the tradition that fought the crown rather than took the shilling.

  • “Smiling Jim: The USA has little to be proud of. An even bigger bully than Britain ever was”

    You betcha.

    Your response is not a denial of any of the points I made, only that we Yanks are bigger SOB’s than the Brits were.

    I also never accused the Imperial Brits of being bullies. Life is short so why waste my time with stating the freaking obvious?

    The British fixation, possibly obsession?, over Ireland’s neutrality in WWII has more to do with British Imperial pique than the scant value the nation would have as an asset in the war. We display the same Imperial pique over Cuba’s refusal to self-destruct, yet that also in no way invalidates my argument that Ireland was of no use to the Empire during the war. Tighten up your thinking.

    Now, other than stating the plainly obvious, is there an argument to go along with that simper, preferably one directed against a real point, not something dredged up by your bruised inner child?

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Elliot Mitcham: “An arms race started by Germany, there were no ‘good guys’ to be found anywhere. It was a filthy war the victims of which don’t seem to count as far as you’re concerned if they committed the heinous crime of wearing Britsh uniform. ”

    Not hardly. The Germans were, for good or for ill, coming late to the Empire game. Truth be told, the Britain’s standing policy was to maintain a large fleet — equal to the French and Russian fleets, iirc.

    Harry: “The Irish should have supported Germany in WW1 if they had a belief in irish spearatism. Germany engaged in Dreadnought building in order to break the ring of british naval steel around it in the baltic and north atlantic, a blockade that prevented them from engaging in worldwide trade for their goods. Britain wanted to block this in the name of empire whereas a German victory, with irish support in ireland, could have ensured a withdrawal of british troops from ireland as part of a subsequent treaty. A strong ireland of 12 million people with a naval and air capacity that was/is not negligible would have been in Germany’s interests and would have been in Ireland’s interests. ”

    All very nice on paper, but just where was this heavily armed Ireland supposed to come from?

    Besides, the Dreadnoughts were a waste. German would have been better served with U-boats. Unrestricted submarine warfare, without the backdown in 1915, when ASW technologies were neglible, stood a very good chance of starving England.

    Harry: “In the First World War whoever controlled the sea controlled the war. And the truth is, Ireland controlled the sea. ”

    And with what, pray tell, did they control it?

    Donegal-John: “Sure didn’t Ireland side with Nazi Germany during the second world war. ”

    No. Ireland maintained a bastard neutrality that heavily favored England, as evidenced by the number of RAF pilots repatriated and the number of Luftwaffe pilots interned.

    De Valera was born in America and yet he turned his back on his homeland when they were fighting Germany that mekes De Valera a bigger traitor than any Irishman who fought for Britian.

    Taigs: “The USA has little to be proud of. An even bigger bully than Britain ever was. ”

    If the EU truly believes this, then agitate for the dissolution of NATO and build real militaries capable of defending Europe without the US… and watch what happens to the post-WW II experiment in soft socialism.

  • Dread C: The Gemran U Boat cmapaign in World War One surpassed all its objectives but had the opposite to the desired effect. Instead of starving Britain, it did the opposite.
    NATO is now involved in Afghanistan, a place far from the Atlantic. Let’s hope no Irish go there. The Americans and their lapdogs have started an unjust fight they can’t finish.
    Good to see our token Yank and our Orangies wallowing in the death and mayhem their armies have done.
    And this brings us back to the Somme. The Irish have no business dying in other people’s wars, least of all that of them most dangerous family in history (the three cousins of king, kaiser and tsar).

    Irish and the Saxon shilling: The same crap is happening in Iraq now with the occupation forces getting Sunnis to sign up so they can be blown away. The main villains there are not the Iraqis who signup to feed their families but the Saxons and Yanks who hold out the pittance of the Saxon shilling.

  • Harry

    All very nice on paper, but just where was this heavily armed Ireland supposed to come from?

    In the first instance, the British. How do we get it off them? Overrun them. Do many die? Undoubtedly. But many were dead anyway. The British did not have the power to overcome a truly determined countrywide uprising, that’s why they were so determined to get a deal on Home Rule and get the ‘leaders’ of Irish nationalism on side during the war. The strategy of these ‘leaders’ by going along with british wishes amounted to little more than an appalling sin, one which was soon understood by the general population.

    In the second instance, by inviting Germany to use Irish ports.

    In the third instance possibly through a new trade with America but in any case through our own metallurgy and chemistry.

  • Donnacha

    Taigs, after both World Wars, NZ servicemen returned home to — predominantly — a hero’s welcome. Flags unfurled, bunting, the usual glorification crap. They were also furnished with what were called “rehab” farms, allowing them to spend their post-war years in the gentlemanly husbandry of livestock and so forth. A laudable reward for those who spilled their blood, but what you got depended on who you were. maori soldiers (even those well-decorated ones from the 28th (Maori) Battalion) were given shite land in marginal areas and less of it than an equivalent Pakeha (white) soldier. Clearly, brown blood being of lesser value than white blood, even though the colour of that blood was identical. The speaking of their own language was punishable by beatings in schools and there was a rigid policy of assimilation that created a massive underclass, something NZ society is coming to terms with still today, more than ever in the wake of the killing of two 3-month old twins by a (Maori) family member/members.
    Also during the first war at least, there was severe anti-Irish feeling in NZ, prompted by the 1916 rising and the opposition of the Catholic hierarchy to conscription. In fact, the co-adjutant bishop of Auckland was tried for sedition for merely suggesting in a sermon after the war that the IRA and the rebel leaders of ’16 might have had a point and might not have been the devious backstabbers they were painted as. A lovely little country, really.

  • Donnacha

    Oh, and by the way, Eric Bogle was bron in Scotland and moved to Australia. He referes to himself as Scottish, as I found out when I played with him down here two years ago. We had a good yarn about a lot of subjects, war and its inherent stupidity being one of them.

  • Donnacha
    I met Eric Bogle at the Port Fairy Festival once. Gallipoli is an excellent song the way THe Fureys sing it and some Waltzing Matilda versions are very good. I think Bogle wass correct in pointing out the Irish like anti war songs.

    I think the Irish were debarred from settling in NZ in the early days. I din’t know about the seditious bishop though I am up to speed on Mannix (an interesting case). I will have to read up more on Kiwiland.

    Australia and many other plaes lurched very much to the right after World War One (as did the UVF fascists in Belfast). But, as I say, I will have to find out more about NZ and other far off corenrs that will forever be England, for some people.

    I suppose the retunring grunts didn’t like it they had been led up the garden path and hteir mates had been slaughtered on behalf of that incestuous family. But many others, the 12th Juily whackos for example, need to cling on to their beliefs, much like Hitler’s Freecorps did after World War One. What was it all for?

  • Donnacha

    For a lovely wrap of Ireland and war, check out Bogle’s My Son Came Home Today. A fantastic piece of work that nicely pricks the bloated balloon of jingoistic shite that surrounds conflict (from whatever side of the equation). And Kiwiland only lurched to left in the 30s with the political arrival of Mickey Savage, an Aussie of Irish descent whose picture hung in more homes than that of the Pope. Of course, it lurched to starboard again pretty much straight away and turned itself into a “more British than the British themselves” paradise island. For everyone except republicans (the non-Irish sort as well), trade unionists, people with black, brown or yellow faces and — to a certain extent –Catholics. Nice to see it is finally emerging, blinking into the brave new world of the 21st century….

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Taigs: “The Gemran U Boat cmapaign in World War One surpassed all its objectives but had the opposite to the desired effect. Instead of starving Britain, it did the opposite. ”

    Actually, the suspension of unrestricted submarine warfare in 1915 is what creates the duality of success and negative results. Had it not been suspended, the submarine blockade likely would have been successful.

    Harry: “In the first instance, the British. How do we get it off them? Overrun them. Do many die? Undoubtedly. But many were dead anyway. The British did not have the power to overcome a truly determined countrywide uprising, that’s why they were so determined to get a deal on Home Rule and get the ‘leaders’ of Irish nationalism on side during the war.”

    And were there the will for such a lemming-like assault extant, it would have already happened. In WWII, the Russians were able to achieve this sort of success because A) they had no other choice and B) there was an entity in the NKVD willing to shoot those unwilling to demonstrate the appropriate fervor on the battlefield.

    Harry: “In the second instance, by inviting Germany to use Irish ports. ”

    You mean the same German fleet that couldn’t break out of the North Sea?

    Harry: “In the third instance possibly through a new trade with America but in any case through our own metallurgy and chemistry. ”

    And where, exactly, was the capital supposed to come from to support this noble endeavor?

  • Harry

    And were there the will for such a lemming-like assault extant, it would have already happened.

    This ‘lemming-like’ behaviour was being demonstrated every day of the week during 1916 by over a quarter of a million Irishmen, but in the name of the British Empire. You think there was an historical inevitability about that that made it understandable that Irishmen should do that for Britain but you find it inconceivable that they should do that for Ireland’s freedom at home?

    I’m not saying anthing other than what largely happened. The men and women of 1916 did go out to fight with these things in mind. 1916 was not meant to be a heroic failure, it was meant to be a countrywide uprising with the aim of achieving the things I have laid out and with the aim of taking advantage of Britain’s difficulties in the war with Germany. From 1919 the Irish did take their weapons from the British. But by 1919 the opportunity for defeating a weakened British army on a larger scale had passed, so a greater compromise was eventually agreed.

    Tell me, do you think that if the British had not been able to persuade Redmond to get Nationalist Ireland to support the war that they would have gone ahead and entered the war anyway?
    Contrary to some people’s image, Ireland was never a poor country; only it’s majority population was poor. As Roger Casement explained in 1915 in ‘The Crime Against Europe’ (link here):

    I read but yesterday “Few people realise that the trade of Ireland with Great Britain is equal to that of our trade with India, is 13,000,000 pounds greater than our trade with Germany, and 40,000,000 pounds greater than the whole of our trade with the United States.”
    How completely England has laid hands on all Irish resources is made clear from a recent publication that Mr. Chamberlain’s “Tariff Commission” issued towards the end of 1912.

    This document, entitled “The Economic Position of Ireland and its relation to Tariff Reform,” constitutes, in fact, a manifesto calling for the release of Ireland from the exclusive grip of Great Britain.
    Thus, for instance, in the section “External Trade of Ireland,” we learn that Ireland exported in 1910, £63,400,000 worth of Irish produce. Of this Great Britain took £52,600,000 worth, while some £10,800,000 went either to foreign countries, or to British colonies, over £4,000,000 going to the United States. Of these eleven million pounds worth of Irish produce sent to distant countries, only £700,000 was shipped direct from Irish ports.

    The remainder, more than £10,000,000, although the market it was seeking lay chiefly to the West, had to be shipped East into and to pay a heavy transit toll to that country for discharge, handling, agency, commission, and reloading on British vessels in British ports to steam back past the shores of Ireland it had just left.

    So it’s more than just ports and recruits that may have worried the British. A rebellious Ireland with up to 500,000 men if not more bent on independence, during a time when the British were struggling in a war with germany, was a very real threat to British power. The men and women of 1916 knew this and struck for freedom.

    We had no quarrel with the people of Germany, who had never done anything to us. The release of this stamp, with its glorying pro-british posture, is a direct offence to the meaning of the memory of 1916. Bertie Ahern stands for nothing in particular except unseen deals and so thinks he can play around with images and meanings because they don’t cost him anything, even profoundly offensive images such as this. A government led by a ducker-and-diver which thinks prostituting its own historical interpretation has nothing but positive outcomes for ‘peace’. Greater anglicisation and the deliberate forgetting of the true meaning of our history is not a price we should have to pay.

    Nor is opening up Ireland as a recruiting ground for the British army for the first time in almost 100 years.

  • Harry

    I notice that unionists are largely quiet on this whole issue, other than giving brief murmurs of approval. Have they no historical analysis to add to this, no interpretation of British involvement in WW1 that might credibly counter Irish nationalism’s analysis of these events? Have they nothing to say about how commemorating these events is itself a political statement within the modern context, whether that be to promote pride in the union or to get young Irishmen to enlist for service in Iraq?

  • Brian Boru

    “It is interesting that some people are of the opion that foreigners have no right to meddle in Irish affairs.

    De Valera was born in America and James Connolly was born in Scotland and yet people think that these two foreigners were irish heroes.”

    Under Irish citizenship law, someone of Irish parentage is automatically entitled to Irish citizenship so I don’t consider them foreigners as Dev’s mother and both of Connolly’s parents were Irish. In fact this also applies to the children of British citizens born abroad who are entitled to claim British citizenship on this basis, known as “jus-sanguine” (law of blood). In fact jus-sanguine applies in around 140 countries worldwide. In the same way that Bonar Law, a Canadian, supported the Loyalist cause in NI because of his Loyalist ancestory. Roots are a component of national identity and geography alone doesn’t tell the whole story, as the unfortunate partition of the island shows.

    “De Valera should heve had his brains blown out by a british bullet and only got off due to the fact that Britian wanted America to come into the war and didn’t want to shoot an American.”

    I agree he was saved by his American citizenship but disagree with the proposition that it would have been good for him to be shot.

  • kensei

    “Under Irish citizenship law, someone of Irish parentage is automatically entitled to Irish citizenship so I don’t consider them foreigners as Dev’s mother and both of Connolly’s parents were Irish.”

    This is both a good thing and a subtle trap. I have relatives in England and Australia, and they were always irish, because they had Irish blood. And that’s a good thing – it widens Irishness for those who wish to keep close to their roots. I think the “Law of Blood” can run quite deep in Ireland becauise the number of people that left.

    But the flipside of that coin is it could be easy to say that, if Irishness is based on blood, those coming in can never be Irish or true Irish, and there is a subtle (or not so subtle) form of racism in that. I’d like to see a wider form of Irishness that can emcompass everyone, because we are going to have an awful lot of people coming in.

  • They forgot to mention Erskine Childrers, the damn’d Englishman whose execution by the Free Staters was one of the most disgusting episodes in the entire Civil war.
    Harry: though Germany did nothing to Ireland, Rebel Cork withdrew the freedom of the city from Kuno Myer, the famous Old Irish scholar. A shameful episode by a group of shoneens.
    Also when the King arrived in Irleand, in 1905 (?), the southern Orangies and Crown Catholic wannabes were out in force to greet the Royal lackeys. 1916 was also about removing those stains on Irish history.
    The Somme and episodes like it were a tragedy for all concenred. The pity today is that Orange and Crown Catholics continue ot milk it for all it is worth.

  • http://tinyurl.com/kryvq

    http://tinyurl.com/kjp8y

    British warship visits Dublin and hard line Daily Telegraph points out the Orangies did not answer the call in significant numbers in 1914. More loyal to the half crown and all that. So, as in Waltzing Matilda, we have ot ask what precisely the Orangies are marching for? That the misguided Catholic Irish died in their stead?

  • art_macerc

    Taigs:

    I don’t think that the Tele is saying that Ulstermen did not serve in “significant numbers” (your phrase). The phrase used was: “Ulstermen were a minority”. Well, they would be wouldn’t they. They are/were a minority in the whole island.

    The inverse conclusion is tempting. Northern Prods and Southern Catholics, on the face of it, served roughly in proportion to population, ie, the Southerners were as willing to go as the Prods.

    All the best

  • Bill

    Perhaps now that this has been done the Orange Order will recognize that the pope financed William of Orange’s army?

  • jimmy d.

    It’s a funny thing the Grand Lodge of Ireland lobbying an entity of by their definition a foreign goverment (Eire) for an externally recognised symbol (the stamp) commerating through their horrendous deaths their overwhelming loyality to their Britishness.

  • http://www.rte.ie/news/2006/0709/commemoration.html

    The lunatics are at it again in the South. This time it is for all wars with 1916 thrown in as a sop. While the Irish UN sldiers killed in places like Niemba and Soth Lebanon deserve mention, does this include Irish mercenaries, and those who died in Vietnam? Does it include fatalitis in the Spanish Civil war?
    Still, it was good to see the Romanian Orthodox Church represented as they are at least as Irish as most others.