Belfast Lord Mayor to avoid official Somme commemoration

Six years after the first Sinn Féin Lord Mayor of Belfast, Alex Maskey, refused to attend the official ceremony commemorating those killed at the Battle of the Somme and, instead, laid a wreath separately at 9am on the same morning – at the time Mick suggested his attendance “may be too soon for both his own and Unionist supporters in the City” – this year’s new Sinn Féin Lord Mayor of Belfast, Tom Hartley, has announced he will not be attending the official ceremony and will instead lay a wreath seperately at 9am on the same morning, before chairing a Special Council meeting scheduled to begin at the same time as the official ceremony. Tom Hartley claims that this “consolidates and builds upon the initiatives taken by Alex Maskey during his term as Mayor and by Joe O’Donnell as Deputy Mayor to reach out to the unionist and protestant people of Belfast.” In 2004 a Sinn Féin Ard Fheis passed a resolution barring Sinn Fein representatives from attending “British military commemorations”.

  • but what do I know

    I don’t think you’re a unionist Raven.

    I think you’re displaying a misplaced knee-jerk protestant tribal loyalty.

  • picador

    Raven,

    I believe you were one of those who did not take an unnecessary shot at Hartley over this so fair dues.

    As a citizen of Belfast I deeply resent the sanctimonious, holier-than-thou attitude of the politicians, papermen, pundits and bloggers (I won’t mention any names) who would have us believe that the city of Belfast belongs to unionists and unionists alone. It does not, has not and never will do.

    Hartley is doing the honorable thing by laying a wreath at the cenotaph. Leave it at that.

  • picador

    The link between those who unionists vote for in numbers and paramilitaries is tenuous at best.

    This is surely wishful thinking on your part. You said earlier that you were unaware of many of these connections. But there is widespread evidence of these connections over a long period of time going back to the 1960’s. If you were unaware of these connections it can only be because you didn’t want to know. It might be said in your defence that the unionist / state controlled media is not anxious to inform you of these things. Collusion is the word that dare not speak it’s name – an appalling vista, if you will.

    In the perceptions of nationalists, the connections are not so tenuous. I direct you to the Smyth, McCoubrey and Wilson incidents that I mentioned above to illustrate my point. Smyth and McCoubrey are paramilitary frontmen but the point is – why were they elected to high-office by councillors claiming to be principled democrats in the first place?

    The same cannot be said for nationalists.
    Granted, those who voted SF before the IRA abandoned the armed struggle can only have been keenly aware that they were part of the problem. But many unionists are still deep in denial, trying to hold on to some moral high ground which their self-serving political masters never occupied in the first place.

  • Harry Flashman

    Sammy

    Russell was a Nazi collaborator; feel free to defend Nazi collaborators if you wish, to me they’re scum and nothing more needs be said about them.

    Gari

    The much vaunted white elephant of the German High Seas Fleet swayed at anchor for two years, it ventured out for one afternoon at Jutland and then retreated back to port to spend the rest of the war rusting in impotence until its sailors eventually mutinied. The handful of German overseas possessions was overrun within weeks of the outbreak of the war.

    Meanwhile the German army fought in France, Belgium, Poland, Serbia, Turkey, Russia, Ukraine, Romania etc etc for a further four years thus proving that the Germans did not fight the First World War over some fly blown trading posts in Africa and Asia. Try reading some history books and less of Blackadder and Oh What A lovely War!

    I am glad however to see that you concede that the French and British were as morally justified in resisting German aggression in 1914 as they were to be in Round Two in 1940.

    FYI the US and their allies in SE Asia resisted all forms of Communist oppression, just because the mass murdering Stalinists in Vietnam fell out with their mass murdering Maoist neighbours in Cambodia it doesn’t mean that the Vietnamese thugs were any less virtuous.

  • earnan

    I never said Sean Russell was a saint.

    But to say he would have shipped off Ireland’s jews to death camps in exchange for end of partition is dishonest. As he died in ’40, or ’41, he couldnt have known anything about death camps.

    To judge him a Nazi colloborator is painting him with a broad bush and unfairly harsh to him, in my opinion, considering what those two words together conjure in one’s mind.

    Also, the Germans weren’t exactly the only ones bombing civilians, if you remember correctly.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    ‘arry Flashman

    The British were Soviet collaborators – feel free to defend them. But like Russell they collaborated not because they shared their world view but beacause they were attacking their enemy.

    For a more recent example have a look at the Iran/Iraq war – the Englezes and the yanks collaborated with the Iraqis in order to beat the shit out of the Iranians – including supplying the chemicals for gassing Iranians and Iraqis.

    Collaboration with distastful regimes is a standard and means of obtaining military objectives – so dont be getting all precious about the boy Sean.

  • This has become one of the more depressing and exhausting threads of Slugger. Nobody has enhanced a reputation.

    However, to drag in the shades of Seán Russell exceeds the norm. Particularly when a correspondent cannot be bothered to ascertain his death: 14th August, 1940, about one hundred miles west of Galway, in Frank Ryan’s arms. Russell was on Ryan’s political right, and would have difficulty passing muster in our contemporary liberal world. To declare him a “Fascist” is pointless and immaterial. Canaris seems to have had limited ambitions for “Operation Dove” (in which Russell and Ryan were involved), other than reinforcing anti-British sentiments in the Free State, and the hope of fostering some kind of guerrilla warfare against the British in the Six Counties. If one must have a raving Nazi to chuck pebbles at, try Francis Stuart or (whom I find unspeakable) Charles Bewley.

    Why not let Russell and the like speak for themselves? Find a copy of (say) Seán Cronin’s biography of Frank Ryan; and immerse yourself in the spirit of the times.

    Once in the clutches of the Nazis (and there is a vast difference between Nazi and fascist) neither Russell nor Ryan had free rein. Both were acting in what they thought was the interest of Ireland. Neither, as far as we can determine, thought Nazi occupation would be an improvement on neutrality and partition.

    But what all this has to do with the formal laying of a wreath to the memory of 2,069 men of the 36th Ulster Division (yes, predominantly Prods), and/or respecting the hardly lesser number of the 16th Irish Division (sigh, yes, predominantly Micks), who died at the Somme is beyond me.

    Kipling is too frequently, and too tritely written off as an old Jingo. He lost his only son, “”Jack” at Loos, on 27 September 1915; and never recovered from it. I find it impossible not to be moved by his simple Epitaphs of the War.

    And then, of course, as an unbeliever, it works for me:

    The tumult and the shouting dies;
    The captains and the kings depart:
    Still stands Thine ancient sacrifice,
    An humble and a contrite heart.
    Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
    Lest we forget – lest we forget!

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Malcom,

    “But what all this has to do with the formal laying of a wreath to the memory of 2,069 men of the 36th Ulster Division (yes, predominantly Prods), and/or respecting the hardly lesser number of the 16th Irish Division (sigh, yes, predominantly Micks), who died at the Somme is beyond me. ”

    The events of the Somme happened in the same year as the Rebellion in Dublin. Those taking part in the Dublin activities were branded terrorists and put down by the same army that was getting slaughtered in the Somme. A bit of ambivalence is hardly suprising by those (SF) who percieve themselves as the military heirs to the event of 1916 or indeed by those like myself who would prefer all British military commerorations to take place on the mainland where they can have the full support of the population or alternativley to be totally inclusive of ALL the war dead including those branded terrorists by the British.

  • Pancho’s Horse/ Capall Pancho

    Two small points, Sammy. It was a rising – not a rebellion (this indicates a legitimate power) and this is the mainland of Ireland. Small points I know but always aim for accuracy.

  • Hartley is doing the honorable thing by laying a wreath at the cenotaph. Leave it at that.

    No he is not. He ought to be there for the whole service.

    Why can’t he do that?

    Do they have to sectarianise everything?

  • Steve

    Dave

    its not they that have sectarianed everything its your ilk that have. They just refuse to play along with your sad little tangled web

  • picador

    Tom Hartley is an Irish republican. Why would he honour the British army and what has sectarianism got to do with it?

    If you are so into grand gestures / Damascene conversion be at Milltown Cemetary next Easter Sunday.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it @ 07:07 PM:

    This is not a thread about Who dares to speak of Easter Week?, though I’m up for that, too … if only because it would give opportunity for recalling how de Valera believed himself sleeping among nymphs and cherubs, and woke up to find himself dozing in the Royal Coach at Westland Row, while the fighting continued around the GPO ( … yes, apparently true, and on his own say-so).

    Easter week took about 500 lives, and caused about 2,500 injuries (from both sides, including some who suffered, heroically, in the looting). During the same week, the 16th Irish Division on the Western Front suffered 570 killed and perhaps three times that number wounded. Which should we remember? Why should we have to choose one rather than both?

    Let me restate my motives here:
    The Lord Mayor is the ceremonial head of the community. On civic occasions she/he represents all the citizenry. He/she dispenses with political, ethnic or religious individuality when he/she dons that chain of office.
    The events of the first week of the Somme, and of Third Ypres equally as bloody for both the 36th and the 16th Divisions, deserve to be remembered. Not to be “celebrated” in any jingoistic militarism. Not to be hailed as some great achievement. Simply as an acknowledgement of those who went before. And a warning not to go there again.

    As I said before, lest we forget. These were decent men. They had wives, children, grandchildren … I cannot believe it is right or proper to detract from the loss their descendants felt, even nearly a century on.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Malcolm,

    grand sentiment indeed but if the commemoration is as the mayor describes it as a “formal military event” then clearly many would not want to be a part of it – and this point of view should be respected – particularly when the Mayor is involved in a seperate wreath laying exercise.

    Are we going to start complaining that the DUP dont commerorate the dead United Irishmen many of whom were their co-religionists and from Non Iron?

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it @ 09:41 PM:

    In reply to your question:

    Yes.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Malcolm,

    well if you are going to get all fair minded on me I shall have to wish you a good night and turn my attention to the football.

  • Dewi

    Sammy – it’s Soccer not football you idiot!

  • Reader

    It was Sammy: Collaboration with distastful regimes is a standard and means of obtaining military objectives – so dont be getting all precious about the boy Sean.
    What military objectives would Sean have hoped to meet by dealing with the Nazis in 1940? Freedom? No chance. The chance to put a bit of weight behind his hate? Now, that’s a bit more likely.
    Malcolm Redfellow: In reply to your question: Yes.
    Remembrance commemorates two world wars where the vast majority of unionist and nationalist combatants were on the same side. Milltown and United Irishmen commemorations will never, ever claim that. That’s the whole point of Republican commemorations – Them and Us – by definition.

  • Pete Baker

    Malcolm

    “The Lord Mayor is the ceremonial head of the community. On civic occasions she/he represents all the citizenry. He/she dispenses with political, ethnic or religious individuality when he/she dons that chain of office.”

    Indeed.

    The problem here is that the restrictions placed upon a public representative by his own party have been, instead, presented as a problem for others to resolve.

  • Steve

    Pete

    thats not the problem and you know it

    Your lot is always banging on about terrorist shrines well to many nationalists that is exactly what those cenotaphs represent. you cant believe that any republican would go to any celebration of a force that was used to murder and oppress Catholics for the sole crime of being Catholic

    By laying a private wreath he is showing more class then all the unionist mayors have combined.

    But you go on thinking that the cenotaph is anything but a terrorist shrine

  • Garibaldy

    Harry,

    Both sides claimed victory at Jutland as you know, and the German fleet prevented Britain from making full use of its fleet on the rest of the seas, and the submarine warfare should not be forgotten. Besides, the outcome of the naval war does not reflect on the reasons for its being built, or its role in increasing Anglo-German tensions. As for where the Germans fought, a result of geography. Had they won those campaigns and defeated Britain and its allies are you seriously telling me they would not have seized significant portions of colonial territories belonging to the defeated? That is just plain silly to suggest that, and demonstrates a lack of understanding of how international diplomacy worked. Perhaps you should try reading some different history books. Like ones that talk about the role of American and UK special forces in training Pol Pot’s regime, for example.

    As for France in 1914 and 1940, you know fine rightly that that is not what I said. I said the French had a right to defend themselves. But there was no reason for Irish workers to trundle off to fight in that war as the only people to gain from their island were imperialists. 1940 is different because of the nature of Nazism and fascism, which was a uniquely vile threat to all humanity.

  • Pete Baker

    Steve

    “Your lot”

    Indeed.

    I’m an individual Steve.

    Something you don’t seem to understand.

    Point me to where you think I have said anything close to what you claim I have said.

    But as I have said.

    The problem here is that the restrictions placed upon a public representative by his own party have been, instead, presented as a problem for others to resolve.

  • RepublicanStones

    ‘What’s immoral about the French people and their allies defending France in 1914?’

    Whats immoral about irish people defending ireland from foreign occupation? Is it only moral if ‘your’ not the bad guy?

    The old Russell chestnut…..I wonder does the british royal familiy or Oswald Mosleys links to the Nazi’s condemn every british person or monarchist? Big Steaming hot pile of double standards. Harry, first world war and the second world war were the same fight with a 20 yr break????? i’d go back to staring out the window if i was you dear boy. I remember reading a Max Hastings article in the times once where he suggested some people believe that, never thought i’d come across one. If unionists demand impartiality, then i expect a 1916 commemration at City Hall soon. the ‘aul foreign country crack won’t work, not doubt they’ll try it, but hey, what do you expect from the remnants of britains colonial past.
    As regards this particular commemoration, all the lives that were lost should be remembered. this idea the british media like to propagate that the Entente powers were essentially the good guys is utter bollox. It was a war with each side decidied by the various treaties and alliances that had been established. This is a perfect example of how history is written by the victors.
    Oh and another thing which is quite tedious is the mistaken belief that Britain or America defeated the Nazi’s in WW2. Again utter bullshit. The British were a mere mosquito in Hitlers face, as he was mainly concerned with the eastern front, which accounted for around 80-85% of German losses in WW2. Yet why doesn’t Britian offer Russia its dues each year?

  • Greagoir O Frainclin

    “As a citizen of Belfast I deeply resent the sanctimonious, holier-than-thou attitude of the politicians, papermen, pundits and bloggers (I won’t mention any names) who would have us believe that the city of Belfast belongs to unionists and unionists alone.”

    Just to mention it , but is’nt there a majority of Irish Catholic Nationalists living now in Belfast.

  • Greagoir O Frainclin

    And I can’t understand all this touristy mythological love nonsense about a ship that sank and many people lost their lives. The Titanic is a tombstone FFS!

  • Concerned Loyalist

    Finally there is a serious sense in which the First could have been avoided; for the Second there is none. For someone to argue about Sean Russell in the context of 1914 deliberatley, and quite stupidly, blurs the lines.

    Posted by Robbie on Jun 20, 2008 @ 10:02 AM……………………………………………………………………………………..

    I don’t believe that the so-called “Great War” (there wasn’t anything great about it) could have been avoided. The Schlieffen Plan was basically the Kaiser’s/Germany’s Declaration Of War on France to the West and Russia to the East. They rode roughshod over the neutrality of countries such as Belgium and The Netherlands, all of which left Great Britain with no alternative but to declare war on Germany. How exactly could the ensuing War have been stopped? With diplomacy?…like that would have done any good with a power-mad Kaiser ruling, who was being encouraged at every turn by advisors who were hell-bent on letting the World know that Germany was “the boss”…

    Regarding the point I made about Sean Russell. It was a major sub-plot of the First World War and should be addressed and not brushed under the carpet and erased from the history books like revisionist Republicans have tried for decades. The fact of the matter is that the IRA supported racist, fascist regimes and the policies and ideals they espoused, in two World Wars, in their narrow-minded, racist “quest” for a 32-county Ireland free from British rule. That’s the long and the short of it and that’s why I believe it is fundamentally wrong that they take part in Somme Commemoration Ceremonies with current and former British servicemen who fight/fought to keep Ulster, the UK, and the World as a whole, free from the cancer that is coercive, autocratic rule…

  • Concerned Loyalist

    Concerned Loyalist:
    You say you are quoting from the Gaurdian about Sean Russell:
    ‘At the Wansee conference, the infamous Nazi gathering that planned the “Final Solution”, the Jewish community in Ireland was marked down for annihilation. Having freed Ireland from British rule, the Nazis expected their collaborators to help them round up Dublin’s Jews and ship them off to Auschwitz. That was the price Sean Russell was prepared to pay to end partition.’

    However, you fail to mention the Gaurdian is simply publishing what a group of vandals wrote about Sean Russell. If you can find any piece of historical evidence where Sean ever agreed or was even approached about rounding up Dublin’s Jews you would be the first. That was never part of any dealings between his faction of the IRA and Nazi intelligence/officers. From the German standpoint, any fighting or disruption of Northern Ireland/UK from their War Effort would have been advantageous for them. There was never any talk or consideration about the IRA or other Irishmen rounding up Dublin’s Jews.

    Give it a rest with your bullshit.

    Posted by earnan on Jun 20, 2008 @ 03:33 PM……………………………………………………………………………………..

    Stop your revisionist bullshit. The truth will set you free…

  • Concerned Loyalist

    Russell was a friend and ally of the Nazis at a time when they were bombing civilians in Belfast.

    In doing so he covered himself in enough shit that no amount of so-called bullshit thrown at him on this site will make much of a difference.

    He was a Nazi collaborator, that’s all you need to know about the man.

    Scum.

    Posted by Harry Flashman on Jun 20, 2008 @ 03:38 PM……………………………………………………………………………………..

    Thank you. The republican revisionist lies regarding Nazi Russell’s heinous actions during World War II deserve to be exposed…

  • Harry Flashman

    Ho hum Garibaldy

    The Germans, had they won the First World War, might well have taken a large chunk of the British Empire. The Brits in their fevered imagination may have felt the beastly Hun was hiding a great big fleet in the North Sea shoals in order to gobble up India.

    Kaiser Wilhelm might have got a kick out of annoying cousin Bertie in Buckingham Palace by building a bigger toy navy than he had. However, and once again I state a simple truth that some people have difficulty grasping, seizing British overseas possessions was neither the primary, secondary nor tertiary war aim of Germany in the First World War.

    The aims of the Kaiser’s Reich were the same as those under Bismarck, and would be precisely the same again under the government of the Third Reich; domination of the continent of Europe. They attempted to do this by knocking out the western allies before turning against Russia, exactly as they were to do twenty years later in the continuation of the same war.

    Only idiots now believe that somehow peace was achieved in November 1918 and then gee whizz all of a sudden in 1939 a brand new war just started out of nowhere.

    The same German army in the same German uniform fought the same enemies of Germany on the same battlefields for the same reasons in 1914-18 as they were to do in 1939-45. Getting the chance to kill Europe’s Jews was just icing on the cake for the Germans, it was not their primary reason to go to war in 1939.

    Like I say only an idiot believes otherwise, what’s that you say, oh knowledgeable one, RepublicanStones?

  • RepublicanStones

    ‘The same German army in the same German uniform fought the same enemies of Germany on the same battlefields for the same reasons in 1914-18 as they were to do in 1939-45.’

    Ahh Harry oh unknowledgable one, i’d go and ask the Italians if i were you.

  • Elliot Mitcham

    RepublicanStones

    I fail to see what the Italians had to do with German policy aims, what with them being Italian and all. Or have you just unearthed groundbreaking new evidence that Nazi Germany was run by a shadow government operating out of the Villa Torlonia.

  • Garibaldy

    See Harry, I never said Germany’s aims were about seizing control of just British overseas territories. I said they would have taken large chunks of the overseas possessions of those they defeated. France had set about rebuilding its greatness and power overseas; the Italians believed that to be a great power, you had to colonize; Germany wanted its place in the sun, especially when it looked at the source of Britain’s wealth and power over the previous century. The war may have been fought largely in Europe, unsurprisingly, but that in no way means that the aims of those fighting there were restricted to Europe.

    A German victory meant humiliating its opponents. Seeing as it was highly unlikely it would have seized more of French home territory, or made Belgium a province of the Reich, the proof of the victory would have come in the seizure of colonial lands. Apart from in the east, where it is likely some land would have been taken from Russia, as happened with the treaty of Brest-Litovsk. But in terms of middle Europe, its ally Austria-Hungary owned a lot of real estate that Germany might have wanted, and was hardly liable to take stuff from it.

    1918 left a lot of bitter resentment, and contributed to the development of WWII. But that was a different war, with very different aims, and motivations. Show me how the rhetoric of all the combatants was the same as WWI, or how the aims of all were the same, and I might accept that it was round two, as opposed to a war fought between the same powers, partly sparked by resentment over the result of the first world war.

  • RepublicanStones

    Dear Elliot i suggest you read the quote again.

  • Harry Flashman

    It was a continuation of the same war by the same nations for the same reasons, the merest glance at the situation proves it but I really can’t be bothered going over the same facts over and over again for those who wish to remain in a state of obvious denial.

    But before I go, help me out here Gari, where the feck did you get your info that British special forces assisted Pol Pot?

  • Garibaldy

    Memoirs of some of those involved, and Dispatches I think it was. Training and those landmines came from somewhere.

  • Elliot Mitcham

    Dear RepublicanStones I suggest you reread your history books, the Italians overthrew Mussolini and joined the allied powers in 1943. The point I was actually trying to make is that what the Italians did doesn’t really affect Germany’s aims in any meaningful way.

    As for Mayor Hartley; while his chosen course of action was a step forward six years ago following that course of action now will only get you outpaced as Dublin Exile has attested.

  • Yukio

    Henry McDonald makes an interesting point on WWI.

    He claimed that c50,000 Irish soldiers died in WWI, 40,000 from what would become the south, 10,000 from the north. Plus, Catholics and Protestants in the north died in equal ratios.

  • RepublicanStones

    Elliot you miss the point entirely.

    ‘The same German army in the same German uniform fought the same enemies of Germany on the same battlefields for the same reasons in 1914-18 as they were to do in 1939-45.’

    Now brainbox, are you trying to tell me this is correct? that Italy sided with the Germans in WW1?
    Do i need to get an easel and some crayons for you?

  • mickd

    Re. the debate between Garibaldy and Harry Flashman, it is an interesting mental exercise to imagine if Germany and allies had achieved their war aima in 1914. Those who argue that this would have been an inconceivable disaster for democracy and civilisation have a hard case to make when it is balanced against the cost of the war and the contribution WW1 made to the vastly more destructive conflict twenty years later.

    Sure, Germany in 1914 had the hardest Right and biggest military in Europe, but it also had the biggest organised labour movement and social democratic party, it was the birthplace of Beethoven and Einstein. It was the heart of the ‘West’.

    It is hardly a foregone conclusion that a resurgent England and France and an embittered Germany in 1918 was better for ordinary folk than the opposite (certainly, not those in their colonies).

  • Dewi

    Mickd – you know what that’s the first time I’ve ever heard anyone suggest that in my life….
    Also Rosa Luxembourg and Karl Liebknecht – Maybe those two could have won a European revolutiuon instead of being slaughtered – (Harry don’t get wound up mun – only kidding….)

  • picador

    CL & HF

    Sean Russell died in August 1940. Belfast wasn’t bombed until April ’41.

    Was Frank Ryan also a Nazi?

    Did Roger Casement share the war aims of the Kaiser?

    Was Wolfe Tone a Jacobin?

    Are you aware of the saying ‘Englands difficulty is Ireland’s opportunity’?

  • Garibaldy

    Picador,

    Tone was a Jacobin, yes. He and the United Irishmen saw themselves NOT as nationalists, but as part of an international revolutionary movement. It’s all over his diaries, and their words and deeds.

  • picador

    He was a republican – a supporter of the French revolution. But was he a follower of Robespierre and ‘The Terror’?.

  • Garibaldy

    Well the beginning of the UI search for an alliance comes during the Terror, and there is evidence of the UI identifying themselves as Jacobins. Nancy Curtin’s book refers to an group calling itself the Jacobins in Belfast. Tone nicknamed one of the other UI the Jacobin in his diary (can’t remember who) too. So I’d say it’s fair enough, though they did follow whatever group was in power in France at the time.

  • Elliot Mitcham

    RepublicanStones

    Italy was a part of the Triple Alliance when World War One started, but it ultimately sided with the Entente. In World War Two Italy was a part of the Pact of Steel but ultimately sided with the allies. The difference between the two is that in World War One Italy wasn’t run by a fucking idiot.

    Now would you stop ignoring the point I was making and tell me how Italy’s actions meant that German aims in the second war were different from those in the first. Or were you just making a spiteful little nitpick for lack of a any substantive argument?

    Picador

    “Are you aware of the saying ‘Englands difficulty is Ireland’s opportunity’?”

    It’s funny really that Ireland only ever fought for and successfully gained any degree of independance when Britain was not particularly embroiled anywhere at the time while taking advantage of any ‘difficulty’ only got those who did and many unfortunate souls around them a smashing. I would have thought that people would be giving that little gem a wide berth by now.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Engleze difficulty etc

    Of cousre there was the claim that fat boy Churchill offered thin boy Dev the occupied territories in exchange for war help – but Dev didnt trust him.

  • Reader

    picador: Are you aware of the saying ‘Englands difficulty is Ireland’s opportunity’?
    Surely the full quote goes: “England’s difficulty is Ireland’s opportunity to get the shit kicked out of it, again”. Or at least, that is the way it has always worked out. It was always a bad idea to start a fight that England couldn’t afford to lose. More successful to wait until England was between wars…

  • RepublicanStones

    Elliot, im not ignoring your point. It was YOU who picked up on my point, about Harry incorrectly stating Germanys enemys were the same in both world wars. I suggest you reign it in a little bit there horsey and re-read the posts.

  • Garibaldy

    It’s a fair point Reader.

  • Harry Flashman

    Italy was an ally of Germany up until the fighting started in 1914 then they switched sides and fought half heartedly against their former allies.

    Italy was an ally of Germany and continued for a year or two of unsuccessful fighting then they switched sides and fought half heartedly against their former allies.

    Jeez RS, you’re right, how could I have missed the total lack of similarity between Italy’s behaviour in two world wars? No connection at all, none.

    Now tell me what was the substantial difference between Germany’s war aims in 1939 and those of 1914?

  • Harry Flashman

    @Garibaldy

    “Memoirs of some of those involved, and Dispatches I think it was. Training and those landmines came from somewhere.”

    Oh I see, so you just made it up then off the top of your head.

    I wasn’t aware that landmines played any significant part in the Killing Fields.

  • Prionsa Eoghan

    Picador

    Very well argued!

    There has been tonnes of evidence linking mainstream Unionism with their paramilitaries. I now view those who deny it as idiots, liars and or both.

    >>What’s immoral about the French people and their allies defending France in 1914?< < Been busy Harry, we were discussing Vietnam last week, swap France/French for Vietnam/Vietnamese and 1914 for anytime between 1942-75. I couldn't agree more. Also that smoke you are blowing up peoples arses regarding Russell, how could he have possibly known of the scale of the German atrocities? I'm sure he would have known of the then recent British atrocities in 1930's Iraq though. >>The handful of German overseas possessions was overrun within weeks of the outbreak of the war.< < You are dead wrong here harry. The Germans and their native soldiers fought an excellent and long running campaign in east Africa. They tied down massive British resources and disrupted the economy of the entire region. Though by and large I agree with your take on WW1 and 2 being the same war with many subtle, often substantial differences. Not downplaying the differences, jeez how could I but they were consequences mainly rather than motivating factors. Though Lebensraum focused on the east rather than the colonies in WW2. Concerned Loyalist You have not exactly covered yourself in glory with your flawed depiction of Russell and WW1, I'd advise reading books, not being overly nasty but your lack of basic knowledge is showing. >>The Schlieffen Plan was basically the Kaiser’s/Germany’s Declaration Of War on France to the West and Russia to the East. They rode roughshod over the neutrality of countries such as Belgium and The Netherlands< < No, no no no! First of all the Schlieffen plan was aimed as a military knockout blow to France, nothing to do with Russia or declarations of war. And very importantly Holland was left alone as a neutral. >>Regarding the point I made about Sean Russell. It was a major sub-plot of the First World War and should be addressed< < *groans* Too many soaps on TV these days. I suppose you could be right if these major sub-plots ran into the thousands..........and thousands. Also you have you wars mixed up, it figures. >>British servicemen who fight/fought to keep Ulster, the UK, and the World as a whole, free from the cancer that is coercive, autocratic rule…<< Are you familiar at all with even the basics of British rule in Ireland?

  • Prionsa Eoghan

    >>No, no no no! First of all the Schlieffen plan was aimed as a military knockout blow to France, nothing to do with Russia or declarations of war.<< *shamefaced* In re-reading, I suppose in the long run the knockout blow was needed to then shift resources east to counter the Russian bear. And declarations of war was a legal prerequisite, I'm offski(as they say in Russia) to cool my red face.

  • Garibaldy

    No, Harry I didn’t make it up, as you are well aware. If you use google, you’ll find several references to the support given to Pol Pot et al by America and Britain as part of the continued campaign against Vietnam. Let’s not forget that they continued fighting for around two decades. Even the BBC History website refers obliquely to Pol Pot continuing to receive support from foreign countries. Here is one example from the BBC which mentions US support for the Khmer Rouge.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/78988.stm

    And another describing how the US refused to describe what happened as genocide while ensuring Pol Pot kept the Cambodia seat at the UN

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/from_our_own_correspondent/81048.stm

    And finally Harry, here is a report from John Pilger complete with documented evidence comfirming the American role in funding and the British role in training the KR

    http://www.newstatesman.com/200004170017

    Enjoy reading that. And be more careful about accusing people of making things up. You end up only showing your own ignirance.

    As for the difference in German war aims. Try crushing “Judeo-Bolshevism” for a start.

  • RepublicanStones

    Italy fought half-heartedly? Don’t mistake tactical error for half-heartedness. Also Italys recent occupation of Libya, created tension Germany and Austria-Hungary. Don’t be foolish enough to think the were all great pals and Itlay jumped ship at the first sign of trouble. It is a hell of a lot more complex that you would like to paint Harry. France wasn’t too fond of Italy, over the Prussia issue, but they were not at eachothers throats either.

  • Harry Flashman

    Oh I see, after the killing fields some minor assistance was given to some Cambodian resistance groups with the approval of the UN. Not quite what I thought you were saying, fair enough however I accept you didn’t make it up.

    “As for the difference in German war aims. Try crushing “Judeo-Bolshevism” for a start.”

    And why was that necessary? Because Hitler, a veteran of WW1, leading a party of WW1 veterans wished to overturn the defeat of WW1 which he blamed not on military defeat on the battlefield but due to Jews and Communists behind the lines.

    Therefore in order to re-fight WW1 and win this time, it was necessary to destroy the Jews and the Communists, this was a strategic part of Hitler’s method whereby he could successfully fight WW1 all over again, it was not the objective, merely a means to attaining the objective.

    For the eleventy millionth time of pointing it out, killing Jews was not the primary purpose of the Second World War, it was merely a by product of fighting that war.

    Hitler refused to accept the result of the First World War so he rearmed and re-equipped the German army and fought the First World War over again. In both conflicts the German Reich lost, but they were part and parcel of the same war.

  • 156 posts, a lot of smoke, very little light. Quite what the later effusions have to do with the original thread defeats me.

    However, the mention of the WW1 Italian campaign has a passing relevance to where this discussion started: remembering the unnecessary deaths of 2,069 men of the 36th Ulster Division on the first day of the Somme (part of the 32,000 casualties from the 36th by 1919; and the 28,000 0f the 16th Irish Division).

    On 14 June 1918 (so there’s an anniversary just missed — but I feel a blog coming on) Yeats wrote his little — and highly instructive — elegy for Major Robert Gregory. Gregory first joined the Connaught Rangers, a unit of the 16th Division, before transferring to the RFC. He earned a Military Cross and was a Chevalier of the Legion d’Honneur.

    In this context, let it be remembered, Gregory was shot down by an Italian (i.e. an “own goal”) on 23 January 1918:

    I know that I shall meet my fate
    Somewhere among the clouds above;
    Those that I fight I do not hate,
    Those that I guard I do not love;
    My country is Kiltartan Cross,
    My countrymen Kiltartan’s poor,
    No likely end could bring them loss
    Or leave them happier than before.
    Nor law, nor duty bade me fight,
    Nor public men, nor cheering crowds,
    A lonely impulse of delight
    Drove to this tumult in the clouds;
    I balanced all, brought all to mind,
    The years to come seemed waste of breath,
    A waste of breath the years behind
    In balance with this life, this death.

    I had to do that for Leaving Certificate, when Eisenhower was still President. I’ve still got it by heart, down to the punctuation.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    ‘Arry Flashman

    “killing Jews was not the primary purpose of the Second World War, it was merely a by product of fighting that war.”

    I think the problem with this arguement is that most people dont want to hear it (understandably) because of the horror of Hitler’s actions and ideology – he is deemed to have been motivated by ‘evil’ – and that is the end of the story.

    Any further exploration of the facts, particularly in relation to a debate on Irish Nationlaism, will inevitablly lead to shouts of appeasement and collaboration. What interests me about the boy Adolf is how he arrives at his position of anti-semitism and how he could sway the German population behind him. I dont know what basis he has for saying that Jewish betrayal at WWI was a significant factor in defeat – apart from the link between Jewish intellectuals and Bolshevism. The more I read about him the more I think that personal factors in growing up in Vienna underlay most of his attitudes.

    As always in these matters it is necessary to say that any understanding of how he arrived at his ideas should not be confused with sympathy for them.

  • Garibaldy

    Harry,

    Strategic interests don’t necessarily change all that much. But motivations of government, their ideology, their behaviour, and their social bases all do.

    Malcolm,

    Laughable to see Yeats talking about the poor. Fascist nutter he was. And instead of celebrating him, we should bury his memory in shame.

  • Turgon

    It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Interesting question about Hitler and anti Semitism. I think there was a fairly strong current of it in German society (as there was in a number of European societies, Britain and Ireland were not immune and are still not).

    I guess the quite and successful large Jewish community “helped” anti Semitism. Also I suppose after they lost the war the Germans thrashed about looking for “traitors” who caused their downfall. Jews (being perversely seen to have a loyalty outside the state) would have made a good target. Also I guess if some Jews were doing proportionally less badly in the 1920s it might have helped fuel hatred.

    Also remember that at the start they “only” said nasty things about Jews and even after the Nazis came to power there was a gradual spiral downwards in their level of evil to Jews. I suppose that made people who were ambivalent about anti Semitism more used to it over time.

    It is an interesting yet ghastly question but personally I find the whole Hitler had a personal thing a bit too simplistic: he managed to get so many people on board to support it that surely it was not simply a personal crusade of evil based on his childhood.

    As you say though it is always difficult to analyse these things without being seen to be justifying them if though I know you are not.

  • Turgon

    quite large and successful in first line of above

  • Harry Flashman

    @PE

    “swap France/French for Vietnam/Vietnamese and 1914 for anytime between 1942-75. I couldn’t agree more.”

    Sorry I missed my old sparring partner earlier, and if you throw in the heroic resistance by millions of brave South Vietnamese against the fanatical Stalinist aggression of their northern neighbour from 1959 until 1975 then we’d both be in complete agreement.

    See how much fun this can be?

  • Garibaldy @ 12:52 PM:

    The ignorance shown in this comment exceeds the norms of bathetic trolling.

    It has absolutely no relevance to this thread, except to cast doubt on any other contribution from the same source.

    In terms of lit. crit., it ignores Yeats’s constant habit of adapting a “mask”. Garibaldy might care to observe the first-person singular throughout these sixteen lines.

    It shows the contributor has no comprehension of Yeats’s changing political stances throughout a long life. In this particular case he might start with the anecdote of George Yeats’s “democratic” chicken and the neighbour’s “blueshirt” dog: it would at least give some colour to his blather.

    As for Yeats’s brief flirtation with O’Duffy (which extended to just one meeting, and which presumably is the whole basis for Garibaldy‘s diatribe):

    Yeats, who wore blue shirts partly under the influence of William Morris and partly to show off his magnificent mane of white hair, was utterly incomprehensible to O’Duffy, who wore a blue shirt for reasons altogether more degrading, reasons which suggested to Yeats that he was merely an uneducated lunatic.

    [Stephen Coote, page 533].

    As for the rest of such a discussion: another time, another place. However, Garibaldy, next time bring a big stick of informed argument, not a broken reed of ill-formed prejudice.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Turgon,

    to enter the even murkier waters in relation to anti-semitism lets throw in the supposed similarity between anti-semitism in Nazi society and anti-catholicism in Non Iron.

    Disclaimer
    Clearly no comparison can be made between the bias/discrimination/illegal security force activity against Catholics in Non Iron and the mass murder of the Jews in Nazi Germany.

    There is however a similarity in the sense that there was a percieved ‘enemy’ within that were not to be trusted and were to some extent to be excluded from the society in which they lived. In relation to the ‘fenian threat’ you could argue that given the hotile position of the ROI and various ‘border campaigns’ there was some basis ( though no justifiable in my opinion) for unionist post partition policies. The sectarian edge of Unionist ideology which expressed iteslf in the desire of Unionist parmilitaries to kill Fenians/Catolics irrespecive of their involvement in underminig the state shows this ‘enemy within’ view in quite sharp relief.

    To understand loyalsity paramilitary violence this ‘enemy within’ concept needs to be understood and is distinct from that which fed republican ideology – who percieved an ‘enemey without’ namely the British. That is not to say there were not sectarian elements within Republicanism but that was a significantly smaller factor than that in Loyalist violence.

    Mary Mac Alese should not have made her remarks about the similarites between Non Iron and Nazi Germany becuase whatever she may have meant her words were always going to be drowned out by Unionist outrage at such a comparison. Many Nationalsits instinctively understood what she meant and I suspect many Unionists did too but
    saw to the opportunity to attack her as a more comfortable option than challenging some of their underlying beliefs.

  • Garibaldy

    Malcolm,

    I’m perfectly happy to discuss Yeats’ persistent authoritarianism, hatred of democracy, elitism and his being – the words of his far from unsympathetic biographer, Roy Foster – a Crocean fascist any time you like. Attitudes that we can identify with fascism are present in Yeats’ poetry and life both before and after his involvement with the Blueshirts. Hence my use of the term fascist and not blueshirt, lest someone attempt precisely the specious argument that his involvement with and support for the Blueshirts – which by the way was much greater than a single meeting with O’Duffy – was too short for him to be described as a fascist in any meaningful way.

    As for the mask, I am well aware of it. Just laughing at Yeats praising concern for the poor as a good thing.

    As for his being a nutter, automatic writing is all I shall say to that.

  • Prionsa Eoghan

    Harry

    >>and if you throw in the heroic resistance by millions of brave South Vietnamese against the fanatical Stalinist aggression of their northern neighbour from 1959 until 1975<< Where were these millions when they were needed? C'mon Harry! I make no defence for some of the actions of Ho especially in the 50's, camps apart the dictatorship in the south was no better, and certainly not worth your erstwhile championing. The millions made their choice, they chose to fight the US and their puppet state, and they died in their millions, real millions not the mythical ones that you have spoken of. And hey, the people, the good guys won. Does that stick in the craw so?

  • Garibaldy @ 02:44 PM:
    … “a Crocean fascist”? Huh?

    Now, would that somehow derive from Benedetto Croce, leader of the anti-fascist Italian opposition for two decades? The squib here is the invention of Togliatti and his Marxist-Leninist faction, intent on building up Gramsci’s reputation.

    A further warning that one needs to read critically.

    Any way, it’s party time! Byeee!

  • Garibaldy

    Malcolm,

    I’m happy just with the phrase fascist myself, and regarded him as such long before that biography came out. Just trying to show that it is not just me who thinks in these terms, nor is it people ignorant of Yeats’ lifestory. I do however know that there was indeed a strand of fascist thinking associated with Croce, and that it is not the invention of PCI people.

    Anyway hope you enjoy the party.

  • RepublicanStones

    Lads whatever you say about Yeats the man or his poetry, I think we can all agree on one thing, he had terrible taste in women !

  • Elliot Mitcham

    RepublicanStones

    “Elliot, im not ignoring your point.”

    Yes you are, you have not adressed it at all. My question still stands.

    In fact you have done nothing to actually prove anything wrong, you just pick at one detail and resort to patronising quips of no substance when called out on it.

    Prionsa Eoghan

    While I agree with you that South Vietman was a far from pleasant state I wouldn’t go as far to call North Vietnam and attached Viet Cong the ‘good guys’. In fact, I wouldn’t apply that to any party involved at all.

  • RepublicanStones

    Elliot me ‘aul flower, it was you who misread my point regarding Harry’s assertion that Germany fought the same people in WW1 as in WW2. This was not the case. Nothing more was I inferring, now i do hope you will go back and re-read all the posts before jumping again. I suggest you read them slower this time.

  • Prionsa Eoghan

    >>I wouldn’t go as far to call North Vietnam and attached Viet Cong the ‘good guys’.<< No you are quite right Elliot. It was a stupid retort to a piece of trolling from Harry last week that in Iraq unlike Vietnam, the good guys actually won..............Yep to Harry Bush and his fraudulent crew well documented for ripping off the US and Iraqui treasury, responsible ultimately for the needless killing and maiming of hundreds of thousands of US and Iraqui's. They are the good guys in Harry's world. Post war Iraq did not have to be the way it did. But there is no money in peace.

  • Dewi

    “Good”? “Bad”? Dunno but Giap finest 20th century General.
    Giap

  • Elliot Mitcham

    RepublicanStones:

    And the purpose of making this point was? It does nothing to establish that German aims, as claimed by Harry, were any different.

    Eoghan:

    I’m surprised he reached that conclusion, I only thought the lunacy set in when communists were on the prowl. Or has al Sadr recently embraced the principles of Marx and Engels and managed to escape being murdered for apostacy?

  • Yrrab

    Is this the same man who partook on a Belfast Council junket with the Somme Association to Flanders? Seems to smell of double standards.

  • Harry Flashman

    @Dewi

    “Good”? “Bad”? Dunno but Giap finest 20th century General.

    Nah, not by a long shot, Douglas MacArthur maybe but Giap was a bit of a one trick pony.

    @PE

    “The People” won in Vietnam did they? A group of people won and brutalised another group of people that’s all one can say with any certainty. Or were the millions forced to take their chances among the typhoons and pirates of the South China Sea or enslaved, tortured and brainwashed in re-education camps somehow not “people”?

  • Garibaldy

    Giap may have been a one-trick pony, but given that that trick was defeating better armed imperial powers, and that he did it three times, then maybe he should be considered best in show.

  • Harry Flashman

    Ah he wasn’t too bad for a minor regional actor I suppose but not ready for prime time, give me real generals, real armies and real wars every time.

  • Dewi

    “give me real generals…”

    Like Westmoreland?

  • Harry Flashman

    No Dewi, like I said, more along the lines of MacArthur, a man who captured massive tracts of enemy territory with minimum casualties among his own men then set up humane and reasonable democratic institutions for the benefit of the defeated nation.

    Say like General Petraeus in Iraq today 😉

  • Prionsa Eoghan

    Harry

    >>“The People” won in Vietnam did they? A group of people won and brutalised another group of people that’s all one can say with any certainty.< < Yep as bas as you may think wars like this, civil wars are generally won with the help, tacitly or otherwise, of "the people". Only one side had the aid of the largest power the world has ever seen for nigh on twenty years, and still lost. The ordinary people of Vietnam saw to that, dying in their millions in doing so. >>Or were the millions forced to take their chances among the typhoons and pirates of the South China Sea or enslaved, tortured and brainwashed in re-education camps somehow not “people”?<< Are these millions of boat people as mythical as the heroic millions who fought for the US puppet dictatorship of S. Vietnam? I think that you will find that the majority of boat people(certainly not millions) who fled were part of the old deposed regime and had crimes against humanity to account for. Many of the rest were simply economic refugees with their eyes on Australia. I have met many children of such people in Oz. Vietnam seems to be doin ok these days, we don't ALL need to be under US/white man's hegemony to thrive you know. And you really should show some class with recognising Giap, or does it all still stick in your craw so?

  • Harry Flashman

    I recognise Giap as being a useful leader of a largely peasant army fighting a war against larger forces, fine but unlike you I don’t go all misty eyed over fighters just because they carry an AK 47.

    So nobody resisted Stalinist aggression did they but the millions (yes millions) who fled into perilous exile, were murdered, tortured, brainwashed, enslaved and imprisoned all got what they deserved because they were guilty of er, resisting the Stalinist aggression. Something does not compute here.

    Yes Vietnam’s doing very well now, having thrown out the old absurd ideas of Communism they have adopted a free market economy. Vietnam; simple economics for terminally slow learners.

    Poor old Ho, Ho, Ho Chi Minh must be spinning in his Marxist mausoleum right now.

  • Prionsa Eoghan

    “or does it all still stick in your craw so?”

    See above.

    I’ll take that as an affirmative then ;¬)