Ireland, WW1 and our great false choice.

Since independence, Ireland or more importantly Irish nationalism,  has struggled to find a way properly remember those who died during the First World War. This is largely due to how we have chosen to interpret the 1916 Easter rising.

It has been written into Irish folklore that those who took part in the rising were no less than patriots of the highest order while those who fought in the trenches in France and Belgium were considered at best misguided or at worst traitors to the cause of Irish freedom.

The failure to conduct any kind of serious analysis of the actions of men and women on both sides had led us to almost totally ignore one side of the argument. To this day, Ireland still does not have any symbol to commemorate a war which claimed thousands of its citizens.  A century after famous battles such as the Somme, should we not begin to have as part of our yearly commemorative calendar alongside the Easter rising a day were we remember those Irishmen who gave their lives during the First World War?

In our modern discourse the name of the then Irish Parliamentary Party leader, John Redmond is still used a mark of failure in Irish politics. Since independence only one Taoiseach, John Bruton has made any mention of Redmonds role in the home rule movement. We forget that Redmond saw the war as an opportunity to gain home rule from the British government and also go to the aid of another small Catholic nation in Belguim.

The lack of any mention about Redmond in our history only mirrors the lack of acknowledgement for the thirty thousand plus who died during World War One. It should be remembered that most these men signed up to fight for an independent Ireland that they would never live to see.

As we approach 2016, we should take a more balanced approach and shift away from this hierarchy of hero’s complex we have gotten ourselves into over this issue.

I am not arguing that we should either belittle the importance of the rising of break into a mass of celebration about World War One. Rather, we could just pause for a moment to remember those who gave their lives for this island. The simple fact is World War One and the 1916 rising are part of this country’s history and for better or worse have shaped the Ireland we live in today. I can’t forget these events nor do I want to. This is my history, my legacy and I can quite easily commemorate both.

We should drop our reticence in commemorating and debating the motives of those who fought for Irish independence during this period in Irish history and attempt to strike a fairer balance in remembering all those who took part in the war and the Easter rising.

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  • Coll Ciotach

    I do not care a jot about them, they made their bed, I do notice however that the history of Irish death for foreign nations seems to start and end with those who fought for the British, no mention of those who for generations fought for other nations. Strange that.

  • Zig70

    Signed up to fight tyranny, probably more signed up for an adventure or for a square meal that any high romantic notion. We should spare a thought for those who followed politicians to their death on all sides. Next time, put the benches on the front line, lead from the front. Matt

  • Zig70

    Matters not now, the foolhardy have been replaced with drones.

  • Its simple enough.
    Recruitment for World War 1 …was a form of Creative Ambiguity.
    The British Government sold Recruitment that they would “remember” those who stood beside them against the Kaiser.
    They may have ben lying to one side. Maybe even both. But they certainly were not telling the truth to both.
    While “British” folks are certainly entitled to commemorate….and indeed Irish entitled to be respectful of British Legion who provided a cash lifeline to many in the Republic…the simple fact is that more is being commemorated than WW1….Black and Tans, Indian arm Army, Malaya, Aden, Kenya, Cyprus.
    And hardly human nature to commemorate being “duped”
    And of course, the whole point of nationalism is to establish a nation with an “ethos”
    The simple fact is that in WW1, Germany was the ally of the Irish “nation” if not several thousand Irish individuals.
    Clearly the new Irish nation airbrushed WW1Redmondites out of the perceived myth making of establishing a national narrative.
    But of course Norn Iron established its own myth making …WW2 heroism.
    It is of course a parallel universe….but surely most are comfortable with that.
    Attempts to create a new narrative…a new myth…to suit the present day are (hopefully) doomed.

  • looneygas

    Here in Canada, it’s considered the right thing to do to wear the poppy in order to commemorate those who fought and those who died.
    Were they fighting tyranny, imperial aggression? Were some of them just out for adventure, to play guns for real? Were they simply dupes fighting on one side of an imperial balance scale that differed little from the other? Were many filled with noble motives, to protect their friends, family and countrymen from the Other?
    All the above apply.
    Many here wear the poppy to demonstrate that they are good, upstanding citizens, especially if they own a business and stand to benefit from cultivating such an image.
    Others buy into all the nonsense about fighting the good fight against the awful Germans.
    Many young men chose to go and fight with pure motives and many died doing what they thought was right.
    I’ll wear a poppy when there truly is a war to end all wars. For now, I will remember those who were caught in something much larger than themselves and made what they felt was the best decision.

  • HammerTime

    Irelands WW1 dead should be held in the same high regard as its 1916 rising dead by the people and the Govt.

  • Barney

    There is a memorial garden dedicated to the dead of WW1 in Dublin, there is also an annual ceremony to remember these soldiers and others who fought in the British Army.

    Coll you are a very cold man but correct in that the Irish who fought in other armies are not remembered or mentioned……

    The British slapped Redmond in the face by refusing to implement the democratic wishes of HMG because some threatened armed rebellion. That decision plus the imperial reaction killed all hope of negotiated compromise.

  • tacapall

    How could any Republican, member or supporter of Sinn Fein today object to the Irish state honouring those fellow Irishmen, who like them not long ago, followed a different path in what they believed was a way of achieving Irish unity, a different path from the hardline republicans one espoused by those other gallant and honourable Irishmen who signed the 1916 proclamation.

    Those Irishmen who give their lives fighting under the British flag are seen as traitors yet we dont look at those same Irishmen, those unionists from the 6 counties as traitors we view them as misguided Irishmen, they are forgiven and would be welcomed along with their British history in any united or unified Irelad.

    They were Irishmen however misguided, even though we know today that they were mere cannon fodder for the crown, useful monkeys, mislead and lied to, thrown to the wolves. But they were not the first and wont be the last Irishman who was/will be fooled by perfedious albion. Even those republicans who are in government today have been fooled many times and yet they expect us to stand behind them.

    Those Irishmen who joined that war on the pretense that they believed it was for Ireland should be remembered for their honour and bravery and the sheer courage that enabled them to face the tasks that led to their deaths.

    I as an Irishman and a republican would honour those same Irishmen north and south who for whatever reasons give their lives for their country. History has a funny way of coming back and bitting you on the backside and even De Valera knew that fate would befall him in the future at Michael collins graveside,

  • Seamuscamp

    Lot of falsity about this subject. If you believe themuns were resposible for WW1 and “we” were there to defend small nations, you have a simplistic view of international politicing at that time. If the wearing of the poppy is about commemorating those who died, wear your poppy in good faith; if it is about the “good” nations fighting the “bad”, recognise it for what it is – a token for nationalism at its worst.

  • gendjinn

    It has been written into Irish folklore that those who took part in the rising were no less than patriots of the highest order while those who fought in the trenches in France and Belgium were considered at best misguided or at worst traitors to the cause of Irish freedom.

    Well that’s the truth and I put both my great grandfather and great grand uncle in that group.

    A century after famous battles such as the Somme, should we not begin to have as part of our yearly commemorative calendar alongside the Easter rising a day were we remember those Irishmen who gave their lives during the First World War?

    Of course not. They fought for the British Empire, the colonial occupier of our country and the enemy that we had to fight tooth & nail to gain our freedom.

    In our modern discourse the name of the then Irish Parliamentary Party leader, John Redmond is still used a mark of failure in Irish politics.

    It’s hard to argue with facts. That Bruton is the only Taoiseach to refer to him only reinforces that reality.

    …mirrors the lack of acknowledgement for the thirty thousand plus who died during World War One.

    Please check your facts, there’s an arch to St Stephen’s Green inscribed with their names.

    We should have nothing to do with commemorating the inexecrable charnel house that was WW1. We should have nothing to do with the imperial squabbling of Victoria’s offspring. We should continue our position and leave such obscene and ridiculous behaviour to the arse lickers of imperialism.

  • gendjinn

    Coll Ciotach,

    I do notice however that the history of Irish death for foreign nations seems to start and end with those who fought for the British, no mention of those who for generations fought for other nations. Strange that.

    Please don’t project your ignorance. Many of us are perfectly aware of the contributions the Irish Diaspora have made to other countries military. From the Wild Geese to Napoleon’s Marshals, to the Navies and Armies of the Americas.

    That being said the overwhelming number of Irishmen that fought, did so for the British empire and did so out of economic necessity because of the appalling regime the British instituted in Ireland. It certainly wasn’t because they endorsed her Imperial genocides.

  • tacapall

    Who said you have to wear a poppy to honour those Irishmen who give their lives in WW1. Anyone with a brain knows it was about money, all wars are about money, millionairs become even bigger millionaires during war but as always the poor and the foolish and the misguided fall for the propaganda spurted out by the lords and barons an the privileged elite of England.

  • Barney

    There is a lot of horsefeathers being typed on this thread you cannot ignore historical reality. I argued on another thread that the Majority of unionists turned their backs on their historical (dare I say their traditional) Irishness. Here we have the mirror image and its not right.

    We have arm chair warriors but perhaps armchair historians are literally more relaxed with their nonsense.

  • tacapall

    Who are you talking about Barney, armchair historians ?

  • Barney

    Have a wee read down the thread describing unionists as misguided Irishmen isnt exactly the brightest comment is it?

  • Coll Ciotach

    Gendjinn – I project no ignorance on anyone. I am happy that you acknowledge the fact the British have been responsible for the wastage of Irish life for centuries on both end of their guns, however in the hierarchy of victims my sympathy lies with those who had the barrel end pointing at them, they took the kings shilling and died serving it – that is no concern of mine. The real heroes of the period actually showed that might does not make right and their actions succeeded in showing that small nations could actually be free inspiring the destruction of the British Empire in the succeeding years. The men of the GPO are the men to be remembered, the men of sacrifice who fought for freedom rather than cash, they are remembered in Easter when renewal is celebrated throughout the world and those who value freedom are proud to wear their Easter Lily in memory of those who fought for freedom not empire and set small nations free.

  • jagmaster

    And right on cue the guilt tripping instigated by academics starts.

  • tacapall

    Why what way would you, if you were an Irish republican describe them ?

    As David says –

    “It has been written into Irish folklore that those who took part in the rising were no less than patriots of the highest order while those who fought in the trenches in France and Belgium were considered at best misguided or at worst traitors to the cause of Irish freedom”

    Can you only be an Irishman if your a republican and a Catholic ?

    Are unionists from the north not still Irishmen, and can their actions not be described at best misguided or as others would see as traitorous ?

  • Barney

    Tacapall

    Its not for me to decide what or who Irish unionists are or to describe these people in a way that fits with my political perspective in the same way that I have never liked being described as British.

    I can argue that there is no true NI identity as Unionists in NI made it up to describe themselves cutting off southern Unionists and northern Irish people hence it’s exclusionary nature. Its the same attitude that allows no room for British republican unionists (if you know what I mean) within what should be a broad church.

    Because Unionism went into a dead end doesnt mean I should patronise them any further than I’m doing now. They are quite obviously Irish people who think differently to me but misguided I dont think so, that mistake has been made repeatedly

  • HammerTime

    gendjinn and the like. So tens of thousands of your fellow countrymen die in the Great War, doing what they thought was right. Be it that they had no economic prospects at home, or to the rescue of a fellow Catholic country in Belgium or in the hope that this selfless act would one day lead to the dream of Home Rule for Ireland. This boys should be considered heroes to the Irish nation … every bit as much as those involved in the Easter rising.

  • Barney

    The whole fellow Catholic Nation stuff is a complete red herring nonsense at the time and nonsense today……

  • Brian Walker

    David, Your thesis might have been true 30 or even 20 year ago but is way out of date. Where have you been?

    No WW1 monument? What was the avalanche of publicity about when the Queen and the President laid wreathes at the National Garden of Remembrance and again at Lutyens’ renovated Islandbridge WW1 memorial?

    What has the tainaste Eamonn Gilmore been saying about the War in Irish memory and commemoration?

    “If we are true to the lead that they showed, then I would hope that we can host representatives of the Royal Family and the British government, along with the leaders of unionism, in Dublin in three years’ time in remembering the Easter Rising.
    “I hope also that three months later we can all respectfully remember those who gave their lives in British uniform at the battle of the Somme.””

    A whole website IrelandWW1 covers the angles.

    http://www.irelandww1.org/

    In “Ireland and the Great War,” Queens’ Keith Jeffrey discusses his belief that the Great War was “’the single most central experience of twentieth-century Ireland, not just, nor least, for what happened at the time, but in its longer-term legacy’. This is a large claim (more central than partition?) but it does provide a framework whereby the political divisions and divergent experiences of the war years can be integrated into one story. By this process the history of this period becomes the history of all the people of the island, not just one part of it.”

    Jeffrey concludes that memorials to both Ireland’s “British” sacrifice and to the new State were met with ambivalence. Both were mired in bloody controversy, the civil war following on from the independence war.

    Reviewed http://www.history.ac.uk/reviews/review/218

    This is just for starters.. How long does it take before myths about myths catch up with reality? More effort needed!

  • George

    gendjinn,

    Please check your facts, there’s an arch to St Stephen’s Green inscribed with their names.

    Perhaps you should check yours. The Fusiliers’ Arch at St. Stephen’s Green is a memorial to the British soldiers who died in the Second Boer War .

  • David McCann

    Brian,

    30 years ago I wasn’t born-so I wasn’t there.

    My point was in general Irish society-there is still a massive skew towards one side over another. I was in Dublin last Sunday and heard a barman warn an English tourist about wearing a poppy.

    I’m not saying that one side is better than the other-I’m just saying we need to strike a better balance in how we view these events.

  • Charles_Gould

    Very good blog item David – as always very stimulating reading.

    A real improvement to Slugger.

  • Bishops Finger

    ” no mention of those who for generations fought for other nations. Strange that”
    ==========
    At this time of year I always like to remember the Irishmen who fought for the Native American Nation.

  • gendjinn

    George,

    I stand corrected, and thanks.

  • gendjinn

    Coll Ciotach,

    I agree with your follow up comment. Still cannot agree that the Irish nation should make any space to celebrate or commemorate British soldiers, regardless of whether they were Irish or not.

    Hammertime,

    British soldiers are not heroes to the Irish nation and wearing a poppy in Ireland is celebrating those that murdered our people and repressed our nation for centuries. It is insulting.

  • Rory Carr

    David McCann argues, in favour of Redmond that, “ We forget that Redmond saw the war as an opportunity to gain home rule from the British government and also go to the aid of another small Catholic nation in Belgium.

    But we do not forget, David We remember all to well which is why it really is best not to bring his disastrous (even treacherous) policy of persuading thousands of Irishmen to sacrifice their lives for an empty promise If he did argue that they were going to the aid of a small Catholic nation, Belgium, then he was either an unscrupulous liar or such a complete idiot as to never have been allowed to lead men in any enterprise.

    Of course what Redmond really was – the political leader of the native Irish bourgeoisie, his task to secure political hegemony for his class in whatever arrangements could be made with the British. It was his class and his class alone that were Redmond’s concern and the further exploitation of the Irish masses by that class his great intention.

  • Gopher

    I would just like to point out for the sake of objectivity that the stalemate and slaughter on the western front could not be predicted by Redmond or the Irishmen that volunteered in their thousands or were already serving in the British Army in August 1914. Redmond it can be reasonably argued attempted to do his best for Ireland with the information available.I’m not sure its Redmond’s fault that Irishmen today are historically insecure and rely on dogma to get a work around for 30,000 dead.

  • tacapall

    “I agree with your follow up comment. Still cannot agree that the Irish nation should make any space to celebrate or commemorate British soldiers, regardless of whether they were Irish or not”

    Gendjinn. They were Irish soldiers fighting for Ireland in a British regiment in a far off country, no different than ames Connelly who was scottish and one of those executed after 1916 or De Valera an American who its claimed was saved by his birthright and commanded the Irish regiment and who fooled the Irish people or what about Constance Markievicz born in London.

    There was always two types of Irishman throughout our history those born from planter stock who’ ansestors were given the lands by the various lords and kings who conqured their properties. With nothing to pay their soldiers with, they just dumped the natives out on to the street or countryside and a new brred of Irishman appered after the centuries. Cromwell displaced most of the Irish natives this way.

    Redmond was no different that todays Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness, doing Britains dirtywork while they, the British, reap the rewards, Have we not fellow Irishmen participiting in a British controlled police force, do we not have republicans participiting and implementing British laws in a British controlled parliament, have these same republicans not called for the arrest and imprisonment of fellow Irishmen who do not agree with their mothod of achieving Irish unity which is working with a hoping perfedious keeps its word. Hows that any different than Redmond and those who give their lives believing it was in the best interests of Ireland.

  • Rory Carr (profile) 3 November 2013 at 10:00 pm

    Perfectly put.
    I remember, in school, Redmond’s side being put and us being encouraged to see his argument at the time in context.
    It is precisely because such an emphasis is put upon a knowledge (not a version) of History that nationalists hold many of the views that we do today and it is through that lens that the actions and events of today are viewed.

  • tacapall

    Well Bangordub just because you were stupid once doesn’t mean you have to stay stupid all the time. Those poor deluded Irish kids, for that what they were who give their lives for one reason or another are always duped by armchair general types , the Gerry Adams and Martain McGuinness of yesteryaer who are now administering and enforcing British rule today in Ireland – What makes Redmond different than Adams ofr Mc Guinness ?

    What makes Redmond the trator and modern day Sinn Fein the heros.

  • tacapall,

    I didn’t refer to Sinn Fein, nor was I making any comparisons with Redmond. My point was with reference to the original blog and a response to it. A simple point is that Redmond never enforced British Rule in Ireland, neither do Sinn Fein to my knowledge. Redmond’s policies were voted upon and roundly rejected in a subsequent election. Sinn Fein’s, currently, appear to be endorsed by a majority of the nationalist electorate. That is what matters.

  • “Redmond was no different that todays Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness, doing Britains dirtywork while they, the British, reap the rewards…”

    I would agree that Redmond, like Adams and McGuinness, thought that what he was doing would advance the cause of Irish freedom. All ultimately failed because history took a turn that they didn’t predict. I would say in Redmond’s defense that the turn that history took was less predictable than in the case of the IRA offensive of 1971. Redmond had won a promise of home rule after the war, which would likely have been implemented–at least everywhere outside of Ulster or some portion thereof, had it not been for the Sinn Fein election victory and the subsequent War of Independence.

    Adams and McGuinness and MacStiofain et al. believed that the unionists could be bombed into a united Ireland and the British bombed into giving up part of the UK with a unionist majority when much worse bombing had failed to cause Britain to abandon foreigners in Nazi-occupied Europe just 30 years before. Adams and McGuinness haven’t really achieved anything for the nationalist community that wasn’t on offer 24 years before the Belfast Agreement. But history is about p.r. in the short term and the constitutional nationalists have temporarily been written out. But they are returning. Redmond will one day be seen as the forerunner of Hume in working towards an achievable settlement under the conditions of the day.

  • Greenflag

    Never quite got the ‘defending ‘ Little Catholic Belgium ‘ recruitment line . Given that the Central Powers ( Imperial Germany & Austro Hungary ) were probably overall a Catholic majority alliance it seems that the Irish (both Catholic and Protestant } were persuaded to fight against their fellow Catholics and fellow Protestants in defense of just Belgian Catholics ??

    Why do I not find this a convincing argument or justification for the stupidity that was WW1 ,

    By all means commemorate those who died on all sides or permit others to commemorate them with respect but lets not forget that WW1 was fought by those who had the power and the loot and who wanted more power and more loot and did’nt care a jot how many millions would die in their attempt to gain more power and loot or hold onto that which they had already grabbed in imperial conquest or by trade ,

    And worst of all WW1 gave us WW2 and the 55 million dead resulting from totalitarianisms of the left and right .

    And to day the power and loot grabbers are still in business although today they tend to eschew field khaki and field grey for striped suits and helicopter landing pads in the worlds largest financial centres.

    And yes they also don’t care a jot about how many millions become unemployed or are foreclosed on or who flee the emerging war zones of resources scarce or resources rich countries .

    Hang em all 🙁

  • Congal Claen

    Remembrance of the 1916 dead is as likely to unite all Irishmen, whether British or Gaelic, as remembering 1690.

    In a year’s time, Scots will vote on whether they leave the Union. Regardless of the outcome, I’m guessing both sides of the issue will continue to commemorate the world wars. I.E. it shouldn’t really be an issue.

    The 1919 ‘patriots’ are actually a hindrance to Irish unity. Should a UI ever be achieved against the wishes of unionists there is a good chance those unionists will use the same political methods as the ‘patriots’. Compare and contrast with Scotland.

    As for the choices made by Irishmen in the 1920s it should be remembered that the same Ra that you are holding up as role models sided with Fascist Nationalist Spain along with Nazi Germany AGAINST the Spanish REPUBLICAN side. And that’s because Republican in Irish terms is a fig leaf for Nationalism of a socialist hue. Which doesn’t go down too well after WW2.

  • Barney

    Congal

    That is just nonsense it was the blue shirts who fought for the fascists many more Irish republicans fought for democracy than the FG crowd.

    The repeated accusation that the IRA were pro Nazi is always made by mad British nationalists and their brothers in arms. It must be remembered that there were more people in the British cabinet who were pro nazi than in any grouping of Irish people. Their former King was a Nazi, Churchill and a lot of the british left were in favour of that Nazi ideological holy grail eugenics. To be fair a lot of Europe’s intellectual left were also pro eugenics. It was only the Catholic Church and the Communists who were against eugenics.

    I just love these trolling posters who are totally ignorant of historical reality. Of course your pathetic attempt to paint Irish republicans as national socialists goes down well with the golf club crowd but is wrong.

    Of course none of this has anything to do with the thread directly but hey it was an opportunity to type historical lies.

  • Desmond Trellace

    The Islandbridge commemoration is very dignified, by all accounts. If the poppy had retained its original meaning, and had not fallen prey to militaristic exploitation, I would have no problems wearing a poppy at Islandbridge to commemorate my grand-uncle.

    World War One was an egotistical, murderous imperial brawl, a turf war amongst imperial gangs and I believe that the assiduously ignored elephant in the room is the immorality of Irish Home Rule leaders in sending tens of thousands of Irish soldiers into this murderous conflict. Worse than the fact that thousands of them were going to perish themselves was the fact that they were willing to kill and maim tens of thousands of decent German, Austrian, Hungarian, Turkish human beings – who had been forced into uniform through conscription and with whom the Irish had no quarrel – for the purpose of buying, via this bloody deal, their own political semi-independence from the British Government.

    I believe that the Irish government should officially apologize to the countries concerned for the slaughter and maiming by Irishman of tens of thousands of the young men of these countries.

  • Kensei

    The Poppy does not get commerate WW1. It commemorates all British dead, the money raised goes to support retired and injured British soldiers.

    Some of them are no doubt deserving of both the honour and charity, joining for noble reasons and serving bravery. However many of them aren’t – aside from numerous indiscretions on this island, there are plenty of them in Africa, India and the Middle East, right up to and including the Iraq War.

    Someone will trot out “Lions led by Lambs”, but it’s not been Irish Nationalism’s experience, and it”s not been Iraq’s either. Regardless, the British State and the British public have a responsibility to them all; they put their lives on the line, after all. I, however, do not. I’m not British, they are not my army.

    So much time and effort is spent trying to suck in an Irish populace that has rejected war since independence into joining into celebrating the British war machine. So WW1 veterans are used to try and evokes sympathy. That war war was an utter waste of life, and the Irish men that lost their lives in that war wasted them. If they thought they were freeing Ireland, it was worse, they were duped.

    The British always sell this as not glorifying war, but in the same shot there is all the power and majesty the British can still muster, and you just can’t get away from victory and what it entails. It’s not that I don’t think those people shouldn’t be remembered, but it should be a world away from associating with a British establishment that led them into it and it should be in no measure a source of national pride.

    And if push comes to shove, and placing scorn on the whole thing and burying the memory pushes one soul away from joining up and getting themselves killed, I’ll account that as a worthwhile trade off.

  • Congal Claen

    Hi Barney,

    If what you say is true how come the Ra barred members from joining the International Brigades?

    For example, just locally, there is a plaque in the Short Strand which includes Jim Straney who fought for the International Brigades. Unveiled by the beardy one no less. Thing is tho’ Jim was chucked out of the Ra for joining. An order given by Tom Barry.

    But don’t take my word for it. Check out…

    http://www.historyireland.com/20th-century-contemporary-history/ireland-and-the-spanish-civil-war/

    Which includes the lines…

    “Nowadays many would be surprised to learn that the vast majority of Irish people supported Franco rather than Spain’s democratic government. Similarly surprising, given the public esteem with which the Irish International Brigaders of the Connolly Column are regarded and the obscurity of O’Duffy’s Irish Brigade, is the fact that the great majority of Irishmen who fought in Spain did so under General Franco”

    I’m guessing you’re one of the surprised?

    Or maybe I’m just a mad British Nationalist. A Britain/UK that apparently was more Nazi than the Nazis according to you.

  • Barney

    Kensei

    “So much time and effort is spent trying to suck in an Irish populace that has rejected war since independence into joining into celebrating the British war machine.”

    Again that is just fantasy, have you any idea of the number of Irish citizens north and south who volunteered to fight with the allies in WW2? The only other place with a larger proportion of active, regular combatants was Slovakia.

  • Mc Slaggart

    Barney

    The British version of remembrance is a fund raising effort for its troops rather than dealing with the past.

    Some things that could/should improve it are the use of the white poppy and things like including past enemy such as “Germany”.

  • Barney

    “A Britain/UK that apparently was more Nazi than the Nazis according to you.”

    The problem is that I didnt say that, I simply stated accepted historical fact. There were two IRA men on German u boats and more nazi supporters in the British Cabinet.

    The rest is nonsense as Frank Ryan and Sean Russell’s actions clearly show.

  • Barney

    McSlaggart

    Its about remembering Irish soldiers, personally I would never wear a poppy of any colour I simply don’t like American kitsch.

  • Mc Slaggart

    Barney

    “Its about remembering Irish soldiers”

    ????

    How are they remembered in “Belfast”?

  • Barney

    With great fondness by their families.

  • Gopher

    Ordinary people who did not make it through the maelstrom

  • Congal Claen

    Hi Barney,

    “The problem is that I didnt say that”

    What you said was…

    “It must be remembered that there were more people in the British cabinet who were pro nazi than in any grouping of Irish people”

    Which is clearly incorrect. To tell you the truth I’m not sure what you’re saying any more. Perhaps we’re at cross purposes…

  • Barney

    Its not incorrect, there were two IRA men on that german u boat, one was a committed socialist the other was a foolish traditionalist with no political thinking at all.

    In the British Cabinet you had Lord Halifax and the majority who backed him were in favour of negotiating with Hitler and the Nazis, Churchill only got the job because Halifax (who was favourite) was spineless and gave the position up.

    That is historical fact.

    We are not at cross purposes, clearly a conservative Catholic country is going to have sympathy with an other conservative Catholic Country particularly if the press were printing lies and general propaganda.

    The IRA at the time were a mess at the time but I said that more Irish republicans fought in Spain for democracy than against it.

  • Harry Flashman

    “more nazi supporters in the British Cabinet.”

    There were two IRA men, two very senior IRA men, on board a Nazi U-Boat who were going to Ireland to assist the Nazis in Ireland.

    Can you name who the equivalent pro-Nazis were in the British cabinet? Because if you can you should start writing that best-selling history book now, it will be a block-buster.

    Halifax was nowhere next nor near a pro-Nazi, he merely doubted whether Britain could beat the Germans in 1940, (hint: not the same as actively assisting the Nazis) and suggested that a negotiated peace, through the good offices of Sweden, might be the best that could be hoped for.

    When Churchill, who had a majority of support within the cabinet and the House of Commons (though maybe less so in his own party who still preferred Chamberlain, also not a pro-Nazi before you dive in with your big boots again) informed him that Britain would fight on he loyally accepted this fact and remained in the British government fighting on against the Nazis (note: gighting against the Nazis not climbing into their U Boat).

    Halifax would never under any circumstances have boarded a Nazi U-Boat to assist them in their war effort.

    So, who were the other pro-Nazis in the British cabinet of whom you are so knowledgeable?

  • Congal Claen

    Hi Barney,

    You only mentioned the German U boat after claiming there were more Nazis in the cabinet than in any Irish grouping. That’s just recent fact obtained by reading the comments above.

    I also gave you a link supporting my claim that more Irish Republicans fought for Fascist Spain than against it. If you don’t accept that point out where it’s incorrect. Otherwise we’re into your da’s bigger than my da territory. And my da isn’t very big so I’ll probably lose that one…

  • tacapall

    Now that were all getting to truth, how about who fired the first shots at hitlers germany, and who done their masters bidding ?

    The history that they dont teach us in schools, the hidden history.

    http://www.wintersonnenwende.com/scriptorium/english/archives/articles/jdecwar.html

    The Jewish Declaration of War on Nazi Germany

    The Economic Boycott of 1933

    “According to The Daily Express of London of March 24, 1933, the Jews had already launched their boycott against Germany and her elected government. The headline read “Judea Declares War on Germany – Jews of All the World Unite – Boycott of German Goods – Mass Demonstrations.” The article described a forthcoming “holy war” and went on to implore Jews everywhere to boycott German goods and engage in mass demonstrations against German economic interests. According to the Express:

    The whole of Israel throughout the world is uniting to declare an economic and financial war on Germany. The appearance of the Swastika as the symbol of the new Germany has revived the old war symbol of Judas to new life. Fourteen million Jews scattered over the entire world are tight to each other as if one man, in order to declare war against the German persecutors of their fellow believers.The Jewish wholesaler will quit his house, the banker his stock exchange, the merchant his business, and the beggar his humble hut, in order to join the holy war against Hitler’s people.

    The Express said that Germany was “now confronted with an international boycott of its trade, its finances, and its industry…. In London, New York, Paris and Warsaw, Jewish businessmen are united to go on an economic crusade.”

    The article said “worldwide preparations are being made to organize protest demonstrations,” and reported that “the old and reunited nation of Israel gets in formation with new and modern weapons to fight out its age old battle against its persecutors.”

    This truly could be described as “the first shot fired in the Second World War.”

    In a similar vein, the Jewish newspaper Natscha Retsch wrote:

    “The war against Germany will be waged by all Jewish communities, conferences, congresses… by every individual Jew. Thereby the war against Germany will ideologically enliven and promote our interests, which require that Germany be wholly destroyed. The danger for us Jews lies in the whole German people, in Germany as a whole as well as individually. It must be rendered harmless for all time…. In this war we Jews have to participate, and this with all the strength and might we have at our disposal.”

    And the lapdogs that followed –

    The death of Sir Anthony Montague Browne on April 1, 2013 aged 89, who was the last secretary to Winston Churchill leaves me free to set the record straight on a few misunderstood aspects on Churchill’s premiership. Sir Anthony, who was a likeable man with a very dry sense of humour, joined Churchill’s team in 1952 but from that vantage point was able to gain unique insight into what had happened in the years before. Apart from having access to all his private correspondence and discussions, Sir Anthony differed from Churchill’s bodyguards and secretaries in that he was chosen by the Treasury after a short political and psychological assessment,

    Sir Anthony said many times Churchill was more worried about being assassinated by his own people than the enemy, for taking them into another needless war.

    Churchill’s stated reason for Britain entering WWII over Poland was another one of history’s great falsehoods. The real motive had more to do banking interests.

    Adolf Hitler was adamantly opposed to Communism and was supported in this by Britain and the USA, right up until he threw out the bankers. At that point Churchill was manoeuvred into power by the bankers to bring Germany back under their control.

    No matter that a world war followed that left millions dead or that the Soviet Union was left in control of most of Eastern Europe. As far as the bankers were concerned Churchill had fulfilled his task. For far from being a great leader, he was simply a servant of the money powers who had helped them reassert control over Europe.

  • gendjinn

    tacapall,

    they fought & died for Ireland and so it is legitimate and makes sense for the Irish nation to celebrate them.

    We don’t celebrate Irish soldiers that fought for the USA, for Germany, for France, for Mexico. Why should we celebrate soldiers that fought for our colonial oppressor and genocidal overlord?

  • gendjinn

    …it should be remembered that the same Ra that you are holding up as role models sided with Fascist Nationalist Spain along with Nazi Germany…

    It should be noted that the political inheritors of those that supported Franco (Fine Gael) are the very same political grouping that are closest to Unionism.

    Those that fought against Franco are the those most closely aligned with Republicans opposed to the partition of Ireland.

    Some people get their history from bubblegum wrappers.

  • Gopher

    Seriously there are Scooby Doo plots deeper than some of the logic displayed on here.

  • Barney

    Harry Flashman
    The majority of the British Cabinet were behind Halifax, the majority of the Commons were behind Halifax the English King wanted Halifax. Halifax negotiated with the Nazis before handing Austria and Czechoslovakia to them. During the War Halifax attempted to contact The Nazis to sue for peace which itself was a treasonous act. Most Cabinet members were appeasers after war had broken out that makes them similar to Petain and his crowd though they were too cowardly to take power when it was offered.
    You seriously think that two IRA men on a German U boat (one a lifelong socialist the other a fool) are in any way comparable.
    Churchill was seen as a loose cannon but became PM because Halifax was spineless, Churchill got rid of most of the appeasers but had to keep Halifax because of Halifax’s popularity.

    Congal
    A bean counter approach to history makes for bad history, the Fascists didn’t exactly fight in Spain did they? The reality is that most Irish people who fought in Spain did so for Democracy.

    This is a long way from the subject of the thread

  • Coll Ciotach

    are you sure of that Barney? I thought the majority of Irish fighting reflected the sentiment at home that the majority were against the socialist and communists. Can you give us some figures just for clarity sake?

  • Coll Ciotach

    I am referring to the Spanish Civil War above

  • Harry Flashman

    Barney, honestly mate if you’re going to join in a historical debate you have to have a modicum of understanding of the subject at hand. Halifax and to the best of my knowledge no other member of the British war cabinet can be described as pro-Nazi, pro-Nazi means supporting the Nazis, do you understand?

    It doesn’t mean being a bit lily-livered at the prospect of fighting the bastards it means actively seeking to assist a Nazi victory, you know like boarding a Nazi U-Boat to carry out Nazi strategy in your homeland, that sort of thing.

    Simple stuff really, I’m surprised anyone needs a crash course on such basic political concepts.

  • Harry Flashman

    Oh and by the way fighting on behalf of the Nationalists in Spain did not automatically deem one to be a Nazi.

    Ireland, much as it makes modern Irish people uncomfortable to admit it today, was in the 1930s a deeply devout Catholic country.

    And just as among Muslims in the world today there are quite a few who, with some justification, feel outraged at what they see as attacks by aggressive infidels on their co-coreligionists so were many Irishmen disgusted by the rape and murder of Catholic nuns and the burning alive of priests in their churches by Godless barbarians in Spain and rushed to assist their fellow Catholics.

    I’m not saying they were right I’m just pointing out that no-one had a monopoly of righteousness in the Spanish Civil War, not by a long chalk, not by a very long chalk indeed.

  • tacapall

    “We don’t celebrate Irish soldiers that fought for the USA, for Germany, for France, for Mexico.”

    Indeed they did Gendjinn and no the Irish state doen’t remember them officially, but did they fight and die in those wars for the freedom of Ireland but they are remembered by the peoples of those countries for their efforts.

    Like I said before those Irishmen who enlisted to fight in WW1 in the belief that in return Ireland would have home rule, choose a different path or should I say were hearded down a different path in the pursuit of Irish freedom, a path other than the path that those who gallantly give their lives in the 1916 rising took. How can you judge those who were most likely, uneducated, ignorant of the truth or of the propaganda they were fed, believed misguided by their peers, Ireland then was not the same well educated, well politicised country we have today, ffs the majority of them could not read or write but they still did it for Ireland’s freedom. They should be remembered and honoured and we can remember them and honour them without having to contribute or pay homage to the British war mongers and parasites who sent them to their deaths.

    There is today, Irish soldiers in Iraq, Afghanistan, Mali and probably Libya, they are attached to the U.N and they work alongside British soldiers, they even honoured a British ATO who was killed in Afghanistan by forming a guard of honour and carrying his coffin, in uniform on British soil, a first. if Irish soldiers are killed in the line of duty working for the U.N should they be honoured by the Irish state ?

  • Barney

    Harry
    It’s not a question of being lily livered it’s a question of policy, compare the Imperial Governments reaction to democratic Spain and Germany. There was no authority for either of those acts yet they both happened to benefit the Nazis. If it were not in Britain’s interests why was Britain involved in handing countries to the Nazis? Their policy didn’t just lead to Nazi victories it assisted Nazi victories.
    The British Cabinet was stuffed full of appeasers, their de facto leader attempted to appease after hostilities had broken out, that cannot be explained away.
    These few bad apples who appeased Hitler also described Ghandi as a terrorist for demanding democracy clearly these people were undemocratic and followed a policy that facilitated the Nazis.

    Having said that the comment about pro Nazis in the British Cabinet was an aside to the nonsense of two IRA men on a German U Boat somehow being representative of either the IRA or Ireland in general anymore than Unionist importation of German weapons made them friends of the Kaiser.

    Nowhere did I suggest that Ireland was not a deeply conservative country, it still is.

  • Gopher

    So basically you take your chances and take your pick, the British were either warmongers, appeasers or collaborators. I find it interesting that only the the fallen at the GPO could read write and make an informed choice. Did this illiteracy and ignorance continue to the 1939-45 affair. Did the British manage to blackout defeat after defeat from the Irish to encourage enlistment or was their propaganda just that good?

  • Greenflag

    @ Barney

    Well said . The anti IRA bashers seem to relish in making associations which are when all is said and done just part of their ‘agenda’ i.e that of the neo con right and their bankster buddies.

    Mosley’s Black Shirts were stopped in the streets of London by Jewish and working class Londoners from the East End and the Docks who turned out en masse to stop the British Fascists from marching through a predominantly Jewish .The London police were ordered to clear the roads to let the Fascists march and the result was the Cable St riots in which 100,000 protesters faced off against 6,000 Metropolitan police and Mosley’s Fascists .

    The Battle of Cable Street was a major factor leading to the passage of the Public Order Act 1936, which required police consent for political marches and forbade the wearing of political uniforms in public.

    Perhaps the British authorities need to update the Public Order Act of 1936 to ban those Orange marches in NI which are clearly not wanted in some areas ?

    “These few bad apples who appeased Hitler also described Ghandi as a terrorist for demanding democracy clearly these people were undemocratic and followed a policy that facilitated the Nazis.”

    Not to worry -the same people are still around today . They also called Mandela a terrorist. Both Mandela and De Klerk helped avoid a race war in South Africa which would have cost the lives of hundreds of thousands and destroyed that country ..A couple of centuries back they’d have no trouble in branding George Washington a terrorist . They only did business with Washington after they were defeated . Ditto for dealings with Menachim Begin in Israel and in Ireland they were defeated as long ago as 1798 but are only now getting used to it or so it would seem .

  • Greenflag

    Heres a link to the Battle of Cable Street

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Cable_Street

    And it even mentions the ‘Irish ‘ taking part i.e supporting the Jewish defenders against fascism .

  • Gopher

    Right so defending people against fascism in wikipedia articles, East End streets and Spain is good and actually defeating the Nazi’s is bad.

  • Henry94

    The way to handle commemorations is for people to commemorate those who mean something to them and for everyone else to respect that. Hardly anybody wears a poppy in Ireland but hardly anybody objects to them either. Live and let live is the general attitude.

  • Henry94

    By Ireland I mean the state not the island.

  • Greenflag

    Right so defending people against fascism in wikipedia articles, East End streets and Spain is good

    Agreed .

    “and actually defeating the Nazi’s is bad.”

    Those are your words . I don’t see anybody else supporting that view . In WW2 9 Irishmen won VC’s defending Britain against the Nazis . 8 were citizens of the Republic and one was from Northern Ireland and he was a Catholic .

    Try and refrain from being a clueless gobshite .

  • Harry Flashman

    Think of two men, both had choices and they made their choices, one man Sean Russell with full knowledge of what he was doing boarded a Nazi U-Boat to assist his Nazi allies in their war by doing what he could for them in Ireland, his own beloved country, he wanted to help the Nazis in Ireland, think about that.

    The other man, Gerry Fitt, also boarded a ship, several times and defied the Nazi U-Boats who were trying to kill him and his shipmates in the hellish Arctic convoys as he brought desperately needed supplies to the Russian people in their fight against the Nazis.

    The IRA erected a statue to the glorious memory of Sean Russell. An IRA mob of drunken hoors ransacked and burned Gerry Fitt’s house and defecated on his wife’s wedding photos.

    I stand to be corrected but I am not sure if the IRA have ever apologised for or disowned either action.

  • gendjinn

    tacapall,

    Irish enlisted soldiers on UN duty are a whole different kettle of fish from people of Irish citizenry fighting for armies of different nationalities.

    I am sorry for those that enlisted and died in the British war machine in WW1. I don’t judge them but they are not a group of people I wish to celebrate nor commemorate, let the British state & Army do that for they belong to them. They do not belong to Ireland. They swore allegiance to a foreign monarch, to a state that illegitimately occupied our country and oppressed our people.

    This is not abstract for me, my own family fought in WW1 for the British.

  • gendjinn

    Oh Harry,

    if the IRA are Nazis because a couple of lads spent a few minutes on a UBoat then what do you make of the British state handing over half of Czechoslovakia (and the piece with all the natural & man made fortifications) to the Nazis and saying squat when they took the rest?

    Cop. Yourself. On. Laddie.

  • Gopher

    Now we are actually getting somewhere, things like Victoria crosses might more than worthless baubles of imperialist pig dogs. It might be worthwhile letting people take pride is such men and their deeds. I really don’t think it is necessary to mention the famine, Cromwell India, Cable Street, Spain (whoever the. Irish fought for there) or the global capitalist conspiracy in the same breath. I also think appeasement, lord. Halifax and Sean Russell have bugger all to with their memory. Their memory stands singularly and in the spirit of staying on topic with the OP Henry94 nailed it “Live and let live”

  • Kensei

    Armies. The perfect symbol of “Live and let live”.

  • Greenflag

    @ H Flash,

    “Think of two men, both had choices ”

    My nine above outnumber your 2 men by 7 . Anybody who has read or knows anything about Russell knows that he was not pro Nazi – He was pro Irish and anti British in respect of his country’s occupation by British forces . Enough is known about Russells time in Germany to give the lie to those who try to picture the man as some kind of nazi . He was as much a traitor to the Crown as Sir Roger Casement and thousands or tens of thousands of Irishmen in the past .

    Gerry Fitt was a brave man who somehow lost his way in the end . Heres an excerpt from one obit .

    However, one obituary, in particular, made me very angry, and put Fitt’s disloyalty into context.

    It was by Henry Kelly, writing in an Irishman’s Diary in the Irish Times on September 1st. Of Lord Fitt of Bell’s Hill he wrote that he “never strayed from his original, basically socialist, principles.” What nonsense. But worse was to come. Kelly told a story about himself and Gerry Fitt, at a time when he, Kelly, was Northern Editor of the Irish Times in the early 1970s. One night the two of them joined Ted Heath, who had become Prime Minister in June 1970, in No 10 Downing Street.

    “The drink flowed and the hours sped past,” wrote Kelly. Gerry Fitt took out his mouth organ and played a medley of tunes, “much to the delight of the prime minister. Ted Heath was genuinely pleased and though he didn’t join in with some of us who slurred Danny Boy and a few other Irish ballads, when Gerry finished Heath suggested to him that he should have a go at other musical instruments.”

    On the way out of Number 10 Gerry Fitt embraced Ted Heath and cracked a joke: “You know, Ted, I’d have given my right arm to have played the violin.”

    What I find disgusting about this episode is that just two weeks after Heath became Prime Minister his soldiers imposed the curfew on the Falls Road, shot dead four of Gerry Fitt’s constituents, gassed an entire community, young and old alike, wrecked a thousand homes, and here was Fitt, their MP, drinking with and embracing the man responsible.

    I guess Harry you have your heroes and others have theirs and never the twain shall meet .

  • Greenflag

    @ Henry 94
    ,

    “Hardly anybody wears a poppy in Ireland (Republic ) but hardly anybody objects to them either”.

    True .

    ” Live and let live is the general attitude.”

    Should be rather than is would be more accurate for at least NI .

    Saw Roy Keane (Cork ) and Martin O’Neill (NI ) the new management team for the Republic both wearing ‘poppies ‘ on TV interview . I don’t believe either got any flak for doing so -and neither should they .

  • Tochais Síoraí

    Doubt if Martin will be wearing one at the official announcement in Dublin on Saturday.

  • mr x

    All things considered perhaps the Luftwaffe bombing of Belfast
    wasn’t the cleverest thing to do

  • Alias

    “on the basis of some highly questionable “evidence””

    I love the irony of Shinners whinging about that. Lord Chief Justice Scappaticci couldn’t have put it better.

  • Alias

    Err, sorry, wrong thread…

  • Starviking

    @ Greenflag

    “What I find disgusting about this episode is that just two weeks after Heath became Prime Minister his soldiers imposed the curfew on the Falls Road, shot dead four of Gerry Fitt’s constituents, gassed an entire community, young and old alike, wrecked a thousand homes, and here was Fitt, their MP, drinking with and embracing the man responsible.”

    Did Heath actually order the curfew? Did he have operational control? Was he solely responsible for the disturbances which preceded it? I would think not, but your view will probably differ.

    Should Fitt be condemned for meeting with the British PM and fostering a relationship with him?

    P.S. it was only 3 of Fitt’s constituents who were killed in the events around the Curfew – the other fatality was a visitor from England.

  • Greenflag

    @ Starviking,

    Thanks for your comment . My above posting was poor , looks confusing in re reading and I can see how it could be misinterpreted .

    My response to HF ended with the first large paragraph and I’ll stand over that much at least .

    The excerpt from Henry Kelly’s article was from Wiki and it was that writer or his reference that found the story ‘disgusting ‘ . I neglected to make clear in my post that I was quoting someone else’s view on the matter .

    As to your other points re Mr Heath .

    No he was’nt solely responsible and not for the disturbances that preceded the curfew . There was much misinformation and fear and he had to take some action . To his credit he did close down Stormont eventually and this enabled NI to set out on the long path to necessary political reform.

    Gerry Fitt should not have been condemned for meeting with Mr Heath to represent the views of his embattled constituents but Gerry given his ebullient personality probably shouldn’t have mouth organed while Belfast burnt . Theres a time and a place for that kind of fostering .

    As to the 3 constituents and the visitor from England losing their lives Many more were to follow in subsequent years . 4 out of 4,000 in the end total and it could have been much worse .
    In the past couple of days people have been remembering the carnage of a century ago when millions (20 million ) died as a result of European Empires losing their way or perhaps finally finding it ? What they found however was the wrong way and it eventually led to even worse in WW2:( We forget in all the remembering that Europe had been at peace for 44 years before the outbreak of WW1.

    Gerry Fitt in the end did lose his way but I would’nt blame the man .Given the horrific treatment the man received from the thugs who attacked his home etc and forced him to flee with his family I can’t say that if I were in his shoes I’d have done any different .

    And a brave man he was and will forever be at least in my book . He did the best he could in very difficult circumstances .

    I hope this post resolves any confusion from my previous above for any other commenters also.

  • Starviking

    All confusion has been lifted Greenflag. Thanks for the comprehensive reply!

  • Greenflag

    Thanks . Note to self -Be extra careful in pasting ‘quotes’ from Wiki or anywhere else.

  • bogmanstar

    If you join the army of another nation, especially another nation that had spent years grinding your own people into the dirt, should you not have to surrender your passport and adopt the nationality of your new army? The “Irishmen” who fought in the British army demonstrated their strong desire to be British. Actions speak louder etc. Good luck to them, and Irish people should leave the commemoration of such men to the British.

  • bogmanstar

    Prince Philip admits the British royal family admired the Nazis:

    Prince Philip has broken a 60-year public silence about his family’s links with the Nazis.

    In a frank interview, he said they found Hitler’s attempts to restore Germany’s power and prestige ‘attractive’ and admitted they had ‘inhibitions about the Jews’.

    The revelations come in a book about German royalty kowtowing to the Nazis, which features photographs never published in the UK.

    They include one of Philip aged 16 at the 1937 funeral of his elder sister Cecile, flanked by relatives in SS and Brownshirt uniforms.

    One row back in the cortege in Darmstadt, western Germany, was his uncle, Lord Mountbatten, wearing a Royal Navy bicorn hat.

    Another picture shows his youngest sister, Sophia, sitting opposite Hitler at the wedding of Hermann and Emmy Goering.

    Explaining the attraction of the Nazis, 84-year-old Prince Philip told an American academic: “There was a great improvement in things like trains running on time and building. There was a sense of hope after the depressing chaos of the Weimar Republic.

    “I can understand people latching on to something or somebody who appeared to be appealing to their patriotism and trying to get things going. You can understand how attractive it was.”

    {3}

    He added that there was ‘a lot of enthusiasm for the Nazis at the time, the economy was good, we were anti-Communist and who knew what was going to happen to the regime?’

    Philip stressed that he was never ‘conscious of anybody in the family actually expressing anti-Semitic views’. But he went on to say there were ‘inhibitions about the Jews’ and ‘jealousy of their success’.

    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-379036/Prince-Philip-pictured-Nazi-funeral.html#ixzz2ot0JYmtj

  • bogmanstar

    Some posters uncritically
    trot out the tired West British propaganda, beloved of Irish
    Independent “journalists” and other bitter right-wing polemicists,
    that previous generations of Republicans “sympathised with Nazis”. In
    reality, as Pádraig Ó Ruairc noted:

    “The idea that “my enemy’s enemy is my friend” is as old as war
    itself. The United Irishmen and later the Fenians held that “England’s
    difficulty was Ireland’s opportunity” as the British military became
    increasingly involved in colonial wars and disputes. In the First
    World War Irish republicans sought German military aid. The small
    amount of aid rendered does not mean that the I.R.B. supported German
    imperialism or a German monarchy. Pearse stated at his court-martial
    “Germany is no more to me than England is. I asked and accepted German
    aid in the shape of arms and an expeditionary force, we neither asked
    for nor accepted German gold, nor had any traffic with Germany except
    what I state: My aim was to win Irish Freedom.” It was in this
    tradition that republicans saw themselves acting, when they sought
    foreign military aid in later years.

    In the 1920’s the I.R.A. had very strong connections with the Soviet
    Union. Pa Murphy was granted an audience with Stalin where he
    requested finances and arms for the I.R.A. and members of the I.R.A.
    attended celebrations in Russia marking the tenth anniversary of the
    1917 revolution. Few today would however claim the I.R.A was Stalinist
    or die-hard Communist in its ideology. [Sinn Féin, post the Troubles,
    is a middle-of-the-road party with few radical ideas about anything; a
    far cry from the dire predictions from right-wing drama queens like
    Myers, Harris, Conor Cruise et al about SF’s “Marxist” policies.]

    Prior to the outbreak of war in 1939 there had been no expressed
    sympathy for Nazism in the I.R.A’s philosophy, nor had there been any
    delegations to, or alliances with, Nazi Germany. The opposite was the
    case as I.R.A men and ex-I.R.A members of the Republican Congress
    fought O’Duffy’s blue shirted fascists on the Dublin streets. They
    also volunteered to fight against Franco’s Fascist insurgency, its
    German Nazi and Italian fascist allies in the Spanish civil war. The
    only time the I.R.A turned to Nazi Germany for support was when it was
    at war with England. The thinking behind this move is outlined above.
    England’s difficulty was the opportunity the I.R.A. needed to end
    Partition.

    While, for instance, Sean Russell was enlisting Nazi assistance in
    Germany he did not undergo a conversion to Nazism or any of its
    philosophies. During his stay in Germany he was close to the Austrian
    Catholic Lahousen whom he told:

    “I am not a Nazi. I am not even Pro German. I am an Irishman fighting
    for the independence of Ireland. The British have been our Enemies for
    hundreds of years. They are the enemy of Germany today. If it suits
    Germany to give us help to achieve independence, I am willing to
    accept it, but no more, and there must be no strings attached.” Irish
    Times Sunday 6th June 1958.

  • Reader

    bogmanstar: “The idea that “my enemy’s enemy is my friend” is as old as war itself. The United Irishmen and later the Fenians held that “England’s
    difficulty was Ireland’s opportunity” as the British military became
    increasingly involved in colonial wars and disputes.

    I’m not sure the Fenian brotherhood is a good example of anything, but otherwise your point illustrates the apparently endless triumph of hope over experience:
    “OK lads – we have the Brits in a position where they absolutely can’t afford to lose or compromise. There hasn’t been a better chance to get our arses kicked since – well, since the last time, in fact.”