Eire's Neutrality

Jade Wood
Mind Map by , created about 3 years ago

GCSE History Mind Map on Eire's Neutrality, created by Jade Wood on 09/08/2016.

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Jade Wood
Created by Jade Wood about 3 years ago
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Eire's Neutrality
1 Attempts to persuade Eire to enter the war
1.1 Northern Ireland's attitude to Eire's neutrality
1.1.1 Sir Basil Brooke and unionists were disgusting with Eire's decision to stay neutral. Eire's neutrality drove Eire and NI further apart. The only thing that warmed relations between the 2 was de Valera's decision to send fire fighters from Eire to Belfast to help during the Belfast Blitz. However, de Valera refused to close the German Embassy in Dublin despite requests from the British and Americans. As a result, the Northern Ireland Government viewed Eire with suspicion and saw it a base for German spies gaining information from southerners working in Northern Ireland
1.2 The British attitude to Eire's neutrality
1.2.1 The British did their best to persuade Eire to join in the war with Germany. However despite bribes in the war e.g. offering them a united Ireland and pressure from the USA in 1942 on, de Valera did not join the Allies. This annoyed and frustrated the British Prime minister Winston Churchill and many British military commanders. However, many members of the British Government understood de Valera's position and saw that Eire's policy of benevolent neutrality favouring the Allies was still useful in the war effort e.g. Donegal air corridor
1.3 USA's attitude to Eire's neutrality
1.3.1 When USA entered the war in December 1941, more pressure was put on Eire to end neutrality and fight against Germany. President Roosevelt saw Eire;s neutrality 'as a serious impediment to the war effort'. When American troops arrived in NI in January 1942, de Valera protested to the US Embassy in Dublin. De Valera said their arrival was 'an unwarranted interference' in Irish affairs. David Gray, the US Ambassador in Dublin pointed out that Luftwaffe bombed Belfast, killing hundreds of people de Valera considered Irish citizens. Great was very critical of Eire's neutrality and of de Valera personally
2 Did Eire stay completely neutral?
2.1 Benevolent neutrality
2.1.1 43,000 people from Eire joined the British armed forces, including 5,000 who left the Irish army to join the British army. De Valera made no attempt to stop Eire citizens leaving to join the British armed forces
2.1.2 In a secret deal with the British in January 1941, de Valera allowed the RAF (and later the US Air force) to fly over Donegal - known as the Donegal air corridor - to avoid a 100 mile detour around the tip of County Donegal.
2.1.3 De Valera send 13 fire engines and fire fighters from Eire to Belfast to help during the Blitz of April/May 1941. De Valera also expressed concern about the heavy loss of life during the Belfast Blitz - people he saw as Irish
2.1.4 As Eire was meant to be neutral, it was supposed to imprison any servicemen from countries involved in the war who ended up on its soil. However, Eire broke the rules by allowing the crews of Allied planes or shipwrecked sailors to 'escape' across the border while German pilots and shipwrecked sailors were imprisoned
2.1.5 In February 1945 (when it was clear that Germany was about to be defeated) de Valera gave the British permission to build secret radar bases in Eire
2.2 Strict neutrality
2.2.1 IRA attacks in Britain and in bases in NI could have provoked the British into invading Eire and starting a war between the 2 countries (as the IRA hoped). De Valera was also concerned about IRA attempts to get help from Germany. To prevent this happening, de Valera arrested and interned suspected IRA members in Eire. 6 IRA men were executed and 3 were allowed to die on hunger strike resulting in the end of IRA violence in 1943.
2.2.2 Strict censorship was imposed on the Irish press to stop any public expression of opinion which might favour one side or the other e.g a Bishop's letter to his parishioners was amended because he wrote some anti-German comments in it
2.2.3 When Hitler committed suicide in April 1945, de Valera visited the German embassy in Dublin to offer his condolences to the German ambassador. De Valera defended himself by saying he was even handed as 2 weeks earlier he had visited the American Embassy in Dublin to offer his condolences on the death of President Roosevelt.
2.2.4 The British and Americans demanded the de Valera close these offices in Dublin. The Allies argued that these offices were bases for spies. De Valera refused.
2.2.5 De Valera rejected British and American attempts to persuade him to allow the Allies to use airfields and ports in Eire. He also wouldn't let british troops onto Eire soil
3 How Northern Ireland and the allies responded to Eire's neutrality
3.1 British attempts to persuade Eire to join the war
3.1.1 When the Germans defeated and occupied France in June 1940, Britain and it's empire stood alone against Hitler
3.1.2 Britain needed all the help they could get (USA was still neutral). Eire could provide much needed air and naval bases for the British to use in the Battle of the Atlantic and to defend Britain from invasion
3.1.3 Attempt Number 1 (June 1940) In June 1940 (after Germany defeated France and British troops withdrew from Dunkirk), the British tried to persuade Eire to join them in a defensive agreement The British proposed that if Eire allowed British ships access to ports in Eire, and British troops and planes to be stationed at certain places in Eire, they would provide equipment for the Irish army and agreed to a united Ireland 'at an early date'. When Craigavon (PM of NI) heard this offer he was outraged De Valera rejected this offer as at this stage it looked liked Germany was going to win the war and if they did would grant a united Ireland even if Eire stayed neutral and he felt if Eire entered the war, it would lose it's independance
3.1.4 Attempt number 2 (December 1941) When the Japanese attacked the Americans at Pearl Harbour on the 7th of December 1941, Germany also declared war on the USA Churchill tried again to persuade de Valera to join the war now that Britain and the USA were fighting together. He said in a telegram - 'Now or never "a nation once again"'. This meant that Churchill was again offering a united Ireland if Eire joined Britain in the war against Germany but again de Valera declined
3.1.5 Attempt Number 3 (1942) In Mid 1942 the Battle of the Atlantic was at its peak and German U-boats were sinking a lot of allied merchant ships in the Atlantic Churchill asked de Valera for the Treaty Ports to be returned to Britain so that the Royal Navy could use them as bases for their convoy escort ships but again, de Valera refused

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