Chapter

Éire's Emergency, Britain's War

Ian S. Wood

in Britain, Ireland and the Second World War

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print February 2010 | ISBN: 9780748623273
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748651412 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3366/edinburgh/9780748623273.003.0002
Éire's Emergency, Britain's War

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There are several thousand British war graves on Irish soil. In many of them are buried victims of the Battle of the Atlantic, Royal, and Merchant Navy crew members whose ships were sunk by German U-boats and aircraft without the protection Éire's ports might have provided had Dublin not closed them to British forces. The bitterness this caused lasted for many decades, over which Irish neutrality in the war against Hitler's Reich remained a contentious and divisive subject. Bitterness over the war at sea and the impact on it of Éire ire's neutrality was heightened by the reality of its very obvious economic dependence upon Britain and its dominions during the years of Emergency. Éire had merchant vessels of its own to bring in essential supplies, but, to sail at all, they needed allocations of coal in British ports. Necessarily, much of what was vital to Éire was carried to its ports in British ships because its own merchant fleet was small. As the U-boats' toll on British shipping mounted, there was pressure in London for a severe reduction in space for Éire-bound cargo.

Keywords: Second World War; Irish neutrality; economic dependence; coal; British ports

Chapter.  11338 words. 

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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