Chapter

Éire: Crisis and Survival

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/9780748623273.003.0003
Éire: Crisis and Survival

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The speed and brutality with which the German Reich had crushed neutral states in Scandinavia and the Low Countries posed all too clearly the question of Éire's capacity for self-defence, even as its defence forces began to undergo expansion. The related issue of accepting British help against any German invasion also had to be faced, though, in talks in June 1940 with Malcolm MacDonald, de Valera declined to enter into any overtly defensive arrangements with Britain. What seemed, in that year's fevered summer and autumn, to be an increasingly imminent German move against Ireland had been prefaced by highly secret talks, in late May, between British officials and Joseph Walshe of the External Affairs Department, as well as senior officers in G2, the Irish army's intelligence unit. These contacts can be traced back to the period after the 1938 agreement on the Treaty Ports when Walshe approached the Dominions Office on the question of Anglo-Irish security liaison. This laid the foundations for an important degree of wartime cooperation between specialised British agencies and their Irish counterparts.

Keywords: self-defence; German Reich; defence forces; security liaison; wartime cooperation

Chapter.  8217 words. 

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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