Chapter

Security, Censorship and Propaganda

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/9780748623273.003.0004
Security, Censorship and Propaganda

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Between 1939 and 1945, intelligence-gathering and counter-espionage work were, along with a high degree of censorship, seen by the Irish state as necessary weapons in the maintenance of a non-belligerent status that carried real risks, especially in the earlier years of the war. In the case of intelligence gathering, de Valera's government performed with a level of competence now well documented, and which was more than satisfactory to Britain and its allies. With counter-espionage there was frustration for those such as Betjeman and Sir John Maffey, whose role was to represent, as well as they could, Britain's interests in Éire. They and their colleagues simply learnt to live with the censorship, and to work around it as and when they could. The censorship was often driven by ignorance and prejudice, and its concern was to keep the Irish people as unaware as possible of events in Europe and beyond. It remains inescapable that the enervating effects of the censorship left the Irish public ill prepared to confront the truth of Nazi genocide once the censorship was lifted on 11 May 1945.

Keywords: Second World War; intelligence gathering; counter-espionage; Irish state; non-belligerent status

Chapter.  15084 words. 

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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