Chapter

Fanatic Hearts: the IRA, 1939–45

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/9780748623273.003.0005
Fanatic Hearts: the IRA, 1939–45

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The Emergency years drew the IRA into attacks on both sides of the Irish border and in Britain, which proved to be beyond its resources. It was severely hit by coercive measures applied against it by both the Stormont and Dublin governments and, by 1945, there was little its leadership could claim to have achieved. The moral myopia of so many Irish republicans of this era could simply take the form of apparent indifference to dramatic and historic events beyond Éire's borders. Others saw the armed struggle within a context of suffocating self-righteousness. Militarily, the IRA never posed a serious threat to an Irish state which, from the outset of the Emergency, was equipped with formidable powers to keep its activists under surveillance and have them charged or interned. The real danger would have been if Germany had ever been able to co-ordinate operations of its own on Irish territory with the IRA, and the Abwehr did have contacts with it that pre-dated the outbreak of war.

Keywords: Emergency years; IRA; Irish republicanism; Irish state

Chapter.  17543 words. 

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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