There are many great stories about the Second World War, but how many include the Republic of Ireland??The answer to that question is almost none.
Yet Ireland played a very crucial and important role, de Valera guided his nation through the war as a neutral and received little or no credit for it. That may not sound like a great deed when it is briefly mentioned. However much went on behind closed doors. Churchill was furious with the Irish Government, he wanted to use the ports in the South such as Queenstown. Churchill saw them as vital to combating the U Boats in the North Atlantic. He went as far as stopping Irish supply ships from travelling in British convoys. It is worth remembering that less than twenty years have passed since the British Army were finally removed from Irish soil. It was not likely de Valera would so easily invite them back. I realize this might sound like the long standing animosity and bickering between Ireland and England, but it was much more than that. How about Nazi Germany?, they had an embassy in Dublin and went to great pains to please the Irish government. After the fall and evacuation from Dunkirk the Germans offered all the captured British ordinance and equipment to the Irish military. de Valera turned the offer down, he was walking a thin line maintaining neutrality. Ireland was considered the window to England and from where most German spy’s entered and left. German pilots who were forced to parachute or land in Ireland were interred for the duration of the war. The RAF pilots suffering the same fate were allowed to return to England. Plus thousands of volunteers from both the North and the South of Ireland fought against the Axis forces throughout the war years. If de Valera did anything that could be considered wrong, it came at the end of the war. Hearing the announcement that Hitler was dead he went to the German embassy to offer his condolences. He did this at a time when Allied soldiers were liberating the concentration and death camps across Europe. That aside, if you look at all the possible alternatives that Ireland might have chosen. If you think of the suffering inflicted on the Irish nation by the British Army/Black and Tans in a history that spans over 500 years. All these things considered I think de Valera successfully guided his nation through extremely dangerous times. To have remained a neutral through six years of war must surely be seen as a credit to his statesmanship. And that is my view on Irish History and why I am proud to call myself Irish.
God Bless and keep reading.