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date: 19 March 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Irish neutrality is examined in terms both of external relations and of domestic politics and society. Most of the independent states of Europe and the Middle East came into the Second World War not by choice, through alliances, or on moral grounds, but by unprovoked attack and occupation by one or another of the belligerents. Ireland was no different. Neutrality threw up many paradoxes. Anglo-Irish economic interdependence intensified. Britain controlled all access to Ireland; Ireland produced commodities which Britain desperately needed, as well as a ready supply of men and women for industrial and military roles. Britain also received considerable Irish covert help in military and security matters. Irish politics and society stagnated. Preservation of neutrality became the government’s raison d’être. Little thought was devoted to planning for the post-war era, and Ireland was unprepared for the opportunities offered by American-sponsored European reconstruction. What followed were years of economic decline.

Keywords: Intelligence, Railways, Censorship, Famine (Bengal), Partition, Internment

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