Fact and fable
Published 13/02/2012 | 05:00
'What is history but a fable agreed upon' is a well-known dictum attributed to Napoleon but one which Alan Shatter, Professor Roberts of UCC, and others seem determined to uphold in their critique of Ireland's failure to join the 'fight for freedom' alongside the 'anti-fascist Allied coalition' in 1939.
Majority opinion in Ireland and elsewhere saw Britain's declaration of war on Germany as a continuation of World War One, ie yet another clash of empires in an attempt to redress the 'balance of power' in Europe. Ideological opposition to fascist dictatorship had little, or nothing, to do with it.
Fascism was, and remains, part of the spectrum of conservative politics and, therefore, found many admirers in the Tory government.