Thursday 27 October 2016

Ireland would have been devastated by the Luftwaffe

Published 24/08/2015 | 02:30

Eamon de Valera
Eamon de Valera

David Quinn wrote that Ireland should have fought alongside Britain in World War II (Irish Independent, August 21).

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If Ireland had joined up with Britain in 1940 in the fight against Nazi Germany, two possible scenarios would have resulted: Dublin city would have been flattened in an attack by Luftwaffe bombers and tens of thousands of people would have been killed or wounded in the space of an hour.

Remember what happened to the cities of Britain at that time? And they had air defences.

The Nazis would have done it because they knew we possessed no air force and our towns and cities were defenceless. Or they might have staged an air and ground invasion.

Try to imagine the carnage that would have been unleashed when thousands of Nazi storm troopers dropped in on top of our poorly trained army consisting of approximately 8,000 men on bicycles, backed up by a few thousand part-timers armed with rifles and around 80 machine guns in total.

Our forces would have been pulverised in a matter of hours. It would have been like foxes attacking a chicken shed - the Nazis would have made Cromwell's tour look like a picnic.

Thankfully, we had leaders back then, though bird-brained and economically stupid as they were. However, they were wise enough to give World War II a miss and "stand on the sidelines", as Mr Quinn puts it. If they had jumped the wrong way, a terrible price would have been paid.

Paddy O'Brien

Balbriggan, Dublin

No alternative to neutrality

The Irish of the 26 counties did indeed fight alongside the British in World War II in large numbers, but they were able to do so precisely because of Eamon de Valera's policy of neutrality.

I am glad to see the pioneering scholarship of Kevin Myers recognised, as it ought to be, but I cannot think that Kevin himself would think there was a real alternative to neutrality for Ireland.

The wounds of partition in 1921 and the civil war of 1923-1923 were too fresh to allow political support of Britain (not England) at that juncture in history, and in consequence support for Germany was correspondingly too strong.

In keeping the 26 counties united throughout World War II, De Valera is surely deserving of the gratitude of us all.

In partitioning Ireland in 1921, the British treated it as just another colony and not as one of the four constitutive nations of the United Kingdom.

We have yet to recover from this error of political judgment.

I am sure that Englishmen of my generation will remain eternally grateful to the Irish who supported us in our hour of need in the dark days of August 1940.

Perhaps we can build for the future on that act of friendship, rather than deploring the inevitable consequences of partition.

Gerald Morgan

Trinity College, Dublin

Hitler didn't want to invade UK

In his recent article, where he claimed that Ireland should have fought alongside Britain during World War II (Irish Independent, August 21) David Quinn mentioned how Britain in 1940 "stood alone" against a possible Nazi invasion. Ireland, he said, shamefully "stood on the sidelines" during this period.

German preparations for an invasion were based on a notion of canal barges laden with troops being towed across the Channel to England.

It had the look more of a great bluff than an impending threat.

Meanwhile, Hitler, who was an admirer of the British Empire, had made a number of peace offers, none of which envisaged German control of Britain.

It was Kevin Myers, writing in your pages only a few years ago, who stated that popular beliefs about Hitler's intentions towards Britain were based on myths created by Churchill.

Tim O'Sullivan,

Drumcondra, Dublin 9

No wonder Coalition is sinking

Hemingway wrote that the best way to find out if you can trust someone is to actually trust someone. To say that the Government is sinking fast is no understatement, given the total and abject collapse of Labour's vote in recent polls.

Could it be due to the Irish Water fiasco, where deadlines were given and the citizens of this State in their majority - as confirmed by both the Government itself and to a greater degree by Eurostat - refused to sign away their ownership of our most natural and precious of natural resources?

Could it be that the Government has had crisis after crisis without any apparent censure for those who have clearly profited from wrongdoing?

Could it be that people took Enda Kenny and others at their word at the last election?

Could it be due to the ire of pensioners, who read that the Government intends to give them a whopping €5 a week, if it can, having already secured a very generous €40 a week for Bertie Ahern and other boom-time politicians who failed to keep an eye on the banks?

Could it be due to the disgraceful performance by the 'pro-EU and run-by-the-ECB' politicians seeking to over-ride the sovereign wishes of the Greek people?

Could it be due to the failure of this Government to get the compensation due to innocent victims of the darker forces in the Catholic Church ?

It could be a lot of things I suppose - couldn't it?

It seems that Enda and Co are gathering momentum - in the wrong direction as far as he and his colleagues might see it - but not necessarily as the sons and daughters of Eire would.

Dermot Ryan

Attymon, Athenry, Co Galway.

Fair play for the diaspora

Eamon Delany (Irish Independent, August 20) referred to the diaspora as a rich resource and not just a cash cow to be exploited by the powers that be when Irish-Americans and others holiday amongst us.

Many of those fine, young, well-educated people who left our shores during the height of the recession to find work in foreign lands are beginning to wonder if and when they return will they also be treated as cash cows by banks, insurance companies, financial institutions etc in the wake of no clear government policy to attract them home to the land of their birth.

On 'Morning Ireland' recently, Minister for the Diaspora Jimmy Deenihan was asked about voting rights for Irish emigrants and he said it was unlikely to be looked at during the Government's term.

It is unfortunate that there is no clear government policy at present that gives incentive to the diaspora to vote or return home.

Tom Towey

Cloonacool, Co Sligo

Irish Independent

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