Britain, Ireland and the Second World War

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Edinburgh University Press, 2010 - History - 238 pages
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This series is intended both to open up new approaches to the history of the Second World War and to re-assess established themes. Covering the civilian as well as the military aspects of the conflict, the series examines how societies waged war between 1939 and 1945, and the effects of war upon them.

For Britain the Second World War exists in popular memory as a time of heroic sacrifice, survival and ultimate victory over Fascism. In the Irish state the years 1939-45 are still remembered simply as `the Emergency'. Eire was one of many small states which in 1939 chose not to stay out of the war but one of the few able to maintain its non-belligerency as a policy.

How much this owed to Britain's military resolve or to the political skills of Eamon de Valera is a key question which this new book explores. It also examines the tensions Eire's policy created in its relations with Winston Churchill and with the United States. The author also explores propaganda, censorship and Irish state security and the degree to which it involves secret co-operation with Britain. Disturbing issues are also raised like the IRA's relationship to Nazi Germany and ambivalent Irish attitudes to the Holocaust.

Drawing upon both published and unpublished sources, this book illustrates the war's impact on people on both sides of the border and shows how it failed to resolve sectarian problems in Northern Ireland while raising higher the barriers of misunderstanding between it and the Irish state across its border.

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About the author (2010)

Ian S. Wood has previously been a lecturer in History at Napier University. Edinburgh and also taught part-time for the Open University, For many years he has been a regular contributor to the press on the conflict in Northern Ireland. His most recent book was Crimes of Loyalty: A History of the UDA (Edinburgh University Press, 2006) and he is the author of two studies of Winston Churchill and a biography of the Scottish Socialist John Wheatley. He has also written Ireland During the Second World War (2002) and God, Guns and Ulster (2003).

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