British Spies and Irish Rebels: British Intelligence and Ireland, 1916-1945

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Boydell Press, 2008 - History - 516 pages
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One of the Irish Times' Books of the Year, 2008 Rebellion, partition and a messy peace settlement ensured that Ireland was a constant thorn in Britain's side after 1916. Britain was confronted by the bombs and bullets of militant republicans, the clandestine intrigues of foreign powers and the strategic dangers of Ireland's wartime neutrality - a final, irrevocable step in the country's difficult transition to independence. Using newly-opened archives, this book reveals for the first time how the British intelligence system responded to these threats. It lifts the lid on the underground activities of Britain's secret agencies - MI5, MI6/SIS and the Special Branch. It puts secret intelligence in the context of the government's other sources of information and explores how deep-rooted cultural stereotypes distorted intelligence and shaped perceptions. And it shows how, for decades, British intelligence struggled to cope with Ireland but then rose to the challenge after 1940, largely because the Dublin government began to share its secrets. The author casts light on characters long kept in the shadows - IRA gunrunners, Bolshevik agitators, Nazi agents, Irish loyalists who acted as British spies. His compelling book fills a gap in the history of the British intelligence community and helps explain the twists and turns of Anglo-Irish relations during a time of momentous change. First volume in an exciting new series, the History of British Intelligence. PAUL MCMAHON gained his PhD from Cambridge University.
 

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Contents

Losing Southern Ireland
12
Alarms Excursions and Civil War
55
An International Conspiracy
97
Map of Ireland p
116
MajorGeneral Arthur Solly Flood Military Adviser to the Northern
116
Security and Sectarianism in Northern Ireland
134
British Images of Ireland
162
The Cosgrave Years
175
Following p
244
The Irish Fifth Column
284
Operational Intelligence
328
Debunking the Fifth Column
343
Opinion and Propaganda
370
Leakage of Information
392
Coming to Terms with Irish Independence
426
Notes
439

InspectorGeneral Sir Charles Wickham with the Northern Ireland
205
The de Valera Challenge
215
Englands Back Door
240
Bibliography
485
Index
496
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