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|From: Irish Foreign Affairs: Editorials|
|Date: August, 2010|
|Ireland went into denial about the existence of the Second World War. Even Professor Ferriter tells us that we did. He says that we called it 'The Emergency', in our quaint Irish way which is so endearing to our betters when it is not infuriating.
What we find in the censored newspapers of the period is reporting of the World War, in which it is never called anything but the World War. But that is neither here nor there. Historical truth does not consist of sordid facts like that. Our new history is a new theology in which truth is not to be tripped up by factual detail. England plays the part of the Creator in the new theology in which all right-thinking people must believe. The Creator of the Second World War presents it to us as a universal conflict between good and evil. We did not participate in this conflict. We were doubting Thomases. And not to participate in such a conflict was much the same thing as denying its existence. And we did in fact deny that a universal conflict between good and evil was happening. And to deny that the conflict that was tearing the world apart was a general conflict between good and evil was to deny its essence. And is there any worthwhile distinction to be made between essence and existence when essence is denied? Existence without essence is rag and bone.
Therefore, while we described the rag and bone epiphenomena of Britain's Second World War of the first half of the 20th Century, we denied its transcendent moral essence which was necessary to confer an appropriate immanent moral quality on all its parts, and in doing so we denied its substantive existence. QED.
The Irish Times—the newspaper that Britain left behind as a sleeper—was prevented by the Irish Censorship from reporting on the war. That is to say, it was prevented from publishing warmongering propaganda. And, since in the British view the truth lies in the propaganda, it was as if it had been prevented from reporting on the War at all.
But the sleeper has awakened. And on June 28th it carried an article about Hitler's plans for Ireland, from which Britain saved us:
"What if Hitler had invaded? Dublin's Gauleiter was to have sweeping powers which could have meant the liquidation of trade unions and the GAA."
The mode of the article is transcendental, needless to say. It is not located in the factual sequence of things. It does not see history as one thing following another, by reason of the other.
Hitler had a plan for Ireland. Why? Because he was engaged in world conquest and Ireland was in the world. That is the correct doctrinal view laid down by the Creator of the World War whose view of himself as the Creator of the World is not entirely fanciful.
John Waters, an enthusiast for the war of destruction on Iraq, has said that the world needs a Master. The way he put it on Radio Eireann was that the world needs to have its ass kicked regularly, else it gets notions above itself. The United States is the great Kicker Of Ass today. The British Empire was then.
The Irish Times meditation begins:
"Seventy years ago this summer Adolf Hitler's general staff drew up detailed plans to invade Ireland. In June of 1940, Germany's 1st Panzer Division had just driven the British Expeditionary Force into the sea at Dunkirk. The Nazis intoxicated by their military victory in France, considered themselves unstoppable and were determined to press their advance into Britain and Ireland…"
There is another way of putting this, which is more in accordance with factual sequence:
Seventy-one years ago the British Empire made a military alliance with France and Poland against Germany, which encouraged the Polish Government to refuse to negotiate the transfer to Germany of the German city of Danzig (now Polonised as Gdansk).
Germany responded to encirclement by striking at Poland when it saw that the British Empire was making no actual preparations to act with Poland to deny Danzig to Germany. The Anglo-Polish Treaty was a dead letter.
Britain declared war on Germany as Poland was falling but did not attempt to assist Poland.
It imposed a Naval blockade on Germany with a view to destroying it economically.
It attempted to get control of Scandinavia but was pre-empted by Germany.
While Britain was still getting over the shock of its Scandinavian bungling, Germany responded to the declaration of war on it by going on the offensive against the Anglo-French Armies on its borders. Against all expectations, including its own, Germany defeated the Anglo-French forces in a few weeks. It allowed Britain to take a large part of its Army home from Dunkirk.
It made a temporary arrangement with France, pending a general settlement of the Anglo-French declaration of war on it. Britain refused to make a settlement.
Germany had made no plans to exploit its victory over the Anglo-French Armies on the Continent, and to crush Britain.
Britain refused to make a settlement, maintained its declaration, and kept the European situation on a war footing.
And Germany made plans for a state of affairs it had not anticipated. These included a plan for Ireland.
The Irish Times does not show that Germany had made any plans for invading Ireland, except as an adjunct of Britain. Its plans for Ireland were in response to the British declaration of war on it. Part of Ireland was part of Britain. The whole of Ireland had been part of Britain until 1938. Three major harbours in the 26 Counties were retained in British possession until 1938, and no state on which Britain declared war could have treated the Free State as anything but a part of the British Empire. And, even though the great Appeaser, Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, had transferred control of these harbours to the Irish Government, the great Anti-Appeaser who took over from him in May 1940, Winston Churchill, denied that there was a legitimate transfer of sovereignty in the transaction.
The Irish Times fairy story about German plans for a war on Ireland, that did not follow from the British declaration of war on it, is set out in five columns. Britain does not really figure in it until the fifth:
"Ironically, the Germans were not the only foreign power making plans for the invasion of Ireland in the summer of 1940. In June of that year, Gen. Montgomery drew up plans for the seizure of Cork and Cobh along with the remainder of the Treaty ports…"
The adverb carries the clear implication that the German plans for an invasion of Ireland were not part of the German response to the British declaration of war.
This implication is contradicted mid-way through the article that, under the German plan, Dublin would have been "one of six regional administrative centres for the British Isles had occupation taken place".
Clearly the German plan was part of the response to the British declaration of war. But it has greater moral (or propaganda) resonance to present it as a German plan to conquer Ireland that was not connected with the British declaration of war.
The article ends by wondering, "what flag would now fly over Leinster House" if it wasn't for the Battle of Britain?
It would be at least as relevant to wonder what might have happened if Britain had not worked up a World War over the trivial issue of Danzig.
And to wonder what would have happened if Germany had made preparations in earnest for an invasion of England. Churchill made preparations for a terrorist defence in depth commanded by ex-Communist Tom Wintringham. Underground groups were set up—under the ground—with orders in the event of German occupation to come up and assassinate the probable collaborators, with Chief Constables top of the list. He had to do something to accompany the mood music of his fundamentalist speeches.
But does anyone who knows England actually believe that if occupation was imminent the German terms for settlement would have been refused, and England would have thrown itself into the melting pot? We think it more probable that Churchill himself would have made the deal rather than leave it to an Appeaser to do it.
But, since actual occupation was never imminent, and Churchill with his private access to Enigma was well aware of this, certain beliefs can be sacred—and the only empirical evidence of British conduct, the Channel Islands, is so small that it can be set aside—beliefs not put to the test can be held sacred. And yet British conduct in the Channel Islands tells us something. There was wholesale collaboration with general agreement, then and later, not to call it collaboration.
But the view that the German plan for an invasion of Ireland was not part of the response to the British declaration of war does not pass muster even as an Article of Faith.