Neutral and Belligerent: 1938–49

Part of the British History in Perspective book series (BHP)


As the international situation deteriorated and war between Britain and Germany became more likely, further exchanges occurred between Dublin and Belfast. The June 1938 election campaign in Eire, with the London Agreements signed and only Partition left as a national grievance, found the ruling Fianna Fail Party strangely quiet about that issue, as de Valera sought to gain political capital from the success of his diplomatic triumphs in April, which he acknowledged to be due in some measure to British ‘generosity’. In Belfast it was observed that his ‘principal task’ now was to end ‘Partition’. When this second Dail election within twelve months resulted in a comfortable overall majority, the Newsletter could only agree that this was thanks to the British Agreement.1


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  1. 3.
    See John Bowman, De Valera and the Ulster question 1917–73 (Oxford, 1982), p. 196; and reference to The Times, 10 February 1939.Google Scholar
  2. 4.
    Robert Fisk, In Time of War: Ireland, Ulster and the Price of Neutrality 1939–45 (London, 1983), p. 74.Google Scholar
  3. 18.
    W. S. Churchill, The Second World War, vol. 3: The Grand Alliance (London, 1950), p. 539.Google Scholar
  4. 25.
    Brooke, NIHC Debs, vol. XXIX, col. 79 (24 July 1945).Google Scholar
  5. 27.
    Ronan Fanning, Independent Ireland (Dublin, 1983), pp. 152–9.Google Scholar
  6. 29.
    E. De Valera, Dail Debates, vol. 97, cols 2116 and 2568–73 (11 and 17 July 1945).Google Scholar
  7. 30.
    J. H. Whyte, Church and State in Modern Ireland, 1923–1970 (Dublin, 1971), p. 60.Google Scholar
  8. 37.
    C. Attlee, HC Debs, vol. 464, col. 1858 (11 May 1949).Google Scholar

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© David Harkness 1996

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