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Go Back   Armchair General and HistoryNet >> The Best Forums in History > Historical Events & Eras > World War II > Spanish Civil War

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Spanish Civil War This forum is for discussion of the Spanish Civil War. , this sub-forum appears in the World War II section because Spain was both a training ground for and preview of what was about to break loose in Europe.

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Old 30 May 15, 15:42
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Paper: Cork and the Spanish Civil War

Hi

Hope its of some interest:-

Quote:
The 1930s saw many important developments in radical politics in Ireland. On the one hand, there were the developments on the left, with the formation of Saor Eire and later Republican Congress. There was also the establishment of the Communist Party of Ireland. On the other hand, there was the rise of the conservative ‘radicalism’ of the Blueshirts. By the mid-1930s however, the situation had changed, and radical politics of the left and of the right was on the decline. This occurred for a number of reasons, such as the ending of the land annuities question, the stabilisation brought on by Fianna Fail, and the constant splits on both the left and the right. Radical politics in Ireland had not gone away however, and a resurgence came about with the Generals’ coup in Morocco in July 1936 that sparked off the Spanish Civil War.
O’ Duffy and the right saw the opportunity for a new age crusade to save Christianity against Godless Communism in Spain. The Irish Independent took the lead in whipping up a public hysteria about the atrocities being committed against Christianity in Spain. Other newspapers soon followed
suit, and they were joined by the Catholic hierarchy and soon the newly founded Irish Christian Front. On the other side, left-wing republicans and communists sitting in the doldrums in Ireland, saw it as a fight to defend democracy and roll back the tide of international fascism. Cork, being the Free State’s second city, and a centre of both republicanism and Blueshirtism, saw important developments take place. Huge rallies
were held, and proportionately large numbers of volunteers left from Cork to fight for either side, c. 55 for Franco, and 15 for the Republic. Cork thus offers a good case study of the response of Ireland as a whole to the Spanish Civil War and what many would see as the last hurrah of inter-war radical politics in Ireland.
http://www.lbocanegra.eu/UserFiles/File/CorkSCW.pdf

Regards

Andy H
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  #2  
Old 31 May 15, 06:33
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Attempts were made during WW2 by the Nazi regime to co ordinate with the IRA which in the past had had cordial relations with the Facists in Italy (for example supporting the occupation of Fiume). These attempts proved inept and farcical. Following the old (and untrustworthy) adage that my enemy's enemy is my friend the IRA had submitted a plan to the Abwher for a German invasion of Ireland code named Operation Kathleen (obviously unaware that Himmler believed the Irish to be one of the lost tribes of Israel and had in mind a very final solution to the Irish question). Whilst Kathleen was entirely impractical it encouraged the Germans to regard the IRA as what the Soviets termed "useful fools" that could be used to create problems for the British thus diverting effort.

A German officer was therefore parachuted into Ireland to co-ordinate activities. He was Lt Herman Goertz a 50 year old Luftwaffe reservist who had already served time in Britain in the 1930s for espionage. He landed 70 miles from where he was supposed to, loosing his radio and other equipment. In an obvious attempt to look inconspicuous he was wearing jack boots and a black beret and for some reason had his WW1 medals with him.

He eventually made it to Dublin where the IRA found him another radio and he operated for about a year without much success as the IRA was going through one of its periodic bouts of splintering and internal conflict. He was finally interned by the Irish authorities.

With the entry of America into the war the Germans made another attempt to use the IRA. During WW1 some Irish Americans had assisted German sabotage operations in the USA (mainly against British shipping) and it was hoped to repeat this. A number of Irish agents supplied by more militant elements in Ireland were landed by U Boat on the east coast of America. They were very quickly detected and rounded up. The operation came to an abrupt end when its Irish commander and co ordinator died of peritonitis on a U boat taking him to America.
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Old 05 Apr 16, 19:37
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Originally Posted by MarkV View Post
With the entry of America into the war the Germans made another attempt to use the IRA. During WW1 some Irish Americans had assisted German sabotage operations in the USA (mainly against British shipping) and it was hoped to repeat this. A number of Irish agents supplied by more militant elements in Ireland were landed by U Boat on the east coast of America. They were very quickly detected and rounded up. The operation came to an abrupt end when its Irish commander and co ordinator died of peritonitis on a U boat taking him to America.
Talking about the IRA-United States-German connections, Seán Russell, the IRA commander in question above, owed his Chief of Staff status to his US connection. Beforehand, his status in the IRA was in the doldrums until he went on a tour State-side, aided by Clan-na-Gael. The success and publicity of the tour allowed him, when he returned home, to take control of the IRA Army Council. From there he tried to revamp the organisation on a war footing with the Auld Enemy, with some Nazi backing.

Incredibly enough, there's a statue of Russell in Dublin. I can't think of many other countries that have statues to Nazi collaborators. It's something I neglect to mention to my non-Irish friends.
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Old 05 Apr 16, 19:51
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I understand there were negotiations between the Brits and Eire politicians for temporary use of the Atlantic ports as bases for anti-submarine forces. (See Manchester and Muir, The Last Lion: Defender of the Realm.)
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Old 05 Apr 16, 20:02
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Originally Posted by Desiree Clary View Post
I understand there were negotiations between the Brits and Eire politicians for temporary use of the Atlantic ports as bases for anti-submarine forces. (See Manchester and Muir, The Last Lion: Defender of the Realm.)
Without knowing a good deal on the topic, I doubt that any negotiations (which seem to have fallen through) went anywhere on the Irish side.

Allowing Britain to use the ports, even on a part-time and temporary basis, would have been too much of a declaration of support for the Allies. Other than opening Ireland up to German bombing (there was one bombing attack on Dublin but it seems it was an accident on the part of the pilots who were looking for Belfast), neutrality was a prized part of Ireland's self-image at the time.
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