I came across this being debated on reddit
My own view is that Irish Neutrality was the only option for the state as to join Britain at War would have generated a Civil War .
The pre WWII army was around 10,000 in strenght and 5,000 represented 50% or so.
During the 1930's you had both the Blueshirts and IRA active as paramilitaries.
The blow to the security of the state was massive .
Take the Christmas Raid
These guys were not there to protect the country or their minds were elsewhere.
I'd admire them for their bravery in fighting the germans but the reality is that desertion is a crime and considered even worse during wartime.
The author of the article seems to give the impression that they view Irelands needs for defence during wartime as less important than Britain even though we could have faced an invasion from Germany or the Allies.
However i dont see any harm in pardoning them now either.
Pardoning them now would as you say do no harm. Germany pardoned its wartime deserters in October 2009. Surely given that these men had good intentions they should be pardoned. There is a short but interesting radio piece by RTE on this subject that can be listened to here (Title = History Show November 13, 2011 - Dev's treatment of deserters. Its about 2 thirds down the page)
I believe the controversial order was emergency powers order no 362 which saw the creation of a black list of the deserters that was subsequently circulated to all civil authorities to deny assistance or employment to the returning soldiers. The Dail debate on order 362 can be read here and is interesting in parts. It shows that in the consideration of this order that the TD's were well aware of the horrors that the Irish 'deserters' had been fighting against with references to Belsen amongst many stories that had been reported at that stage.
And from the response to calls to refute order 362:
To find out what happened Bosco's Daddy you need to scroll down to the end
Professor Murphy from UCC has a very readable piece on Irish Neutrality
Samuel Beckett gets a deserved mention but not Francis Stuarts HawHaw type broadcasts urging voters to vote Fine Gael in 1943.
Also missing is the sometimes quoted Cranborne Report which gives an idea how far we went for Collective Security .
I can only find it on Wikipedia
And then take this into account which puts the British position for their own soldiers
So not prosecuting anyone was "official policy".
Ireland also benefitted from UN membership in 1948 & was rewarded with aid under the Marshall Plan.
It is estimated that some 70'000 Irish (north & south served) with some 7,000 casualties.
And check out the Elizabeth "Espionage" Bowen link Churchills double agent in Ireland .
Is there any real basis for this qoute from Prof Morgan or is it just his personal opinion,were there any polls conducted at the time? There is a huge difference between people expressing an opinion that the Germans would win and actually hoping they would win.
I can't see it at 60%, but that's my personal opinion based on nothing in particular.
Were there any stories where those heading off to join the Allies were pressured by the "60%" not to go?
I can imagine Franco supporters, Blueshirts and hardcore republicans hoping that the British would get a good "doing", but after the Americans joined in, the feeling would have been different, as I don't think that anyone had an axe to grind re the Americans, and wouldn't have wanted the Germans to beat them.
I know of none, but I have no doubt that this figure of "60%" will be seized upon by certain interests for political reasons and will join the other old favourites of how the Irish refuelled the U-boats and left the lights on so the germans could bomb more accurately
Its funny how a nation with an alleged support of "60%" for the nazi regime did not manage to put an any German/Irish unit in the field, I suppose they could have called it "Waffen SS Division Hibernia" or "Division De Valera"
If I recall correctly alot of other European nations eg.Norway, Holland,Belgium, Spain,and Denmark to name a few did provide volunteers to fight for Hitler.The support for Hitler must have been quite staggering in those countries.
Soldiers deserted their country that they had pledged to defend when, at the time, there was a significant possibility that they were joining an army that may have been planning an invasion of their homeland.
It didn't happen, but it could very easily have.
Given that the soldiers would have had no knowledge of the death camps, to them, Britain and Germany had very little difference in their treatment of humans. So any crap of "fighting facism", was just that.
Would we pardon any soldiers who went off to fight for Germany in the belief that Britain was our historical enemy and that they could try to re-occupy the Free State?
Lots had been to Spain, on both sides, and whatever about Irelands Civil War - Spains and its aftermath was well nasty.
They may not have had the full skinny on the death camps but they had the general gist .
With reference to this an Professor Morgan.
Did any Irish fight for the Germans ?
70,000 or so from both sides of the border fought for the British. 7,000 were killed. That's between 1 & 2 % of the population, more if you say fighting age.
Does anyone know how many fought for the Axis ?
And, how does Prof Morgan arrive at the figure ? Were there any pro-german politicians topping the polls anywhere in Ireland. ?
If this is the guy he is professor of english ?
There is a double thread on it here: http://www.boards.ie/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=2056496336
We all know by now that there were Irish citizens fighting in German uniforms. Either as a POW/deserters from the British Army or due being caught in the circumstances of the time and their German origins...
I can imagine that their number wouldn't be in 100s rather than 10s, but I don't have exact or estimated number at all.
I can't see how Prof Morgan's figures would make any sense as the numbers don't stack up. Maybe he was analysing literature or political writings and that would hardly be representative.
Here are extracts from the North Strand Bombings site on whether Ireland knew what was coming and its knowledge of Spain.
I remember that incident very well and it was indeed part of a broader sweep against "deserters" from the British Army going back decades. There were several other Irish nationals, including quite a well known writer from Northern Ireland - I think his name was Galvin- who were also arrested. But the papers were out of date and there were several cases of mistaken identity.
But let there be no doubt about the persistence of the authorities in chasing up people decades after the alleged "offence" of desertion had been committed.
I have very mixed feelings about this. I didn't believe there was major discrimination against Irishmen who had served in the British forces. My own granfather did, although as he died in the war I don't know how his subsequent treatment in Ireland post war might have been. Certainly we never felt the need to keep quiet about him, and I seem to remember several classmates of mine in national school who were only too happy to talk about the exploits of their fathers/uncles/grandfathers who took part in world war II.
Reference is made in this history ireland piece on Irish volunteers to WWII to attempts to prevent Irish army personnel joining the British army. It references Irish military intelligence unit G2 trying to prevent this happening.
The article goes on to explain how people could avoid being apprehended.
It is interesting that the reasons aren't analysed.
The feeling I get from this article is that many thought the state would not survive or else did not take their oath to serve very seriously at all.
It really is hard to gauge how popular independence was really following the 1930's and WWII.
The 1916 rising itself was not a popular rising and the populism that accompanied the elections etc may have somewhat waned.
The emigration outflows may have masked the dissatisfaction.
The other thing that is not visible is the composition of the army. Who was in it and what was their relationship to volunteers that fought for independence.
What happened deserters that were apprehended ?
And how come deserters who came back were comfortable to do so and that indicates they had no fear of punishment.