Originally Posted by breezy1985
The whole premise of the thread is a historical what if
Yes, I know. But what-ifs are only interesting if the what-if is at least modestly plausible, so we can rationally consider how it might have played out. Dev aligning Ireland with the Axis is so wildly unmoored in any kind of reality that a world in which that could have happened is so radically different from our own that we cannot really talk about what would have ensued. "What if Dev had aligned Ireland with the Axis?" is pretty much on a par with "What if Chamberlain had aligned the UK with the Axis?" In both cases, to consider the hypothesis in any meaningful way you have to consider why
such a thing would have happened. Basic facts would have to have been very different before either leader would have considered such a course of action and, if basic facts were
that different, then the what-if largely becomes teasing out the other consequences of such a difference. The circumstances which might have lead Dev to join the Axis would certainly mean that Dev joining the Axis — and many other things — would have played out very differently.
The interesting what-ifs are the ones that might, plausibly, have happened in our world. What if the UK had not handed back the treaty ports in 1938? What if someone other than Churchill had become PM on Chamberlain's resignation? What if Hitler had not declared war on the US in December 1941?
If Collins has survived but Dev has not, then the whole civil war and its aftermath plays out differently. The way you frame the question suggests that you assume that FF would have emerged anyway, and there would have been elections which FF would have won at about the same time that they did, in fact, win elections. But, really, in the scenario we are considering we have no reason to think that either of these things would have happened.