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Britain, Ireland and the Second World War$
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Ian S. Wood

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780748623273

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748623273.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM EDINBURGH SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.edinburgh.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Edinburgh University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ESO for personal use.date: 25 September 2021

Éire's Emergency, Britain's War

Éire's Emergency, Britain's War

(p.22) 2 Éire's Emergency, Britain's War
Britain, Ireland and the Second World War

Ian S. Wood

Edinburgh University Press

There are several thousand British war graves on Irish soil. In many of them are buried victims of the Battle of the Atlantic, Royal, and Merchant Navy crew members whose ships were sunk by German U-boats and aircraft without the protection Éire's ports might have provided had Dublin not closed them to British forces. The bitterness this caused lasted for many decades, over which Irish neutrality in the war against Hitler's Reich remained a contentious and divisive subject. Bitterness over the war at sea and the impact on it of Éire ire's neutrality was heightened by the reality of its very obvious economic dependence upon Britain and its dominions during the years of Emergency. Éire had merchant vessels of its own to bring in essential supplies, but, to sail at all, they needed allocations of coal in British ports. Necessarily, much of what was vital to Éire was carried to its ports in British ships because its own merchant fleet was small. As the U-boats' toll on British shipping mounted, there was pressure in London for a severe reduction in space for Éire-bound cargo.

Keywords:   Second World War, Irish neutrality, economic dependence, coal, British ports

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