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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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Fanatic Hearts: the IRA, 1939–45

Fanatic Hearts: the IRA, 1939–45

(p.101) 5 Fanatic Hearts: the IRA, 1939–45
Britain, Ireland and the Second World War

Ian S. Wood

Edinburgh University Press

The Emergency years drew the IRA into attacks on both sides of the Irish border and in Britain, which proved to be beyond its resources. It was severely hit by coercive measures applied against it by both the Stormont and Dublin governments and, by 1945, there was little its leadership could claim to have achieved. The moral myopia of so many Irish republicans of this era could simply take the form of apparent indifference to dramatic and historic events beyond Éire's borders. Others saw the armed struggle within a context of suffocating self-righteousness. Militarily, the IRA never posed a serious threat to an Irish state which, from the outset of the Emergency, was equipped with formidable powers to keep its activists under surveillance and have them charged or interned. The real danger would have been if Germany had ever been able to co-ordinate operations of its own on Irish territory with the IRA, and the Abwehr did have contacts with it that pre-dated the outbreak of war.

Keywords:   Emergency years, IRA, Irish republicanism, Irish state

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