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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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Emergency, War and their Aftermath

Emergency, War and their Aftermath

(p.196) 8 Emergency, War and their Aftermath
Britain, Ireland and the Second World War

Ian S. Wood

Edinburgh University Press

Germany's surrender and the end of the war in Europe prompted huge celebrations in the centre of Belfast on Tuesday, 8 May. In Dublin, the Irish Times celebrated the victory of Britain and its allies with a front-page design intended to mock and defy a censorship whose role was already redundant. Churchill paid generous tribute to Northern Ireland but was unable to resist a final condemnation of Éire's neutrality, though he did acknowledge the thousands of Éire men and women who had enlisted in the British forces. Whether Irish neutrality has really been compatible with western democratic values either in the war against Hitler or in the much longer Cold War with the Soviet bloc that followed, it is likely to engage historians for a long time yet. Where the struggle to crush Hitler is concerned, there is little doubt that the Irish state's neutrality or non-belligerency was benign to Britain and its allies, increasingly so as their cause became certain to prevail.

Keywords:   Second World War, Belfast, Dublin, Northern Ireland, Irish neutrality

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