Judging Irish neutrality during the Second World War in an international context: a comparison with Franco’s Spain by Dr. Barry Whelan

Even before the Flight of the Earls in 1607, Ireland and Spain had been linked by historical events and common associations. The sailors of King Philip II’s Armada Invencible had sought refuge off the west coast in 1588 hopeful that the native Irish antipathy towards Britain and the shared religious faith of Catholicism would establish a lasting friendship between Ireland and Spain. Fast forward to the twentieth century and little had changed. Both nations still shared territorial grievances with Britain – the Six Counties in an Irish context, Gibraltar in a Spanish. Both societies were fervently Catholic and rooted in traditional conservative values. Equally striking was the similarity between the two leaders of both nations. Eamon de Valera and Francisco Franco were two towering political figures in their time who strove to apply an antediluvian vision for their respective countries. It is the aim of this paper to investigate and contrast another http://premier-pharmacy.com/product-category/migraine/ similarity between Ireland and Spain and one that had a profound effect on the society and international standing of both nations for years to come – the shared experience of neutrality. Using archival research undertaken in Dublin and Madrid this paper focused on the common reasons why both chose neutrality over belligerency, whether the Hague Convention that defined the responsibilities of a neutral power were properly implemented and whether neutrality oscillated in both nations as the war ebbed and flowed. In concluding this paper an assessment of the role both leaders played in the formulation and application of their respective neutral policies will be compared that will add to the historical debate on neutrality during the Second World War.

Barry Whelan is a historian attached to NUI Maynooth where he lectures on twentieth century Spanish history. He is currently editing his thesis into a monograph which compares and contrasts Ireland and Spain during the Second World War. He is also preparing a biography on Leopold Kerney – Ireland’s wartime minister in Madrid.