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Documents on Irish Foreign Policy Volume V, 1937-1939
About Volume 5
Volume V in the DIFP series chronicles the development and execution of Irish foreign policy in the last years of peace and the lead up to the outbreak of World War Two in September 1939.
The volume explains in unrivalled detail the important developments in British-Irish relations in 1937 that led to the April 1938 Anglo-Irish Agreement over trade, finance and defence, which allowed Ireland to remain neutral in World War Two. While British-Irish relations are the most important theme covered in DIFP V, the volume also shows how in the aftermath of the 1938 Agreement Ireland moved from supporting the League of Nations as the League declined in importance in the later 1930s and prepared to implement wartime neutrality.
The Irish legation in Berlin was destroyed during an RAF bombing raid in 1943 and the Department of External Affairs in May 1940 destroyed many papers relating to Irish-German relations, fearing that Ireland would soon be invaded by Germany. DIFP V has utilised the remaining sources to provide as comprehensive a picture as possible of Irish relations with Hitler's Germany in the late 1930s.
The volume examines the destruction of documents by the Department of External Affairs in 1940 and provides the first comprehensive listing of material known to have been destroyed in the invasion scare.
A significant portion of the volume is given over to a comprehensive account of Ireland's policy towards the Spanish civil war, including the question of whether to recognize Franco's government before the end of the civil war and how to safeguard the life of Irishman Frank Ryan, an IRA man fighting with the International Brigade, captured, jailed and sentenced to death in Spain by the Nationalists.
The volume contains confidential reports and deciphered code telegram from the Irish legations in Washington, London, Paris, Geneva, Berlin and the Holy See to Dublin, including newly declassified material recently discovered in the Irish Embassy in London. DIFP V is essential for anyone interested in Irish history and Irish foreign policy and in a wider context the response of small states to the clash between democracy and fascism that led to the Second World War.
The Royal Irish Academy's Documents on Irish Foreign Policy series has published an eBook of confidential correspondence on the 1921 Anglo-Irish Treaty negotiations.
The international network of Editors of Diplomatic Documents was founded in 1988. Delegations from different parts of the world met for the first time in London in 1989.
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