Identities and distortions: Irish Americans, Ireland, and the United States, 1932-1945
This dissertation looks at new evidence and asks new questions about Irish and Irish-American identity and U.S.-Irish relations from 1932 to 1945, especially during the critical years of World War II. It explores the relationship among the Irish, American, and British governments, the role of Irish Americans in shaping each government’s policy, and the consequences of those policies in the postwar period. Through extensive use of primary sources in Ireland and the United States, it builds on recent trends in the history of American foreign relations, contributes a fresh perspective to the relatively new field of Irish diplomatic history, exposes the myths surrounding Irish neutrality, and brings to light new evidence on the role of Irish Americans in shaping official diplomacy. The dissertation is divided into five chapters. The first chapter examines the Irish-American pattern of immigration, the history of Irish-American involvement in Irish nationalist groups prior to the outbreak of World War II, and subsequent efforts by the American, British, and Irish governments variously to control, discourage, or incite Irish Americans. The second chapter examines the context of the relationship between the U.S. and Irish governments from 1932, the year de Eamon de Valera took office as President of the Executive Council and Franklin Roosevelt was elected president, until the outbreak of the European war in September 1939. Chapter three examines the tense years from 1939 to 1941, when the British fought the war but the Irish and the Americans did not. Churchill pressed de Valera to abandon neutrality, even to the point of discussing the possibility of invading Ireland. De Valera countered by appealing to Irish Americans, hoping that their influence would force the U.S. government to hold the British in check. Chapter four examines the American-Irish relationship from Pearl Harbor until the end of the war. The wartime activities of the American Minister to Ireland, David Gray, had a tremendous impact on postwar Anglo-American and American-Irish relations, and this is the subject of chapter five. The myth of Nazi spies dominating Dublin and the misrepresentation of the actual impact of Irish neutrality took root largely as a result of Gray’s actions.
School:The Ohio State University
School Location:USA - Ohio
Source Type:Master's Thesis
Keywords:american foreign relations ireland irish americans
Date of Publication:01/01/2004