The late Piers Brandon, biographer of Winston Churchill, Keeper of the Churchill Archives and a Fellow of Churchill College, Cambridge, wrote a 700-page “Panorama of the 1930s” entitled “THE DARK VALLEY.”
It shines a bright light on the acts and omissions of the great powers, none of which emerges with much credit. All of them reneged on the Covenant of the League of Nations. Aerial bombing and machine-gunning, and poison gas were used on their subject peoples by Britain, France, Spain and Italy. Japan’s invasion of China was not opposed. Britain’s Suez Canal Company, it must be conceded, never gave free passage to Italian troops and material on their way to rape Abyssinia. Like good shopkeepers, they made sure the Fascists paid their tolls.
Foremost in praise of Mussolini was Mr Winston Churchill.
British Government collusion with Hitler dated back at least to 1933 when MI5 and MI6 agents were to transcribe lists of anti-Nazis so that if they surfaced in Britain or its Empire the Brits could keep them under surveillance, opening their letters and tapping their phones – which they did in the case of Eric Hobsbawm for the next 80 years.
An MI6 agent, Major Hugh Pollard, flew General Franco from the Canary Islands, where he had been posted to keep him out of mischief, to Morocco from which he launched Europe’s longest-running Fascist Regime.
In Ireland, Hitler’s accession to power was hailed by THE IRISH TIMES in an Editorial – “Herr Hitler’s Way.” Fine Gael’s John A Costello, defending his party’s paramilitary Blueshirts, promised to emulate Mussolini’s Black Shirts and Germany’s Hitler Shirts. Fine Gael supported “Catholic Italy’s” Rape of Abyssinia and sent a Blueshirt Unit to support Franco’s mutineers.
At Geneva in 1932 Eamon de Valera,demanded of the League of Nations that all members honoured their Charter and use sanctions, including armed force if needed, to defend China from Japanese aggression. . In 1936 when Emperor Haile Selassie of Abyssinia appeared before the League to demand its protection for his country, De Valera demanded that the League honour its Covenant. He offered Irish troops (i.e.. soldiers who had sworn allegiance to Ireland) to join in a common defence of League member under attack. So far as I know Dev’s was
the only voice raised in Geneva in support of Haile Selassie.
There were other Irish anti-Fascists, for example in the IRA and the Republican Congress who opposed the Blueshirts in Ireland. And there was the Connolly Column of the International Brigade, mainly drawn from the IRA and the Republican Congress, who distinguished themselves in battle and incurred heavy losses. A memoir “From Mississippi to Madrid” by James Yates, a black member of the Abraham Lincoln Battalion of the Brigade who became a leader of the American Civil Rights movement, had great praise for Frank Ryan, who has been the subject of Revisionist detraction and sneers. Ryan’s answers to his Fascist captors’ interrogation have come to light. They are, his own words, written at his insistence, by his own hand. They blow the
Revisionists’ garbage away.
Ronan McGreavy in THE IRISH TIMES ” Irishman’s Diary” of 10 June in a piece headed THE WEARING OF THE GREEN writes of a unit posing the British Army posing as “The Irish Brigade”parading in St Peter’s Square in Rome in 1944. He takes a swipe at “Eire’s” neutrality.
Ireland had no obligation to join Britain’s phoney war in 1939. Nor France’s capitulation in 1940. Nor inflicting famine in Bengal in 1942. Nor does she today have an obligation to endorse the false narrative of British propagandists. The man who flew Franco to Morocco, (Pollard) was exposed as a liar and forger in Ireland in 1920.
THE WEARING OF THE YELLOW might be the song of the IRISH TIMES, which, weeks before it hailed Hitler’s accession to power, in another Editorial warned against voting for Fianna Fianna Fail, which under de Valera was returned to power in five further General Elections.
But the Paper has not got the nerve to republish both Editorials, side by side, so we can see where it stood when Fascism was in the ascendant.