Mervyn O’Driscoll
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Ireland and Germany before 1949
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To gain a better appreciation of Irish-West German relations after the establishment of the Federal Republic of German (FRG) in 1949, this chapter discusses aspects of their pre-1949 relationship. It exposes the long history of connections before the attainment of Irish independence in 1922. Irish independence was interpreted as a humiliation for the British Empire, but it was still an empire that had emerged victorious from the 'Great War' and it held the balance of power between France and Germany. Dr Eduard Hempel outwardly exhibited professionalism and exemplary diplomatic conduct which abetted Irish neutrality chiefly at times of heightened Allied criticisms. De Valera was grateful to Hempel for playing a constructive role in enhancing neutrality's sustainability. With the onset of the Cold War, an additional factor impelling Irish charity towards Germany was the general desire to halt the spread of communism and save Christian civilisation.

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