West Germany played a pivotal role in encouraging the Republic of Ireland's adaptation to a 'European' path. This book contends that Ireland recognised that the post- war German economic miracle offered trade openings. It analyses approximately 25 years of Irish-West German affairs, allowing a measured examination of the fluctuating relationship, and terminates in 1973, when Ireland joined the European Communities (EC). The general historical literature on Ireland's post- war foreign relations is developing but it tends to be heavily European Economic Community (EEC), United Nations (UN) or Northern Ireland centred. The Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) is a worthy candidate for such a study as it was Ireland's key trading partner in continental Western Europe. Germany acted as a dynamic force in Ireland's modernisation from the mid- 1950s. Ireland wanted 'to ride the wave of the future', and the challenge was to adapt. This study of Irish- West German relations offers up a prism through which to reinterpret the shifts in Ireland's international reorientation and adaptation between 1949 and 1973. Like any relationship, even a relatively amicable one, the Irish- West German one was prone to strains. Bitter trade disputes beset Irish- German relations throughout the 1950s. The book sheds new light on post- war Ireland's shift from an Anglo- Irish focus to a wider European one. It also discusses land wars, Nazism, the Anglo- Irish Trade Agreement of 1938, the establishment of a 'new Europe' and Lemass's refurbishment of the Irish development model.
This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book confirms that there was considerable continuity in Germany's official attitudes to independent Ireland from the interwar and wartime periods into the post-war. It analyses approximately 25 years of Irish-West German affairs, allowing a measured examination of the fluctuating relationship. The book examines the relationship against an evolving international backdrop that included war termination, continental rebuilding, regional integration and the Cold War. It explores a number of interrelated developments that intruded on the official relationship. The book draws extensively on the National Archives of Ireland in Dublin and the Auswärtiges Amt-Politisches Archiv (AA-PA), Berlin. It compiles a book-length study of Irish-West German relations from the Irish perspective, beginning with West Germany's foundation and ending with Ireland's entry into the European Economic Community (EEC).
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.
In the light of Ireland's neutrality and post-war humanitarianism, relations between the Federal Republic of German (FRG) and Ireland commenced on encouraging terms. Ireland supported West Germany's reincorporation and inclusion as a normal state in international society after 1949. West Germany gained the right to initiate and conduct full and normal diplomatic relations on 13 March 1951 when its cabinet agreed to a revision of the Occupation Statute to establish a foreign ministry. Katzenberger took the opportunity on the presentation of his credentials to President Seán T. O'Kelly to express German gratitude for Irish relief, particularly to children, after the war. This set the tone for German public and cultural diplomacy during the early years of the FRG's legation in Dublin. The intensification of sports and cultural links formed an essential element of the rehabilitation of the German people.
The first chancellor of the Federal Republic of German (FRG), Konrad Adenauer, inherited an occupied and provisional state that was mistrusted by its neighbours because of its recent history and its strategic weight. Adenauer's claims that Westpolitik was in the best interests of the German people. It secured democracy, human values, a thriving economy and international normalisation. In 1962 Hans von Herwarth, the state secretary in the office of the federal president, informed the Irish ambassador that he considered that religious differences underlay partition and the difficulties in Anglo-Irish relations. The Irish members interpreted the efforts at a common foreign policy within the Council of Europe as a means to extend and implement North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) policy. Between 1956 and 1959, Dr Felician Prill looked for signs of an emerging Irish awareness of the repercussions of the prolonged discussions about the economic reorganisation of Western Europe.
This chapter traces the evolving trade relationship between Ireland and Germany, and demonstrates how Ireland's reliance on agriculture as its primary generator of exports was no longer a sustainable economic policy by the late 1950s. As an agricultural exporter with a small, protected, manufacturing base supplying its home market, Ireland's foreign exports largely consisted of unprocessed foods, mainly live cattle, to the UK. In 1949, the Department of Agriculture considered West Germany as 'one of the most promising markets for certain agricultural products'. German representatives made regular complaints about the differential between full and Commonwealth preferential rates of tariffs on industrial imports, which remained petrified under the earlier Anglo-Irish Trade Agreement of 1938. Irish shortcomings contrasted to the economic resurgence of Western Europe in the 1950s. Initially, as a defeated and occupied state, West Germany had no option but to consent to the American international vision.
This chapter focuses on the Irish Government's shift to appreciate that industrial advancement and foreign capital presented the best means of expanding Irish exports. It explores the history of German investments in Ireland and the incremental development of Irish policies to attract foreign capital. The Industrial Development Authority (IDA), the Department of Industry and Commerce, and the Department of External Affairs worked to make Faber-Castell viable by identifying potential external markets to compensate for the small size of the Irish home market. As for the IDA, which was founded in 1950 at the bidding of the First Inter-Party Government, the stout resistance from two institutional heavyweights, the Department of Finance and the Department of Industry and Commerce, placed it in a straitjacket. The Second Inter-Party Government established a single statutory body responsible for tourism development, Bord Fáilte, after years of bickering.
This chapter traces the German discernment of, and contributions to, the alterations and deliberations taking place within Ireland about its place in the world. The period after Seán Lemass became Taoiseach in June 1959 was a dynamic period but there were strong forces of continuity. Lemass actively redefined and Westernised Irish foreign policy. The Taoiseach's adjustment of Irish foreign policy, in order to take into account the preferences of European Economic Community (EEC) states, strengthened after Ireland applied for EEC membership in July 1961. Irish policy fostered closer consultation with its West European and Atlantic neighbours in framing foreign initiatives. Industrial exports from foreign branch plants were the main contributors to the sudden turn around in the Irish economic statistics in 1959 and 1960. Lemass intervened and moderated Irish unilateralism and idealism at the UN in the interests of cultivating relations with West Europeans.
West Germany was initially sceptical and divided about Ireland's suitability on economic and political grounds. The internal differences of opinion persisted until October 1962 when the European Economic Community (EEC) finally granted Ireland permission to begin entry negotiations. Realising an Irish application to join the EEC could trigger bewilderment in European circles, which were not anticipating such a move by an economy that had shown little interest in integration until recently, Dublin calculated it should prepare them. During the 1955 and 1956 EEC foundation discussions, Professor Ludwig Erhard and his ministry were 'strongly market oriented' and favoured a pan-European free-trade system as part of the Organisation for European Economic Cooperation (OEEC). This prompted Konrad Adenauer to intervene decisively in the internal German deliberations.
The Federal Republic of German (FRG) had played a consequential role, in tandem with the Netherlands, in convincing its European Economic Community (EEC) partners to allow the Irish application to proceed that criticism was impossible. In the absence of a breakthrough on the EEC the Irish continued to pursue the German market as the one offering the most opportunities in Western Europe. Bonn understood Dublin viewed progress in trade relations and investment as support for Ireland's EEC aspirations and a sign of German confidence in the Irish reorientation. Irish-German relations were unaffected by Charles de Gaulle's veto of the British application on 14 January 1963, notwithstanding Irish frustration at French unilateralism. In January 1965, the minister for industry and commerce, Jack Lynch, and the minister for agriculture, Charles Haughey, embarked on a trade mission to the FRG and underlined Ireland's devotion to eventual EEC membership.