Friends and enemies

The Allies and neutral Ireland in the Second World War

Author: Karen Garner

Friends and enemies: The Allies and neutral Ireland in the Second World War examines the personal friendships and embittered conflicts among British, American, and Irish national leaders, their Dublin-based foreign policy advisers, and an American journalist as those relationships warmed and cooled, shifting in response to their nations’ fortunes during the six years’ war. The dominant personalities of Winston Churchill, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Eamon de Valera, marked by their distinctive prejudices and predilections, in combination with the culturally and historically specific British, American, and Irish masculine ideologies that prescribed their privileged and powerful roles, determined the ways that they each constructed politically useful national identities and war stories. Through their public addresses and in their private correspondence and recollections, they associated specific character traits, behaviors, allegiances, and affinities with themselves, their nations’ male citizens, and with their personal “friends” and national allies, as they distinguished themselves from their “enemies” in order to rally their compatriots to either support – or reject – the most consequential of all political projects: to go to war. Churchill’s, Roosevelt’s, and de Valera’s constructions of those identities and narratives, shared and reinforced by their advisers and propagandists, helped to shape the emotional, patriotic, and gendered experiences of the Second World War among their nations’ people, as well as their nations’ wartime policies.

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