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The Irish in Foreign Armies : REMEMBRANCE

category national | anti-war / imperialism | feature author Tuesday October 07, 2008 16:47author by Pat Muldowneyauthor email lest.weforget at live dot ie Report this post to the editors

Lest We Forget: WAR CRIMES

featured image
Remember this?

The Remembrance season is approaching. We will be called upon yet again to show maturity, to support reconciliation, to advance peace --- by participating in ceremonies which celebrate aggression, violence and war crimes!.

Mayo "Peace" Memorial

Four years ago a participant in one of the greatest war crimes in history was honoured in Mayo by a minister of the Irish government. Sergeant Major Cornelius Coughlan (Victoria Cross) of the Gordon Highlanders was praised by Defence Minister Michael Smith for his role in putting down the so-called Indian Mutiny of 1857, which Indians call their First War of Independence. Minister Smith praised Coughlan, along with sixty other brave Irishmen, as he put it, who were awarded the Victoria Cross during the military campaign that followed the Indian Mutiny.

Mayo "Peace" Memorial

Four years ago a participant in one of the greatest war crimes in history was honoured in Mayo by a minister of the Irish government. Sergeant Major Cornelius Coughlan (Victoria Cross) of the Gordon Highlanders was praised by Defence Minister Michael Smith for his role in putting down the so-called Indian Mutiny of 1857, which Indians call their First War of Independence. Minister Smith praised Coughlan, along with sixty other brave Irishmen, as he put it, who were awarded the Victoria Cross during the military campaign that followed the Indian Mutiny.

A letter published after the 1857 fall of Delhi in the 'Bombay Telegraph', and subsequently reproduced in the British press, testified to the scale of the massacres carried out by British troops: 'All the city people found within the walls (of the city of Delhi) when our troops entered were bayoneted on the spot, and the number was considerable, as you may suppose, when I tell you that in some houses forty and fifty people were hiding. These were not mutineers but residents of the city, who trusted to our well-known mild rule for pardon. I am glad to say they were disappointed'.

Fanatical blood-lust saturated the Empire. Charles Dickens said: 'I wish I were commander-in-chief in India ... I should proclaim to them that I considered my holding that appointment by the leave of God, to mean that I should do my utmost to exterminate the race.'

A book published last year (War of Civilisations: India AD 1857, by Amaresh Misra, a writer and historian based in Mumbai) argued that up to 10 million Indians, and not the 100,000 acknowledged by Britain, were slaughtered over a 10 year period in revenge for the so-called 'Mutiny'. In India this period of acute terror was called 'the Devil's Wind'. Being blown to pieces at the mouth of a cannon was regarded by the British perpetrators as one of their more humane methods of slaughter ('instant death to the victim, salutary terror to the onlookers who had body parts sprayed all over them').

What would we say if a Dutch or Bosnian government minister today were to honour one of their many countrymen who, as volunteers in the German army, were decorated by Hitler for their role in similar Nazi extermination in the Ukraine in 1942?

On October 7, President McAleese will endorse in our name the Mayo Peace Park.

We are told this 'Peace Park' will honour those Mayo people who fought in foreign armies and foreign wars in the twentieth century. So if they participated in the extermination of half a million Filipinos by the American Army in 1902 we honour them. Or the incineration of a hundred thousand defenceless civilians in Dresden in 1945, or the obliteration of Hiroshima in the same year. Or the My Lai massacre in Vietnam in 1968. Or the razing of Fallujah in 2004. Or any of the innumerable other criminal acts for which we as a people gave no authorisation and had no responsibility.

Is Mayo about to sleepwalk into yet another war crime commemoration similar to its celebration of the rape of Delhi by Cornelius Coughlan and his colleagues in the British Army?

Remembrance Ceremonies

Major Remembrance ceremonies are being organised for the beginning of November. To sugar the pill, genuine peace-keeping operations endorsed by the Irish democracy will be conflated with warfare in foreign armies by Irish individuals, without any reservations being expressed about whether the killing that such people did was in a just cause.

The Remembrance ceremonies are being marketed as indicators of the new-found maturity of the Irish. We are told that celebration of killing has something to do with reconciliation.

Surely reconciliation means drawing back from violence and killing? Does reconciliation mean going out to kill people in some country with which Ireland had no quarrel? Do we not want to be reconciled with those who were killed by Irish people in foreign armies?

author by Pat Muldowneypublication date Sat Oct 04, 2008 11:18author email lest.weforget at live dot ieauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

The photograph above is from the so-called Malayan "Emergency", 1948-1960.

author by Harry Wells - The well, Well, Well Associationpublication date Sat Oct 04, 2008 11:39author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Captain Donal Buclkey (retired from Irish Army after 22 years - having possibly achieved an appropriate rank of incompetence) is leading the campaign to commemorate Irishmen in imperial armies, most notoriously Cornelious Coughlan who killed Indians for rebelling against British rule in 1857, using savage methods. Redcoats with muskets fired off a volley at his grave in 2004, in the presence of the Irish Minister for defence and of the British Ambassador.

See Buckley's justification of the the imperial 'peace' park here:
p://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/letters/2008/0922/1221998222138.html

A response appeared a few days later:
http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/letters/2008/0924/1....html, also below

Irish Times Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Irishmen in British uniforms

Madam, - It seems that Capt Donal Buckley (Irish Army, retd) has widened this debate to include Irishmen in any uniform (September 22nd). He writes to promote the incongruously named Mayo Memorial Peace Park, due to be opened next month, which will commemorate "Co Mayo's 20th-century fallen officers, enlisted ranks and civilian casualties".

Among those to be commemorated are those who fell in the first and second World Wars, in Korea, and Vietnam. There will apparently be individual monuments to those who fell with the Connaught Rangers, the Irish Guards, Commonwealth and US forces. Amazingly, Capt Buckley claims it is a symbol of Ireland's maturity that those who "died for us" will be commemorated. He makes the grandiose claim that they died for "Mayo, Ireland and the free world".

In what way did a soldier fighting for the US in Vietnam "die for Mayo, Ireland and the free world"? How did a soldier who fought in any of Britain's imperial wars "die for Mayo, Ireland and the free world"? At this remove one can only guess at the motives of these men. They enlisted, mainly in the British army, for many reasons - some for lack of employment at home, some for adventure and glory, and others because they were duped by British propaganda.

The Mayo Memorial Peace Park appears to be part of a trend which aims to associate Ireland more closely with former colonial powers, particularly Britain, and conveniently to gloss over their murky deeds. The argument seems to be that all Irishmen who died in wars are heroic and deserve to be publicly commemorated while moral arguments must be cast aside for the sake of "reconciliation". I suggest that the purpose of such memorials should be examined more critically, particularly when public money and land are given over to them.

I note that President McAleese will open the park, thereby giving it the imprimatur of the Irish people. On the evening prior to the opening, the drums and pipes of the Irish Guards will take part in a remembrance concert. It is ironic that a regiment of the British army will be represented at this concert, while no mention will be made of the atrocities perpetrated by that army in many parts of the world, including Ireland.

Capt Buckley was also instrumental in organising an event in 2004, which commemorated Sgt-Maj Cornelius Coughlan. This Mayo man was a member of the imperial British forces in India that put down a mutiny. He was awarded a Victoria Cross for his bravery. At the commemorative event the Irish Army was represented and the then Minister for Defence, Michael Smith, as well as the British ambassador attended. This bizarre ceremony ignored the reality that Coughlan's regiment used savage methods to quell rebellion.

It is patently obvious from Capt Buckley's letter that there will be no place in the Mayo Memorial Peace Park for those Mayo men and women who died for the freedom of Ireland. His references to "parochial politics" and "right-thinking people" are breathtaking in their arrogance. It may surprise him to learn that many people are saddened to witness the glorification of colonial militarism. - Yours, etc,

MARK URWIN

Click on the body of the Phoenix article to read it in your browser

Phoenix 3rd Oct 08 on on encouragement to join imperial armies and on Buckley's brigade
Phoenix 3rd Oct 08 on on encouragement to join imperial armies and on Buckley's brigade

author by Harry Wells - The Well, Well, Well Foundationpublication date Sat Oct 04, 2008 18:44author address author phone Report this post to the editors

In Kenya's white minority legislative council on 7 May 1953, brutal treatment was urged to put down an uprising by the Kenya Land and Freedom Army, popularly known as the Mau Mau. By May 1953 over 100,000 Kikuyu tribes-people had been deported from their homes and transferred to tribal reserves "a place many of them hardly knew". In addition, transit camps were established without water, food or sanitation, in which thousands languished for months.

The demand was summed up by a Major Keyser:

“The Kikuyu tribe is going to suffer very greatly by the congestion that is going to take place in the reserves, by the lack of food that is going to take place in the reserves, by the amount of strife that is going to take place in the reserves, and all I can say… is that they brought it on themselves and unless they are going to suffer very considerably, they will not see the advantage of putting down this rebellion and of supporting the government.”


The rebellion took place after 90% of the 1.5 million Kikuyu took an oath for land and freedom. While the military side of the rebellion was put down by 1954, it took another six years of brutality to put down the 1,000,000 Kikuyu who remained defiant. After that, Britain thought Kenya ready for independence.

Captain Buckley (retired) will be keen to include Mayo men who might have died for the British Empire in Kenya. If I find any in the excellent book Imperial Reckoning - the Untold Story of Britain’s Gulag in Kenya by Caroline Elkins, I will be sure to bring them to his attention.

There are a few already who sound almost Irish, though I don't know how keen most Irish people would be to claim them. For instance there is the Kenyan Minister for Defense, Jack Cusack, who said approvingly of forced labour gangs: "We are slave traders and the employment of our slaves are, in this instance, by the Public Works Department".

The tribal reserves became saturated by the deportations, leading a District Commissioner, Desmond O'Hagan, to plead for a halt, a "temporary" one. He estimated that 20-30,000 had been returned to each Kikuyu district: "It is certain that the native land cannot absorb all those who have returned."

Then there is the systematic torture in the prison camps, that held thousands. This involved castration as well as amputation, together with systematic beatings of one kind or another. It went on for years and is summarised well at:

http://www.smokebox.net/archives/what/morgan605.html

Here is a section partly on a definite Irishman Terence Gavaghan, still alive and in London apparently:

“Monkey Johnson brought in one Terence Gavaghan, a young district officer to work with Cowan. They implemented the Dilution Technique as part of a more calculated effort called “Operation Progress” at the camp in Mwea. Gavaghan, an Irish Kenyan settler, was nicknamed “Karuga Ndua” (Big Trouble) by the detainees. Here’s Gavaghan’s own description of Operation Progress at work: “A dozen or so men in their twenties and thirties were half running at the level bent-knee gait of rickshaw pullers following an elliptical path in single file around the hump in the grass. They carried galvanized iron buckets filled with mud and stones on woven grass circlets placed on their shaven heads, gripped at the rim by each hand in turn, or by both if the bucket started to slip. They were expressionless and made no attempt to cast down their buckets or run out of the ring in which they were enclosed. This was a long practiced form of punishment know as ‘bucket fatigue’. It was visually brutal and degrading but was held to be both necessary and effective.” Another survivor recalls the Big Troublemaker as “yelling at us as we hung by our feet to confess.” Mwea indeed lived up to its reputation as “hell on earth.”

Caroline Elkins tells of Monkey Johnson visiting Terence Gavaghan in 1957, when he was hospitalized after a squash-playing accident at a whites-only hotel, and giving him a copy of Phillip Mason’s “The Men Who Ruled India” as a get-well gift. Operation Progress, by its relentless enforcement, either killed prisoners or exacted their retractions as rebels. The authorities, much like the ones we have today, debated the parameters of the sadism they had unleashed by differentiating between “compelling force” and “punitive force.” After all, Evelyn Baring himself had issued the “Governor’s Directive on Beating Up” back in 1953. If all of this has a familiar ring to it, it’s because this process of doublespeak, legalistic mumbo-jumbo and downright lying was not invented a little over a year ago, when the Iraq prison scandal made headlines worldwide. Operation Progress marked the beginning of the end of the Mau Mau resistance.

The British sought not to restore the old order necessarily, but rather to develop a new one which supported their long-term interests, one that could be perceived as different, but in fact had many of the same base characteristics and features of its predecessor. The immediate goal of the British was to break the back of the Mau Mau insurgency, fostering the belief amongst Africans that the pursuit of revolution was a doomed enterprise. Thus the brutality of the incarceration and screening processes, which were designed to spread fear and doubt amongst would-be Mau Mau adherents and to coerce those captured and already on the Mau Mau side to renege on their allegiances.”


Gavaghan is the kind of Irish chap that Buckley might include in his memorial, if Gavaghan is from Mayo, and had he been deservedly shot as a war criminal.

Elkins makes the interesting point that Gavaghan's "ethnic background" might have made him "someone who, in an embarrassing situation, could be sacrificed". This made him the "perfect person" to spearhead the torture regime in Kenya. The British don't do torture, foreigners do it, on their behalf if necessary

Read:
Imperial Reckoning, by Caroline Elkines, Henry Holt and Company, 2005

"How a society warped by racism can descend into casual inhumanity"
"How a society warped by racism can descend into casual inhumanity"

"It will shock even those who think they have assumed the worst about Europe's era of control in Africa"
"It will shock even those who think they have assumed the worst about Europe's era of control in Africa"

author by Cornelius Coughlan VC - British Indian Army (retired to Mayo)publication date Sat Oct 04, 2008 20:04author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Why is President Mary McAleese, from Belfast, the President of Ireland, endorsing this imperial warwagon on Tuesday next, October 7?

Catch yourself on, Mary.

author by Pat Muldowneypublication date Mon Oct 06, 2008 12:07author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Amritsar Massacre

Remembrance ceremonies celebrate all British military actions from the Great War onwards, including the Black & Tan War, Bloody Sunday (both of them), the shelling of Dublin, the 1916 executions, the burning of Cork, collusion, covert operations including the Dublin and Monaghan bombings, Yemen, Cyprus, Iraq, Afghanistan. Nothing excluded.

The first Remembrance was on November 11 1919. The British military action at Jallianwalla Bagh (Amritsar Massacre) took place just six months earlier on April 13 1919.

The gist of what happened in Amritsar is conveyed in the film “Gandhi” (ten thousand unarmed men, women and children trapped in an enclosed area; Brigadier-General Reginald Dyer, played in the film by Edward Fox, ordered soldiers to open fire on them for 15 minutes, killing about 400 and wounding about 1200; Indian sources claim that the casualties were much higher).

According to the recent RTÉ programme “Who Do You Think You Are” (September 22), Joe Duffy’s great-grandfather served in the Connaught Rangers near Mumbai, and continued in the British Army until 1920.

Will the upcoming Remembrance ceremonies in Dublin, Cork and elsewhere be honouring Sir Michael O’Dwyer of Solohead, Co. Tipperary? O’Dwyer, though not a soldier, was martial law ruler of Amritsar, at the time of the massacre in 1919, and subsequently of all of the Punjab. General Dyer said that he was confronted by a revolutionary army in Amritsar, and that his purpose was to administer a moral lesson to the Punjab as a whole. O’Dwyer gave Dyer his full support, in the face of worldwide revulsion and outrage at the atrocity. It is believed in India that O’Dwyer planned the massacre in conjunction with Dyer.

O’Dwyer was descended from a family which was dispossessed and transplanted in the Cromwellian conquest. He was proud of his Irish heritage, and wrote the history of the O’Dwyers (“The History of an Irish Sept”, recently republished).

O’Dwyer was dramatically shot dead by Udham Singh on the stage of Caxton Hall, London, at a public meeting in 1940. O’Dwyer extended his hand to Singh to welcome him onto the stage. As he did so, Singh fired a revolver that he had obtained from an IRA man in a pub for this purpose; declaring: “This is for Amritsar!”.

After the 1857 Mutiny and the British slaughter, the destruction of Indian agriculture in favour of Imperial trade continued, including the massive narcotics trade in opium. Likewise the destruction of Indian manufactures in favour of British industrial monopoly. The resulting famines in India are described in Mike Davis’s book “Late Victorian Holocausts”.

The revolutionary movement Ghadar (Mutiny) was formed by Indian exiles in America, supported at various times by Irish Republicans, the German Kaiserreich, and the Soviet Union. A revolt of Indian soldiers in the British Army in Singapore took place in 1915. This can reasonably be compared with Ireland’s 1916 Rising.

But in view of the results of the 1857 Mutiny, Indian options were severely limited. Early in the 19th century, the Times summarised the British position on the Repeal of the Union with Ireland: “Ireland will be our sister or our subjugatrix”. In other words, there was no limit to the amount of force that would be deployed to suppress any dissent from British rule in Ireland. India likewise.

So mainstream India supported Britain in the Great War in the expectation of being rewarded with some relief from British rule --- or even a measure of "sisterhood". The opposite happened. Civil rights were suspended and the system became ever more draconian. Yet another war was waged against Afghanistan in 1919, all paid for by rapacious taxation of poverty-stricken Indians.

This is the context of the Amritsar Massacre. Will it be acknowledged in Ireland’s Remembrance ceremonies?

Amritsar Massacre
Amritsar Massacre

Udham Singh arrested in Caxton Hall after shooting Sir Michael O'Dwyer
Udham Singh arrested in Caxton Hall after shooting Sir Michael O'Dwyer

author by Pat Muldowneypublication date Mon Oct 06, 2008 13:04author email lest.weforget at live dot ieauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

The first Remembrance day was November 7 1919.

author by Harrypublication date Mon Oct 06, 2008 15:10author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Captain Donal Buckley (retired) made a plaster saint out of Cornelius Coughlan from the Connaught Rangers, who won his VC preventing Indians from throwing off the British imperial yoke in 1857, in India's first war of independence. 10,000,000 Indians were killed by the British in putting down that rebellion.

There is a more recent, hitherto much more famous and much more deserving Connaught Ranger who was killed while in the the British King's command in 1921. He was 21-year-old James Daly, shot by firing squad in Dagshai prison India on November 2nd 1920, the last serving 'British' soldier to be shot for mutiny.

The mutiny began when news of the Irish War of Independence, and Black and Tans and Auxiliary reprisals reached the Connaught Rangers 1st Battalion at Jullundur. Five men from C Company refused to take orders from their officers on 28 June 1920, declaring their intent not to serve the British King until the British forces left Ireland. The Union Flag at Jullundur in the Punjab was replaced by the flag of the Irish Republic.

The mutiny ended after three days. The mutineers were imprisoned at Dagshai. At Solan in the Rangers detachment rumours spread that the Irish prisoners had been executed. Private James Daly led about 70 Rangers who joined the mutiny and stormed the armoury. They were unsuccessful. Privates Sears and Smyth were shot dead and other mutineers were taken prisoner. In all, about 400 men had joined. Eighty-eight were court martialled, fourteen sentenced to death and the rest sentenced to up to 15 years. A few were acquitted. Thirteen of those sentenced to die had their sentences commuted to life imprisonment.

21-year-old Daly was shot by a firing squad in Dagshai prison on 2nd November 1920. He has the rare Irish distinction to be the last member of British Forces executed for mutiny. Privates Sears and Smyth were buried at Solan. Daly and John Miranda (a mutineer who died in prison) were buried at the Dagshai graveyard.

The Dail passed the Connaught Rangers (Pensions) Act in 1936. It provided for the payment of pensions, allowances, and gratuities to or in respect of certain former members of the 1st Battalion, the Connaught Rangers. The effect was to give the Mutineers parity of esteem with veterans of the Anglo-Irish War.

In 1970, the remains of Sears, Smyth and Daly were taken back to Ireland and given a military funeral with full honours. A monument stands to the memory of the mutineers in Glasnevin Graveyard.

Whose example of service in the Connaught Rangers do you think the people of India would prefer us to celebrate, that of the imperial butcher Coughlan or that of Daly and his comrades, whose country’s fight for liberation awakened until then dormant anti-imperialist instincts? They might be quite surprised to see an Irish minister celebrating someone committed to keeping India, and Ireland for that matter, down.

Who served his country better, Coughlan or Daly? Who served India better?

Captain Buckley (thankfully retired) wants to resuscitate the old imperial system of support for aggressive imperial wars overseas. The reason, there are those in the Irish Army and government who want to break away from the tradition of neutrality in Ireland. They were defeated in the Lisbon Referendum, but they think this type of imperial propaganda will aid their cause. It won't. It will expose their intentions - the Mayo Peace Park is a sham.

Cornelius Coughlan Connaught Ranger look-alike musket and all and Fianna Fail Minister for Defence Michael Smith - celebrating imperial butchery
Cornelius Coughlan Connaught Ranger look-alike musket and all and Fianna Fail Minister for Defence Michael Smith - celebrating imperial butchery

Gravestone in Glasnevin Cemetery Dublin, remembering the Connaught ranger mutineers. When was the last time you saw a Fianna Fail minister at that gravestone
Gravestone in Glasnevin Cemetery Dublin, remembering the Connaught ranger mutineers. When was the last time you saw a Fianna Fail minister at that gravestone

author by Peterpublication date Tue Oct 07, 2008 07:50author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Who do the Irish people want to celebrate, Cornelius Coughlan, the British soldier who put down Indian independence, or James Daly, the British soldier who mutinied against imperialist rule. Daly ended his days as an Irish soldier, recognised as such by an act of the Oireachtas in 1936, in 'The Connaught Rangers (Pensions) Act'.

That a retired 'Irish' solder today should betray the memory of Private Daly in favour of a British soldier who killed in the name of the British Empire is a scandal.

"If you want to know who the leader is, I am - James Daly, number 35025 of Tyrellspass, County Westmeath, Ireland"
"If you want to know who the leader is, I am - James Daly, number 35025 of Tyrellspass, County Westmeath, Ireland"

author by Harrypublication date Tue Oct 07, 2008 18:59author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Irish Times Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Irishmen in British uniforms

Madam, - Six months after emigrating to the US in November 1961, I received a notice from "Uncle Sam", through the local draft board, to report for duty at an induction centre in Brooklyn, New York. My instinct was to go home to Ireland, but having neither the wherewithal to return, nor any prospects on a small farm in the West of Ireland, I felt I had no choice but to comply.

Days later I was inducted, sworn to "pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America" given a uniform and sent off to Fort Dix, New Jersey for basic training. I served six years with the US army engineers during the "Cuban Crisis" and the early years of the Vietnam War before being discharged in 1968.

I may have wished, as Sarsfield did, "that this were for Ireland", but it wasn't; and at no time did I consider myself to be an Irish soldier. How could I? I agree with Séamus Ua Trodd (September 11th) that he was an Irish soldier. But I was not.

The Irish nation afforded neither me, nor my fellow countrymen in the American army, any recognition - nor did we ask for any! We were cannon fodder for empire, nothing more.

The notion that Irishmen in the British army, either now or in the past, deserve special attention because they claim to be Irish soldiers or to serve Ireland, is preposterous.

As a nation we have broken the physical chains of the British Empire that bound us; decolonisation of the mind may yet take some time. - Yours, etc,

JOE McGOWAN, Mullaghmore, Co Sligo.


Irish Times Thursday, September 18, 2008

Irishmen in British uniforms

Madam, - I write on the on-going debate on "Irishmen in British uniforms". I was that soldier.

I ended up many years ago in the British Army due to the fact that (a) I happened to be resident in England for work purposes and (b) was officially a British subject having been born before the Declaration of a Republic in 1949, and was unfortunate to receive my "call-up papers" for national service. I was completely surprised by this, not being aware of my eligibility. But for the fact that I had been engaged to my English girlfriend for only one week, I would have been on the first boat back home, hoping to continue the relationship from long distance. However, my heart ruled my head, and I accepted my fate.

Having spent all of my childhood in care, I took to the discipline and security of military life like the proverbial duck to water. After a few months, I signed up as a regular, as opposed to a conscript, the extra pay being welcome as I was now married. I served a total of 18 years, reaching the rank of sergeant.

My subsequent disillusionment, and shame, at having been a British soldier came about as a result of the treatment of Irish nationalists by the British Army during the "Troubles" in Northern Ireland, but even more so by the attitude of Margaret Thatcher towards the hunger strikes; to the extent that I returned the two medals awarded during my service.

Had I realised that I was suited to military life prior to being called up to the British army, I would most certainly have joined the Army of my own country, and not, like Lt Bury and others, join a foreign army in order to "gain adventure" in assisting the occupation of another country and, let us be honest, the deaths of innocent civilians. - Yours, etc,

PETER PALLAS, Clarecastle, Ennis, Co Clare.


The reference above to Lt Bury refers to the Irish Times allowing a serving member of the British Army in Afghanistan to produce imperialist propaganda in a regular column - becuase Bury is from Wickow! National chauvinism at its best (or worst maybe) in the service of British chauvinism. The Phoenix article above mentions how Bury's propaganda is being used to induce more cannon fodder from these shores to join a foreign army. What other country's media allows a former colonial power to advertise for killers and for its particular brand of killing.

The letters above are stating it as it is from those who know - leave Buckley's and Bury's imperial propaganda behind and celebrate Ireland's anti-imperialist, not its pro-imperialist, heritage.

author by Gerrypublication date Tue Oct 07, 2008 21:01author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The headline from "4NI.co.uk - Northern Ireland on the Internet" says it all.

Commemorating war in the name of peace - what was that about 'doublespeak'?

Commemorating past wars is order to soften us up for future ones. Making war and imperialism respectable.

Where is ireland going?

author by pat - nonepublication date Wed Oct 08, 2008 01:27author address noneauthor phone noneReport this post to the editors


If my memory serves me well I can recall that the British butcher General Dyer tried to, or did actually pass a law in which Indian citizens had to crawl on their hands and knees down a particular street in Amritsar. The British where never just contented with defeating a people, after conquering them they liked to rub salt into their wounds.

We Irish have finally been defeated, or so it seems for now anyway. No matter which way you dress it up or down, the country is still divided. In my view the British won the long war. We have had the defeat, now its time for the British to start rubbing salt into the open wounds. In the nineteen sixties Mairtin O’Cadhain said that Ireland would become a ‘Little England‘. It seems that this transformation is almost complete. The final act, no doubt will be an official state visit of the British Queen, ( Union Jacks for flag waving supplied by Mary McAleese). With the help of programmes such as RTE’s Hidden History, the seeds are been sown to make this royal visit more acceptable.

It seems that we are been coerced into appreciating all the wonderful military achievements made by our British neighbours as they strived to bring justice and democracy to uncivilised parts of the globe. I’m sure that I am speaking for the people Amritsar and Helmand province, the Aboriginal people of Australia, the people of Derry, the list is endless, the Union Jack was never anything but a butchers apron. Its hard to conceive the notion of royal visits here and ceremonies in which we remember the dead of British military campaigns, campaigns that where nothing more than land grabbing, and piracy accompanied by genocide.

At the top of Grafton St in Dublin you will see the gated entrance into St Stephens Green. It is a massive stone archway that commemorates Irish men who died in the ’Great war’ for the British side. To Dublin people this gateway was always known as ‘Traitors Gate’. Ordinary Dublin people had their own way of dealing with forced British symbolisms that encroached their public parks and streets. The same could be done in Mayo, don’t give the park any recognition, start now by calling it traitors park. It will soon catch on.

author by Pat Muldowneypublication date Wed Oct 08, 2008 09:19author email lest.weforget at live dot ieauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

"Blown from the mouth of cannon"

Click on the image
Click on the image

author by Jim Clarkepublication date Wed Oct 08, 2008 10:57author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Very 'civilised'.

Is that, could it be...... Mayoman Cornelius Coughlan lighting the charge?

author by Peterpublication date Wed Oct 08, 2008 12:51author address author phone Report this post to the editors

If it's not Cornelius Coughlan, it is somebody very like him, a British soldier.

Is it the 'Mayoman' of 2004?
Is it the 'Mayoman' of 2004?

author by southern comfort - Judean Popular Peoples' Frontpublication date Wed Oct 08, 2008 18:10author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Any more of this about the Kenyans and Indians, and we risk losing our place as the most oppressed people ever.

If you are male, aged 15-45, and visiting the US of A any time soon, they want to know in advance if you have any useful military experience - see below. Some things never change.

Related Link: http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/79964.pdf
author by mutineerpublication date Wed Oct 08, 2008 18:47author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Regarding the suggestion by Peter of commemorating Pvt. James Daly of the Connaght Rangers, there in fact will be a commemoration held for him. As you correctly state " James Daly a real Irish hero in India."

James Daly Commemoration

Sunday, November 30th 3pm

Tyrellspass, County Westmeath

All are welcome.

author by Tribesmanpublication date Thu Oct 09, 2008 12:15author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Churchill: The power of the new Lee Metford rifle with the new Dum Dum bullet . . . . is tremendous. The soldiers who have used it have the utmost confidence in their weapon . . . . Of the bullet it may be said, that its stopping power is all that could be desired. The Dum Dum bullet, though not explosive, is expansive . . . . The result is a wonderful and, from its technical point of view, a beautiful machine. On striking the bone, this causes the bullet to "set up" or spread out, and it then tears and splinters everything before it, causing wounds which in the body must be generally mortal and in any limbs necessitate amputation . From The Story of the Malakand Field Force, by Winston L. Spencer Churchill (1916 edition).

A gruesome litany of savagery in bringing "tribes" to heel in India at the close of the 19th century.

He salivates on in like manner for another half page or so.

Interestingly, all the above philosophising is expurgated from the 1963 Eyre and Spottiswoode reprint.

author by Pat - stop smothering me with britishnespublication date Thu Oct 09, 2008 15:53author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Hello Mutineer, could you plesase tell who is organising this commemoration. I would love to attend. As with recent commemorations in memory of thoses who died for Ireland's freedom, I tend to stay away because of who the organisers are. I was about to attend a local commemoration recently in memory of some men who where murdered by the infamous black and tans. When I found out that Fianna Fail was organising the event I decided to stay at home. I also have a stale taste in my mounth for Sinn Fein. Would it be possible that the organisers might be people who are genuinly interested in the memory of the dead rather than a groupe who exploits this commemoration for their own ends.

author by The Netajipublication date Thu Oct 09, 2008 16:37author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The Brits had a factory to make these bullets in Dum Dum near Calcutta (now Kolkata). The Indians not only had to pay for the manufacture of the WMD's used against them - they actually had to make them as well!

Dum Dum is where Calcutta International Airport is located, but these days it's called Subhas Chandra Bose airport, after one of their freedom fighters. Bose trained as a civil servant. When WW2 broke out he sought help, for an Indian liberation force, from Germany, Russia and Japan. The Japs helped him. Of course the Brits denounced him as a Nazi. But Indians learned the lesson of WW1 well, and did not support Britain in WW2. Why would you fight German Nazis in Europe in order to help out British Nazis in India?

After the war, when Britain tried to punish the Indian soldiers who had gone with Bose, the Indians of the "Indian" Army (British Army in India) made it clear in no uncertain terms that they would not stand for it. 1945 was not 1857. There was no way that the Brits could pull off another terror like they did in 1857.

So that was the end of British Rule in India. These days, Bose is up there with Gandhi - statues, monuments and memorials everywhere.

author by Mutineerpublication date Thu Oct 09, 2008 17:40author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Hello Pat, I read it on the events section of this months issue of "Saoirse". That would mean it is either organised by the local cumman of Republican Sinn Fein or a local commemoration committee of which RSF is involved with. Now if you personally feel that they would be "exploiting" Daly instead of honouring him, is for you to decide. Hopefully, you'll still attend.

author by Mayo Newspublication date Fri Oct 10, 2008 08:23author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Letter published in Mayo News newspaper on the day of the "Peace" Park Grand Opening (Oct 7):

Aubane Historical Society (AHS)
Aubane
Millstreet
Co. Cork
jacklaneaubane@hotmail.com

Dear Sir/Madam

Mayo Peace Memorial

Four years ago a participant in one of the greatest war crimes in history was honoured in Mayo by a minister of the Irish government. Sergeant Major Cornelius Coughlan (Victoria Cross) of the Gordon Highlanders was praised by Defence Minister Michael Smith for his role in putting down the so-called Indian Mutiny of 1857, which Indians call their First War of Independence. Minister Smith praised Coughlan, along with sixty other brave Irishmen, as he put it, who were awarded the Victoria Cross during the military campaign that followed the Indian Mutiny.

A letter published after the 1857 fall of Delhi in the 'Bombay Telegraph', and subsequently reproduced in the British press, testified to the scale of the massacres carried out by British troops: 'All the city people found within the walls (of the city of Delhi) when our troops entered were bayoneted on the spot, and the number was considerable, as you may suppose, when I tell you that in some houses forty and fifty people were hiding. These were not mutineers but residents of the city, who trusted to our well-known mild rule for pardon. I am glad to say they were disappointed'.

Fanatical blood-lust saturated the Empire. Charles Dickens said: 'I wish I were commander-in-chief in India ... I should proclaim to them that I considered my holding that appointment by the leave of God, to mean that I should do my utmost to exterminate the race.'

A book published last year (War of Civilisations: India AD 1857, by Amaresh Misra, a writer and historian based in Mumbai) argued that up to 10 million Indians, and not the 100,000 acknowledged by Britain, were slaughtered over a 10 year period in revenge for the so-called 'Mutiny'. In India this period of acute terror was called 'the Devil's Wind'. Being blown to pieces at the mouth of a cannon was regarded by the British perpetrators as one of their more humane methods of slaughter ('instant death to the victim, salutary terror to the onlookers who had body parts sprayed all over them').

What would we say if a Dutch or Bosnian government minister today were to honour one of their many countrymen who, as volunteers in the German army, were decorated by Hitler for their role in similar Nazi extermination in the Ukraine in 1942?

On October 7, President McAleese will endorse in our name the Mayo Peace Park.

We are told this 'Peace Park' will honour those Mayo people who fought in foreign armies and foreign wars in the twentieth century. So if they participated in the extermination of half a million Filipinos by the American Army in 1902 we honour them. Or the incineration of a hundred thousand defenceless civilians in Dresden in 1945, or the obliteration of Hiroshima in the same year. Or the My Lai massacre in Vietnam in 1968. Or the razing of Fallujah in 2004. Or any of the innumerable other criminal acts for which we as a people gave no authorisation and had no responsibility.

Is Mayo about to sleepwalk into yet another war crime commemoration similar to its celebration of the rape of Delhi by Cornelius Coughlan and his colleagues in the British Army?

Yours sincerely,
Jack Lane (PRO, AHS)

author by Harrypublication date Fri Oct 10, 2008 13:36author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Winston Churchill's testimony to the 1937 Peel Commission on Palestine illustrates the 'development' of his attitudes:

"I do not admit that the dog in the manger [Palestinian Arabs in Palestine] has the final right to the manger, even though he may have lain there for a very long time. . .

"I do not admit that a great wrong has been done to the Red Indians of America or the black people of Australia. I do not admit that a wrong has been done to those people by the fact that a stronger race. . . has come in and taken their place."

Does that mean that Churchill was free from Jewish antisemitism, while pandering to the Arab variety? Unfortunately no.

Jews were "partly responsible for the antagonism from which they suffer", Winston Churchill argued in an article written in 1937, three years before he became British prime minister. The British PM through WWII wrote an article entitled, 'How The Jews Can Combat Persecution'.

He noted the wave of anti-Semitism sweeping across Europe and the United States, which was followed by the deaths of millions of Jews in the Holocaust under the Nazis:
"It would be easy to ascribe it to the wickedness of the persecutors, but that does not fit all the facts. It exists even in lands, like Great Britain and the US, where Jew and Gentile are equal in the eyes of the law and where large numbers of Jews have found not only asylum, but opportunity. These facts must be faced in any analysis of anti-Semitism. They should be pondered especially by the Jews themselves.

"For it may be that, unwittingly, they are inviting persecution that they have been partly responsible for the antagonism from which they suffer."

Blaming the oppressed for their own persecution is a great imperialist trick. James Connolly called it 'ruling by fooling', thought he went on to note that the British had 'some great Irish fools to practice on'. Ah, the fools, the fools, the fools - they shall always be with us. Please take note Captain Buckley (retired).

Churchill supported Zionism becuase he saw in it a means of preventing Jewish people from being drawn to socialism and communism. He wrote in 1920:
Of course, Palestine is far too small to accommodate more than a fraction of the Jewish race, nor do the majority of national Jews wish to go there. But if, as may well happen, there should be created in our own lifetime by the banks of the Jordan a Jewish State under the protection of the British Crown, which might comprise three or four millions of Jews, an event would have occurred in the history of the world which would, from every point of view, be beneficial, and would be especially in harmony with the truest interests of the British Empire."

In the end the Zionist state developed in harmony with the interests of the US Empire after 1948, as the British Empire was edged off the stage after WWII. Churchill's racist paranoia about Bolshevism and allegedly specifically Jewish interests within it was captured in 1920 . He wrote:
"International Jews

In violent opposition to all this sphere of Jewish effort rise the schemes of the International Jews. The adherents of this sinister confederacy are mostly men reared up among the unhappy populations of countries where Jews are persecuted on account of their race. Most, if not all, of them have forsaken the faith of their forefathers, and divorced from their minds all spiritual hopes of the next world. This movement among the Jews is not new. From the days of Spartacus-Weishaupt to those of Karl Marx, and down to Trotsky (Russia), Bela Kun (Hungary), Rosa Luxembourg (Germany), and Emma Goldman (United States), this world-wide conspiracy for the overthrow of civilization and for the reconstitution of society on the basis of arrested development, of envious malevolence, and impossible equality, has been steadily growing. It played, as a modern writer, Mrs. Webster, has so ably shown, a definitely recognizable part in the tragedy of the French Revolution. It has been the mainspring of every subversive movement during the Nineteenth Century; and now at last this band of extraordinary personalities from the underworld of the great cities of Europe and America have gripped the Russian people by the hair of their heads and have become practically the undisputed masters of that enormous empire.

Terrorist Jews

There is no need to exaggerate the part played in the creation of Bolshevism and in the actual bringing about of the Russian Revolution, by these international and for the most part atheistical Jews, it is certainly a very great one; it probably outweighs all others. With the notable exception of Lenin, the majority of the leading figures are Jews. Moreover, the principal inspiration and driving power comes from the Jewish leaders. Thus Tchitcherin, a pure Russian, is eclipsed by his nominal subordinate Litvinoff, and the influence of Russians like Bukharin or Lunacharski cannot be compared with the power of Trotsky, or of Zinovieff, the Dictator of the Red Citadel (Petrograd) or of Krassin or Radek -- all Jews. In the Soviet institutions the predominance of Jews is even more astonishing. And the prominent, if not indeed the principal, part in the system of terrorism applied by the Extraordinary Commissions for Combating Counter-Revolution has been taken by Jews, and in some notable cases by Jewesses. The same evil prominence was obtained by Jews in the brief period of terror during which Bela Kun ruled in Hungary. The same phenomenon has been presented in Germany (especially in Bavaria), so far as this madness has been allowed to prey upon the temporary prostration of the German people. Although in all these countries there are many non-Jews every whit as bad as the worst of the Jewish revolutionaries, the part played by the latter in proportion to their numbers in the population is astonishing."

(Zionism versus Bolshevism. A Struggle for the Soul of the Jewish People, by the Rt. Hon. Winston S. Churchill. Illustrated Sunday Herald, 8 Feb 1920.)

Churchill-Hitler, take your pick. Of course, Churchill and Hitler were not the same, but in pursuit of what each regarded as their imperial interests and racially inspired (Aryan or white-race) entitlements there is not much difference.

There is other stuff the great 'liberator' wrote about it being acceptable to gas-bomb 'uncivilised tribes' from the air, but I think this will suffice. For Churchill and the Jews in times past, read George W Bush (plus that 'Great War' buff, Kevin Myers) and Moslems today.

Let us indeed remember and never forget. Imperialism means war.

author by Mayo Newspublication date Sat Oct 11, 2008 12:58author address author phone Report this post to the editors

FROM “A FENIAN BALLAD” [ aka “SWEET IVELEARY”]
BY JEREMIAH O’DONOVAN ROSSA:

.. I joined the Redcoats then – mo lein! – what would my father say?
And I was sent in one short year on service to Bombay.

I thought to be a pauper was the greatest human curse
But fighting in a robber’s cause I felt it ten times worse!
I helped to plunder and enslave those tribes of India’s sons
And we spent many a sultry day blowing sepoys from our guns.

I told these sins to Father Ned, the murder and the booty.
These were no sins for me, he said, I only did my “duty” ...

No sin to kill for English greed in some far foreign clime
How can it be that patriot love in Ireland is a crime?
How can it be, by God’s decree, I’m cursed, outlawed and banned?
Because I swore one day to free my trampled native land.

author by Conor Lynchpublication date Sat Oct 11, 2008 18:51author address author phone Report this post to the editors

John Condon was recruited into the British Army at 13 years of age. He was killed on the Western Front a year later. The unveiling of his plaque and later his story in a book were covered by the Munster Express newspaper as celebrations of something heroic, something to be proud of! The British Legion official at the book launch boasted that he too had joined up at 14. These events are not to mourn the dead but rather to glorify the wars of imperialism.

From Munster Express
John Condon plaque unveiled
Friday, November 16th, 2007

The Annual Remembrance Day Mass for members of the armed forces that died in both World Wars took place in the Church of the Sacred Heart, Without, Ballybricken, on Saturday last, November 10th. The celebrant, Father Eamonn O’Driscoll OFM, paid special tribute to his former colleague, Brother Columbanus Deegan, a wartime veteran who passed away during the year.
Following the Mass a well-attended ceremony took place in beautiful sunshine in nearby Wellington Street. On Ballybricken, at the entrance to the street, about three hundred people lined up in military fashion behind the flag bearers of the Royal British Legion and the Organisation of National Ex-servicemen and, at the command to quick march, went to the end of the street where the Mayor, Councillor Mary O’Halloran, unveiled a memorial plaque to John Condon, Waterford’s Boy Soldier, in the presence of his nephew John Condon and cousin Sonny Condon.
In her address, the Mayor said she would give her support to a special memorial in the city to honour all Waterford victims of war and conflict. Following the ceremony, Tom Kervick invited all present to his premises on Ballybricken Hill for refreshments where the organiser and sponsor of the plaque, Doctor Jim Stacy thanked the Mayor and all those present for their attendance in particular Michael McEwan, the President of the Royal British Legion, Bernard Moore of the Organisation of National Ex-servicemen and the Irish Navy Association. He paid special tribute to John Merinan of Waterford City Brass for the rendering of the Last Post and the South East Chairman of the British Legion, Sean Murphy.
Dr. Jim Stacy related how, after his discovery that John Condon was the youngest soldier to die in the war, he investigated records to locate his relatives and his endeavours to have the boy soldier’s memory honoured in his native city.
After many years seeking and seeing no such thing happening, he decided to do the deed himself.
Like all good stories it now has a happy ending.

Launch of John Condon, a new book on Waterford’s Boy Soldier
Munster Express, Friday, July 21st, 2006
Newly-elected Mayor Cha O’Neill performed his first official public function when he launched “John Condon” a chapbook poem-sequence on the eponymous Waterford Boy Soldier, in the Greyfriars Gallery recently. The chapbook featuring a sequence of short poems by Portlaw-based poet, Edward Power, and published by Rectory Press, explored the life and death of the famous boy-soldier in the early months of the First World War.
Ypres,The Somme, Gallipoli
“The Great War,” said Mayor O’Neill, “had few Audie Murphys or Paddy Finucanes, but it did throw up exotic place-names such as Ypres, The Somme and Gallipoli. And to these exotic and strange places, the world’s youth fled and then bled.” He mentioned boy-soldiers such as Jim Martin from Australia and Horace Iles from Sheffield, who were of an age with John Condon, and said that in a world obsessed with celeb-reality and media-made icons, it was important that we take time to remember the way it was for our grandfathers, great-grandfathers, and a generation of youth lost to war. A myriad of historical contexts here conspired to consign that generation to the forgottten.
“So I am delighted to be here tonight to launch this book by a writer who has given colour to the sepia-tone remembrance we have of one boy from that forgotten generation,” the Mayor continued. “Edward Power has, with the co-operation of John Condon’s family, nurtured the worldly remains of the young boy soldier and gradually brought his memory to life for us.”
The attendance at the launch included members of the Condon family. John Condon, a nephew of the Boy Soldier, spoke of his family’s gratitude and pride in the way the life and sacrifice of his uncle was now at last being recognised and justly celebrated in his own land, and particularly in his beloved Waterford. His cousin, Sonny Condon, was also in the audience.
Special guest, Major J.P. Murphy, Chairman of the Waterford Branch of The Royal British Legion, spoke eloquently of his own first youthful days in uniform and said that, like John Condon, he had also enlisted at the age of fourteen. He emphasised the new movement towards understanding and reconciliation which events such as this book-launch epitomised, and he adverted to the Republic’s first-ever Official Remembrance Service for the Fallen of the Battle of The Somme, which was to take place the following day in Dublin.
The poem-sequence imaginatively explores the life of John Condon in and around Waterford, and his final moments as a poison cloud of German gas enveloped him near Belle-Varde Ridge. The book also includes pictures of the Boy Soldier and his medals. Most poignant of all, is the photograph of the actual piece of shoe-leather - all that remained of the boy, and which was sent back home to his grief-stricken father in Waterford:
you didn’t come marching home
but one of your boots
partly made it, a small
anklet of leather
with your number on it
parcelled to Waterford
and your father
IconicFigure
Edward Power thanked Mayor O’Neill for launching the book, and expressed his gratitude to Arts Officer Conor Nolan and his staff at the Greyfriars Gallery for their generous help and encouragement. He was also glad to acknowledge a Grant from Waterford City Council towards the book’s publication.
“We are celebrating the life of John Condon,” he said. “We remember that he went away but, essentially, we are celebrating the fact that he lived, and that he is, in ways that are becoming increasingly important to us and our modern Ireland, a growing iconic figure - indeed, a growing international icon. And we celebrate the fact that he was a Waterford lad.”
“John Condon, the Boy Soldier is becoming more and more a character who inhabits Our Story - a presence who lives within our consciousness; an innocent who informs our sense of what we were, what we are, and what we might become.”
EngulfedBy War
The author said that, in an age when conflict was still seen as “Boy’s Own” stuff, the Boy Soldier had gone away full of boyish adventure and was engulfed by a war which no one could have anticipated - except perhaps those who look back knowingly with benefit of hindsight. “John Condon and his fellow soldiers were not naïve,” he added. “They were products of their age and perhaps it was the age itself that was naïve.”
He regarded John Condon as being as much a hero as any this country had produced - and thankfully he was no longer an unsung hero. Mr. Power concluded with a short reading from the book.

Terrorising children in Aden
Terrorising children in Aden

Napalm Atrocity
Napalm Atrocity

Glorifying child abuse in Waterford
Glorifying child abuse in Waterford

author by Nick Folley - nonepublication date Sun Oct 12, 2008 00:29author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The Mayo Peace Memorial Park seems a curious thing. It is clear enough why we might honour Irish soldiers who fell while on service in various UN peacekeeping missions. They paid the ultimate price to try and bring peace and stability to many parts of the world when it was needed and, I believe, are still greatly respected in places such as the Lebanon. What is less clear is why such a memorial would include Irishmen who died wearing a US or British uniform and in theatres of war such as Vietnam. What contribution to peace did these men make? How did the war in Vitenam bring peace? How did men who died fighting the Vietcong in Vietnam, or Germans in the trenches of World War One ‘die for us’? It seems the idea is to commemorate ‘the fighting Irish’ ‘no matter what uniform was worn’ It is a historical fact that a small number of Irishmen also died in Nazi uniform or fighting for other fascists such as Franco. Does the Peace Memorial Park commemorate these too? I very much doubt it as to do so would presuppose – or at the very least, imply - tacit support for fascist ideology. It is equally inescapable that honouring Irishmen who happened to die in British and American uniform is tacit support for all the wars fought by those countries, whatever their cause. It is fair to say that these have been imperialistic in ideology and nature. It was almost a lucky accident that the Allies’ opponents during WW2 happened to be the bad guys – or perhaps, the ‘worse guys’. Moreover people keep missing the point about Hitler and fascism. They argue WW2 was moral and necessary because it was fought to prevent an evil man destroying the world. Such people usually extrapolate from that to argue that all Anglo-American war ventures are by implication, moral and justified, a latter-day crusade for civilisation (though anyone actually acquainted with the history of the Crusades will realise how ironically apt such a description is). Of course what is less often mentioned is that WW2 had its seed in WW1 – a European civil war fought for imperial dominance amongst imperial powers. All the main protaganists – even ‘poor little Belgium’ which under King Leopold became a by-word for cruelty in the Congo – were imperial powers. The British and German monarchs were even cousins, the Hapsburgs changing their names to Windsor to play down their German connections. Such are the absurdities of the belligerent countries. A large number of jingoistic lies were sold to the public to drum up support for the war to make the rich richer. These are well documented in Lord Ponsonby’s 1928 classic “Falsehood and Propaganda in wartime” and include well-known chestnuts such as German atrocities in Belgium, nailing of nuns’ hands to barn doors in the same country and so on. After the war, having blooded the public to gain their support and convince them to become cannon-fodder, the victorious nations had to make a show of ‘making Germany pay’. The French in particular were keen for financial compensation – unsurprising since most of the war had been fought on French soil. The Allies dissolved the German empire, adding big swathes of territory to their own accounts (so much for the freedom of small nations!) and then procceded to cripple the fledgling German democrcay they’d set up (while the British kept their own monarch, of course) through demanding unjust and massive compensation payments from Germany. The resulting chaos saw Hitler rise to power, determined to restore German prestige and hailed as a saviour by the Germans, who with echoes that should be familiar today, were talked into giving up hard-won democratic freedoms in return for supposed stability. And Hitler was the darling of the Allies as long as he was crushing communists and dissenters. Only when his expansionist plans became clear did Britain and France consider moving against him. If WW2 had been fought to rid the world of fascism, the Allies wouldn’t have stopped when Germany surrendered – they’d have moved on Spain and relieved that country of its Hitler protégé, Franco. So this is what we are supposed to be honouring in Mayo, the memory of our UN peacekeepers being besmirched by being placed alongside men who fought in Vietnam and WW2. Such support is in direct opposition to our tradition of being a neutral sovereign republic, ironically the very national characteristic that has for so long made us so acceptable as UN Peace Keepers the world over. How many Peace-keeping operations have the Britiah or US been involved in where they went as UN peace-keepers alone, and not as part of NATO or similar? Why were there never any UN peace-keepers in Northern Ireland? It seems incredible that President McAleese could even consider opening such a monument, let alone state, without any hint of irony given the context, that “Ireland has never shirked its responsibility in the cause of world peace”

This is not a peace memorial, but a war memorial. It is not a sign of ‘maturity’ or a ‘nation coming of age’ to establish such a confused monstrosity, but a sign of a nation that’s lost its sense of direction. The only Peace Memorial that should be erected anywhere in this country - and Mayo would be a good start - should be to the Pitstop Ploughshares and Raytheon 9 who at least took the UN (and Biblical) dictate to 'beat their swords into ploughshares' seriously. I look forward to that day.

author by Pax personapublication date Sun Oct 12, 2008 03:28author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I think this last, thoughtful post expresses the nub of the matter well. I have always thought that annual events like Remembrance Sunday in Britain have a sneaky subtextual hallowing of current and future wars. They use the collective emotions of grief that afflict all classes (but the low income classes more than others) to honour the dead in current and future wars of dubious moral and legal validity. I don't go on commemorations anywhere. We can honour the living by working for peace and social equity.

author by Nick Folley - nonepublication date Sun Oct 12, 2008 22:12author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Further to my last comment, I was recently watching a program called "All the Queen's Men" (part of the True Lives series) about Irish men in the British Army. Those interviewed mainly said they signed up because of economic hardship "there was nothing else there for us, no jobs" etc.,

There was one extraordinary scene in the documentary where Irish Guards soliders were signing rousing IRA songs in the base in Germany. It didn't appear that they had very strong republican sympathies (well, it would be hard, fighting for a monarchy with sworn emnity to republicanism) but rather, that these were rousing 'Irish' songs. I gazed in amazement at these young men who seemed to epitomise ideological confusion. I commented on the same spectacle to my wife (who is neither Irish nor British). She had a simple and rather obvious answer. These men, she pointed out, were not driven by any ideology. They were mercenaries. They fought wars for whoever paid them best. the Irish state could not afford to employ them, so they found employment with the ever-eager and well-funded British state. They are latter-day Condottieri. One Guardsman even said as much - "The Irish army could have had me if they wanted me...it's their loss...the Queen pays me"

One of the other interesting comments made in the program was that the British army allows the Irish regiments any kind of trappings of Irish-ism it wishes, whether it be shamrocks, or mascots or rebel songs - as long as it produces recruits (read 'cannon fodder'). It also pointed out how the Troubles and economic prosperity have reduced teh flow of recruits to the British army. But it seems we have plenty of modern-day Tom Kettle's and recruiting sergeants around to supply the demand.

So, Capt.Buckley - a monument to war and mercenary -ism? Well done! For my part, I do not buy the 'motives' presented in opening this park. The 'Peace' memorial in Mayo is a Peace memorial only insofar as it commemorates Irish UN Peacekeepers. If the organisers were serious about Peace they'd be doing everything they could to stem the flow of young lives to the military killing machine and not glorifying the same. Those signing up to the British and US armies have far more chance of killing being killed. What Peace is that supposed to be?

author by southern comfort - Popular Democratic Workers' Front of Judea publication date Mon Oct 13, 2008 19:52author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Couldn't we describe these places as testosterone memorials? That seems to be the main factor in recruitment and males aged 25 or less - plus some money and a chance to go abroad and, as the T-shirt said, "learn about the culture, meet some interesting people and (pause) kill them".

Aren't we lucky that we can judge from afar, and that our home-made imperialism has only caused 10,000 deaths since 1916. Omagh and so on. We are so proud that our brave freedom fighters and their descent have made such a very good job of ruling us wisely since 1922.

author by Pat Mldowneypublication date Mon Oct 13, 2008 21:32author email lest.weforget at live dot ieauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

As other posts above have noted, Remembrance is as much about future wars as past ones. The “War to end all wars” (1914-18) was not the end but the beginning. The daddy of wars spawned wars in Europe and the Middle East which continue to the present, and look like continuing for the foreseeable future. As November approaches, past wars are remembered, and a tolerance of war is engendered which facilitates future wars.

The Remembrance/Anticipation ceremonies preserve an unquestioning, uncritical spirit of war, a mentality which sees the consumption of human cannon-fodder, not as shameful, evil, destructive slaughter, but as glorious, honourable, praiseworthy sacrifice. Blood-sacrifice in other words.

The Remembrance rituals block out all consideration of whether the killing is for an unavoidable reason or some worthwhile purpose. It converts the sympathy that people feel for the suffering endured by soldiers into mindless acceptance of the merits of the wars they fight.

In the past 300 years, Britain has fought about 200 wars, all bar one of them (the 1745) in other people’s countries. The graves of its soldiers are to be found in about 200 of the world’s 300 or so countries.

Here is part of Tony Blair’s address at his Sedgefield constituency before his June 27 resignation in 2007: “Your duty is to act according to your conviction. All of that can get contorted so that people think you act according to some messianic zeal. [But] the British are special. The world knows it. In our innermost thoughts, we know it. This is the greatest nation on earth.” Earlier (Plymouth, January 2007) he declared that Britain was a “war-fighting nation” whose real frontiers reached to the ends of the earth.

Britain is not so much a war-fighting nation as the war-fighting nation. In his first speech to Parliament in 1653, Cromwell argued that England was “called upon by God, as had been Judah, to rule with Him and for Him” . Milton’s Paradise Lost talks about “God’s special Providence for England … His chosen People” . This outlook inspired Cecil Rhodes: “Milton’s faith in ‘God’s Englishman’ will be our inspired principle - to work for the Empire, to extend it.”

Maybe all this is a bit far-fetched and over the top? After all, when the chips are down, isn’t it all about: “Stern but kind-hearted bobbies on the beat, cups of tea, warm beer, cheeky chappies, the Beeb, Dad’s Army, vicars, old maids cycling to vespers on summer evenings, Hope and Glory, progress, decency, fair play for the under-dog”

On the other hand we have malevolent doctrines such as the following: “No nation can preserve its efficiency unless dominant fertility be associated with the mentally and physically fitter stocks … I am not pessimistic … I know that the German people has been aroused to self-consciousness more than once in its history, and I believe that now it can be brought to realise that safety lies in a conscious race-culture.”

Except that the author of this said “the English people”, not “the German people”. The author was Karl Pearson, Professor of Applied Mathematics at the University of London and Galton Professor of Eugenics. Pearson was born in the year of the Indian “Mutiny” (1857), died 1936.

The Pearson quote is from the Robert Boyle Lecture for 1907 (something like the modern Reith Lecture series, but more prestigious). Robert Boyle was the 17th century discoverer of Boyle’s Law in physics. Boyle’s father, Richard Boyle, said to be the “first colonial millionaire”, was made first Earl of Cork, President of Munster and Lord Treasurer of Ireland, for his role in the Plantation of Munster, with Walter Raleigh, Francis Drake and the poet Edmund Spenser. In his View of the Present State of Ireland, arguing on the basis of his experiences in Munster, Spenser laid down the ground plan for future conquests, ethnic cleansing and genocide, a plan which was successfully applied in Virginia, New England, Ulster and Australia in the ensuing decades and centuries. The same basic plan was followed by Hitler in some parts of eastern Europe – but much less successfully.

A different plan was followed in India. Extermination of the natives was not really on the cards there, since British colonists could not tolerate the Indian climate. To keep the imperial profits and tax revenues flowing, Indian labour was needed to operate the plantations of opium, tea, cotton, indigo. In one of the most prosperous regions of the world, traditional agriculture and manufacturing were destroyed, leading to halving of life expectancy and chronic famine from the 1759 conquest until the eve of independence.

Hitler adopted the Indian plan of a nation of coolies for East-land (Russia). In Mein Kampf he said: “If one treats a people like England treats the Indians, … one cannot send them to Universities, where they find out what has been done to them.”

There was nothing unusual about the ideas expressed by Karl Pearson above. George Bernard Shaw contended that ”universal suffrage had put power into the hands of riff-raff, threatening national suicide – so that real progress depended on the selective breeding of a race of Supermen” , and that ”social improvement would have to wait upon the lengthy process of racial improvement” .. Beatrice and Sidney Webb, along with HG Wells, declared themselves in favour of the National Efficiency Programme of the imperialist theorist Alfred Milner (High Commisioner in South Africa): “An advanced, efficient nation or race was entitled to crush an inferior race.” As Hitler proposed for East-land, Milner had earlier argued that only the existence of a race of helots would attract those of the imperial race as colonisers in conquered territories.

author by Pax personapublication date Tue Oct 14, 2008 01:07author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"The Remembrance/Anticipation ceremonies preserve an unquestioning, uncritical spirit of war..." - Muldowney expresses it better than I could attempt. Yes, they are anticipating the next war and sacrilising the current murky, messy war. England is a predominantly agnostic society (with a rising islamic minority) in which warrior nationalism is continuously cultivated in the mass media as a religion substitute. The arms industry, with lucrative overseas exports, has become important as a component of GDP and balance of payments stability.

author by Pat Muldowneypublication date Wed Oct 15, 2008 09:11author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Anybody who has studied mathematics or statistics is likely to have encountered Pearson's Product Moment Coefficient of Correlation, part of the theory of statistical regression, concerning the tendency for the "average" to reduce the "exceptional" in the long term, unless steps are taken to preserve and protect the "exceptional" against the "average" or "ordinary". Regression is counterposed to "progression", where the "exceptional" (the new or superior kind) becomes predominant against the "average" or "ordinary". This is the same Pearson as the one mentioned in earlier post above.

This remark is not really a digression (or even a regression or progression). Because the wars of Remembrance-Anticipation are ALWAYS fought to advance Progress. To extend Christian civilisation. To crush Prussian militarism. To stop tyranny. For democracy, human rights, liberal values, global freedom. Or whatever snake oil is currently being peddled to produce cannon-fodder.

author by Roscommon Rememberspublication date Fri Oct 17, 2008 08:33author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Roscommon Herald

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

A distorted picture of history

The RTE programme of September 8th “Where was your family during the Famine?” distorted history and the memory of the poor victims of the ‘Irish Holocaust’.

The sad account by John Waters on his Sligo relatives omitted to mention Britain’s 69th and 30th Regiments and their at point removal of its food to the port for export, backed by HMS warship Stromboli. Ms Guinness’ reference to County Tyrone omitted to mention the removal of foods by the 85th and 95th regiments.

Mr Hobbs’ reference to Cork omitted mention of any of the eight regiments that starved that county. This, despite the British Viceroy’s having reported at the time that, but for the food removal, his army in Ireland would have little to do.

Those who accuse Britain of “not doing enough” ought to be asked if they know what “doing more” means. Britain had seventy-five food removal regiments in Ireland. “Doing more” suggests increasing that number to say, eighty-five.

For the past decade, Ireland’s Holocaust has been commemorated, including across the US, Canada, England, Singapore, Australia and in Ireland by the National Graves Association on November the 3rd. It was on that date in 1845 that Lord Heytesbury officially initiated two events 1) the Holocaust itself and 2) the Holocaust’s cover-up, by citing only a crop failure. Thus, the Holocaust and its cover-up as “famine” are both commemorated on that date.

Let us erect truth-telling memorials over as many as we can still locate of the approximately 3,000 mass graves of that time.

*In 1847 the Cork Examiner newspaper referred to the period as the Holocaust as did Michael Davitt in his published works in 1899.*

Chris Fogarty, Matt Doyle, Ballaghaderreen, County Roscommon

author by Arturispublication date Fri Oct 17, 2008 16:59author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Fair Play for this being addressed, i.e. THE DREADED POPPY SEASON, will be upon us yet again and by the way does anyone know why national newspapers have advertisements for a ROYAL national lifeboat association (RNLI). Can it not be the INLI?

author by Darth Vaderpublication date Fri Oct 17, 2008 18:12author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Britain commits genocidal atrocities: "Soldiers doing their duty."
Britain's enemy commits genocidal atrocities: "Most evil regime ever."

PDF Document Click to read Mayo News letter, Oct 14 2008 0.5 Mb

author by Nick Folley - nonepublication date Sat Oct 18, 2008 02:45author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Relative to the posts here on the famine, I have in front of me a copy of the Pictorial Times dated Saturday, October 17, 1846. The front page reads:

"More troops for Ireland: there is a dreadful meaning in those four words....that an integral portion of the British Empire - not a distant colony or new conquest... requires bayonets and ball cartridge to keep order...that starvation is on the eve of setting law at defiance... and a population, ever restless, is now only to be kept in check by military force..."

See the image of the newspaper in question for more...and bear in mind that the article was apparently written by someone who believed at least in the 'proper order' of there being a British Empire in the first instance.

pictorial_times.jpg

author by Munster Fusilierpublication date Mon Oct 20, 2008 09:17author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Examiner Letters Page:
Monday, October 20, 2008
Concert insult to the ‘men who died twice’


YOU reported (October 10) how Cork’s Lord Mayor Brian Bermingham announced details of a concert in City Hall on November 8 “to honour the memories of the estimated 2,600 Corkmen who died in the First World War. Patrons have been invited to attend in period dress and compere Michael Twomey will conduct proceedings in the style of Leonard Sachs who hosted The Good Old Days”.

Is it appropriate to remember the dead with a fancy dress concert? Am I alone in finding the idea repulsive?

The Irish who died in the First World War died twice. They died physically and the reason they fought also died with them because it was based on a lie — ‘the freedom of small nations.’ They were killed and their ideals were betrayed by the government they fought for.

What Cork and Ireland got when they actually expressed their desire for freedom was the Black and Tans and the Auxiliaries. The latter were all veterans of the First World War and, among many other things, they burned down the venue of this concert, Cork City Hall, and a large part of the city.

One wonders how the 2,600 Cork dead will be represented in fancy dress. Will we have people dressed up as skeletons or corpses to join in the fun? That would seem a suitable way to complete this sick event. Will there be a thought for the approximately 10 million others who were killed in that war, and why they were killed?

Jack Lane
Aubane
Millstreet
Co Cork

author by Jim Cranepublication date Tue Oct 21, 2008 23:22author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Coolacrease: The True Story of the Pearson Executions

By Paddy Heaney, Pat Muldowney, Philip O’Connor, Dr Brian P Murphy, and others

To be launched on Thursday, 6th November, at 8pm, in Offaly Historical & Archaeological Society, Bury Quay, Tullamore.

Exposing propaganda more effective than produced by the British themselves. but equally as baseless.

More info at:
http://www.indymedia.ie/article/89557

author by Pat Muldowneypublication date Thu Oct 23, 2008 13:47author email lest.weforget at live dot ieauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

Remember Irish soldiers "doing their duty":

Mayo News, 14 October 2008:

I refer to the letter from Mr Jack Lane, Aubane Society, in your paper last week, October 8, which strangely found its way into print in the week the Mayo Peace Park was opened by our President.

He castigates the honouring of the fallen of Mayo recently commemorated by the opening of the Mayo Peace Park Garden of Remembrance, Castlebar. It is not only the young men who fell so bravely in various wars who are honoured, but also nurses, doctors etc who died alongside them.

Young Irishmen joined various armies, not just British, but US, Australian, and others. Due to our history the majority enlisted in the British Army, some out of adventure, more out of necessity and more out of loyalty. In the First World War many joined because they saw it as their patriotic duty with Home Rule being on the agenda. However, after 1916, in the words of Yeats, 'all was changed, changed utterly'. They returned to a different Ireland, and many were treated disgracefully.

In the second World war many Irish also enlisted and helped to fight the most evil regime that ever was seen on this earth. How much more honourable was this than many in the IRA who frolicked with the Fuhrer, as was the case with Sean Russell who died in a Nazi submarine, and other IRA members who lit up parts of Belfast so that the Luftwaffe could carry out bombing raids. The freedom we enjoy, and Mr Lane enjoys, today is due to them in large measure.

He also condemns Cornelius Coughlan who served with the Connaught Rangers, and did his duty, as all soldiers do. But he strangely fails to mention those Connaught Rangers who mutinied at the treatment of Irish patriots back home and paid the supreme penalty for so doing.

Those who created this lovely peace park have done us all proud, and maybe Mr Lane might launch a similar one in Cork!

Yours,
Brendan Cafferty
Ballina

Mein Kampf on the British extermination model:

Sir Charles Wentworth Dilke was a prominent Liberal, expected to become party leader and Prime Minister until scuppered by a divorce case. Here is what he said about Empire in his book Greater Britain (1894): "The English traveller [in India] ... finds ... naked barbarians, plunged in the densest ignorance and superstition, and safe only from extermination because the European cannot dwell permanently in the climate of their land."

Extermination was the norm in the Empire, providing Hitler with the model for his East-land colony or Lebensraum: "We will select the best settlement areas as land for German settlement ... We will deal with the population. ... We don't need to give ourselves any pangs of conscience about this ... After all we don't think of [Red] Indians when eating Canadian wheat. ... England ... was free to ... eat its frozen mutton [from Australia] without looking too closely into how they were produced. ... One task lies ahead: Teutonisation by bringing in Germans and regarding the original inhabitants as [Red] Indians. ... We will have to have a razzia [extermination war], square kilometre by square kilometre and constantly stringing [people up. This is to be a real Indian War."

author by joe McIvorpublication date Thu Oct 23, 2008 19:22author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Shamefully no commemoration was held in Ireland last year to mark the 150th anniversary of what Mr Cafferty would probably term the Indian Mutiny . Indians refer to the uprising of 1857 as the First Indian War of Liberation :it was ruthlessly suppressed by a British army in which many Irishmen served . What were they serving?

During the British rule in India there were approximately 25 major famines . Altogether, between 30 and 40 million Indians died as a result of British colonial policies in the latter half of the 19th century alone.

As other posters have noted , British reprisals against those Indians who dared to resist the despoilation of their country were every bit as cruel as the methods employed by the Nazis during the Second World War . Hindu and Muslim sepoys who in 1857 had united to drive the British out of their country , were shown no mercy ,forced for instance to lick the blood of the British killed during the Cawnpor siege from the ground before being hanged with pork stuffed into the mouths of Muslim and beef down the throats of Hindu sepoys .

In his book War of Civilisations: India AD 1857, Indian historian Amaresh Misra, argues that there was an "untold holocaust" in the aftermath of the war which caused the deaths of almost 10 million people over a 10 year period. His figures have been challenged ,but the sheer vehemence of the calls for revenge against the “Indian race” in the British press at the time cannot be disputed . For instance ,the Bombay Telegraph published a letter from a witness to the treatment of the residents of Delhi after the town surrendered which was reproduced approvingly in the contemporary British press.

“All the city people found within the walls when our troops entered were bayoneted on the spot, and the number was considerable, as you may suppose, when I tell you that in some houses forty and fifty people were hiding. These were not mutineers but residents of the city, who trusted to our well-known mild rule for pardon. I am glad to say they were disappointed .”

The novelist Charles Dickens wrote :
"I wish I were a commander in chief in India. The first thing I would do to strike that Oriental Race with amazement....should be to proclaim to them that my holding that appointment by the leave of God, to mean that I should do my utmost to exterminate the race upon whom the stain of the late cruelties rested; and that I was there for that purpose and no other, . . .now proceeding, with all convenient dispatch and merciful swiftness of execution, to blot it out of mankind and raze it off the face of the Earth”.

Nazi atrocities in Europe during WW2 have rightly been condemmed ,but there has been reluctance to examine India under British administration during the same period. Not many people will be aware of the Bengal famine of 1943 for example in which over three million died even though Bengal had adequate rice and other grains to feed itself. In response to an urgent request to release food stocks for India, British Prime Minister Churchill sent a telegram asking if food was so scarce, "why Gandhi hadn’t died yet” There have been no famines in India since the end of British rule in 1947 .

There should be a Garden of Remembrance – one dedicated to the victims of British imperialism ,but not to the Irishmen who served in the British Army . There should also be a reckoning made of how many deaths throughout the world the British Empire was responsible for .

author by Pat Muldowneypublication date Sat Oct 25, 2008 09:03author email lest.weforget at live dot ieauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

The British Legion frolicking with the Fuehrer

The British Legion is the core of the Remembrance ceremonies.

It played its part when Britain consolidated its ally Hitler in power, after helping Hitler to bring down democratic Weimar Germany

The first photo is of a British Legion delegation being received by Hitler in Berlin, 1935. Third from left is Lt-Col G.R. Crossfield, vice-chairman of the British Legion, with Rudolf Hess, Capt. M.A. Hawes, R.N., former British Naval Attaché in Berlin, Sir Francis Featherston-Godley, Chairman of the British Legion, chatting to Hitler. Ribbentrop is on the extreme right in foreground.

The second photo shows a section of the British Legion Volunteer Force, raised to police the Sudetenland, marching through London prior to departure in 1938. As it turned out, Hitler decided in October that he did not need the assistance of his British Legion auxiliaries to consolidate his hold on these vital new territories which Britain had enabled him to seize.

British Legion leaders frolicking with Hitler in 1935
British Legion leaders frolicking with Hitler in 1935

British Legion Volunteers for Sudetenland on parade in London
British Legion Volunteers for Sudetenland on parade in London

author by Pax personapublication date Sat Oct 25, 2008 11:05author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Those photos of the British Legion are intriguing and incriminating. Were there many Jewish ex-servicemen in the British Legion in that year 1938? How would they have felt about the first photo of a senior Legion member being received by Hitler and Hess, bearing in mind the shocking memories of anti-Jewish laws promulgated by the nazis from 1933 onwards, including the prohibition of intermarriage and the ruthless deprivation of citizenship and livelihood rights, and culminating in the Kristallnacht pogroms and atrocities in November 1938 ? [ Admittedly Kristallnacht happened a few months after that sunny photo was taken.]

I am also interested to know how exactly Britain in the early thirties helped Hitler, as you say, "to bring down the Weimar democratic Germany".

author by Pax personapublication date Sat Oct 25, 2008 15:02author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Right, I realize that I've confused the date of the BL-Hitler photo taken in 1935 in Berlin with the later one taken of BL volunteers intending to police the Sudetenland parading in London in 1938. Even by the summer of 1935 the nazi laws imposing ghastly disabilities and humiliations on German Jews had taken effect; so it would be interesting to know how many British Jews were ex-servicemen in the BL at that time. And as for the BL volunteer parade photo of 1938, it would again be of interest to know what feelings British Jewish ex-servicemen went through when they heard about British volunteers intending to help nazi Germany's occupation of the Sudetenland in that year.

author by Pat Muldowneypublication date Sun Oct 26, 2008 13:34author email lest.weforget at live dot ieauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

A point was raised in one of the posts above about the unfavourable treatment of Weimar democracy by Britain, and its facilitation of Hitler fascism. The argument in brief is that the terms of the Versailles Treaty were unreasonably and unfairly enforced against democratic Germany, producing a shift in German support towards the National Socialist movement which was serious about challenging the Versailles system. And when the Hitler movement achieved power, his power was consolidated and entrenched when the Versailles provisions were suspended in his favour.

Hitler came to power by election. He immediately broke the terms of the Versailles Treaty by implementing an Enabling Act, which, by suspending the Constitution, allowed him to govern by decree. No such breach of Versailles had previously been permitted by the Versailles Powers (Britain and France). Germany’s western border was undefended. Military manoeuvres on Hitler’s undefended border would have been sufficient to prevent this breach of Versailles, or even to put Hitler out of government.

Britain and France together facilitated the conversion of Germany from a democracy to a dictatorship. Building up Hitler from military impotence to military superpower was the work of Britain. The first step was the 1934 Naval Agreement which allowed Hitler to create a Navy in breach of Versailles (which permitted Germany to have only 36 ships).

Hitler’s undefended western border, Versailles’ main source of leverage against him, was lost when Britain refused to support France in preventing Hitler’s remilitarisation of the Rhineland in 1936. Military manoeuvres on the border would have been sufficient to prevent it. This was in effect the point at which Hitler became a free agent in the world, and his freedom was a gift from Britain.

In the 1920’s democratic Germany and democratic Austria sought a union of the two countries, which could have created a strong, stable democracy at the heart of Europe. The Versailles powers vetoed this. But the 1938 Anschluss was permitted by them, creating a fascist superpower in the heart of Europe. This caused Mussolini, who had previously been the defender of Austrian neutrality and sovereignty, to change sides, and fascist Italy became an ally of Nazi Germany.

Churchill famously declared that he hoped that, if Britain were in the same kind of difficulty as Germany, that a leader such as Hitler would emerge in Britain. He is called an “anti-appeaser”. But the “appeasement” that he was opposing at the time was concessions to India, and to Ireland. He also had a difference of opinion with the mainstream British view regarding the implementation of Britain’s traditional of power policy, – which was to oppose whichever continental power was pre-eminent at any given time, in order to maintain unchallenged its freedom of action and domination in the rest of the world where its Empire was located outside Europe.

Churchill’s difference of opinion was about which of the European powers – France or Germany – was most likely to threaten Britain’s naval/military domination of the world. From the end of World War 1 until March 1939, the mainstream British view was that British imperial interersts required that the continental victor of the Great War (France) needed to be prevented from dominating Germany. Churchill disagreed with this. Democracy had nothing to do with it.

author by Pat Muldowneypublication date Sun Oct 26, 2008 15:55author email lest.weforget at live dot ieauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

... the colossal gift of the Czech armaments industry to Hitler.

author by Pat Muldowneypublication date Sun Oct 26, 2008 16:08author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The reference in the last post but one is to "Britain's traditional Balance of Power policy" which sought, by strategic alliances, to foment war against whichever European power was strongest at any particular time. That was usually France, and Britain's usual ally was Prussia.

author by Munster Fusilierpublication date Mon Oct 27, 2008 22:34author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Examiner Letters
Monday, October 27, 2008


1. Ireland’s slow march towards maturity

THERE they go again — Jack Lane and Tom Cooper banging the old drum of nationalism and Stalinism (Letters, October 20). [See post of Monday October 20 above.]

They castigate those who rightly honour those Irishmen who fought in various wars.

Young Irishmen joined various armies, not just British, but also US, Australian and others. By our history the majority enlisted in the British army, some out of adventure, more out of necessity and more out of loyalty. In the First World War many joined because they saw it as their patriotic duty with Home Rule on the agenda.

They came back to a different Ireland and many were treated disgracefully despite the fact that a considerable number fought in our War of Independence.

In the Second World War many Irish also enlisted and helped to fight the most evil regime ever seen. How much more honourable was this than many in the IRA who frolicked with the Fuhrer

I am glad to say that in Co Mayo President Mary McAleese recently opened a garden of remembrance to our native sons (and some daughters, too) who died in various wars.

Reading the names of the dead one is struck by the ordinary names you see just like those you would meet every day here now.

Both Mr Lane and Mr Cooper should come and visit it — they would go away humbled and proud.

In any event, surely it is not a crime to honour and pray for the dead especially at this time of year. In fact it is a very Christian thing to do, not furtively and in secret.

Brendan Cafferty
Creggs Road
Ballina

2. Redmond’s brave supporters valued the British connection

I SUGGEST to Jack Lane (Letters, October 20) that his interpretation of history is even more cynical and inaccurate than those who produced and co-authored The Tudors.

To imply the Redmondites entered the First World War under the illusion that Home Rule meant sovereign independence is an egregious distortion.

Those brave soldiers who supported Redmond valued the connection with Britain and fought to maintain it.

They did indeed die twice, but the act of betrayal came not from the British establishment, but from violent redemptive nationalism. This inhumane spirit tragically traversed the world culminating in the deaths of millions. It did not exist in Ireland until it was summoned i by nationalist villains in 1916, thus inculcating a spirit of violent nationalism and sectarian hatred — a legacy that scarred our country to this day.

Mr Lane should understand that most of the Black and Tans were Londoners (19% were Irishmen) and did not, as legend would claim, have a predisposition to violence. The brutal war imposed on policemen and those opposed to the IRA created a violent context in which the RIC and Tans were compelled to respond.

Mr Lane should realise the public is aware his version of history is little more than a box of tricks which the dead play on the living. The time for Mr Lane, the historical conjurer, to leave the polemical stage has come.

Pierce Martin
Celbridge
Co Kildare

3. The tragedy of the big lie

IN his letter (October 20), Jack Lane correctly challenges the idiotic proposal by Cork’s mayor Brian Bermingham to “honour the memories of the estimated 2,600 Corkmen who died in the First World War”. Perhaps the wearing of fancy dress mayoral robes has gone to his head. There was no honour in the First World War, just stupid imperialistic arrogance and massive crimes against humanity committed by all sides against each other and against the troops on their own sides.

There was no justification for this war, apart from its background reasons to maintain the elitist status quo both within and between European states.

Supporting the freedom of small nations such as Belgium was the lie that helped to persuade more than 50,000 young Irishmen to waste their lives.

Let us by all means acknowledge the pointlessness and stupidity of this war, but we must not attribute honour and glory to the war itself or to those who were conned or forced into fighting it.

Let’s turn Remembrance Day each year into a genuine day of atonement for all the crimes against humanity committed in all wars.

Edward Horgan
Newtown
Co Limerick

4. Irishmen went to the trenches because they were misled

I AGREE strongly with Jack Lane and Tom Cooper, both of whom criticised the trend towards State participation in November remembrance ceremonies (Letters, October 20).

I do not think we should look on the British army as anything other than what it was: an instrument of repression in Ireland. Certainly Irishmen joined — often out of economic necessity — and died in its service. Those who joined during the First World War were misled by John Redmond and many would not have done so had they known how events would unfold.

The First World War was ‘great’ in a number of respects: the arrogance and stupidity of the politicians; the utterly pointless level of carnage which ensued and the arrogance, vindictiveness and stupidity of the terms of the Versailles Treaty which made the Second Word War virtually inevitable. The First World War did dismantle two ramshackle empires and also began a process of reducing both Britain and Germany to levels of military strength which seem to have ensured neither can ever mess up the world again.

Germany seems to have eschewed militarism entirely, while Britain now only rides into battle sitting on America’s shoulder — an increasingly perilous perch these days.

David Roberts
Castlegrove
Mallow
Co Cork

author by Munster Fusilierpublication date Thu Oct 30, 2008 10:13author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"County" Supplement in "Irish Examiner", 28.10.2008:

Flawed Great War commemorations


SOME years ago, I was in the Costa del Sol, in a resort favoured by elderly Germans. The date was November 11, which is an auspicious date because it was on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month that World War I, sometimes known as the Great War, ended. Since then, on this day, at this time, the victors of that war commemorate its ending with two minutes¹ silence.

The German community in Spain, though, were celebrating. Music and drink were very much in evidence and some of the usually sober Germans were dancing outside the bars where impromptu discos had been set up.I happened to be in a German-run travel agency that day and asked one of my fellow clients, in my very rudimentary German, what was going on. ³Elf, Elf, Elf,² he replied, which meant, in German, 11, 11, 11, the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month.

Still puzzled, I enquired of a German I know in Cork who told me that this date and time in Germany is important, not for the ending of the ŒWar to End All Wars¹ but as the time when the official German carnival season begins. Armistice Day is not commemorated in Germany, where the loss of World War I has been swept under the carpet. Understandable in a country where any kind of commemoration of that war would inevitably dig up unwanted associations with World War II.

Similarly, up until recently, Armistice Day was largely ignored in this part of Ireland, although it¹s estimated that up to 2,600 Corkmen were among the millions who died in World War I. Those soldiers who survived the war came home to an Ireland that was engaged in a bitter conflict with Britain but, because they arrived home wearing the uniform of the 'oppressor¹, they had to keep a low profile. Even now, commemorations of that war are muted and the two minutes¹ silence is largely ignored. In recent years, however, there has been a re-think about the war and poppies are now being sold and worn on the streets of Cork to support the British charity which looks after old soldiers.

Of course, this has been such a long time in coming that the World War I soldiers who survived the conflict are now long dead and the funds from the sale of the poppies are directed at soldiers wounded in subsequent wars. However, although I think there should be some recognition of the Irish soldiers who fought for Britain in World War I, I would stop short at wholeheartedly supporting the British approach to Armistice Day. My father, who was a man of strong convictions and socialist beliefs (he fought in the East End of London street battles with Oswald Mosley¹s blackshirt fascists) and volunteered to fight Hitler instead of waiting to be called up when World War II broke out.

But he was not happy with the way Armistice Day was celebrated or with the sale of poppies. He felt that the armistice commemorations were an excuse for glorifying war and argued that if men and women were killed and wounded in wars then the government was responsible for their welfare rather than some charity.

Anyone who has any doubts about the way in which the British establishment commemorates World War I should watch the BBC¹s coverage of the annual commemorations at the Royal Albert Hall in London. If you share my views about this subject I guarantee that you¹ll feel pretty sick watching this endorsement of everything that the British armed forces have ever done.In point of fact I wonder if it might have been better if Germany had won World War I.

Unlike World War II, I can¹t see that Britain had any moral superiority in that conflict.If the Germans had won, it would have been very unlikely that the Nazis would have come to power. Also, the Ottoman empire, which collapsed because the Turks took the wrong side in World War I, might have struggled on, Britain would not have been given the Palestine mandate and zionism might have continued as an unthreatening movement to the Arab people.

Anyway, coming back to Cork, I see that the Lord Mayor, Brian Bermingham, has announced details of a Remembrance Day concert in City Hall on November 8 which is intended to honour the memories of the estimated 2,600 Corkmen who died in World War I. This is despite the fact that there is already a national day of commemoration for all wars in July.

The British ceremonies in the Royal Albert Hall might be objectionable to some people, but I feel that what the Lord Mayor has planned for City Hall is verging on being described as sick.Patrons, it seems, have been invited to attend in period dress and Michael Twomey, who played Miah in the Cha and Miah comedy act, will compere the proceedings in the style of Leonard Sachs who hosted The Good Old Days. The Barrack Street Brass and Reed Band, and pipers and trumpeters from the Defence Forces will perform.

If it¹s going to be in fancy dress why not have a special guest appearance by an impersonator of the late Field Marshall Montgomery of World War II fame who was Officer Commanding at the then Victoria Barracks (now Collins Barracks) in Cork during the War of Independence? I wonder what the patriots Tomás MacCurtain and Terence McSwiney, whose statues grace the exterior of City Hall, would think of that?

Now, I don¹t subscribe to the Sinn Féin view that World War I has nothing to do with the Irish people. But I do feel that if Cork people¹s grandparents and great-grandparents died in this conflict they deserve something more respectful to honour their memories

author by Connacht Rangerpublication date Thu Oct 30, 2008 12:25author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Connacht Telegraph Tuesday October 21 2008:

Glorifying War Crime in Mayo
Glorifying War Crime in Mayo

author by kevin murphy - 32 csmpublication date Thu Oct 30, 2008 19:24author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Its no surprise to note that Mr Buckley has used the heavily politicised buzzword " peace " in an attempt to confer false respectability upon his mainly British imperialist theme park in Mayo , itself a district were dreadful genocide was committed by the country whose armed forces Mr Buckley is intent on promoting as respectable.
Once the British and Irish political and media class have conferred either a statue , political decision , persona or political process with the " peace addendum then it is pretty much off limits to any scrutiny or critique which might highlight its imperialist credentials and origins . To be sceptical or opposed to the item in question means one is therefore anti peace as opposed to anti imperialist and anti occupation . Having seen this method been used to confer respectability and indeed awe upon British and US imperialist projects , personas and treaties in this country in order to cement an occupation and have it accepted and legitimised by the Irish people , Mr Buckley is simply following the logic of the " peace process" and the "peace industry" in the interests of " peace" .
But of course what hes clearly doing is promoting and attempting to cement the legitimacy of the occupation of this nations , Irelands , territory as perfectly legitimate , both currently and retrospectively . Its an extremely political agenda hes pushing and not just one of imperialism abroad but primarily and centrally that of British imperialism in Ireland and their ongoing occupation of our national territory , their violation of our national sovereignty and their continued subversion of the concept of national democracy in Ireland . What hes promoting as legitimate is an ongoing act of aggression against the Irish nation and people , the crime of partition , occupation and imperialism in Ireland . The crime one is not permitted to address on the grounds it makes you " anti peace"

author by Nick Folley - nonepublication date Fri Oct 31, 2008 18:45author address author phone Report this post to the editors

From a recent copy of the Cork Independent, an article by Finbarr Cullen

Cork Independent 30 October 2008
Cork Independent 30 October 2008

author by Philip O'Connor - Irish Political Reviewpublication date Sat Nov 01, 2008 07:58author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"Irish" Regiments: The Empire they fought for

In the decades up to WW1, the British Empire spread across the globe, accompanied by massacre and theft on a grand scale, and driven by master race triumphalism. Many who "served" in these campaigns officered the army of the Great War for Democracy and Small Nations.

The "Indian Mutiny" of 1857 is known in India as their "First War of Independence". The British employed horrendous violence suppressing it, killing hundreds of thousands by execution and massacre. Being "blown from the mouth of a cannon" (see photograph below) was a particular favourite: "instant death to the victim, salutary terror to the onlookers who had body parts sprayed all over them". Among the British forces involved were many soldiers and "Irish" regiments later famous as the Munster Fusiliers, Dublin Fusiliers, Connaught Rangers etc.

Following the capture of Delhi, an orgy of massacre and looting ensued. A letter in the (British) Bombay Telegraph: "....All the city people found within the walls when our troops entered were bayoneted on the spot, and the number was considerable, as you may suppose, when I tell you that in some houses forty and fifty people were hiding. These were not mutineers but residents of the city, who trusted to our well-known mild rule for pardon. I am glad to say they were disappointed."
.
The retribution for the "Indian Mutiny" went down in Indian history as the "Devil's Wind" but in England was enthusiastically celebrated. Punch exulted in the righteous triumph of "Justice" over the "savage" (see picture below). Charles Darwin, writing in his own magazine Household Words (Dec. 1857), exclaimed: "I wish I were commander-in-chief in India ... I should proclaim to them that I considered my holding that appointment by the leave of God, to mean that I should do my utmost to exterminate the race."

Many family fortunes in Britain and Irekand derived from the looting of India:

The sack of Lucknow
The sack of Lucknow

"Punch" magazine: "Justice" triumphing over the "savage"
"Punch" magazine: "Justice" triumphing over the "savage"

"Blown from the mouth of cannon"
"Blown from the mouth of cannon"

author by Philip O'Connor - Irish Political Reviewpublication date Sat Nov 01, 2008 08:08author address author phone Report this post to the editors

2. "Irish" Regiments: The Empire they fought for

Victory at Omdurman (1889) added Sudan to the British Empire. Britain's Gunboats and repeater rifles ensured that the outcome was 10,000 Sudanese dead to 48 British dead (most of these Sudanese and Egyptian recruits). In a letter to his mother, Winston Churchill, who was there and made his career as a writer of heroic journalism, confided "The victory of Omdurman was disgraced by the inhuman slaughter of the wounded."

But in the British press that too was rationalised and explained (see below: 'Liquidation of the wounded Dervishes: The Reason' The Graphic, 1st October 1898).

Following the conquest of Uganda in 1896 King Prempeh and his governors were subjected to vicious public humiliation (below: 'The Submission of King Prempeh: The final humiliation', The Graphic, 29th February 1896).

Slaughter of the wounded at Omdurman
Slaughter of the wounded at Omdurman

British Ubermensch and African "sub-humans"
British Ubermensch and African "sub-humans"

author by Pat Muldowneypublication date Sun Nov 02, 2008 09:21author email lest.weforget at live dot ieauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

What did Hitler mean by “real Indian war”?

In Mein Kampf, Hitler stated his plans, his motivation, and the precedents for the policies which, when he implemented when achieved power with the assistance of Britain.

Extermination or genocide was the norm in the British Empire, providing Hitler with the model for his East-land colony or Lebensraum. Many British authorities and writers stated this plainly, from Edmund Spenser and Cromwell through to the twentieth century. Sir Charles Wentworth Dilke was a prominent Liberal, expected to become party leader and Prime Minister until he was scuppered by a divorce case. Here is what he said about Empire in his book Greater Britain (1894): “The Anglo-Saxon is the only extirpating race on earth. Up to the commencement of the now inevitable destruction of the red Indians, of the Maoris and of the [native] Australians, no numerous race has ever been blotted out by an invader.

What this means was demonstrated across the British Empire which projected itself by brute force and conquest around the world. Here is what happened in Tasmania:

"In 1830 Tasmania was put under martial law, a line of armed beaters was formed across the island, and an attempt was made to drive the aborigines into a cul-de-sac." (Moorehead, The Fatal Impact.) "The final extermination [of the Tasmanians] was a large-scale event, undertaken with the co-operation of the military and judiciary. … Soldiers of the Fortieth Regiment drove the natives between two great rock formations, shot all the men and dragged the women and children out of fissures in the rocks to knock their brains out." (Ziehr, Hell in Paradise.)

And here is how Hitler put it in Mein Kampf:

"We will select the best settlement areas as land for German settlement ... We will deal with the population. ... We don't need to give ourselves any pangs of conscience about this ... After all we don't think of [Red] Indians when eating Canadian wheat. ... England ... was free to ... eat its frozen mutton [from Australia] without looking too closely into how they were produced. ... One task lies ahead: Teutonisation by bringing in Germans and regarding the original inhabitants as [Red] Indians. ... We will have to have a razzia [extermination war], square kilometre by square kilometre and constantly stringing people up. This is to be a real Indian War."

A Real Indian War: The Sand Creek Massacre in Colorado, November 29, 1864

In 1858 white settlers poured into Colorado, where the Southern Cheyenne and Arapahoe lived after they had been ethnically cleansed by the settlers from the Great Lakes area a century or so previously, in a pattern repeated over and over again across the continent.

The conquest of the Irish took about a century (late 16th to late 17th century), the conquest of the Indians started a little later (early 17th century) and took nearly three centuries to accomplish. The parallel between these two conquests was fully obvious to settlers such as the genocidal Edmund Spenser and Walter Raleigh. Cromwell’s chaplain, the Rev Hugh Peters, was familiar with both Ireland and America: “The wild Irish and the Indian doe not much differ, and therefore would be handled alike … [Rather than] spend time about Castles and Forts, [we should] burne up the Enemies provisions every where.” In other words, extermination by famine, disease and scorched earth.

An element among the settlers recognised the attractions of Indian life, and a few actually became Indian. Thomas Morton’s sympathetic 1637 account of the Indians includes: “Of their Houses and Habitations: The natives of New England are accustomed to build themselves houses much like the wild Irish …” (that’s the likes of you & me, mostly).

A campaign of extermination was waged against the Colorado Indians after they were falsely accused of stealing 175 cattle, after they had attempted to make peace, and after they had handed over most of their weapons. The kind of scenes described below were replicated over and over again through the centuries, in America as in Ireland.

When a junior officer, Lieutenant Cramer, protested to Colonel Chivington against his attack on an Indian band (that means families of men, women and children), Chivington said: “I have come to kill Indians, and believe that it is right and honourable to use any means under God’s heaven to kill Indians.
According to Cramer, Chivington ordered his troops to: “Kill and scalp all, big and little; nits make lice.

Chivington, a former Methodist minister, commanded a force of 700 soldiers against 500 Indians at Sand Creek, of whom about 100 were men of fighting age. The rest were women, children and old men.

Robert Bent, Chivington’s guide, reported:
After the firing the warriors put the squaws and children together, and surrounded them to protect them. I saw five squaws under a bank for shelter. When the troops came up to them they ran out and showed their persons, to let the soldiers know they were squaws and begged for mercy, but the soldiers shot them all … There were some thirty or forty squaws collected in a hole for protection; they sent out a little girl about six years old with a white flag on a stick, she had not proceeded but a few steps when she was shot and killed. All the squaws in that hole were afterwards killed, and four or five bucks outside. The squaws offered no resistance. Every one I saw dead was scalped. I saw one squaw cut open with an unborn child, as I thought, lying by her side. Captain Soule afterwards told me that such was the fact … I saw quite a number of infants in arms killed with their mothers.”

First Lieutenant James D. Connor, New Mexico Volunteers:
About day break on the morning of the 29th of November we came in sight of the camp of the friendly Indians aforementioned, and were ordered by Colonel Chivington to attack the same, which was accordingly done. The command of Colonel Chivington was composed of about one thousand men; the village of the Indians consisted of from one hundred to one hundred and thirty lodges, and, as far as I am able to judge, of from five hundred to six hundred souls, the majority of which were women and children; in going over the battleground the next day I did not see a body of man, woman or child but was scalped, and in many instances their bodies were mutilated in the most horrible manner – men, women, and children’s privates cut out, etc.; I heard one man say that he had cut out a woman’s private parts and had them for exhibition on a stick … according to the best of my knowledge and belief these atrocities were committed with the knowledge of J.M. Chivington, and I do not know of his taking any measures to prevent them; I heard of one instance of a child of a few months being thrown in the feed-box of a wagon, and after being carried some distance left on the ground to perish; I also heard of numerous instances in which men had cut out the private parts of females and stretched them over the saddle-boxes, and wore them over their hats while riding in the ranks …

Lieutenant Cramer:
We arrived at the Indian village about daylight … Colonel Chivington moved his regiment to the front, the Indians retreating up the creek, and hiding under the banks … White Antelope ran towards our columns unarmed, and with both arms raised, but was killed. Several other of the warriors were killed in like manner. The women and children were huddled together, and most of our fire was concentrated on them … The Indian warriors, about 100 in number, fought desperately; there were about 500 all told. … Our force was so large that there was no necessity of firing on the Indians. They did not return the fire until after our troops had fired several rounds … I told Colonel Chivington … that it would be murder in every sense of the word, if he attacked those Indians. His reply was, bringing his fist down close to my face, ‘Damn any man who sympathizes with Indians’ … he had come to kill Indians and believed it to be honourable to kill Indians under any and all circumstances.”

Ashbury Bird, Company D, 1st Colorado Cavalry:
I went over the ground soon after the battle. I should judge there were between 400 and 500 Indians killed … Nearly all, men, women, and children were scalped. I saw one woman whose privates had been mutilated.”

Corporal Amos C. Miksch, 1st Colorado Cavalry, Company C:
Next morning after the battle, I saw a little boy covered up among the Indians in a trench, still alive. I saw a major in the 3rd regiment take out his pistol and blow off the top of his head. I saw some men unjointing fingers to get rings off, and cutting off ears to get silver ornaments. I saw a party with the same major take up bodies that had been buried in the night to scalp them and take off ornaments. I saw a squaw with her head smashed in before she was killed. Next morning, after they were dead and stiff, these men pulled out the bodies of the squaws and pulled them open in an indecent manner. I heard men say they had cut out the privates, but did not see it myself.”

Sergeant Lucien Palmer, 1st Colorado Cavalry, Company C:
The bodies were horribly cut up, skulls broken in a good many; I judge they were broken in after they were killed, as they were shot besides. I do not think I saw any but was scalped; saw fingers cut off [to get the rings off them], saw several bodies with privates cut off, women as well as men.”

David Louderbeck, 1st Colorado cavalry:
The dead bodies of women and children were afterwards mutilated in the most horrible manner. I saw only eight. I could not stand it; they were cut up too much … they were scalped and cut up in an awful manner … White Antelope’s nose, ears and privates were cut off.”

John S. Smith, interpreter:
All manner of depredations were inflicted on their persons, they were scalped, their brains knocked out; the men used their knives, ripped open women, clubbed little children, knocked them in the head with their guns, beat their brains out, mutilated their bodies in every sense of the word … worse mutilated than any I ever saw before, the women all cut to pieces … children two or three months old; all ages lying there, from sucking infants up to warriors.”

In celebration, Denver Opera House strung Indian scalps across the stage during intermission, to standing applause. A few months later, in July 1865 Senator James Doolittle of Wisconsin addressed the Denver audience, and said that the choice was to put the Indians on reservations or to exterminate them. Doolittle wrote that the audience gave “a shout almost loud enough to raise the roof of the Opera House – ‘Exterminate them! Exterminate them! Exterminate them!’

(Doolittle’s proposal was for mere ethnic cleansing as opposed to genocide. Early photographs show the concentration camps or death camps – stockades guarded by military watchtowers – into which the Indians were sometimes herded to rot, starve and be murdered.)

Like the anti-Hitler resistance, the Indians often displayed spectacular heroism. Hitler was defeated by his intended victims in Russia within a few short years. The Indian ordeal went on for three centuries.

The scene at Sand Creek may have looked something like My Lai (Viet Nam, 1968):

Another Atrocity for Remembrance
Another Atrocity for Remembrance

author by joemcivorpublication date Sun Nov 02, 2008 15:27author address author phone Report this post to the editors

P O' C made a slip . He wrote

"Charles Darwin, writing in his own magazine Household Words (Dec. 1857), exclaimed: "I wish I were commander-in-chief in India ... I should proclaim to them that I considered my holding that
appointment by the leave of God, to mean that I should do my utmost to exterminate the race."

It was Charles Dickens not Charles Darwin .

author by Philip O'Connorpublication date Sun Nov 02, 2008 16:19author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Thanks for that correction,
P.O'C.

author by Munster Fusilierpublication date Tue Nov 04, 2008 12:38author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Examiner Letters Nov 4 2008:

1. Bid to smear Irish who fought in First World War


IN THEIR letters (October 20) on the upcoming commemoration in Cork of the Irish soldiers who died in the First World War, Jack Lane and Tom Cooper infer or suggest outright that any such event would be an endorsement of the post-war military operations of the British army and security forces, specifically the Black and Tans and the Auxiliaries.

This is a simplistic and historically disingenuous suggestion.

It is, to use Tom Cooper’s word, an “insidious” suggestion, as was his casting a shadow over the use of “great” when describing the war. The word was and is used to give a sense of the traumatic magnitude of the event experienced by contemporaries, including the 200,000-plus Irishmen and women who participated directly in the war. The references to the Black and Tans are an attempt to besmirch the reputation of the Irishmen, Catholic and Protestant, who followed a long tradition by joining the British army. And it is particularly unjust to the Irishmen who joined up during the Great War. Of those who joined then the majority (though a relatively small one) were Catholics and while their motives for enlisting were varied and not always idealistic, those Catholics who enlisted did so on the understanding they were fighting for small nations and for Home Rule.

This ‘Irish nation’ might not have been republican with an anti-imperialist and, by inference, anti-British world view as promoted by Sinn Féin at the time, but for many people then it held out the prospect of political autonomy that would eventually expand to dimensions similar to those of other dominions like Canada, Australia and New Zealand. They were Irish nationalists fighting in foreign lands for an Irish nation.

For the first two years of the war these Irish soldiers had the support of the their own people, including Catholics. The eventual victory of Sinn Féin after the war ensured the usual victor’s prerogative — a rewriting of history and an adjustment that belittled the nationalist credentials of the Irish Party under John Redmond and those Irish Catholics who ‘took the shilling’ of the British army.

The upcoming commemorative events are part of a process of correcting the purposeful political amnesia of the Irish State and a recognition of the complexity and plurality of Irish political identity. Increasingly in a globalised, post-national world, with Ireland part of a single-currency Europe, you might find the spirit of the times more in sympathy with the Redmonite Irish Party than with de Valera’s Sinn Féin.

Mark Cronin
16 Delaney Park
Dublin Hill
Cork

2. Cork concert is seen as part of larger Remembrance Day ceremonies

I FIND it hard to fathom why the Lord Mayor of Cork, Brian Bermingham, should wish to organise a concert in the City Hall in honour of Corkmen who died in British uniform in the First World War. Moreover, the timing (November 8) makes the concert part of a bigger Remembrance Day/Poppy Day ceremony — a blanket commemoration of all British regiments and campaigns.

These include without question the Black-and-Tan campaign and the Anglo-Irish war during which Cork’s City Hall, along with a sizeable chunk of the city, was burned down — by British forces. I can’t help wondering if the irony is lost on Mr Bermingham, one of whose predecessors, Terence McSwiney, died in Brixton prison on hunger strike in 1920 while another, Tomás McCurtain, was shot dead by British forces. Indeed both men are commemorated with busts outside the very same concert venue.

We have witnessed a rash of such commemorative events in recent times, such as the opening of a so-called Peace Memorial Park in Co Mayo by President McAleese. This park aims to commemorate Irish servicemen — “whatever their uniform” — yet notably absent are the names of Irishmen — especially Mayo men — in the old IRA who died trying to obtain self-determination for this country: self-determination that was one of the catch-calls Britain used when recruiting cannon-fodder here but dropped as soon as the First World War was over.

It is also an historical fact that a large number of Irishmen fought in the Nazi uniform or for other fascists such as Franco. Why are these men’s names not on the Mayo memorial? The obvious answer is that to do so would be to imply tacit support for fascism. The uniform is equated with the ideology. Therefore it is an inescapable conclusion that honouring Irishmen who died fighting Britain’s wars — or the USA’s, as in Mayo — is not simply about the commemoration of bravery or foolhardiness but is primarily an honouring of the flawed ideologies that drove those wars. It is about making British military institutions and the wars that Britain fights ‘respectable’ here — despite their history on this island. It is true that many Irishmen found employment in the British army when none was to be had here, but mercenaries are not a new phenomenon and that, literally, describes men who join for economic motives. I know many Cork families have ancestors who fought in the First World War — my own grandfather was among them — but I hope prospective concert-goers will at least consider these facts before deciding to attend. Better still, the lord mayor should call off this fiasco.

Nick Folley
Ardcarrig
Carrigaline
Co Cork

author by jp - nonepublication date Tue Nov 04, 2008 23:13author address author phone Report this post to the editors

As usual the Irish get it wronge, lets all help Hitler and see how fast the Irish survive, ups sorrey the Irish were afraid so decided to let other nations defend them except, the many thousands of Irish men and women who were not cowards and were prepared to fight for freedom under many diffrent flags. I don't recall the Irish Nationalish condemming the Irish Americans fighting in Vetiam or any othre parts of the word. Yes we should remember all national soliders who give there best for there country, but not the people who are afraid to wear a uniform 24 hours a day, not just at night.

author by Nick Folley - nonepublication date Wed Nov 05, 2008 00:29author address author phone Report this post to the editors

It seems to me that Irish men fighting in say, the British Army or US army for that matter are fighting for Britain or the US, and not for 'their country' (i.e Ireland). Could we also argue for instance, that Germans who fought in the US army during WW2 or in Vietnam were fighting for Germany (i.e 'their country'). If so, then the lexis of the English language has no meaning whatsoever. I think it's time to drop the pretence that Irishmen who fought in Vietnam or Korea or Monte Cassino did it 'for Ireland'. They may have done it for England, or the Allied cause, or because they were anti-fascist or anti-communist, or they needed the money.

A number of Irishmen fought for Hitler and a much larger number for Franco (at which time Britain wasn't at war, and not really interested in taking in droves of potential Irish recruits, so no jobs there). We could argue that many of these men were ideologically motivated - Irishmen in the Wermacht may have believed they were defending Europe against the Communist menace or even have bought the propaganda about the 'Jewish conspiracy'. Afterall, Hitler was a bit of a hero to other Britain and America when he was tackling emergent communism in Germany with an iron fist. It didn't matter so much then that political dissidents were being summarily flung in jail, just as they would be under British rule in the North in the 1970s under internment policy.

And Irishmen who fought for Franco believed they were defending Spain and the Catholic church (with whom alas, Franco had an all-too-cosy relationship) against the Red Menace. These were 'good Catholic Irishmen doing their duty who gave many sons to the Church' as I've heard the RIC and Irishmen in WW1 often described. But there is no doubt Franco was a fascist dictator who ruled with an iron fist and liquated thousands of political opponents. But everywhere you will find Irishmen fighting for some ill-defined 'freedom'. Freedom from the fire to sit in the frying pan. And despite 'fighting for Ireland and freedom' you won't find them commemorated anywhere. Why?

Irishmen in Ireland in the 1940s were already free - having being obliged to win their freedom at the barrel of a gun from a country that preached freedom but didn't practice it. And if the majority of the Irish people decided not to get themselves killed during WW2, so what? They were certainly not cowards, they had already given Britain thousands and thousands of lives over several centuries. And to add insult to injury, their much-lauded sacrifice of WW1 wasn't enough - Britain intended to grab the remainder through conscription. And once the war 'for the freedom of small nations' was over the Irish discovered that they were obliged to fight for it all over again. Maybe the scales finally fell from their eyes. We didn't owe Britain anything in WW2, it was the least Britain could do after everything we'd given it - our forests, our natural resources, our land, our money and even our lives.

Despite all that, Britain wanted to invade us all over again to ensure the Germans didn't do the same - not to protect us, but to protect themselves. They were only dissuaded by the Americans who didn't want to prejudice the Irish-American vote. Many individual British people are very nice, but the ruling caste are a self-serving cynical elite, and you can believe otherwise if you wish. As DeValera said 'Britain's 'need' tends to become a moral necessity'

The largest 'debt of gratitude' we owe to anyone in WW2 is the Russians. They are in fact the ones who made it possible to defeat Hitler. They lost 20 MILLION people in doing it - twenty MILLION. A million Russians died in the cold and wastes of Stalingrad alone. No single country or group lost more people, yet you rarely see them getting much of a look in at any 'Remembrance Day' ceremonies. In fact, you'd swear it was all a gallant Anglo-American effort.

author by Munster Fusilierpublication date Wed Nov 05, 2008 08:56author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Examiner, Wednesday, November 05, 2008
Where to appreciate Irish world war victims

IN response to Tom Cooper and Jack Lane who feel that a remembrance concert to honour the Irish who fought and died during the First World War is wrong (Letters, October 20), I challenge anyone who shares these views to attend the Last Post ceremony at the Menin Gate in Ypres, Belgium, just once.

You would be so moved by this experience as an Irish citizen you would really appreciate why your fellow-countrymen and women should be honoured.

I applaud Cork’s Lord Mayor, Brian Bermingham, for announcing a remembrance concert in City Hall on November 8. The visual aspect of this concert — a compere, music and costumes — is a wonderful way to encourage younger people to study our history and in turn learn about the reality of war and its effects. Alternatively, sceptics could visit the Island of Ireland Peace Park in Belgium.

Judith Coffey
Harbour View
Cobh
Co Cork

author by Leinster Riflerpublication date Thu Nov 06, 2008 10:24author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Kevin Myers
Independent, Thursday November 06 2008:
Lest we forget sacrifices of our countrymen and women


What do Joseph Pierce Murphy, of 2 Thorncastle Place, Ringsend, Dublin, and Joseph Lynch, of Ringaskiddy, Co Cork, have in common? It is that on August 6, 1914, they were the first Irish servicemen to be killed in action in the Great War, after their vessel, HMS Amphion hit a mine in the opening naval battle in the North Sea.

At least two other sailors, Martin Murphy and Jeremiah Minahane, who were lost on the Amphion, were probably Irish, but are not listed on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission official lists. They are thus doubly forgotten.

One of the midshipmen saved from HMS Amphion was young Stephen Fogarty Fegen, of Tipperary. Twenty-five years later, in 1940, while skippering HMS Jervis Bay, he ordered a suicidal assault on the German pocket battleship "Admiral Scheer" in defence of the convoy he was escorting. He and his vessel perished in the process. He won a posthumous Victoria Cross.

The taboo on the subject of Ireland in the Great War has been lifted, but the ignorance has not. We still do not know how many Irishmen and women died in the Great War. Though we know that some 35,000 Irish soldiers died, we do not know how many sailors or airmen also perished. But we get glimpses. For example, of the 24 Royal Naval Donovans killed in action, 12 are known to have come from Cork, and there is the single, sad figure from the Queen Alexandra Imperial Medical Nursing Service, of Staff Nurse Bridget Donovan, who died on active service in 1916.

Some stories reach down the decades, with icy hands to freeze the heart.

Colonel JMF Shine, of Tramore, County Waterford, and his wife Kathleen had three sons: John Denys, Hugh Patrick and James Owen. Captain John Shine (26), Royal Irish Regiment, was one of the first soldiers killed in the war, on August 25, 1914. Eight months later, his brother, 2nd Lieutenant Hugh Patrick Shine, Royal Irish Fusiliers, was killed. And in August 1917, upon the evil, muddy slopes of Frezenberg Ridge, Captain James Owen (26), Royal Dublin Fusiliers, laid down his young life. To be followed shortly thereafter, by their mother, Kathleen, who soon died of whatever it is that mothers die of when all their sons are dead.

The Shines were well-born Catholics: the Lonergans of Fethard, Co Tipperary, were of humble stock. Jeremiah, 1st battalion Irish Guards, was killed in action on January 10, 1915. His brother, of the same battalion, was killed less than two months later. His third brother Patrick, also 1st Irish Guards, was killed just a fortnight afterwards. A fourth and final brother, Richard, also enlisted, though not in the Irish Guards, but the City of London Rifles. The change of regiment did him no good. He was killed in action on April 20, 1917.

What can one say of such loss? How did John and Mary Lonergan spend the rest of their days? Gone from history: gone from the great tale of the Irish nation.

The Shines and the Lonergans share a melancholy commonwealth with the Hacketts. In 1914, all must have seemed well with the Anglo-Irish Hackett family, in their stately Georgian pile, Castletown House, outside Ballycumber, Co Offaly. They numbered eight: the parents, Edward and Emilie, and their six children. The youngest boy, Teddy (16), died of natural causes, in 1915. Three other children -- two sons and a daughter -- were already in the colours. Eric, serving with the Royal Irish Regiment, was killed in action on the Somme, in 1916. His brother, Learo, a holder of the Military Cross, was killed with the Royal Irish Rifles, near Ypres, in April 1918. Their sister Venice, a military nurse, took ill and died before war's end.

Two other daughters, Geraldine and Alma, remained. In 1930, the Land Commission requisitioned most of the Hackett land. In 1933, Emilie, the mother, died, leaving Edward with Alma and Geraldine. One of the girls then perished in childbirth, as did the baby, and the other sister succumbed to illness soon afterwards. In 1938, the Land Commission took possession of the noble Castletown House, and for the princely sum of £30, sold it to Offaly County Council, which duly demolished it, and used its granite to make hardcore for the Ferbane-Ballycumber Road.

Poor Edward lived alone for another six years, with his family, his home, and his caste, all gone.

Where he spent this solitary hell, we do not know. After he died, finally, in 1946, he was buried in the family plot. But whereas the headstone at Liss Church of Ireland cemetery in Ballycumber lists all his family's names, even of those who were lost abroad, it doesn't mention him, because by then, there was absolutely no one left to ensure that his name would be added to the stone.

The Hacketts of Ballycumber are gone from local memory. Of their house, there is no trace. The parkland which was seized by the Land Commission has since largely reverted to scrub. Only a broken line of trees reminds visitors where the drive once ran.

And that is the essence of what we call history: a broken line of trees, to be cherished or ignored.

Lest we forget.

kmyers@independent.ie

author by Munster Fusilierpublication date Thu Nov 06, 2008 10:29author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Examiner Letter, Thursday November 06 2008:

Ireland was at war long before republican rebels fanned the flames


IN his letter (October 20), Pierse Martin implies this was a country untouched by war until perfidious nationalism kindled violent sectarian conflict in 1916.

Apart from the fact that sectarianism has been a feature of Irish socio-political life since the Tudors engaged in a Protestant plantation of Ireland, the first serious instance of violent sectarian division in 20th century Ireland was of course the Ulster unionist revolt of 1912.

This came in response to Home Rule, not to 1916. Unionists wanted to ensure Protestant settler hegemony and privilege, particularly in the North. It didn’t amount to bloodshed only because the British government backed down and its army mutinied.

Armed with 60,000 Austrian rifles, the UVF meant to go to war if necessary. On the contrary, the 1916 rebels called for a non-sectarian state to be created independently of Britain — a call that was enshrined by the first Dáil in 1919.

Secondly, Ireland was in fact at war. Simply because the killing and dying was being done in France did not mean Ireland was untouched by the violence. Every dead or maimed soldier had a family or friends and colleagues. That is without even taking into account the coarsening effect of a ghastly conflict like the First World War on the participants, and the militarisation of society that accompanied it.

The Irish Volunteers were founded to be the national army of a Home Rule Ireland and as a counterpoint to the already-formed Ulster Volunteers. Under John Redmond, the majority became simply another regiment of the British army. In a grandiose gesture, he volunteered their help without consulting their leadership and without trying to obtain anything for Ireland in return. That was the first stab in the back to the Volunteers. Thus Redmond was able to act ‘the big man’ in Westminster, but it would be other people who would do the actual killing and dying while he led from the rear, like Sassoon’s General. At least leaders like Pearse and Connolly, whatever their other faults, led from the front.

Men may have signed up for the First World War for many reasons, but once in there was no way out for the duration except as an invalid or in a bodybag. It may be idle speculation to wonder how many of them would have walked out if they’d had the free choice. We know some tried — dozens of Irishmen were shot as ‘deserters’ (ie, for trying to escape the madness) by the British. I’m sure others would have, too, had a firing squad not loomed in the background.

Nick Folley
Co Cork

author by Francis Ledwidge - Neither King nor Kaiser but Irelandpublication date Sat Nov 08, 2008 16:55author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The Cork Lord Mayor, Clly Brian Bermingham, thinks the gassing and slaughter of the European working class between 1914-18 should be celebrated. What better way to do it than to organise a fancy dress ball and 'and night of nostalgia'.

What should party revelers come as? As headless torsos, as limbless human beings. As men with their faces shot away perhaps.

Here are some images that might help the party goers experience some ideas for thrilling-killing nostalgia.

Since more Irish proportionately were executed by their own side (the 'British ' one, don't forget), maybe come as one of the Irish soldiers 'Shot at Dawn'.

Would You Believe RTÉ One, Sunday, 10.40pm, November 9, 2008

1918: Shot At Dawn

Among the many tragedies of Britain's World War 1 experience is the story of the 306 men 'shot at dawn', 26 of whom were Irish.

'Would You Believe' meets Dublin bus driver, Peter Mulvaney of the 'Shot at Dawn' (Ireland) Campaign which was instrumental in securing pardons for all 306 men.

Reporter Mick Peelo travels to England to meet with some of the families of the dead soldiers who've lived through 90 years of stigma to finally see their war dead rehabilitated.

These include 95-year-old Gertie Harris, the daughter of Private Harry Farr, executed though he had been hospitalised for five months for shell shock; and the O'Callaghan family, who rediscovered their lost ancestor Patrick Downey who'd been shot for disobedience after he failed to put on his cap


CLICK IMAGES TO SEE OR READ THEM BETTER

Oh What a Lovely War - sing-along everybody: 'Kill, kill, kill for the King and the Kaiser'
Oh What a Lovely War - sing-along everybody: 'Kill, kill, kill for the King and the Kaiser'

Some ideas for fancy dress - Cork Lord Mayor Birmingham could use these ideas as a crutch
Some ideas for fancy dress - Cork Lord Mayor Birmingham could use these ideas as a crutch

Some 'British jazz' and a 'London singer' what could be more appropriate in 'rebel' Cork
Some 'British jazz' and a 'London singer' what could be more appropriate in 'rebel' Cork

Come as an executed soldier - the Irish were four times more likely to be executed by their own side than other nationalities
Come as an executed soldier - the Irish were four times more likely to be executed by their own side than other nationalities

author by Napoleon Blownapartpublication date Sat Nov 08, 2008 19:54author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Dress up like one of them exploding British projectiles that left horrific injuries (see earlier thread on Dum-Dum bullets)

British Dum-Dum bullets discovered by the Germans in WW1
British Dum-Dum bullets discovered by the Germans in WW1

author by munster fusilierpublication date Sun Nov 09, 2008 11:18author address author phone Report this post to the editors

“LEST WE FORGET”

The dead of WWI, or of any war, should not be commemorated with a fancy dress concert in the spirit of the ‘Good Old Days’ as this event has been promoted. This is dancing on the graves of the dead.
The Cork and Irish dead of WWI were already sufficiently abused and humiliated in their lives and in their deaths. They were killed in horrible circumstances and their ideals were then betrayed by the government they fought for. They died for a propaganda lie – “the freedom of small nations.”
When Ireland expressed its clear desire for freedom in the 1918 General Election what it got was the Black and Tans and the Auxiliaries. All the latter being veterans of WWI and they burned down this City Hall along with countless other atrocities to show how much they cared for the freedom of this nation. How ironic that these same forces also killed two former Lord Mayors of the City whose busts patrons will pass on their way into this concert.
That First World War was fought to further the expansion and power of the British Empire – and for nothing else.
That war and the way it was ‘settled’ at Versailles ensured a century of warfare and we are still living with the consequences. All the tensions in the Middle East today arise directly from that war. The ‘war to end all wars’ and ‘the peace that ended all peace’ at Versailles ensured the 20th century was the bloodiest in human history. It is not a suitable subject for entertainment.
This concert is part of a series of celebrations, opening of so-called Peace Parks, etc., that claim to honour the Irish who died in WWI on the basis that they were ignored. Ireland never forgot the dead of WWI - that would have been a physical impossibility. It just did not celebrate Irish slaughter in Britain’s interest and it never should.
These commemorations seek to honour Irishmen no matter what uniform or what cause they died for. They seek to inculcate an attitude of indifference and amorality to war.
There is no thought conveyed by these celebrations. Their purpose is to cultivate the feelings that respond to the beat of the drum, and to stifle thought about the past, present and future involvement of Irishmen in wars.
In reality, their real purpose is to sanctify British militarist activity in the world, regardless of its particular object at a particular time.
Celebrate British militarism if you wish. Restore its hegemony over Irish public life if you can. But spare us the humbug.

Cork City Hall
8 November 2008

author by Nick - nonepublication date Sun Nov 09, 2008 22:42author address author phone Report this post to the editors

These placards placed outside Cork City Hall served to remind patrons that the event they were celebrating and its connection to Poppy Day has another side. The Britiah nation is still a nation engaged in colonial wars - as in Iraq and Afghanistan, by way of example. Moreover, this City Hall was built to replace the previous one burnt down - along with a big part of Cork city centre, by British forces (both official military and Black and Tans) in 1920. To the right can be seen the bust of one of Cork's first two republican Mayors - Thomas McCurtain (murdered by British forces in his home in 1920) and Terence McSwiney (died in Brixton prison on hunger strike - and force fed by British authorities - for the republican cause). Sad to think that some people today wish to throw away with both hands what these men gave their lives for. But it just goes to prove that democracy is not guaranteed to be self-perpetuating.

Watching Poppy(cock) Day ceremonies today in the UK the commentator noted that among the very elderly WW2 veterans there were also much younger veterans of the last few Gulf wars. So, in short, after the "War to end all wars" nothing has changed. A brass band of men in dragoon costumes from over a hundred years ago paraded down a UK street trailing a goat in a coat on a lead (regimental mascot, maybe?). It would be comical if it didn't lead to the far more serious business of invading soveriegn countries, interfering with sovereign political systems and encouarging young men and women to get killed and kill others.

Now it seems Ireland, who hasn't attacked any country or been involved in a war outside of UN-Peacekeeping duties - wants 'in' on some of this colonial 'glory'. It will certainly help to change international attitudes towards our UN Peacekeepers (who have been trading on our neutral and ex-colony history up to recently) who may find themselves regarded in a less-friendly light in future.

A photo of the City Hall during last Saturday's event
A photo of the City Hall during last Saturday's event

author by Shane - wsm (pers cap)publication date Mon Nov 10, 2008 11:44author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Wear a white poppy, as conceived in Britain by the Women's Co-operative Guild and taken up by the Peace Pledge Union:

http://www.ppu.org.uk/learn/early/poppy3_early_years.html

http://www.whitepoppy.org.uk/

Related Link: http://www.ppu.org.uk/learn/early/poppy3_early_years.html
author by Nick - nonepublication date Tue Nov 11, 2008 14:52author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Today's Irish Examiner carried this article on World War One and its consequences.

Reflecting on WW1 deaths
Reflecting on WW1 deaths

Second half of the article
Second half of the article

author by Nick - nonepublication date Tue Nov 11, 2008 14:56author address author phone Report this post to the editors

This report on the City Hall event is from the Evening Echo of Monday 10 November 2008. I notice there is no mention of the protest that took place outside the City Hall from an hour before the concert began. Though small in size, I would have thought that a local-interest newspaper like the Echo would at least have commented on it.

I wonder what our German visitors and tourists must make of these events?

"All correct and ready to kill Germans, Sir!"
"All correct and ready to kill Germans, Sir!"

author by Yellow Haired Ladypublication date Tue Nov 11, 2008 23:53author address author phone Report this post to the editors

A few weeks back, I was taking a leisurely stroll from Westminster Station to Trafalgar Square (thats right, I am living amongst the auld enemy). It is only a stroll of a few hundred yards but to pass this journey, I found myself doing something very strange. I began to count the number of statues which celebrated war and to my surprise there were over 20 (Sesame Street didn't go any higher) statues celebrating war in just a few hundred yards. Insane.

When you chuck in Poppies, Cenotaphs, and all the tv programmes commemorating war, could it be that in it's efforts not to forget, Britain is actually promoting war and giving it a positive spin. They dont just call it the war either, it's the Great War. For God's sake, what could possibly be great about all these young men, barely old enough to piss straight, dieing in a muddy field, in some far flung part of Europe. And all so some egomaniacs can settle a debate about whose balls are bigger.

Lest we forget? What a pile of garbage. Everyone clearly does forget. We have barely buried one group of men, and we start sending another group off to another meaningless war. It's like soldiers are no longer human, they are just products rolling of a conveyor belt, ready to die for some overvalued commodity.

Lest we forget? Here's a better idea - Let's forget. Let's pull down the staues, and the cenotaphs, stuff the poppies where the sun don't shine. Stop celebrating war, stop glorifying war but above all else, if you want to make sure that their sacrifices are never forgotten, stop making war!

As Oxfam would say:

"Be Humankind"

Peace!

author by Munster Fusilierpublication date Thu Nov 13, 2008 10:36author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Examiner Letter, Thursday, November 13, 2008
Concert an insult to Irish victims of world war


TWO years after the murderous Battle of the Somme, it was still a front being fought over.

It was there that John Sheehy of Clonakilty, Co Cork, a first cousin of my maternal grandfather, perished on February 15,1918.

I wish therefore to protest most strongly at the grotesque insult to his memory, and that of 2,600 other Corkmen who also perished as a result of that war, perpetrated by the fancy dress concert organised in Cork City Hall by Fine Gael Lord Mayor Brian Bermingham last Saturday.

My late mother recalled for me the heartbreak and sorrow that had been experienced by John Sheehy’s family, not least because he had died as British cannon fodder.

Others felt the same way, including one of the icons of Fine Gael and a founding father of this State, Kevin O’Higgins, who had lost his own brother in that same war.

Notwithstanding such personal loss, the soon-to-be-assassinated home affairs minister unequivocally declared himself opposed to a proposed Merrion Square memorial to the Irish world war dead. As he told the Dáil in March 1927: “You have a square here, confronting the seat of the Government of the country... I say that any intelligent visitor not particularly versed in the history of this country would be entitled to conclude that the origins of this State were connected... with the lives that were lost in the Great War in France, Belgium, Gallipoli, and so on. This is not the position. The State had other origins, and because it had other origins I do not wish it suggested, in stone or otherwise, that it has that origin.”

Lord Mayor Bermingham has further succeeded in insulting the memory of Fine Gael’s own dead heroes, especially that of Kevin O’Higgins, whose name is inscribed alongside Arthur Griffith and Michael Collins on the Leinster House Cenotaph.

Manus O’Riordan
Dublin 11

author by MUNSTER FUSILIERpublication date Mon Nov 17, 2008 08:26author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Monday, November 17, 2008

Ireland was ‘betrayed’ before First World War ended

SEVERAL letters in favour of the Remembrance Day concert held in Cork City Hall on November 8 based their support for it on the understanding that the Irish Party supported the British government’s conduct of the war until it ended on November 11, 1918.

Such was not the case. On April 18, 1918 the Irish Party, having withdrawn from the House of Commons over the passing of a Military Service Act, joined with other Irish parties to issue a declaration from the Mansion House, Dublin.

The declaration stated that “the passing of the Conscription Bill by the British House of Commons must be regarded as a declaration of war on the Irish nation... It is in direct violation of the rights of small nationalities to self-determination which even the prime minister of England — now preparing to employ naked militarism and force his act upon Ireland — himself officially announced as an essential condition for peace at the (Paris) peace conference”.

Among those who signed the declaration were John Dillon and Joseph Devlin (representing the Irish Party), Eamon de Valera and Arthur Griffith (representing Sinn Féin), William O’Brien (All-for-Ireland League), Tim Healy (Independent) and, representing Labour, Thomas Johnson, William O’Brien and M Egan. Within days the Roman Catholic bishops issued a statement expressing their opposition to conscription. Moreover, the two worst fears of those who signed the Mansion House declaration were to be realised: the promise to recognise “the rights of small nationalities” was broken when Lloyd George prevented the case for Irish independence being heard at the Paris peace conference; and the employment of “naked militarism” by the British army began immediately — well over a year before the Black and Tans arrived in Ireland.

Three stages may be identified in this move towards rule by the military rather than by Dublin Castle.

Firstly, on May 10, 1918 Lord French accepted the offer to become Lord Lieutenant of Ireland “as a military viceroy at the head of a quasi-military government”.

Secondly, French took steps to send an extra 12,000 troops to Ireland (25,000 were already there) and planned to establish four “entrenched air camps” which could be used to bomb Sinn Féiners.

Thirdly, following a proclamation by Lord French on May 16, 1918 in relation to an alleged German plot, more than 100 members of Sinn Féin were imprisoned without trial under the Defence of the Realm Act.

By the end of the world war, about 200 Sinn Féiners were imprisoned under this act. In other words, as the world war ended, a British army of occupation was enforcing martial law in Ireland and neither of the two political promises that had inspired Irishmen to fight in England’s interests had been met: there was no Home Rule and there was no freedom for a small nation rightly struggling to be free.

These historical realities provided the background against which Irish soldiers fought in the war and, in the words of Eamon de Valera addressed to US President Woodrow Wilson, manifested “unselfish heroism”.

However, to focus on their bravery while neglecting the presence of the British army in Ireland and the duplicity of the British government would be to tell only one part of the story — and that a very unbalanced one.

To provide the necessary balance, it is helpful to recall and to remember (the essence of Remembrance) the words of the Mansion House conference that “a declaration of war on the Irish nation” was made by the British government in April 1918.

Dr Brian P Murphy OSB
Glenstal Abbey
Murroe
Co Limerick

Memorial concert in a grown-up republic

HAVING attended the memorial concert at Cork’s City Hall last Saturday I went to express my gratitude for a wonderful evening. Played to a packed house, this proved to me how far we have come as a nation, and what a wonderful lord mayor Cork has in Cllr Brian Bermingham.

To those who would not honour the men who made such a sacrifice back then I would say there are few houses in Cork not affected by the First World War. The lord mayor took the brave step to honour them on this 90th anniversary.

This in a way was as monumental as Barack Obama’s victory in the US. I came away with the impression we were finally turning into a republic, having grown up as a nation, and I say to everyone involved with the concert — well done, and please let’s have more events like this in Cork.

Larry Dineen
‘Oakridge’
Hillview Drive
Commons Road
Cork

Irish troops were four times more likely to be shot at dawn

IN his letter (November 6), Nick Folley makes the sensible point that for those in British uniform during the First World War, “there was no way out for the duration except as an invalid or in a body-bag”. He mentions the possibility of a firing squad in the background as a deterrent to free choice.

Execution was not an idle threat. As an indication of British or Irish attitudes, or both, “Irish troops were as much as four times more likely to be condemned to death by a British courtmartial than were troops from other parts of the British Isles and the Dominions” (Hugh Oram, ‘Worthless Men: Race, Eugenics and the Death Penalty in the British Army During the First World War’, 1998). Irish troops would not have been happy at the thought of execution by their own officers, especially as one or two were shot simply for not saluting or for wearing their headgear at the wrong angle. They may have decided instead to take their chances facing the Germans.

We do have testimony with regard to the true feelings of increasing numbers of Irish troops. Evidence from the poet Francis Ledwidge, Tom Kettle MP and from Tom Barry after the 1916 Rising suggests that increasing numbers of Irish in British uniform came to believe they were fighting people who were not their enemy on behalf of those who were. This view, or concern, was replicated from the top. British Viceroy Lord French “believed that the haemorrhage of ex-servicemen to the ranks of Sinn Féin was well under way”.

French’s secretary, Col Edward Saunderson, chimed in: “The men are drifting daily into the Sinn Féin camp”, noting with alarm that regular Irish soldiers “refused to sing God Save the King” (Kent Fedorowich, ‘Reconstruction and Resettlement: the Politicisation of Irish Migration to Australia and Canada, 1919-29’).

The “haemorrhage of ex-servicemen” who felt this way should have their thoughts, feelings and (in some cases) fate remembered. Perhaps, if one of the fancy dress participants at the Cork lord mayor’s ball had turned up as an execution victim bearing the slogan ‘shot by my officers’, it might have been fitting.

However, it is possibly a forlorn hope to expect objective coverage of facts such as these from those promoting remembrance of Irish participation in the First World War.

Niall Meehan
Offaly Road
Cabra
Dublin 7

author by Connacht Rangerpublication date Mon Nov 17, 2008 08:49author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Examiner Letters
Monday, November 17, 2008


1. Memorial concert in a grown-up republic

HAVING attended the memorial concert at Cork’s City Hall last Saturday I went to express my gratitude for a wonderful evening. Played to a packed house, this proved to me how far we have come as a nation, and what a wonderful lord mayor Cork has in Cllr Brian Bermingham.

To those who would not honour the men who made such a sacrifice back then I would say there are few houses in Cork not affected by the First World War. The lord mayor took the brave step to honour them on this 90th anniversary.

This in a way was as monumental as Barack Obama’s victory in the US. I came away with the impression we were finally turning into a republic, having grown up as a nation, and I say to everyone involved with the concert — well done, and please let’s have more events like this in Cork.

Larry Dineen
Cork

2. Irish troops were four times more likely to be shot at dawn

IN his letter (November 6), Nick Folley makes the sensible point that for those in British uniform during the First World War, “there was no way out for the duration except as an invalid or in a body-bag”. He mentions the possibility of a firing squad in the background as a deterrent to free choice.

Execution was not an idle threat. As an indication of British or Irish attitudes, or both, “Irish troops were as much as four times more likely to be condemned to death by a British courtmartial than were troops from other parts of the British Isles and the Dominions” (Hugh Oram, ‘Worthless Men: Race, Eugenics and the Death Penalty in the British Army During the First World War’, 1998). Irish troops would not have been happy at the thought of execution by their own officers, especially as one or two were shot simply for not saluting or for wearing their headgear at the wrong angle. They may have decided instead to take their chances facing the Germans.

We do have testimony with regard to the true feelings of increasing numbers of Irish troops. Evidence from the poet Francis Ledwidge, Tom Kettle MP and from Tom Barry after the 1916 Rising suggests that increasing numbers of Irish in British uniform came to believe they were fighting people who were not their enemy on behalf of those who were. This view, or concern, was replicated from the top. British Viceroy Lord French “believed that the haemorrhage of ex-servicemen to the ranks of Sinn Féin was well under way”.

French’s secretary, Col Edward Saunderson, chimed in: “The men are drifting daily into the Sinn Féin camp”, noting with alarm that regular Irish soldiers “refused to sing God Save the King” (Kent Fedorowich, ‘Reconstruction and Resettlement: the Politicisation of Irish Migration to Australia and Canada, 1919-29’).

The “haemorrhage of ex-servicemen” who felt this way should have their thoughts, feelings and (in some cases) fate remembered. Perhaps, if one of the fancy dress participants at the Cork lord mayor’s ball had turned up as an execution victim bearing the slogan ‘shot by my officers’, it might have been fitting.

However, it is possibly a forlorn hope to expect objective coverage of facts such as these from those promoting remembrance of Irish participation in the First World War.

Niall Meehan
Dublin 7

3. Ireland was ‘betrayed’ before First World War ended

SEVERAL letters in favour of the Remembrance Day concert held in Cork City Hall on November 8 based their support for it on the understanding that the Irish Party supported the British government’s conduct of the war until it ended on November 11, 1918.

Such was not the case. On April 18, 1918 the Irish Party, having withdrawn from the House of Commons over the passing of a Military Service Act, joined with other Irish parties to issue a declaration from the Mansion House, Dublin.

The declaration stated that “the passing of the Conscription Bill by the British House of Commons must be regarded as a declaration of war on the Irish nation... It is in direct violation of the rights of small nationalities to self-determination which even the prime minister of England — now preparing to employ naked militarism and force his act upon Ireland — himself officially announced as an essential condition for peace at the (Paris) peace conference”.

Among those who signed the declaration were John Dillon and Joseph Devlin (representing the Irish Party), Eamon de Valera and Arthur Griffith (representing Sinn Féin), William O’Brien (All-for-Ireland League), Tim Healy (Independent) and, representing Labour, Thomas Johnson, William O’Brien and M Egan. Within days the Roman Catholic bishops issued a statement expressing their opposition to conscription. Moreover, the two worst fears of those who signed the Mansion House declaration were to be realised: the promise to recognise “the rights of small nationalities” was broken when Lloyd George prevented the case for Irish independence being heard at the Paris peace conference; and the employment of “naked militarism” by the British army began immediately — well over a year before the Black and Tans arrived in Ireland.

Three stages may be identified in this move towards rule by the military rather than by Dublin Castle.

Firstly, on May 10, 1918 Lord French accepted the offer to become Lord Lieutenant of Ireland “as a military viceroy at the head of a quasi-military government”.

Secondly, French took steps to send an extra 12,000 troops to Ireland (25,000 were already there) and planned to establish four “entrenched air camps” which could be used to bomb Sinn Féiners.

Thirdly, following a proclamation by Lord French on May 16, 1918 in relation to an alleged German plot, more than 100 members of Sinn Féin were imprisoned without trial under the Defence of the Realm Act.

By the end of the world war, about 200 Sinn Féiners were imprisoned under this act. In other words, as the world war ended, a British army of occupation was enforcing martial law in Ireland and neither of the two political promises that had inspired Irishmen to fight in England’s interests had been met: there was no Home Rule and there was no freedom for a small nation rightly struggling to be free.

These historical realities provided the background against which Irish soldiers fought in the war and, in the words of Eamon de Valera addressed to US President Woodrow Wilson, manifested “unselfish heroism”.

However, to focus on their bravery while neglecting the presence of the British army in Ireland and the duplicity of the British government would be to tell only one part of the story — and that a very unbalanced one.

To provide the necessary balance, it is helpful to recall and to remember (the essence of Remembrance) the words of the Mansion House conference that “a declaration of war on the Irish nation” was made by the British government in April 1918.

Dr Brian P Murphy OSB
Co Limerick

author by Connacht Rangerpublication date Mon Nov 17, 2008 09:31author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Apology for double posting above - unforeseen consequence of the "30-Minute Publish Delay".

author by Pat Muldowneypublication date Tue Nov 18, 2008 20:04author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Hitler’s Table Talk, 1941-42 (Translation by Hugh Trevor-Roper):

If the British Empire collapsed to-day, it would be thanks to our arms, but we'd get no benefit, for we wouldn't be the heirs. Russia would take India, Japan would take Eastern Asia, the United States would take Canada. I couldn't even prevent the Americans from gaining a firm hold in Africa. In the case of England's being sunk, I would have no profit—but the obligation to fight her successors.

[General Cause declared: "It was a relief for us to learn of Japan's entry into the war"]
Yes, a relief, an immense relief. But it was also a turning point in history. It means the loss of a whole continent, and one must regret it, for it's the white race which is the loser.

This war will have helped to originate one of the world's great upheavals. It will have consequences that we did not seek—for example, the dismemberment of the British Empire.

It might be possible to negotiate a separate peace which would leave India to England. In that case, what would happen to the United States? They would be territorially intact. But one day England will be obliged to make approaches to the Continent. And it will be a German-British army that will chase the Americans from Iceland. I don't see much future for the Americans. In my view, it's a decayed country. And they have their racial problem, and the problem of social inequalities. Those were what caused the downfall of Rome, and yet Rome was a solid edifice that stood for something. Moreover, the Romans were inspired by great ideas. Nothing of the sort in England to-day. As for the Americans, that kind of thing is non-existent. That's why, in spite of everything, I like an Englishman a thousand times better than an American.

The prohibition of suttee for widows, and the suppression of starvation-dungeons, were dictated to the English by the desire not to reduce the labour-force, and perhaps also by the desire to economise wood! They set so cleverly about presenting these measures to the world that they provoked a wave of admiration. That's the strength of the English : to allow the natives to live whilst they exploit them to the uttermost.

When one treats a people as the English have continually treated the Indians, the unpardonable folly is to send the youth of the country to the universities, where it learns things that it would be better for it not to know.

Above all, nobody must let loose the [namby pamby humanitarian] German schoolmaster on the Eastern territories ! That would be a sure way to lose at once the pupils he'd be given, and the parents of these pupils. The ideal solution would be to teach this people an elementary kind of mimicry. One asks less of them than one does of the deaf and dumb. No special books for them ! The radio will be enough to give them the essential information. Of music, they can have as much as they want. They can practise listening to the tap running. I'm against entrusting them with any work that calls for the least mental effort.

One cannot compare the English Conservatives to the old German bourgeoisie that formed the nationalist parties before 1933. The English Conservatives identify themselves with the Empire, they represent traditions and a solidly established form of society—and it's difficult to see them capitulating to the people, like the French aristocracy in 1789. Quite the contrary, they're striving, by means of a gigantic organisation, to propagate their own ideas amongst the people, trying to fill it with the patriotic fanaticism that inspires its airmen and sailors.

All the same, what happened [war] wasn't inevitable. The English had a right to be cowards, but at least they had to be clever. A policy of friendship with us would have entailed their offering us Guinea, for example. Now, because of their stupidity, they're losing a whole world—and they've turned us into allies of the Japanese !

It's not possible to retain by democratic methods what one has conquered by force. In that respect, I share the point of view of the English Tories. To subjugate an independent country, with the idea of later giving it back its freedom, that's not logical. The blood that has been shed confers a right of ownership. If the English give India back her liberty, within twenty years India will have lost her liberty again. There are Englishmen who reproach themselves with having governed the country badly. Why? Because the Indians show no enthusiasm for their rule. I claim that the English have governed India very well, but their error is to expect enthusiasm from the people they administer.

Hitler's British Legion Auxiliaries http://www.britishlegion-northstaffs.org.uk/history/pol...e.htm :

"The Sudetenland of Czechoslovakia was about to be claimed and annexed by the German Chancellor Adolf Hitler and to this end Hitler had demanded the withdrawal of all Czech troops and police by the 1st October 1938. This alarmed the other European countries and after discussion Hitler agreed to a Plebiscite controlled by an International Commission. Several plans were put forward which ended by the British Government authorising the British Legion in agreement with Hitler to organise a force of Legionaries to supervise the voting, and its anticipated transfer of the territory to Germany.

"So on the 25th September 1938 the British Legion HQ in London began preparations to form what was described as a ''Volunteer Police Force'' to police the plebiscite area. Personnel had to be found, equipped and prepared for overseas travel. It was suggested that 1000 members of the British Legion would be required and a further 200 would be required for transport and supporting tasks.

"British Legion HQ circulated all ten area branches asking for lists of men who would be prepared to serve in the new British Legion Volunteer Police Force, and the first two floors of Olympia in London were taken over to provide a mobilisation centre, where the volunteers would enrol on the 6th October 1938.

"The British Legion Volunteer Police Force Commander was named as Major Sir Francis Fetherston-Godley OBE, DL, the then National Chairman of the British Legion. The volunteers would be paid £3.15 shillings per week for married men and £3 per week for single men.

"By the 7th October 1938 all 1200 personnel had been sworn in and for the next week they were quartered in Olympia, where they were instructed as to their expected duties.

"The British Ambassador in Berlin had stated that it was essential that all personnel should be uniformly dressed in, for example: blue suits with armbands, and commissioner (sic) hats.

"The British Legion Volunteer Police Force was subsequently issued with its own uniform which consisted of Police blue peaked caps and greatcoats which were provided by the London Metropolitan Police, and dark blue three piece suits as worn by civilian municipal employees of that time. They were also issued with white soft collar shirts, two pairs of boots and a kit bag. Ties were either regimental or British Legion pattern. A special British Legion cap badge was produced for the force, with lapel, shoulder or epaulette badges for wear with a greatcoat. An armband in the British Legion colours of blue and gold was also issued. Thus equipped, the British Legion Volunteer Police Force was as scheduled to proceed to the Sudetenland on the 12th October 1938.

"They were taken to Tilbury Dock where they embarked on two ships, The MS Naldera and The MS Dunera to sail to Bremen, where they were to be conveyed by train to the Sudetenland. The ships anchored off Southend to await further instructions.

"On the 13th October 1938 Hitler's representative on the International Commission openly declared against a plebiscite. The Czechs having always opposed the idea, concurred and the plebiscite was formally abandoned. On the following day the British Government gave instructions that the British Legion Volunteer Police Force was no longer required and that it should disband. The two ships returned to Tilbury Dock and the Legionaries disembarked and dispersed to their homes on the 15th October 1938."

Hitler's British Legion Volunteer Police Force waiting to board their train
Hitler's British Legion Volunteer Police Force waiting to board their train

author by Pat Muldowneypublication date Sat Nov 22, 2008 11:40author address author phone Report this post to the editors

More from Hitler's Table Talk, 1941-2:

What would have happened on the 13th March 1936, if any body other than myself had been at the head of the Reich ! Anyone you care to mention would have lost his nerve. I was obliged to lie, and what saved us was my unshakeable obstinacy and my amazing aplomb. I threatened, unless the situation eased in twenty-four hours, to send six extra divisions into the Rhineland. The fact was, I only had four brigades. Next day, the English newspapers wrote that there had been an easing of the international situation.

If Lloyd George had had the necessary power, he would certainly have been the architect of a German-English understanding. The British Navy was the chief partisan of such an understanding. It was the jumping-jacks of politics, inspired by world Jewry, who set themselves against it. The British sailors thought that the German fleet represented the necessary supplement to the British fleet to guarantee the policing of the seas. In a conflict of no interest to Europe, the German Navy would have had as its mission to guard the safety of European waters, which would have set free the entirety of the British fleet. Events missed actually taking that direction only by a hair's breadth.

The struggle we are waging [in Russia] against the Partisans resembles very much the struggle in North America against the Red Indians. Victory will go to the strong, and strength is on our side. At all costs we will establish law and order there.

In a book on India which I read recently, it was said that India educated the British and gave them their feeling of superiority. The lesson begins in the street itself; anyone who wastes even a moment's compassion on a beggar is literally torn to pieces by the beggar hordes; anyone who shows a trace of human sentiment is damned for ever. From these origins springs that crushing contempt for everything that is not British which is a characteristic of the British race. Hence the reason why the typical Briton marches ahead, superior, disdainful and oblivious to everything around him. If the British are ever driven out of India, the repercussions will be swift and terrible. In the end, the Russians will reap the benefit. However miserably the inhabitants of India may live under the British they will certainly be no better off if the British go. Opium and alcohol bring in twenty-two and a half million sterling to the British Exchequer every year. Anyone who raises his voice in protest is regarded as a traitor to the State, and dealt with accordingly. We Germans, on the contrary, will all go on smoking our pipes, while at the same time compelling the natives of our colonies to abandon the horrors of nicotine! Britain does not wish to see India over-populated; it is not in her interest. On the contrary, she would rather see a somewhat sparse population. If we were to occupy India, the very first preoccupation of our administrators would be to set up countless Commissions to enquire into the conditions of every aspect of human activity with a view to their amelioration; our Universities, full of solicitude for the welfare of the natives, would immediately open sister organisations all over the country; and we should finish up by quickly proving that India has a civilisation older than our own! The Europeans are all vaccinated and so are immune from the dangers of the various epidemics. The owner of a plantation knows that it is in his own interest to prevent the outbreak of disease among his coolies, but—well, perhaps it is, after all, better to content oneself with a little less profit and not to interfere with the normal course of nature !

We will adopt the British attitude of arrogance. In the time of the old German Emperors, let it not be forgotten, the Kings of England were of little more account than the King of Denmark to-day. In the first war, we found, on going through the paybooks of prisoners of war, that many of them had served in the South African War, They had been all over the world, and for them the fatherland was their Regiment! With men like that, nothing is impossible !

We must persist in our assertion that we are waging war, not on the British people, but on the small clique who rule them. It is a slogan which promises good results. If we say we are fighting the British Empire to the death, then obviously we shall drive even the last of them to arms against us; and do not forget that there are very many among them who never wanted war. If I give Churchill grounds for declaring that Britain is fighting for her survival, then I immediately close the ranks for him—ranks which at the moment are most desperately torn asunder. What has Britain achieved by her declaration that she will destroy the German people? I'll tell you what she achieved: she has welded the whole German people into one mighty, determined fighting unit.

author by Nick - nonepublication date Tue Nov 25, 2008 01:50author address author phone Report this post to the editors

1. Wrong way

WE need to be wary of First World War commemorations.

War remains the wrong way, the worst way.

Historical revisionism is on the rise. James Connolly proclaimed: “We serve neither king nor kaiser, but Ireland”.

Was he wrong?

Antony Barnwell
Dublin 9

2. Beware of politicians calling for patriotism

THE extensive correspondence on war and remembrance in your letters columns shows the subject is still controversial. It is amazing that huge numbers of ordinary people can be incited to sacrifice their lives in causes inaccurately labelled ‘patriotic’.

Surely, calls to patriotism can only be justifiably made when the survival of one’s country is directly at risk. Many wars have been fought and literally millions killed in situations where territorial and economic gain, together with military prestige, were the actual motivating forces.

The gains, if any, were likely to accrue to those who kept their persons far removed from the field of battle while those who fought and died, or were severely wounded, received nothing more than a small piece of metal attached to a scrap of ribbon.
The treatment of wounded veterans and the families of those who fell was frequently a disgrace.

War has been described as the failure of politics and we should look long and hard before responding to calls to patriotism from the engineers of that failure. We should avoid any glorification of war or militarism, including elaborate remembrance ceremonies.

David Roberts
Mallow
Co Cork

author by Captain Bone-All Duckley - The Mustachio Clubpublication date Tue Nov 25, 2008 10:01author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Remembrance is Commemoration.

Commemoration of what? For what purpose? Does it matter?

Supporters of Remembrance say it commemorates and honours the courage and sacrifice of our fellow-countrymen who fought in/died in various wars.

Opponents say that:
1. These wars were not “Our Wars”;
2. The wars were not fought for any honourable purpose;
3. The Remembrance Ceremonies have a hidden current agenda:
- To make Irish people more amenable and more positive towards past wars, with a view to making them more amenable and positive towards current and future wars.
- Except for one particular war, namely, the only ever war against any foreign power which was properly mandated by an elected Irish government.
- And the wars which Remembrance ceremonies seek to honour were fought to advance the interests of that particular foreign power, and were not fought to advance Irish interests.

Supporters of Remembrance challenge these points in various ways.

Some of them say that:
1. World War 1 was “Our War”, in the sense that the Irish who fought on the British side in that war were seeking to advance Irish interests;
2. The legitimate government of Ireland at the time was the British government, and as such it legitimately committed Ireland to war;
3. The predominant political leadership of the Irish at the time endorsed the action of that government;
4. A majority of the Irish endorsed the policy of both the Irish political leadership and the British government. They endorsed it by engaging in the war in large numbers.
5. World War 1 DID have an honourable purpose – to protect and advance democracy against the encroachments of aggressive autocracy, and to secure the liberation of small nations.
6. Regarding the Irish War of Independence, there was no legitimately constituted, or “constitutional”, Irish government at the time. The role of government in Ireland was contested, and was not settled constitutionally until 1922.
7. In the case of other foreign wars in which Irish people fought in the twentieth century (World War 2, Burma, Iraq, Afghanistan and dozens of others), these wars were fought on behalf of values, and states, which we should support.

Sometimes, Remembrance supporters argue that the Remembrance ceremonies are actually anti-war. In effect they are Peace Rallies.

TO BE CONTINUED.

author by Captain Donkey Buck-All - The Mustachio Clubpublication date Tue Nov 25, 2008 20:06author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Further to #1 above.

Another point on the Remembrance side is the argument which is occasionally put, that we should distinguish between and separate, on the one hand the activities of Irish individuals in foreign armies, and on the other hand those armies, foreign states, and their policies and wars.

The point of this argument being that it is good and proper to honour those Irish individuals, whatever about the foreign armies, wars, states and policies that these Irish individuals served.


In all this talk of commemorating courage and sacrifice, one could almost fail to notice what it is that soldiers do. They do NOT go out to offer themselves as a sacrifice. They go out to KILL as many of their opponents as they can manage, WITHOUT getting themselves killed in the process. Their purpose is to make a sacrifice of the other side, not of themselves. If they get themselves "sacrificed" without "sacrificing" anyone on the other side, then they would have been better off staying at home with Mammy. And if too many of them manage to "sacrifice" themselves then they are ignominious failures. Their purpose is winning, not losing.

Are they courageous? Probably no more than the rest of us. But war is risky, and soldiers get opportunities to take risks.

What parts of all this courage and sacrifice are praiseworthy – sufficiently praiseworthy to warrant annual Remembrance ceremonies?

A propensity to take risks can be good or bad, depending on the purpose of the risk-taking. Courage can be manifested in many ways. By sportsmen such as mountain climbers or motor car racers who risk their own lives without seeking to take anybody else’s life. Violent criminals take risks. Mercenary soldiers can be personally very brave. (No doubt there have been Irish members of mercenary bands, Irish mercenary soldiers who were courageous, and who died or “sacrificed” their life. Are they included in Remembrance? If not, why not?)

Much more problematic than courage or risk-taking is the propensity to kill, which is also commemorated and honoured in the Remembrance ceremonies. This is the “sacrifice” bit of Remembrance. Soldiers go out to “sacrifice” the other guy, but are liable to get “sacrificed” themselves.

It is one thing when a citizen is conscripted or forced by law into an army, and ordered to kill other human beings by his government.

But none of the Irish who fought in foreign wars in the twentieth century were conscripted. Every one of them was a volunteer. Every one of them personally chose to sign up to kill other human beings.

Normally, anyone who voluntarily sets out to kill other people is arrested on the authority of the state, then charged, tried, convicted and jailed. But states make an exception when, rather than discouraging violence, they put lethal weapons into the hands of teenagers and train them in the best and most efficient ways of killing other people.

The authority which enables a state to kill people must come from somewhere. We could argue that when we elect a government we confer this authority on it. (The British government of Ireland in 1914 was elected in Britain (in 1910), but by an electorate which was much less than half of the adult population in Britain. And it received no votes at all in Ireland. It did not even seek any votes in Ireland.)

We also confer on the state, not just the authority, but the duty and obligation to kill on our behalf in situations where we ourselves are placed in mortal danger by an aggressor, or when our interests are grievously threatened by an aggressor.

The most obvious case of this would be if a foreign power invaded or occupied the country by force. This was the authority invoked by the First Dáil on the basis of its 1918 Election Manifesto: '[to use] any and every means available to render impotent the power of England to hold Ireland in subjection by military force or otherwise'.

TO BE CONTINUED.

author by Captain Doolaly Bonkers - the Mustachio Clubpublication date Fri Nov 28, 2008 22:41author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The killing of human beings is usually a serious crime. But it can be legal, even commendable, in some circumstances. A state can decide if and when its citizens may kill other human beings with impunity – as penal executioners, as police officers, as private citizens defending themselves against mortal threat, as soldiers in a war situation.

A question arises whether a citizen’s “licence to kill”, granted by State A to authorised citizens of State A, can be validly assumed by citizens of State B. Suppose State A applies the death penalty for murder, but State B does not. What then if a citizen of State B takes up employment as executioner in State A? What if an Irish citizen served as a lethal injector in the USA, or as a beheader in Saudi Arabia?

Some crimes, such as paedophile acts, are punishable in the perpetrator’s home country even when committed in a foreign jurisdiction. Some states grant themselves the authority to punish the perpetrators, from any country, of certain kinds of crimes, committed anywhere in the world. Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon could not travel to certain countries for fear of arrest over the Sabra and Shatila massacre. General Pinochet had a similar problem when, during a visit to England, his extradition to Spain was sought. Serb leader Milosevic was taken from his own country to another country and charged there for certain crimes which took place in a third country (Bosnia).

If country A is at war with country B, then it may authorise the killing of certain citizens of country B. Now suppose country C is not at war with country B. Then, if a citizen of country C sets out to kill citizens of country B, that act must be problematic in regard to the laws of country C.

One way in which some states deal with such problems is to make it illegal for their citizens to serve in the army of any foreign state without first obtaining permission. This is the case in the United States, Germany, South Africa, for instance.

During World War 2 the British Government seriously considered invading the Irish Free State, and the indiscriminate use of poison gas was contemplated in certain circumstances. What attitude should the Irish government have then taken towards its many citizens who served in the British Army?

When soldiers commit war crimes the responsible individuals are supposed to be held accountable – charged, tried and punished. A recent RTÉ television history programme challenged the Irish authorities for allowing suspect characters on the Nazi side to reside unchallenged in Ireland post-WW2. As a member of the British colonial forces, the person presenting the programme served, in Burma in 1946, in the kind of role that Hitler envisaged for his armies in East-land (Russia).

Were any of the Irish citizens returning from the British or American armies interviewed by the Garda Síochána for possible participation in (or facilitation of, or connivance at) any of the numerous crimes committed by those armies? Such as the mass slaughter of civilians – Dresden, Hiroshima and many others?

And what about those numerous members of British officer class, resident in Ireland throughout the twentieth century, who were involved in horrendous crimes against civilians and freedom fighters in the colonial occupation of Kenya, India, Cyprus, Aden, Malaya, Burma?

The line taken by President McAleese (who is a lawyer by profession) and others in the Remembrance ceremonies implies that any Irish person, in any foreign army, killing for any cause, should be honoured and commemorated.

author by Robert Nairakpublication date Mon Dec 01, 2008 22:50author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Your argument is OK as far as it goes, Captain. I agree that the official commemoration, by states, of state killing (so-called sacrifice), is highly problematic, and has the potential to undermine civilised standards in human conduct.

What about the following?

For an action done in a sovereign state, does (or should) another sovereign state have (a) the authority or (b) the power
to arrest, charge, try, convict and punish
(a) one of its own citizens, (b) a citizen of a different sovereign state,
on the grounds that the action is criminal or illegal in one or other state, or even in some third state?

The Ó Searcaigh case comes to mind. Also the case in England a few years ago of a fourteen year old girl who ran away to Turkey to get married.

In terms of armed forces, what about those citizens of the Republic, including members of the Irish Army and Gardaí, who were/are in the pay of British military intelligence? Is this legal under Irish law? If they get “sacrificed” in the line of “duty” (their treason), is their “courage” covered by Remembrance services of Irish officials such as President McAleese? If not, why not?

Your point about the British officer class in Ireland is a good one. Many of the Big Houses were (are?) safe refuges for war criminals. Lord Roberts of Kandahar comes to mind. Member of a prominent Waterford family, many of his crimes were in Kandahar, Afghanistan, where the current action is.

I’m looking forward to more of this!

author by Robert Nairakpublication date Tue Dec 02, 2008 09:52author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Incidentally, I endorse wholeheartedly the letter of David Roberts in last week's Examiner, quoted in this thread a couple of posts back.

All the more so if perchance David is descended from Lord Roberts of Kandahar. British War Criminality in Ireland is across the board. One of the worst of them was Sir Michael O'Dwyer, the Tipperary Catholic who helped to engineer the Amritsar Massacre (see start of this thread), and who was despatched to the hottest part of hell by Udham Singh (also above).

The address of David Roberts' letter is given as Mallow, Co. Cork. This is the home of Thomas Osborne Davis, who subjected British imperial aggression, in Afghanistan especially, to devastating forensic critique which still applies, with uncanny accuracy, to present-day Afghan adventures.

author by Captain Noddly Allbuck - the Mustachio Clubpublication date Wed Dec 03, 2008 07:41author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Ye have heard men say: Blessed be the peacemakers.
But I say unto you: Blessed are the warmakers, for they shall be called, if not the children of Jahwe, the children of Odin, who is greater than Jahwe.

Do you say that a good cause justifies even war? I say to you: a good war justifies any cause.


That appears to be the philosophy behind the movement to glorify Irish participation in the Great War that is being spearheaded by President Mary McAleese.

The President is Constitutionally obliged to act in public affairs only on the advice of the Government. The Government must have told her to glorify the Great War. Did it tell her why?

If it did, she did not tell us. So we are left to conclude that wars are good things in themselves and that fighting in them is to be admirable for its own sake.

The founder of the main Government party, Eamon de Valera, did not take part in the British war on Germany and Austria in 1914. He urged Irishmen not to enlist in the British Army for that War. And, when he went to war in 1916, he fought against the British Army, in a declared alliance with Germany.

If all Irishmen who engaged in warfare between 1914 and 1918 are to be celebrated and honoured, regardless of which side they fought for, does that not mean that war as such is to be celebrated and honoured as a good thing? That war is its own justification? That whatever the cause may be, the war justifies it?

There is an old-fashioned idea that wars are good or bad, depending on the cause for which they are fought. There is another old-fashioned idea: that war is inherently bad and that no good cause can be well served by it. The idea that war is good, regardless of the causes involved in it, is a new Irish idea – an idea of the era of President McAleese and her Government advisers.

Britain has fought more wars than any other state since the Roman Empire. Since its defence against the Spanish Armada in the 16th century, it has had no occasion to fight a war of defence.

All its wars since then have been wars of choice. But Britain has never proclaimed this new Irish principle that war is good in itself and that soldiers who fought on both sides are to be equally celebrated and honoured.

It might be said, with some justice, that British morality of war is hypocritical and manipulative. But it cannot be said that Britain has ever discarded the morality of cause in war as Ireland has now done.

There is a famous British summary of warfare in world history by Sir E.S. Creasy. President McAleese and her advisers need to read and inwardly digest this paragraph from Creasy's Preface to The Fifteen Decisive Battles Of The World: From Marathon To Waterloo (1851):

It is an honourable characteristic of the Spirit of this Age, that projects of violence and warfare are regarded among civilized states with gradually increasing aversion. The Universal Peace Society certainly does not, and probably never will, enrol the majority of statesmen among its members. But even those who look upon the Appeal of Battle as occasionally unavoidable in international controversies, concur in thinking it a deplorable necessity, only to be resorted to when all peaceful modes of arrangement have been vainly tried; and when the law of self-defence justifies a State, like an individual, in using force to protect itself from imminent and serious injury. For a writer, therefore, of the present day to choose battles for his favourite topic, merely because they were battles, merely because so many myriads of troops were arrayed in them, and so many hundreds or thousands of human beings stabbed, hewed, or shot each other to death during them, would argue strange weakness or depravity of mind. Yet it cannot be denied that a fearful and wonderful interest is attached to these scenes of carnage. There is undeniable greatness in the disciplined courage, and in the love of honour, which make the combatants confront agony and destruction. And the powers of the human intellect are rarely more strongly displayed than they are in the Commander, who regulates, arrays, and wields at his will these masses of armed disputants; who, cool yet daring, in the midst of peril reflects on all, and provides for all, ever ready with fresh resources and designs, as the vicissitudes of the storm of slaughter require. But these qualities, however high they may appear, are to be found in the basest as well as in the noblest of mankind. Catiline was as brave a soldier as Leonidas, and a much better officer. Alva surpassed the Prince of Orange in the field; and Suwarrow was the military superior of Kosciusko. To adopt the emphatic words of Byron:--

“ ’Tis the Cause makes all,
Degrades or hallows courage in its fall."

author by revised revisionistpublication date Wed Dec 03, 2008 08:39author address author phone Report this post to the editors

History is written by winners. Most WW1 and WW2 films we see have been made by American and British movie companies, though in recent years some subtitled war movies have appeared here from Germany. We rarely see Soviet or Russian subtitled war movies on Irish cinema or TV screens - and most deaths of civilians and combatants in WW2 were suffered by what Churchill and FDR often referred to as "our gallant allies" the USSR. Result: we understand WW2 from an Anglo-Amerikanski perspective.

Now our national leaders are shoveling us a tinted commemoration agenda dressed up as cross-border ecumenical friendship.

author by Nick - nonepublication date Thu Dec 04, 2008 01:06author address author phone Report this post to the editors

One of the best 'war movies' I have seen is a Russian (Soviet) one dating from 1985 entitled "Come & See" in English. It suffers from rather poor dubbing and subtitles into English, and is a bit drawn out, but is excellent on other fronts. First of all it documents in grimy detail the suffering endured by Russians during that period - 650 villages burned down in Byleorussia alone.

The story is told through the eyes of a 14 year old boy who is desperate to join the Partisans. He digs up a rifle (from a grave) and goes off to join them. There were some rather innovative directing techniques. For example during a bombing raid by the Nazis on the Partisan camp in the forest, a bomb explodes near the boy. The sound is instantly muffled as he loses his hearing and remains so for most of the rest of the film until his hearing starts to return towards the end.

A lot of the film has the sort of dream-like quality found also in Terrence Malik efforts such as "Thin Red Line" though a bit more grimy and in the 'realist school'. There is practically no musical score, probably for the latter reason.

While it has its shortcomings and tends a bit towards 'the glorious struggle by the Motherland' it is nonetheless an interesting insight into the war from the Russian experience and perspective that is often lacking in "the West"

author by Captain Bundle Donkey - the Mustachio Clubpublication date Fri Dec 05, 2008 09:47author address author phone Report this post to the editors

McAleese: "A good war justifies any cause!"

Britain, for all its militarism over three and a half centuries, has never discarded the idea of just cause when celebrating its wars. What it celebrates is what it holds to be the victory of its just cause in war. It celebrates past wars in ways that prepare it for future wars. It never includes the defeated enemy in its celebrations.

It never lets go of the idea of right and wrong in warfare. It always asserts that what it fights for is right and the enemy is always evil. All its wars are Manichaean struggles of Good against Evil. It does not allow secular conflict of interest to be a sufficient reason for making war. It holds that in a just war one side must be good and the other side must be evil.

It is true that it never scrutinises its own cause very closely when asserting it to be good, or is much concerned about a fair presentation of the enemy cause when judging it to be evil. But in principle it never goes beyond the scheme of Good and Evil, either when making war or celebrating it.

It was left for nationalist Ireland in its "maturity" to do that, by celebrating the Irish who fought on both sides in the Great War, without concern for just cause. So:

"My brothers in war! I love you from my heart of hearts. Therefore let me tell you the truth.

You shall love peace as a means to new wars.

Do you say that a good cause justifies even war? I say to you that a good war justifies any cause.

So live your life of Obedience and War! Where's the profit in living long?

What warrior just wants to be spared?

I don't spare you. I love you from my heart of hearts, my brothers in war!"


Does that not express the official philosophy of Ireland today?

author by Pedantpublication date Fri Dec 05, 2008 12:39author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Hi, Bundle. Should be #5, I think.

author by James Giblet - Our Newspublication date Sat Dec 06, 2008 12:19author address author phone Report this post to the editors

See also:
RTE to ignore Our War - the war of Independence and the setting up of Dail Eireann
http://www.indymedia.ie/article/90102
&
http://www.irishnews.com/articles/540/606/2008/12/4/604....html

author by Sir Cahir O'Dohertypublication date Sun Dec 07, 2008 09:47author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Report from the Inish Times, Wednesday December 3 2008:
("Inish" is Inishowen in East Donegal, including Moville, Buncrana and Carndonagh)

Donegal County Council backed a motion by Councillor Marion McDonald (Fianna Fáil, Moville)
http://www.fiannafail.ie/person.phpx?rel=Councillor&pid...d=109
for a cultural tourism project to explore the connections between General Montgomery and Moville
"with a view to maximising the British and other tourist interest in this local citizen".


Samuel Montgomery built New Park House, the Montgomery family home, in Moville in 1774. Monty's mother was famous for running along the Donegal shore of Lough Foyle waving the Union Jack when ships of the British Navy sailed up Lough Foyle to their base in Derry.

Montgomery served in the British colonial forces in Ireland, India and Egypt. He was Brigade Major in the 17th Infantry Brigade in the Irish War of Independence, serving in Munster in the same Brigade of the Essex Regiment as Arthur Ernest Percival (the one who later surrendered the British Empire to Japan in Singapore in 1942). Percival was boss of the Essex Battalion Torture Squad and liked to drive around in an open lorry taking pot shots at people working in the fields. He was the torturer of Tom Hales and Patrick Harte who were stripped and dragged for miles after a lorry. Their hair was pulled out and their nails pulled off with pincers. Harte lost his mind and died a few years later.

Montgomery approved of the British reprisals policy. He wished that he could have waged war against Irish democracy in the manner of Cromwell and the Nazis. He wanted to impose indiscriminate terror on the entire population.

A letter from Montgomery to Percival (14/10/1923, quoted in "British Voices: From the Irish War of Independence 1918-1921", by William Sheehan) sheds light on their preferred methods of colonial war:

"Personally, my whole attention was given to defeating the rebels but it never bothered me a bit how many houses were burnt. I think I regarded all civilians as 'Shinners' and I never had any dealings with any of them.

"My own view is that to win a war of this sort, you must be ruthless. Oliver Cromwell, or the Germans, would have settled it in a very short time. Nowadays public opinon precludes such methods, the nation would never allow it, and the politicians would lose their jobs if they sanctioned it. That being so, I consider that Lloyd George was right in what he did, if we had gone on we could probably have squashed the rebellion as a temporary measure, but it would have broken out again like an ulcer the moment we removed the troops. I think the rebels would probably [have] refused battles, and hidden their arms etc. until we had gone. The only way therefore was to have given them some form of self-government and let them squash the rebellion themselves, they are the only people who could really stamp it out, and they are still trying to do so and as far as one can tell they seem to be having a fair amount of success. I am not in close touch with the situation over there, but it seems to me that they have had more success than we had. I arrived at the above conclusion after a great deal of thought on the subject. You probably will not agree."

author by Bloggopublication date Sun Dec 07, 2008 18:39author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Have crypto-unionists taken over our media?

Listen in on discussion over at politics.ie :

http://www.politics.ie/media/38412-have-crypto-unionist....html

author by Captain Buachaill san Éirne - the Mustachio Clubpublication date Sat Dec 13, 2008 18:07author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Ireland was obedient to British militarism in 1914. Five generations of essential subordination had brought that about.

Then in 1916 nationalist Ireland threw off the incubus of British militarism and asserted its own will. And in election in 1918 it voted for the independence asserted in 1916, and fought for it when the British state ignored the election. For two or three generations, nationalist Ireland did its own thinking and celebrated its own causes in accordance with the morality of the Independence war that Britain compelled it to fight.

But now it is reverting back towards an adaptation to British militarism. The signs of it are everywhere.

But, in making this new adaptation, it has to forgo the British morality of war. Britain distinguishes between good and evil in warfare. It just happens that, in making war, Britain is always on the side of good, and its enemies are always evil.

But Ireland has had to step beyond good and evil. Many Irish people fought in the British army in 1914 - 1922. Many more Irish people fought against the British army in that period, in a struggle which eventually brought about an independent Irish state. In commemorating and honouring both these kinds of Irish, the Irish authorities create a conundrum for themselves.

The fact is still not forgotten that Britain refused to make terms with the Irish democracy on the basis of the 1918 General Election result, obliging those who had voted for independence to go on and fight the British Army for it. And revisionism has still not got a sufficient grip on us to oblige us to condemn ourselves as evil because we achieved independence by fighting the British Army. Many eminent revisionist academics do in fact treat our War of Independence as evil, but they have not yet altered public opinion sufficiently to make it safe for the Government to do so.

That is why the Government, in feeling its way towards Poppy Day, has to go beyond the good and evil of war. It cannot just adopt the British morality of the Great War (and of all Britain's wars).

It cannot yet condemn those who fought against Britain in the Great War led by James Connolly, Patrick Pearse etc. That is why, in celebrating those who fought for Britain, it has to go beyond good and evil, forget about just causes of war, and present war as a good thing in itself.

So: "A good war justifies any cause."

author by Captain Lee-buck Alldone - the Mustachio Clubpublication date Sun Dec 14, 2008 10:21author address author phone Report this post to the editors

McAleese: “ALL WAR IS GOOD!”

The President has taken us back to the British militarist propaganda myth of The Fighting Irish.

So let's have it with Kipling:

The Irish Guards

We're not so old in the Army List,
But we're not so young at our trade,
For we had the honour at Fontenoy,
Of meeting the Guards' Brigade.
'Twas Lally, Dillon, Buckley, Clare,
And Lee that led us then,
And after a hundred and seventy years,
We're fighting for France again!
Old Days! The wild geese are flighting
Head to the storm as they faced it before!
For where there are Irish there's bound to be fighting,
And when there's no fighting, it's Ireland no more
Ireland no more!

The fashion's all for khaki now,
But once through France we went
Full-dressed in scarlet Army cloth,
The English left at Ghent.
They're fighting on our side to-day
But, before they changed their clothes,
The half of Europe knew our fame,
As all of Ireland knows!
Old Days! The wild geese are flying
Head to the storm as they faced it before!
For where there are Irish there's memory undying,
And when we forget, it is Ireland no more
Ireland no more!

From Barry Wood to Gouzeaucourt,
From Boyne to Pilkem Ridge,
The ancient days come back no more
Than water under the bridge.
But the bridge it stands and the water runs
As red as yesterday,
And the Irish move to the sound of the guns
Like salmon to the sea.
Old Days! The wild geese are ranging,
Head to the storm as they faced it before!
For where there are Irish their hearts are unchanging,
And when they are changed, it is Ireland no more!
Ireland no more!

We're not so old in the Army List,
But we're not so new in the ring.
For we carried our packs with Marshal Saxe
When Louis was our King.
But Douglas Haig's our Marshal now,
And we're King George's men,
And after one hundred and seventy years
We're fighting for France again.
Ah, France! And did we stand by you,
When life was made splendid with gifts, and rewards?
Ah, France! And will we deny you
In the hour of your agony, Mother of Swords?
Old Days! The wild geese are flighting,
Head to the storm as they faced it before,
For where there are Irish, there's loving and fighting,
And when we stop either, it's Ireland no more!
Ireland no more!

author by Captain Alley Bonduck - the Mustachio Clubpublication date Wed Dec 17, 2008 14:02author address author phone Report this post to the editors

A Warlike Peace Park

A Peace Park glorifying war - a "Peace Park" celebrating Irishmen who died fighting, regardless of what they were fight for - was opened in Mayo by President McAleese on Government instructions on 7th October 2008.

The moral complications of honouring warriors, no matter what they were fighting for, are evaded by a celebration of "the young men who fell so bravely in various wars" (letter by Brendan Cafferty, Mayo News 14/10/08, posted above on Thursday Oct 23).

So: A good war justifies any cause.

Amongst the "various wars" celebrated in Mayo is the event known variously as the Sepoy War and the First Indian War Of Liberation: the suppression of the "Indian Mutiny". With regard to this, Mr. Cafferty writes: "Cornelius Coughlan who served with the Connaught Rangers did his duty, as all soldiers do".

Theirs not to reason why: Theirs but to do and die - even in cases of mass slaughter intended to teach natives a lesson.

Irish society was broken by the Williamite Conquest. It remained broken for the better part of two hundred years, during which time a disdainful colonial stratum acted in place of the populace and called itself Ireland. Fragments of that broken society were scooped up into the British Army and were trained to terrorise and break other societies. As an ancient Roman put it, they created a desert and called it peace. That is the peace that President McAleese, on Government instructions, celebrated in Mayo.

"A good war justifies any cause" - that is the philosophy we end up with when we celebrate those who made war with the British Army and those who made war against it, setting aside the causes for which they made war. What is celebrated on that condition is not a just war, but War itself.

We know the cause that motivated those who fought against the British Army. We might think it good or we might think it bad, but we know what it was. It was to establish independent Government in Ireland. The British Government let it be known that it would not concede Irish independence to a mere vote of the democracy. Irish independence could only be gained through warfare.

That is why the Irish Volunteers went to war against Britain in 1916.

It is said that they did so without a democratic electoral mandate. That is true. But nobody had an electoral mandate in 1916. The British Coalition Government called off the election that was due in 1915 and governed the United Kingdom without an electoral mandate for the next three years. When the Election was finally held in December 1918 the Irish electorate gave a decisive mandate for the thing the Volunteers went to war for in 1916. The British Government and Parliament took no heed of the democratic vote in Ireland. So there had to be another war to give effect to the democratic electoral mandate.

Now it could be maintained that, because British Governments and Parliaments had ruled Irish independence out of order, British Government was the only legitimate government in Ireland, no matter what the Irish electorate said; and that the establishment of Irish independence was therefore not a legitimate object of democratic political activity in Ireland.

That is the view of eminent academic figures, such as Professor Eunan O'Halpin of Trinity College and Professor Tom Garvin of University College, Dublin. They do not spell it out clearly like that. But it is implied in what they say. It is the view at the back of their minds which determines what they say.

It would be useful if they said it plainly and coherently, explaining why independence was not a legitimate object of democratic activity in Ireland. But they do not say it. Perhaps they are waiting until the time is ripe. But in the meantime we cannot allow ourselves to be stymied by their coyness.

If independence was a legitimate object of democratic political activity in Ireland, then war against the British Army was legitimate when the British Government and Parliament refused to negotiate independence after the 1918 Election. And, since it was well known long before 1918 that Britain would not concede independence to a democratic vote in Ireland, the criticism of the 1916 Volunteers for going to war against Britain without an electoral mandate, in a situation in which Britain had suspended elections, sounds hollow.

But whether one thinks the wars of 1916 and 1919-21 good or bad, just or unjust, on the Irish side, there is no doubt about the cause for which they were fought.

The matter is not so clear on the other side.

The British Cause?

One might say that the World War launched by Britain in August 1914, with Irish Home Rule support, was a 'just war'. That is easy to say. But it is not easy to say what it was fought for, what its aim was.

Redmond's Volunteers enlisted in order to secure Home Rule by demonstrating loyalty to Britain and its Empire, while Carson's Volunteers enlisted for the purpose of preventing Home Rule. But did antagonistic rivalry between Unionist Ulster and Nationalist Ireland have anything to do with Britain's reason for making World War, or for its war aims once war was launched?

Perhaps the Home Rule antagonism, in which the two great British Parties were arrayed against each other and were driving towards Civil War, was a reason why the British Cabinet decided to avail of the European disturbance as an opportunity to launch a Great War against Germany, Austria-Hungary and Turkey, and draw the whole world into it as far as possible. But Home Rule was not an issue for Britain in the War, and once War was declared it was set aside as an issue in domestic politics.

So what were Britain's war aims?

TO BE CONTINUED.

author by Tom Moran - Retiredpublication date Tue Dec 23, 2008 19:52author address author phone Report this post to the editors

A very sad and misconceived web-site. Remembrance has two purposes: to honour the courage and bravery of those who died and thereby to help realise the futility of war. Remembrance does not glorify war!

author by Goeballs - No Ballspublication date Wed Dec 24, 2008 17:13author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Tom,

So the German government of Angela Merkel should do the decent thing and comemorate those German soldiers who fought and died bravely for Hitler in Poland, on the Eastern Front, in Normandy?

It doesn´t matter WHAT they were fighting for - just so long as they SACRIFICED THEIR LIVES BRAVELY?

Or maybe the CAUSE they were fighting for DOES make a difference after all.

In which case, we have to think about the causes that those Irish soldiers in Foreign Armies were fighting for, BEFORE we start honouring them in Commemoration ceremonies.

author by Emily Lawlesspublication date Wed Jan 07, 2009 20:10author address author phone Report this post to the editors

War-battered dogs are we,
Fighters in every clime;
Fillers of trench and grave,
Mockers bemocked by time.
War-dogs hungry and grey,
Gnawing a naked bone,
Fighters in every clime,
Every cause but our own.

author by Rudyard Kiplingpublication date Fri Jan 09, 2009 17:13author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"Similarly imbued with the seventeenth-century covenanting spirit was that remorseless foe of the rebels, John Nicholson, who on news of the rebellion formed a Movable Column from British and Punjabi irregulars. Moving with great speed, he wreaked havoc wherever he led them in the Punjab: one tactic which he soon adopted was the blowing away of mutineers from cannon mouths. Lieutenant Frederick Roberts (later Lord Roberts of Kandahar and Waterford, and Commander in Chief in India)—the famous 'Bobs'—commented that Nicholson's methods were "awe-inspiring certainly, but probably the most humane as being a sure and instantaneous mode of execution". However that may be, "blowing rascals away from guns", as the Ulster-born Colonel James Graham put it, was also designed to have a major deterrent effect in that it challenged the Hindu belief in reincarnation."

The whole article can be read on the Orange Order's Reform Movement website where the war crimes of the Irish in British service are remembered with pride:

Related Link: http://reform.org/joomla/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&i...id=30
author by Winston Churchillpublication date Sat Jan 17, 2009 09:27author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Reader's letter, Saoirse, January 2009: British Torture in Kenya

The Times of London (December 3) revealed that Barack Obama’s Kenyan grandfather was imprisoned and tortured by British troops in the 1950s.

The Dublin Evening Mail at the time regularly reported petty criminals in the District Courts being given the benefit of the Probation Act when their solicitors promised they would join the British Army.

The “Emergency” in Kenya lasted from 1952 to 1959 under Queen Elizabeth II and three British Prime Ministers – Churchill, Eden and Macmillan. Some 1,100 Africans were hanged by the British after farcical trials, and tens of thousands of Africans were killed by British forces.

Two books published in 2005 suggest that the murderous cruelty visited on the Africans by the British was unsurpassed by the Nazis in Poland and Russia.

They are Britain’s Gulag: the Brutal End of Empire in Kenya and History of the Hanged: Britain’s Dirty War in Kenya and the End of Empire.

The Times of London, on the day it reported the death of Bobby sands carried an obituary of Brigadier Michael Sylvester O’Rorke, an old boy of Dublin’s Blackrock College.

Following service in the First World War O’Rorke transferred to the RIC in 1919. In 1918 the Irish electorate had renounced the British Empire and all its works and pomps.

Decent RIC officers were being relieved their commands or were resigning as the Manchester Guardian reported the British Government preparing dirty work in Ireland.

In 1922 O’Rorke joined with disbanded RIC and routed Black-and-Tans in the terroristic Palestine police.

In the 1950s he was Chief of Police in Kenya.

I’m rather surprised that organised anti-National ex-Servicemen have not yet erected a statue of O’Rorke. Could they be preparing it for unveiling by Queen Elizabeth when she visits Dublin?

author by Colonel Bogey - ex British Army Officerpublication date Sun Jan 18, 2009 03:47author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I understand the bitterness of many correspondents here, but our British Armed Forces often did, and do, a highly professional job today - particularly in air-sea rescue around the seas off Ireland. Our Army today is still the most professional in the world - compare our civiliised performance in Iraq, for instance, where the Royal Irish Regiment, performed their duties with humanity and compassion compared to the Americans. A soldier has to do his duty according to orders wherever he or she is, and that is what many of the men simply did, that many of you critize here.

Of course Britain was wrong, guilty of misrule in Ireland - but that was not the ordinary soldier's fault. There is never any remembrance of about 400 young British Army officers and men cut down mercilessly during the 1916 Rising in Dublin, young fellows, Irishmen included who were only carrying out orders against a deadly insurrection. Of course Pearse and his men are heroes, they deserve to be, but again I believe that Britain, and especially the British Army, behaved with admirable restraint in taking the surrender after 1916 in Dublin., considering the 400 young soldiers killed in that Rising, and the thousand or so wounded.

The War of Independence that followed showed a lot more savagery than 1916 that was conducted by gentlemen, yet outside of the Black-and-Tans, the ordinary British soldier behaved decently in the line of fire.

Of course I will be criticised for Bloody Sunday - but it is now a fact that martin McGuinness opened fire first on highly-nervous Paras, though Britain must take responsibility for sending in highly-strung Paras there in the first place.

By and large, I do think that our armed forces behave civilly, responsibly and with concern in any trouble spots they find themselves today.

And I acknowledge that Britian was woefully to blame for bad government in Ireland since the Act of Union. But Britain was equally as bad during that period in the government of its own people.

Britain did, however, build up the cities and towns of Ireland, although the Irish Administration at their Dublin Castle Government "depot" behaved like a counting-house sending all the mioney they could over to the British Exchequer with the reult of terrible neglect of the ordinary people of Ireland over all that period.

But, by and large, we are friends co-operating as best we can today for the future prosperity of l these islands.

And it is a fact that the British Army, Royal Navy and RAF do offer really decent careers to Irish men and women today, when recruitment to the excellent Irish Army is almost dried up - we are always glad to have young Irish men and women because they are the best !

I hope we can leave bad history behind us and become great friends again, particularly in fighting the present depression together.

author by Heinrich Himmlerpublication date Sun Jan 18, 2009 09:44author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"A soldier has to do his duty according to orders wherever he or she is":

Babi Yar, Ukraine, 1941
Babi Yar, Ukraine, 1941

India, 1857
India, 1857

Britain's "Small War in Malaya", 1948-60
Britain's "Small War in Malaya", 1948-60

author by John Duddypublication date Sun Jan 18, 2009 10:41author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Of course I will be criticised for Bloody Sunday - but it is now a fact that martin McGuinness opened fire first on highly-nervous Paras...
Colonel Bogey - ex British Army Officer

"It is now a fact." Let us think about that statement. It was not a fact before, because it did not happen. They only way it could become a 'fact' is by being concocted. Therefore, the allegation that Martin McGuinness fired the first shot on Bloody Sunday is now a lie, a British (or pro-British) lie that was put to the Saville Enquiry in justification of British butchery on Bloody Sunday. The allegation has no basis in fact.

Good day Colonel Bogus, do not bother us with your thoughts again.

author by TERESA O CONNOR - retired from politics S.F publication date Mon Mar 09, 2009 11:18author email tadoc18 at hotmail dot comauthor address clara co offalyauthor phone nilReport this post to the editors

while many irishmen and possibly women fought for and of behalf of the british army have any of you taught of what those men were told at the time of enlistment . that been if they went out to fight to foreign country,s for our enemy the brits that on their return home their country would be free but of course this did not happen it was just another of the brits dirty tricks those dirty tricks have been going on for hundreds of years and its the Irish who suuffered as a result . but lets not forget those Irish men needed to support their families and that was a means to them of doing so . i am sure they did not enlist for the love of britain maby their was some misguided ones who did . but who are we to condemn them when we have not got a clue of what that Ireland of yesterday was like . but one thing the brits did do for their returning soldiers was they built houses under the sailors and soldiers act and they housed those ex service men ,, but while we Irish can never forget britains atrocities we have to accept the past for one reason only And that reason is ,We cant change it .. and with our own country now hopefully settled down to peace north and south we should respect what all our Irish men fought for and they all played a little part in Irelands freedom which i hope we will have one day, Jamea Daly should neve be forget for his brave stand in the mutiny in India . in 1921. and does it really matter who commerates him as long as hes not forgotton . wheather it be Sinn Fein or any of the main parties god rest all Irelands bravest men and women of all centuries iIreland would be a much better place to live in if their was no class distinction and we were all treated as equals .. one thing important we should all remember is everyone is entitled to their own point of view . And if we respect that then thats half the battle Tiocfaidh Ar La

author by Pat Muldowneypublication date Tue Apr 07, 2009 11:26author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Read it and weep:

Extract from ENGLAND AND THE WAR (1914-1915) BY ANDRE CHEVRILLON, with a preface by RUDYARD KIPLING pp.93-107

Through all England, day after day, the appeal rang out an alarm bell to stir the country, and drag men out of the rut ‘business as usual‘; to spread far and wide the impression of a great and immediate public danger. This was the business chiefly of the great newspapers to whose patriotic pessimism we have already referred.

Then came the continuous, urgent exhortation to every young man's conscience, an indefatigable propaganda of meetings, sermons, processions, open-air speeches, and all the activity of recruiting sergeants. The root idea was that a man should enlist just as he might join the Salvation Army, by virtue of a certain working of his mind, a new conviction, a perception of good and evil, justice and injustice, awakened in him by this active and well-organized campaign.

The moral, protestant, and puritanic character of this campaign was apparent from a first glance at the picture posters which covered the walls. They mark in one's memory forever the profound crisis in the English national conscience. Through all their gaudiness one word incessantly recurs: Duty, The feeling of imperative duty is the suggestion aimed at by all these pictures, that form a matchless document on the inner nature of the English soul.

Here, for example, is the familiar face, so shrewd, clear-sighted, soldier-like -- as Kipling said, '’the war-wise face’ -- of Lord Roberts, with his piercing glance, his air of precision telling of strength and voluntary discipline, of faithfulness and services loyally accomplished. And, beneath it, this motto: ‘He did his duty; will you do yours ?’

Here is the more massive and authoritative face of Lord Kitchener, looking straight into yours with steel-gray eyes; his finger, raised imperiously, points at you; he utters the words printed on the bill: ‘Your Country wants You!’

To stimulate conscience, the old devices of the great Methodist preachers are resorted to. In every individual of his congregation Wesley endeavoured to create the sensation that to him personally he was speaking, for him personally Christ died. The very same method is adopted by the soldiers and recruiting officers who stand up in motor-cars to address the crowd.

I remember how one of these, a soldier back from the front, turned suddenly to some tall lads in caps, and pointing to a woman with two children clinging to her, cried: ‘For the women and children I am ready to go and fight again! but you, why- should I go and risk my life for you?’

In such manner a hundred pictures and mottoes, on every wall, clamour at the passer-by. Here is a fine lad in khaki standing on a foreshortened map of Flanders, a clean-limbed, beaming young English-man crying to every Englishman of his own age, with a wave of his cap: ‘Come and do your bit!’

He who has ever stopped to watch in Holborn or the Strand a regiment march past, with its drums and fifes, will understand that poster of a crowd gaping at the fine new troops, proud, smart and trim -- and the words underneath: ‘Don't stay with the loafers, come and join the men!’

The young married man and father, who has come to the conclusion that his duty is to stay behind, working for his wife and children, has to face the picture of a middle-class family man, sitting hang-dog in his armchair, because his little boy of ten is innocently putting this question: ‘What were you doing, father, during the Great War?’

Or else the appeal is to the girls and women; for love in England has always kept a romantic, Christian, moral, idealistic flavour; a certain dreamy and poetic sentimentalism in the ethics of this people has associated it with long engagements and the ideals and laws of chivalry. Probably these appeals to the women of England were suggested by Ruskin's words: ‘It is from your lips that men learn their ideals of duty. Tell them to be brave and for you they will be brave!’

Take, for example, that symbolistic picture of a young Englishwoman standing at a window, who, with an imperious gesture, utters the single word: ‘Go!’ and down below a squad of fine young fellows are seen swinging out on the march. If you are not well up in the manners of this country you may be a little startled by the following catechism: ‘Is your best boy in khaki . If not, why not? If he doesn't consider that you and his country are worth fighting for, do you think him worthy of you? Don't pity the girls you see going out walking alone. Probably their young men are in the ranks, fighting for them, for England, and for you. If yours neglects his duty to his king and his country, the day may come, perhaps, when he will neglect you. Think of that and ask him to enlist to-day.’

Sometimes the appeal is to the experienced woman, the wife and mother: with what seriousness, with what a methodical setting forth of practical and moral arguments she is asked to reflect and to influence her men-folk. ‘To the women of Great Britain: (1) Have you read what the Germans did when they invaded Belgium? Have you asked yourself what they would do if they invaded your country? (2) Do you understand clearly that your homes, your daughters, are threatened if you do not find more soldiers at once? (3) Do you understand that the single word 'Go!' uttered by you may send a man to fight for his king and country? (4) When the war is over, if it is asked whether your husband or your son was in it, must he keep silent because you would not let him go? (5) Will you not help to send a man to the army to-day ? Will you not help?

The very same words of appeal we have so often read in the tracts of religious, moral, charitable institutions -- a prosaic but fervent appeal to free will, to good will, to the spirit of association and cooperation for the improvement of the world. Not in the style of some State department, but as the living voice of men of English blood appealing for their cause, this charge, with its numbered arguments, its medley of ethics and common sense, its stodgy earnestness, is a revelation of the soul of a people. A slow, inartistic people (they themselves say ‘unimaginative’), impervious to the powers of eloquence, but to be moved profoundly by conviction and feeling -- above all, a people with a strong sense of duty, who have made conscience the essence of their poetry and religion, and thus, although reacting chiefly to the facts of experience and reality -- not forgetting that reality, the soul -- are capable of a world of dreamy mysticism.

By appealing to conscience, by stimulating its slow meditation on right and wrong, by means of a silent working of the mind, all English reforms have been accomplished. Thus in the sixteenth century came Reformation, in the eighteenth Abolition of Slavery, in the nineteenth Catholic Emancipation, extension of the Franchise, Abolition of the Rotten Boroughs; and, as the result of the feeling of remorse and ‘social compunction’ roused by Carlyle and Ruskin, that compulsory legislation for the benefit of Labour in which England gave the lead to Europe.

Thus, too, for the last twelve or fifteen years, has Socialism itself, in England always closely allied with the dreams of religion and Puritanism, been making progress. Very similar -- and this is the nearest example -- was the origin and development of those agitations for moral reform which have attracted men of good will in tens and hundreds of thousands, such bands of crusaders as the Young Men's Christian Association, the Bands of Hope, the Salvation Army and, above all, the great Temperance Leagues.

The methods of persuasion, the motives, the mental operations which induce a young Englishman to enlist for the duration of the present war are precisely of the same kind as those by which he is brought to sign a temperance pledge. It is ingrained in him that such an act ought only to be spontaneous, since the individual belongs to himself alone and has the sole right to choose in life the right or wrong which will determine his everlasting destiny.

So we have on one side the good constantly aspiring toward the better; on the other, the lukewarm, indifferent and cowardly, on whom the others look askance. This is so true that one of the arguments used against Conscription is that volunteers would decline to serve by the side of men who had to be compelled.

But if the question which is being put to so many consciences is simple, the answer is not always easy. To defend one's country, to take up arms against an enemy who is the Devil Incarnate, is no doubt a duty, but does it take precedence over all other duties? Take a man with children or parents dependent on him who has slowly risen to his post in some bank or office. The war, according to Lord Kitchener, may last three years. Ought he to go and give up his place, which cannot be kept empty, and which another man, less conscientious than himself, will occupy. Or, again, take a manufacturer, whose firm, if he enlists, will go under, to the advantage of rivals not so scrupulous of duty; or an engineer in a firm which is indirectly aiding in the production of war material; or a farmer who says to himself that England cannot do without forage, wheat, and cattle.

These are no easy questions to settle for oneself. I myself became cognizant of a rather pathetic case of this kind: A young man, twenty-three years old, had succeeded, through the death of his father, to a farm of 1,200 acres, on which half a village -- fifteen or twenty labourers -- found employment. He was anxious to enlist; but his mother insisted on his remaining, for if he went it seemed to her that the whole work of the farm must stop. In the country, where the village labourer has been for centuries so inferior and so dependent, the presence of a master on the farm seems indispensable.

To doubt in such a case would seem astonishing to a Frenchman, since from his birth up, for the last forty years, his duty has been made plain to him by a universal and all-embracing law. But we cannot wonder that an Englishman should be perplexed, suddenly finding himself faced with the necessity of answering, at once and alone, such a question, especially when he sees other Englishmen deciding in the negative. Instinctively he looks for a precedent: If the duty is undeniable, why is it so new? Why is it not set forth in the Bible, or by law?

Learning of the presence of a Frenchman, this young man came to see me (every Frenchman was then readily believed, in England, to be a specialist in war matters): he wanted to know whether service was really compulsory for every man in France; how much was left of the German Army in the tenth month of the war; and, above all, whether the English forces then in France were sufficient.

I had been told that he wanted to ask my advice. He took good care not to; but I saw clearly that he was trying to feel his way to a decision. Later on, from a lady in the neighbourhood, I heard of his mother's opposition, and that after a month he had joined the army. Such an act, like a religious conversion, is the final outcome of a deep working of the mind.

The whole process resembles in its methods and phenomena those of the Methodist revivals; the converted become converters, and proselytes spring up all at once from the opposing ranks. The Daily Chronicle published (October 9th) a fine poem by Mr. Harold Begbie, urging men to do their duty.

Here is the first stanza --
‘Fight it out in your heart, my lad.
It's time for the final wrench;
Home has its arms about your neck.
But conscience points to the trench.'

The methods of Lord Derby were so exactly like those of a religious revival that the phrase became current, the Lord Derby Revival or the recruiting revival. For the matter does not end with the circulation of impersonal pamphlets and posters: officers and men turn themselves into recruiting agents; disabled soldiers go and speak at meetings; women, devoted propagandists of the idea which is robbing them of their sons and husbands, whip up their canvassing proclivities, and go out lecturing or stir up in their homes, the indifferent and hesitating.

In the country, where the moral authority of the gentry is enlisted in service of the cause, the ladies of the manor house head the movement. In the manufacturing districts leaders of the Labour Party, such as Will Crooks, Ben Tillett, and Hodge, and representatives of the trade unions who have been taken to the front by the military authorities, set to work to convince the men of their class in English fashion by anecdotes, facts, and illustrations taken from their own actual experience.

To the workmen they speak, above all, of the need of munitions, and it is especially to the sense of justice, so strong in this nation, that they appeal. ‘Is it fair’ that able-bodied Britons should remain at home whilst their brothers spend their nights in the trenches, risking defeat and death? Is it fair that bachelors should avoid the danger which married men have gone to face? Is it fair, they kept on saying in June, after the deficiencies of the artillery had been revealed, that their comrades should be left to die under avalanches of shells because English workmen are on strike, or refuse to alter the union rules which restrict the speed of production?

One bill especially laid bare the injustice of this contrast. In the top half of the poster artillerymen under the bursting shells of the enemy stand powerless or lie dying on their guns; the open ammunition wagons are empty. Beneath is another picture: workmen in caps smoking their pipes, with their arms crossed, in front of a public-house. In the distance is the gate of a factory -- closed.

To appeal to the eye, to incite to action by pictures, to multiply the pictures indefinitely, and by their ever-present suggestion to create automatic mental habits, general currents of unconscious imitation, what else is this but the very principle and method of advertising ?

And the most singular thing about this propaganda is that in spirit it is puritan, but in method commercial; the blending of these two characteristics is one of the most original features of the modern English mind (one might even say, taking America into consideration, of the Anglo-Saxon mind). It dates from the close of the eighteenth century, when modern mechanical industry began together with the evangelical and Methodist revival.

For the last hundred and fifty years the special activities of ‘business,’ absorbing as they do the vast majority of the men from early youth, have helped as much as political institutions and a strict, individualistic religion to mould the soul and intellect of this people. They are a nation not of State servants, not of soldiers, but of free business men.

For the essence of business is liberty -- liberty of prices, of supply and demand, of competition in all its forms. It is the influence of commerce which quickly developed amongst the English one of their most characteristic ideas -- the principle of laisser-faire. Favoured by the ancient instincts of personal independence, strengthened by habits of self-government and by the puritan ethics which isolate the individual and throw him upon himself, this principle has spread from the purely economic sphere in which the Manchester school, with its tendency to Nonconformity, was its representative, to the whole community: Bible and Free Competition -- this formula sums up nineteenth century England. It followed naturally the English instinctive idea that, at all events in the social sphere, things tend spontaneously to find their equilibrium, shape, and perfect development; that they are alive, and only need to be allowed to live -- and, indeed, in the sphere of ethics this same conception is expressed in the injunction, live and let live.

Thus arose, without supervision or direction from any powerful, long-sighted, and paternal State, in complete contrast to the German process, the wealth, greatness, and power of England. This principle, no doubt, is corrected to-day by new and growing socialistic ideals, but it still has power over the mind, and governs old habits. It is a very important factor in the peculiar method of foreign policy which Mr. Asquith summed up in the formula: ‘Wait and see’; it also accounts a good deal for the vague notion which only yesterday, and at the most critical period of the war, was very widely prevalent, that success was possible without a universal effort, without any systematic plan controlled by the authorities, and that once more everything would come all right.

It is largely responsible, therefore, for the delay of the country in organizing itself industrially for the war; but more for the resistance still opposed to the apostles of conscription, a resistance which perhaps is not to be overcome. For the idea which creates that opposition is seen to be, as the necessity for conscription becomes more pressing, more and more deeply ingrained in the English mind and bound up with the very principles of English society.

But every vital organism adapts itself in some way or other to its environment, turning to unforeseen uses those very organs and instincts which seemed more particularly to expose it to danger; and so these commercial habits, so opposed to the idea of militarism, have given birth to the ingenious expedient which has served more than anything else to create so quickly an army on the continental scale.

Through this same general law of adjustment, a society in which no public action can be undertaken except if public opinion requires it has found methods to organize and accelerate the development of that opinion. The chief of these methods is simply to advertise, and to use the most modern kind of advertisement -- incessant, omnipresent -- with all its ingenuity in giving infinite variety to its appeals, with the original and strong colouring and the humour which in England often makes it so picturesque. Its application to politics was already familiar: brass bands, big drums, blue and orange ribbons, songs, flower-decked carriages, processions, sky signs, and cinema films of the polling days.

It had also been applied to religion : tambourines and trombones, of the Methodist revivals and the Salvation Army. Now it was pressed into the service of patriotism: fifes and drums, through the streets of the main traffic where the new recruits are marched, followed by such as gape at the arrival of a circus troupe; parades in the open squares, to the music of bands, whilst recruiting officers harangue the people from their motor- cars; flags, flowers, gaudy pictures of the attesting offices resembling, in their gay and startling effects, and the vulgar joviality of their appeal, the methods of the cheap-jack.

The advertising campaign is almost American in its style. True that when Lord Kitchener demanded three hundred thousand new volunteers, his call to the country appeared on every wall in all its fine simplicity -- the English soul is sensitive to a purely moral beauty of this kind.

But that was not enough. The crowd -- which in this country is simple and unsophisticated -- must be impressed with the direct, physical sensation of urgency. On the front screen of every taxi in London appeared all at once, in big letters, this announcement: ‘300,000 more men wanted at once.’ As they were seen rushing in every direction with this poster, the illusion was produced that they were driving at that pace to carry the urgent news quicker to every quarter of the town -- nay, that there and then they were engaged in seeking the three hundred thousand volunteers.

To stir up the public into thinking that the purchase of a certain article cannot be put off, and must be effected that very minute, to drive the onlooker to act upon the suggested idea whilst it is still quite fresh, is one of the new devices in advertising which the American masters of that art have taught the English. To-day! enlist to- day! Send your man to-day! seems to sound from every wall; and on the man in the street, whose average and rather plastic mind is easily impressed, these loud, short, clear injunctions act with great suggestive force.

Another means, which also comes from the United States, where the hypnotization of the public has been developed into a fine art, is to put on, when addressing it, a tone of conviction, a sort of jovial vitality, which allures as well as commands. Any one who has heard young clergymen and dissenting ministers preaching, or attended meetings of Salvationists, Temperance Societies, and the Y. M. C. A., knows how skilfully the missionaries of religion and morality, once so severe and gloomy in their bearing, avail themselves to-day of these effective devices.

They are now used for the great conversion campaign which is to induce the young men of England to enter on a new path in life. Inspiring pictures of fine khaki soldiers, looking straight into your face with such clear eyes of health! They have found faith and salvation. Do they not seem to possess the secret of happiness, and to promise it to others? How they seem to call the man in the street -- the dull and slow civilian -- to share in the freedom from care, the lightness of their hearts which comes from duty nobly done! ‘Put on the king's uniform! Join us, boys!’ they seem to shout, gaily beckoning us as we pass.

It is enough to recall the little coloured bill which showed three young Highlanders arm in arm, striding buoyantly along, as if about to dance a fling. What joy of life in the smooth faces of these lads of twenty, with their clean and radiant smile! They were the flower of a nation, a flower not yet full-blown, pathetic, offering itself, innumerable, in all its brilliance, grace, and joy to the blind scythe of war. And that print was only meant to attract, to allure.

Others of less beauty, some of which were criticized as vulgar, were to me no less touching: they seemed to appeal to that English spirit of courage and reticence which seeks to hide emotion beneath humour, and prefers a joke to a fine saying. There was a bill, for instance, representing a group of horses galloping along the race-course, with jockeys dressed in the colours of the belligerent powers. The short motto read: ‘Sign on for the Grand International Final.’ Strange words, these, at a moment when this country -- so proud a country, the heir of such a splendid past, conscious always of that for which she stands on this planet and in human history -- is mortally threatened by the bitterest, the most insolent, and the strongest foe she has ever known.

The foreigner is inclined to smile if he does not know England well, and the style of these appeals is disliked by many travelled Englishmen who think they see the impression made abroad. But under all this, he who knows perceives the bed- rock character of the nation which this crisis, by the very intensity of the collective and necessary effort, is revealing more clearly than ever before.

That character is a combination of will and conscience: the inviolable will of the individual who has sole control of himself; the conscience which meditates in silence, stirs to action, and ordains the sacrifice.

For, make no mistake about it, whatever the style of the propaganda (and as I have said: of the advertisements), the man who, resolving to ‘fight for his king,’ comes to a recruiting office to utter and sign that old religious form: ‘I swear before Almighty God to serve in all allegiance, honestly and faithfully, as in duty bound, his Majesty George V, his heirs and successors, and to defend them in their person, their Crown and their dignity against all enemies, in obedience to the generals and officers placed over me -- and so help me God!’ -- that man knows what risks he faces; he has read the story of Mons and of Le Cateaux, of the Yser and of Ypres, of Neuve Chapelle and of La Bassee; knows about the avalanches of shrapnel and of Jack Johnsons, the liquid flames and the poison gas; knows the number and proportion of the slain; knows of friends who will never return.

Three millions of young Englishmen chose to accept this risk, together with military discipline and servitude, and one by one they came to take the solemn pledge because, without any intrusion upon their free will, appeal had been made to their conscience.

author by Ramirez - Dadapublication date Tue Apr 21, 2009 14:33author address author phone Report this post to the editors

This is simply preparing the ground for the day when young Irish men and women will be conscripted into some Euro version of the North Atlantic Terror Organisation. First glorify these foul disgusting deeds as the Brits and Yanks have been doing with their damned military for centuries then con the ethnic minorities, sub working class proles into believing murder in a uniform is dignified "work".

Say no to war and say no the agenda of an idiot gombeen class that would sell Ireland and its mother for a bottle of piss in a whiskey bottle.

http://www.irishholocaust.org/

Let us never ever forget who the real enemies of the workers are and they certainly are not all Brits or only Brits!

Onward through the revisionist crap with a shower of yobs that never learned their history.

author by Nick Folley - nonepublication date Sat May 16, 2009 14:05author address author phone Report this post to the editors

This piece from last January's Phoenix makes for interesting reading. It highlights the different treatment given to RTE's coverage of World War One last November and it's coverage of the 90th anniversary of the First Dail (January 1919). We hear so much about how 'constitutional and democratic politics' are favourable to rebellion and insurrection. There has been much criticism from some quarters on the way this country found it necessary to go to war (starting in 1916, but of course emphasized beyond doubt in the period 1919 - 1921) in order to secure its independence, even in watered-down form. One would have thought then, that the expressly democratic and constitutional approach of Sinn Feins election victories in 1918 and 1920 and the setting up of the First Dail in 1919 would be a cause for celebration and remembrance (especially as the Redmondite tradition in this country appears to frown on the revolutionary aspect of that period of our history). Apparently not so, if RTE's coverage is anything to go by. The madness and slaughter of World War One (and for what?) is to be 'celebrated' ad nauseum while our own democratic populist attempts at independence hardly merit a footnote. Does RTE have some kind of agenda? Or does war simply make better TV than democracy? Even if it does, while it is one thing to show war movies as entertainment (at least we understand them as fiction) Poppy Day and all that goes with it is another matter. History then becomes harnessed to current political ends and fiction dressed up as fact and the 'proper order of things'. Should the state broadcaster, funded in part by licence fees, be party to this charade?

Differing treatments
Differing treatments

author by Bertrandpublication date Fri May 22, 2009 10:59author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"The Irish who died in WW1 helped to save Ireland too..don't forget." Ah yes, the freedom of small nations. Nyasaland had to wait for its emergency in the late 1950s before independence was granted to a compliant Dr. Hastings Banda, who became known during the following 30 dictatorial years as one-man Banda.

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