The Blueshirts and Irish Politicsby Mike Cronin
At a domestic level this book shows how the movement challenged the ascendancy of de Valera
This book covers a marginalised period in Irish history. Many people are aware of the existence of the Blueshirts, yet their knowledge is usually drawn from a snapshot which sees the movement as an aberration of Irish life in the 1930s which toyed with the ideas of fascism.
At a domestic level this book shows how the movement challenged the ascendancy of de Valera and forced a realignment of traditional pro- Treaty forces under the name of Fine Gael. Within this framework new material drawn from Government archives, private papers and interviews with former Blueshirts, shows how divided the movement actually was. Despite its catalytic effect on opposition politics and the unifying goal of restraining de Valera's perceived policy of Republicanism, the Blueshirts were actually promoting two separate agendas. The book illustrates how the national membership were motivated by domestic concerns such as opposition to the Economic War, support of free speech and the development of a social network, while its leaden in Dublin were attempting a wholesale requestioning of the fundamentals on which the Free State had been founded.
By exploring the wider world of comparative European fascism the book places this strand of Blueshirt thinking in its proper context and demonstrates how non-radical the Irish interpretation of fascism actually was.
- Four Courts Press
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