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The Blueshirts and Irish Politics
     

The Blueshirts and Irish Politics

by Mike Cronin
 
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

Overview

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.

Editorial Reviews

John Clery
A welcome addition to our knowledge of an episode in Irish history which is rich in slagging material but short on literature.
Irish Times
John Newsinger
Cronin demonstrates that the Blueshirts became a mass movement (just over 60,000 members at their height) in response to the Economic War. It was the hardship occasioned by this conflict that motivated the Blueshirt rank and file. Opposition to the Economic War was the movement raison d'être. This was not a new idea, but Cronin argues it convincingly. This leads to another of his substantive arguments: that there was a significant difference between the ideology of the Blueshirt leadership and that of their followers. Cronin argues that an important section of the leadership very definitely had a fascist agenda.
Saothar
Stephen Collins
The Blueshirts have long been regarded by Fine Gael as the skeleton in the party's cupboard but Cronin's book should help party supporters to look their history straight in the eye without too much embarrassment.
Sunday Tribune

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781851823338
Publisher:
Four Courts Press
Publication date:
01/01/1997
Pages:
220

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