Dublin's American policy: Irish-American diplomatic relations, 1945-1952

Troy Dwayne Davis, Marquette University


As the Second World War came to an end in 1945, Ireland and the United States were in antipodal political positions. Ireland was a small country and relatively insignificant in international affairs. The Irish of the Twenty-Six Counties had followed a course of formal military neutrality during the war, and that policy left the tiny state diplomatically isolated when hostilities ceased. The United States by contrast, emerged from the conflict victorious and powerful, destined to play a leading role in the construction of the postwar world order. "Dublin's American Policy" uses the methods of the diplomatic historian to examine how the relationship between these two very dissimilar nations, during the seven years immediately following World War II, affected the subsequent history of the smaller country. More specifically, the dissertation suggests ways in which Dublin's policies towards the United States have affected the partition of Ireland into two separate political entities. Thus, the study relies on diplomatic records from Irish, American and British archives to treat such topics as the American role in moving the Twenty-Six Counties to apply for United Nations membership in 1946;. the ineffectual Irish anti-partition campaign of 1948-51 in the United States; Irish participation in the European Recovery Program (Marshall Plan); Ireland's rejection of the American invitation to become an original signatory to the North Atlantic Treaty in 1949; and Irish attempts to forge a bilateral security arrangement with the United States in the early 1950s. In its handling of all these facets of Irish-American relations, the Dublin government was hamstrung by domestic political considerations. Most notably, during the period 1948-51, electoral pressures in the Twenty-Six Counties moved the Irish coalition ministry of those years to follow a policy of virulent but counterproductive antipartitionism. In its American dimension, this policy led the Dublin government to pursue the chimerical goal of convincing the United States to pressure the British government into uniting Ireland. Given the importance of the United States' alliance with Britain to the American Cold War strategy of containing Communism, this Irish policy was unrealistic in the extreme. Consequently, it failed to further Irish national interests.

Recommended Citation

Davis, Troy Dwayne, "Dublin's American policy: Irish-American diplomatic relations, 1945-1952" (1992). Dissertations (1962 - 2010) Access via Proquest Digital Dissertations. AAI9318923.