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Old June 12th, 2012, 07:35 PM   #1
belfastuniguy
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Irish Republic pardons wartime deserters

Long overdue, it was a completely disgraceful policy.

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The Irish government is to pardon more than 4,500 former soldiers who deserted the Defence Forces during World War II to fight with the Allied Forces.


Irish Defence Minister Alan Shatter said the government apologised for the manner in which the deserters were treated by the state after the war. Mr Shatter said the government recognised the importance of their contribution to the Allied victory. He said the war gave rise to grave and exceptional circumstances.

Mr Shatter said the government would introduce legislation "to grant a pardon and amnesty to those who absented themselves from the Defence Forces without leave or permission to fight on the Allied side".

In his statement to Dail Eireann, he said that in August 1945, the government of the day summarily dismissed soldiers who had absented themselves during the war and disqualified them for seven years from holding employment or office remunerated from the state's central fund.

Individuals were not given a chance to explain their absence.

'Grave and exceptional circumstances'

No distinction was made between those who fought on the Allied side for freedom and democracy and those who absented themselves for other reasons.

"In addressing the question of desertion during World War II, the government acknowledges that the war gave rise to circumstances that were grave and exceptional," Mr Shatter said.

"Members of the Defence Forces left their posts at that time to fight on the Allied side against tyranny and, together with many thousands of other Irish men and women, played an important role in defending freedom and democracy.

"On behalf of the state, the government apologises for the manner in which those members of the Defence Forces... were treated after the war by the state."

During World War II the Irish Defence Forces had approximately 42,000 serving personnel. Over the course of the war, it was estimated that more than 7,000 members deserted. Of these, about 2,500 personnel returned to their units or were apprehended and were tried by military tribunal.

More than 4,500 deserters were the subject of dismissal under the Emergency Powers (No. 362) Order, 1945.
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Old June 12th, 2012, 07:50 PM   #2
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Couldn't agree more, it was completely shameful. Better late than never I suppose. My Mother's uncle fought very bravely for the allies in WWII, and our family were very proud of him. Can't believe that it took so long for this to come.
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Old June 13th, 2012, 12:45 PM   #3
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Glad this has finally come, there is no way given the extraordinary circumstances that these men should have been lumped in win ordinary deserters.
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Old June 13th, 2012, 03:21 PM   #4
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Better late then never is right. It was wrong what they did. They fought for their country and people and for Europe.
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Old June 13th, 2012, 05:02 PM   #5
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I have to disagree with you all a bit here. I do agree that the apology should have come sooner, and that the punishment was overly harsh and drawn out, but it would also have been wrong to laud these men as heroes. They signed up for the Irish army and they deserted it, simple as that. They may have had better reasons for deserting than many others, but they still did it, and they deserved some sort of punishment for that.
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Old June 13th, 2012, 09:05 PM   #6
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Of course they are heroes, how absurd of you to argue otherwise. They volunteered their lives to fight Nazism and oppression. They are nothing but heroes!

You really think Hitler would have stopped at France and just let little neutral Ireland remain in peace and provide a potential landing ground for American troops in the future? Had the Nazi's won then I'm certain Ireland wouldn't exist as a country today, those troops that signed up to fight helped prevent that situation from ever happening, heroes is the perfect word for them.

How short-sighted of you.
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Old June 13th, 2012, 11:38 PM   #7
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You're jumping the gun a bit here. I'm not talking about Ireland's decision to stay out of the war, which is a different matter and not one I entirely agree with. Also, I'm not saying this because of my unquenchable hatred for Great Britain. I have nothing against Irish civilians who joined the British and American Irish. But the men in the above mentioned article were deserters. They abandoned their own country to fight for another. And it is rather innocent of you to assume that the only reason they did this was to free the oppressed peoples of the world from Nazi tyranny.
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Old June 16th, 2012, 04:04 PM   #8
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You can't desert a national army no matter how morally righteous you may feel and not expect to be punished. So I don't particularly agree with this pardon and it's optics in any case. If you join a defence force or an army you sign up for life.

The reason Ireland was not in the war was because it was not attacked. Every country in the war was attacked. That is the difference.


People always confuse something about the war. The Allied countries were NOT in the war for some moral reason to protect Jews or Poles or whoever else. They were in it because they were attacked.
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Old June 16th, 2012, 06:59 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by odlum833 View Post
People always confuse something about the war. The Allied countries were NOT in the war for some moral reason to protect Jews or Poles or whoever else. They were in it because they were attacked.
Britain joined WW2 because the Germans went into Poland.
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Old June 17th, 2012, 01:05 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by odlum833 View Post
People always confuse something about the war. The Allied countries were NOT in the war for some moral reason to protect Jews or Poles or whoever else. They were in it because they were attacked.

Someone needs a history lesson....
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Old June 17th, 2012, 02:16 PM   #11
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The allies were not attacked in WW2?

Germany declared war on the allied countries. They never declared war on Ireland. Simple fact. And if you honestly believe the British went to war for some moral purpose to do with the Poles or the Jews you are deluded. Utterly deluded. They went to war for self preservation. What happened to the Jews and the other groups was incidental. Britain went to war to defend itself. The US had no inclination of doing anything until it was attacked at Pearl Harbour. They had no moral purpose in Europe either other than self preservation. The upshot of that is had they not entered the war the allies in Europe would have been defeated. They were neutral and than they were attacked. Than they joined the war.
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Old June 17th, 2012, 06:05 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by odlum833 View Post
The allies were not attacked in WW2?

Germany declared war on the allied countries. They never declared war on Ireland. Simple fact. And if you honestly believe the British went to war for some moral purpose to do with the Poles or the Jews you are deluded. Utterly deluded. They went to war for self preservation. What happened to the Jews and the other groups was incidental. Britain went to war to defend itself. The US had no inclination of doing anything until it was attacked at Pearl Harbour. They had no moral purpose in Europe either other than self preservation. The upshot of that is had they not entered the war the allies in Europe would have been defeated. They were neutral and than they were attacked. Than they joined the war.
I'm afraid that just isn't true, Britain did in fact declare war because of German hostility towards Poland. The UK began war proceedings against Germany on the 3/09/39 after a ultimatum for withdrawal of German troops from Poland was ignored by the Nazi regime. Germany didn't attack the UK first.

I am studying International Politics at uni and as such hate seeing such misinformation flying around. And if anyone is interested in my 2 cents, I have no doubt Irishmen who joined the British army were Irish patriots who joined the Brits for whatever personal reasons, and should not be judged by people today who have no idea what they went through in that war.

Of course i understand that desertion is however a crime, and accept that, but i believe due to the seriousness of the historical context, the pardon from the Irish gov. is appropriate. I have Irish heritage through my grandparents and as such always take a look at whats going on in Ireland every now and then if anyone wonders why i even care about this, although i'm thoroughly anglicised now if i'm honest.

Last edited by Christius Alerius; June 17th, 2012 at 06:15 PM.
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Old June 17th, 2012, 08:29 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Christius Alerius View Post

I am studying International Politics at uni and as such hate seeing such misinformation flying around.

There are plenty of political and historical commentators that completely disagree that Britain and by extension the allied war effort was anything more than self preservation. The US and the countries in Europe that remained neutral did so also for self preservation purposes and indeed selfish reasons. The US only entered the war when it was attacked.

You are entitled to your opinion and we are never going to agree on this. I don't think there was any moral imperative on the allied side to go to war at the time. I think it was done out of self defence against a maniacal force intent on invading the entire continent.

And the simple reality of it is that the allied countries that joined the war were all attacked. The ones that remained outside, like Ireland, were not.
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Old June 17th, 2012, 08:35 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by belfastuniguy View Post
Someone needs a history lesson....
He's right. You are astoundingly naive, and possibly dim, if you think that Britain entered the war out of some moral crusade against what the Nazis stood for. Britain's actions in the war were very dubious, they ignored warnings about death camps and they completely sold out the Polish to Stalin. Let's not forget that Poland was simply the breaking point, Britain had already destroyed the independence of Austria and Czechoslovakia by acquiescing to Nazi demands, by the time it got to Poland it was too late to stop a full-scale war. If Britain had a moral backbone they would have put their foot down in 1938, there were German generals prepared to overthrow Hitler because they feared a war which they would lose quicky, Hitler would have been history.

Try not to see things as black/white.
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