British press interpretation of Irish affairs 1938-1946
The original stimulus for this thesis was oral interpretations of events of the 1940’s told to the author both in Ireland and Britain. In Ireland it has been thought that neutrality was deliberately libelled and misinterpreted by Churchill, the Ministry of Information and the press. In Britain, neutrality has been seen as national cowardice, unworldliness, or an act of spite against the former ruling power. Basic research led to the conclusion that these assessments were not justified, and further study suggested the following hypotheses. 1. Churchill’s critical comments on the neutrality of Eire were not based merely on prejudice and pervious experience but as a means of promoting American involvement in the war, disguising intelligence breakthroughs, and creating a scapegoat for British military weaknesses. 2. The Ministry of Information did not engender anti-Eire propaganda. 3. Journalistic methods, the means of disseminating information and established British interpretation of Irish culture combined with Churchill’s publicly stated opinions to produce the critical interpretation of Eire’s neutrality in the British press which has persisted to the present. British newspapers and related articles, journalistic techniques and relevant military and diplomatic events will be examined to test these hypotheses.