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"Easter eggs for Belfast"


Nebuchadnezzar

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What was the worst atrocity on Irish soil of the 20th century? What comes to mind? Omagh? Dublin bombings 1974? One of the Bloody Sundays?

"Easter eggs for Belfast" - thus warned/threatened our compatriot, William Joyce, aka Lord Haw Haw, in a broadcast from Hamburg made shortly before the April/May 1941 bombings of Belfast by the Luftwaffe. The scale of the death and destruction far outranks that of any other atrocity in Ireland of the 20th century - in the worst raid, on Easter Tuesday, 15th April 1941, over 900 were killed and 100,000 were made homeless. These bald facts are well known and yet we(southerner's and northern nationalists) seem to suffer from amnesia concerning these raids when we consider the darker moments of Irish history. I engaged earlier today in a silly argument as to which was the worst ever bombing in Ireland - Omagh, Dublin/Monaghan or the North Strand Bombing of 1941? Both I and my opponents failed to even consider the Belfast Blitz. All other atrocities whether by republicans, loyalists, British Army or Free Staters pale into insignificance when put against these German attacks.

Lord Haw Haw's collaboration was the traitorous action of one individual but was there any IRA involvement in helping to plan or assess the impact of the German raids? IRA collaboration with the Germans is well established with regard to plans Green and Kathleen etc but the evidence of active support for this mass bombing of Belfast is less clear. Another question for consideration is did the trauma of this devastation result in any re-evaluation of Republican policy of cooperation with Germany?
 

Jezza

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Northern Ireland was part of the UK, and Belfast was a centre of war production. If what they did was wrong then so was the Allied bombing of Germany.

The German Bombing of Dublin was different. That could certainly be measured alongside Omagh, Bloody Sunday etc.
 

picador

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Northern Ireland was part of the UK, and Belfast was a centre of war production. If what they did was wrong then so was the Allied bombing of Germany.

The German Bombing of Dublin was different. That could certainly be measured alongside Omagh, Bloody Sunday etc.
A stunning lack of perspective.
 

Nebuchadnezzar

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Northern Ireland was part of the UK, and Belfast was a centre of war production. If what they did was wrong then so was the Allied bombing of Germany.

The German Bombing of Dublin was different. That could certainly be measured alongside Omagh, Bloody Sunday etc.
I accept that - there is a direct moral equivalence between the attacks on Belfast and those by the RAF on Germany.

However the question here is did the IRA provide any assistance to the Germans in the carrying out of these attacks or their post raid assessments? I am not aware of any group of Germans who actively encouraged or assisted in the Allied Bombing campaign of their country.
 

shutuplaura

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I accept that - there is a direct moral equivalence between the attacks on Belfast and those by the RAF on Germany.

However the question here is did the IRA provide any assistance to the Germans in the carrying out of these attacks or their post raid assessments? I am not aware of any group of Germans who actively encouraged or assisted in the Allied Bombing campaign of their country.
I don't think there is any proof whatsoever of that. During the war in fact the accusation was that ccatholics in general aided the luftwaffe, though you don't hear this too often now. Fact is, the Germans didn't need anyones help to bomb any city.
 

Levellers

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Lord Haw Haw's collaboration was the traitorous action of one individual but was there any IRA involvement in helping to plan or assess the impact of the German raids? IRA collaboration with the Germans is well established with regard to plans Green and Kathleen etc but the evidence of active support for this mass bombing of Belfast is less clear. Another question for consideration is did the trauma of this devastation result in any re-evaluation of Republican policy of cooperation with Germany?
What a load of rubbish.
 
D

Dylan2010

probably a lot of urban myths going around, I saw on a UK website once that someone really believed that DeValara had the street lights turned up in Dublin to help the German bombers find Liverpool.
 

Nebuchadnezzar

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I don't think there is any proof whatsoever of that. During the war in fact the accusation was that ccatholics in general aided the luftwaffe, though you don't hear this too often now. Fact is, the Germans didn't need anyones help to bomb any city.
Perhaps these stories are just loyalist propaganda however I have come across an account of a 14 page IRA report on the post raid damage being intercepted by G2 in Dublin enroute to Germany.
 

Nebuchadnezzar

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probably a lot of urban myths going around, I saw on a UK website once that someone really believed that DeValara had the street lights turned up in Dublin to help the German bombers find Liverpool.
Well the lack of a blackout policy in the Free State probably did unintentionally aid German navigation.
 

shutuplaura

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Perhaps these stories are just loyalist propaganda however I have come across an account of a 14 page IRA report on the post raid damage being intercepted by G2 in Dublin enroute to Germany.
Post raid? Intercepted? Hmm...Not sure that this is really significant. There is a large number of historians or Journo's who would love to prove that they were involved. So you have found something they've missed?
 

shutuplaura

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Well the lack of a blackout policy in the Free State probably did unintentionally aid German navigation.
The Germans didn't need any help to find British Cities. Cities on large bodies of water were easier to find anyway, and the lack of blackout could have saved lives in the south. So it seems both curlish and unfair to blame the FS for the luftwaffe's terror bombing.
 
D

Dylan2010

Well the lack of a blackout policy in the Free State probably did unintentionally aid German navigation.
but Not doing something is different to going out of your way to aid an attack on your neighbour. In hindsight maybe they should have had a blackout policy which may have prevented the Dublin bombings.
 

dresden8

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I accept that - there is a direct moral equivalence between the attacks on Belfast and those by the RAF on Germany.

However the question here is did the IRA provide any assistance to the Germans in the carrying out of these attacks or their post raid assessments? I am not aware of any group of Germans who actively encouraged or assisted in the Allied Bombing campaign of their country.
An accusation in the form of a question.
 

Nebuchadnezzar

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Post raid? Intercepted? Hmm...Not sure that this is really significant. There is a large number of historians or Journo's who would love to prove that they were involved. So you have found something they've missed?
It's very relevant if there was the possibility of further raids to come.

Some further info on this intercepted report -

After the bombing raids on Belfast, the IRA produced a fourteen page survey of the damage caused by the German Luftwaffe and provided information and advice for the Nazis.
The typescript IRA document was entitled Comprehensive Military Report on Belfast and was ‘issued by the DIRECTOR OF INTELLIGENCE in cooperation with the MILITARY INTELLIGENCE OFFICER of NORTHERN COMMAND’. It came to light on 20 October 1941 when Helena Kelly, an IRA courier, was arrested in Dublin and the document was found in her handbag. It appears not to have reached the hands of the Germans but was clearly intended for the Nazis.
The IRA report gave a detailed account of the damage caused by the Luftwaffe and identified targets that had escaped destruction. There was also a map on which the IRA had marked ‘the remaining and most outstanding objects of military significance, as yet unblitzed by the Luftwaffe’. The IRA suggested that if these objectives were ‘bombed by the Luftwaffe as thoroughly as the other areas in recent raids’, Belfast would ‘be rendered a negative quantity in Britain’s war effort’.
The report contained a diagram of the Short & Harland aircraft factory, a plan of Sydenham aerodrome, details on the British army, the names and addresses of British officers, and a scheme for sabotaging the Belfast telephone system. The map also showed RUC police barracks and it was commented by the IRA that ‘in this occupied area, they are really a military rather than a civilian force’.
A ‘special note’ from the IRA explained: ’Re the symbol coloured light blue, it may be noted that the road thus marked, is the Fall’s (sic) Road, the chief site of Nationalism, while the square is the Prison, where some 300 to 400 Irish Republican soldiers are imprisoned.’ The message from the IRA for the Nazis was very clear, even though it was not explicitly stated: please come back and finish off bombing Belfast but do not bomb our people and our prisoners. This shows the innate sectarianism of the IRA, which was encouraging the Nazis to bomb Protestant areas of the city but not the main Roman Catholic area in west Belfast.
Just months after the terror of the Belfast blitz in April 1941, the IRA was calling for another blitz, while attempting to spare nationalist communities.

Other documents seized by the Eire police early in 1942 were deciphered the following year and revealed attempts by the IRA Northern Command to pass on to the Nazis information about ‘the arrival of Americans at Derry’ and the ‘construction by the Eire authorities of an aerodrome at Limerick’.
[Spying on Ireland p 123; British Spies and Irish Rebels: British Intelligence and Ireland, 1916-1945 p 397]
Nelson's View: The IRA and the German blitz

I am not usually given to paying too much attention to loyalist politicians however the above contains many specifics and references so I am inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt.
 

Riadach

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I accept that - there is a direct moral equivalence between the attacks on Belfast and those by the RAF on Germany.

However the question here is did the IRA provide any assistance to the Germans in the carrying out of these attacks or their post raid assessments? I am not aware of any group of Germans who actively encouraged or assisted in the Allied Bombing campaign of their country.
Would they have needed to? Seems to me not much assistance would have been required.
 
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Nebuchadnezzar

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The Germans didn't need any help to find British Cities. Cities on large bodies of water were easier to find anyway, and the lack of blackout could have saved lives in the south. So it seems both curlish and unfair to blame the FS for the luftwaffe's terror bombing.

You overestimate the navigational technologies of that time - German navigators would have gladly used any visual references to help them fix their position.

I am not blaming ourselves for assisting the German bombing campaign - I am merely stating that the presence of lights along our eastern shore undoubtedly aided German navigators to orientate themselves.
 

shutuplaura

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It's very relevant if there was the possibility of further raids to come.

Some further info on this intercepted report -



Nelson's View: The IRA and the German blitz

I am not usually given to paying too much attention to loyalist politicians however the above contains many specifics and references so I am inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt.
Bombing in first half of 1941. Report intercepted in 1942 in Dublin. Seems strange you have to admit. The IRA controlled West Belfast ARP organisation. Were they out helping or hindering that night do you know?

On the accusation that the bombings were the south's fault - how did the luftwaffe find Coventry?
 

shutuplaura

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You overestimate the navigational technologies of that time - German navigators would have gladly used any visual references to help them fix their position.

I am not blaming ourselves for assisting the German bombing campaign - I am merely stating that the presence of lights along our eastern shore undoubtedly aided German navigators to orientate themselves.
Belfast is by the sea. The water is very reflective. The Germans could find British cities and found them on the UK mainland. Hitting individual targets in a city - such as Shorts factory - was a big problem, and remained one for the duration of the war for all combatants. The lack of a blackout helped identify neutral Ireland and was designed to ensure that Dublin was bombed. Dublin was only very lightly bombed so perhaps it helped?
 

Nebuchadnezzar

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Would they have needed to? Seems to be not much assistance would have been required.
The germans were very disappointed with the capabilities of their Irish allies - perhaps they were overly impressed by the raid on the Phoenix Park Magazine Fort in 1939. However the usefulness to the Germans of IRA intelligence is irrelevant to the issue of collaboration.
 

Nebuchadnezzar

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Bombing in first half of 1941. Report intercepted in 1942 in Dublin. Seems strange you have to admit. The IRA controlled West Belfast ARP organisation. Were they out helping or hindering that night do you know?

On the accusation that the bombings were the south's fault - how did the luftwaffe find Coventry?
1942 refers to a different IRA report - The Belfast raid report was allegedly intercepted in Dublin in October 1941.
 
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