Date of Award

Fall 2012

Degree Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)





Committee Chair

Andrew Wiest

Committee Chair Department


Committee Member 2

Heather Stur

Committee Member 2 Department


Committee Member 3

Ruth Percy

Committee Member 3 Department



This thesis investigates the British and German perception of the IRA and claims that the organization represented an insurmountable obstacle to the progress of both German intelligence and British counter-intelligence. The IRA was also the primary contributor to the political troubles oflrish neutrality during World War II. It examines the perceived threat of the IRA in the minds of the Irish Prime Minister Eamon de Valera and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and those ministers' respective governments. The thesis looks at official debates in the British Parliament and the Irish Dail as well as interwar newspapers and official records. Additionally, the thesis consults the Abwehr II War Diary to compare the Axis interest in the IRA as a means by which to prepare an amphibious'assault on Britain through Ireland. By analyzing intelligence records, arrest records, and correspondences to and from Eire during the war, this research lends insight into the real military potential of the IRA and compares that potential to the perceived threat of international terrorism in the 1940s.