Michael Donnellan, Hitler & anti-Semitism

Published in 18th–19th - Century History, Issue 2 (March/April 2010), Letters, Letters, Volume 18

Sir,

—Eugene Duggan suggests (HI 18.1, Jan./Feb. 2010, letters) that aquotation in my book Architects of the Resurrection from an address byMichael Donnellan, in which the Clann na Talmhan leader compared hispolitical mission to that of Adolf Hitler, is not authentic—based uponthe curious rationale that because Mr Duggan failed to come across thisstatement in the course of his own research it must be presumed not toexist.
The speech in question was made at Creggs, Co. Galway, in June 1943. Init Donnellan said: ‘I have been called a Hitler. I accept the namebecause I intend to drive the professional politicians out of Ireland,just as Hitler drove the Jews out of his country’. Three monthsearlier, at the party’s first árd-chomhairle, Donnellan had declaredthe raison d’être of the Clann na Talmhan programme to be to ‘break thestranglehold of the money grubbers and Jews’. Reports of both speechesare contained in the Irish Press editions of 15 March 1943 and 25 May1944 respectively; the relevant footnote directing the reader’sattention to these sources is at the bottom of the page of my book inwhich the quotations themselves appear (p. 129).
Regrettably, these were far from the only anti-Semitic or pro-Axisutterances made by the Clann na Talmhan leader and his lieutenantsduring the Emergency. As I indicate in Architects of the Resurrection,however, in this respect he and other politicians of the mainstreamparties differed less from the frankly anti-democratic extreme-rightmovements of the era like Ailtirí na hAiséirghe than we would nowadayslike to think.

—Yours etc.,
R. M. DOUGLAS
Hamilton, NY

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