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ReinhardtKrantz

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Prologue: Dublin, Easter Monday 1936

Twenty years since the great, failed Rising of 1916. Ten years of Michael Collins. The ruins the war left on Ireland may have been rebuilt but the scars remained. But Joe wasn’t thinking about this. He wasn’t born when the GPO was destroyed and Dublin left a burning ruin. He was a child when the last of the British soldiers marched out, and still a boy when Collins had marched on Belfast and the north welded into the Republic of Ireland. Yet all he was truly thinking of at the moment was that he was late and his bike was broken.

He sprinted through alleyways, dodging the big crowds, trying to get ahead of the march so he could see the whole thing. He was a young lad of seventeen, an apprentice and poor but with prospects ahead. The whole of Dublin was out for the parade, the state putting all on for the twentieth anniversary. Every window and lamp post, every hand and motor car was graced by the tricolour, the sky blue above them, the sun causing the tarmac to bubble in places. Every class and shade of Dublin was represented, from the tenement-block poor with their shoddy clothes and torn shoes to industrialists and leading men. The Shinners and Reds were about the only people not in the crowd, not openly at least. The IRA tramped through the streets with the Dublin Guard-the best dressed of their number- at the head. Tall, Germanic boots and coal-scuttle helmets shone in the light, the glint of bayonets making a fine sight as bagpipes blared in the close streets. By the GPO, the ultimate symbol of legitimacy to the government, the column halted. Joe was far back, perched finally up a lamp post, and precariously balanced, straining to see. The usual speeches were made by various military men, famous veterans of the War, even the Taoiseach, Eoin O’Duffy made a loud, rural-inflected speech. However, all were waiting, all were watching, for one man and one man alone.

Michael Collins.

Then, as the afternoon drew on, he appeared. The pipes sounded up and Amhran na Bhfiann, echoed out as the crowds howled and flung hats into the air. Even from here, Joe could see how tall he was, and how gaunt he had become. He was seen rarely now, and was strange to many. However, he was the hero of the War, and loved by nearly all. Even his enemies offered him some respect. He climbed the podium in his uniform, which he was rarely seen without, and opened up in his broad Cork accent. The speech was short but drawn out given the frequent bursts of applause. Yet, one part would be burned into Joe’s memory, and in the history books of the times to come;

“My long exile has ended, thank God, and now I return to you all. I have been working, working tirelessly to secure our people and our place in a troubled world. Yet till my last breath I shall belong to you, and till my last strength is given out and my final effort spent, I will labour for Ireland and see her through what may stand against her, at home and abroad. My work is not yet done and until the day dawns when any hand that seeks to shift the tricolour from her place of rest is struck down, my work shall not be complete. This I pledge, by the faith, by the flag, by the blood of our fathers, to you.”

=================================

Good day to you! This is my first AAR, my first real post, and indeed the first Irish KR AAR, to my knowledge. I'm an Irishman, and keen to represent this fascinating alt-history of my nation during this period. I have already played out the bulk of the game which this is based on, so do not worry about a sudden break in the writing. I am basing much of my style, indeed by inspiration, on "The Crown Atomic", the simply awe inspiring AAR by Cookfl, since such a style obviously works. I will be trying to represent some of the more gamey parts of my LP in reasonably historical, realistic terms and as such, some of the dates for events may be slightly askew as I am combining the events from two separate LPs, due to losing screenshots from the "canon" run. In any case, welcome and thank you for reading thus far. I shall update shortly!

 
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Ahearne

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Hello, good to see an Ireland AAR.
As one of the people involved in creating a lot of the events for Ireland in KR I'm greatly looking forward to seeing this AAR progress.
 
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ReinhardtKrantz

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Oh well I'm very glad you in particular have seen this Aherne. I loved the extra detail you added in the last couple updates.
 

ReinhardtKrantz

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The Political Landscape of the Irish Republic of 1936: Part One- The Government


Despite the unification of Ireland, the political scene is divisive and scattered among a number of bickering factions. Divisions set in almost immediately following independence, and were laid down even before that. The primary political divisions were primarily into two camps with other outliers clutching to the fringes of Irish society.


“Given the absence of credible opposition, Ireland has indeed become a dictatorship by mistake”- W.T Cosgrave, 1936
In 1936, Ireland was officially a multi-party parliamentary democracy in the style of pre-Weltkrieg Europe. There existed a lower house of parliament and an upper , Dail Eireann and an Seanad (the Senate) respectively. However, democracy was hamstrung by reasons to be explained. The government, Fine Gael, was in theory a centre-right party but, as is often the case, was drawn hither and thither by various factions within it.


THE IRA

“I’ve been serving since 1916, and I don’t care if I serve another thirty years, the Big Fella is my boss, now and always.”-unnamed IRA NCO, 1932
The military wing of the now mostly defunct Sinn Fein, the IRA had been elevated to the official army, being merged with the Free State ‘National Army’. The IRA thus held enormous sway over the burgeoning democracy with its commander, Michael Collins, being President. Most major political figures of the Republic were either associated with or actual veterans of the IRA. By and large, the IRA represented the status quo of Fine Gael, slowly losing ground over the years to more politically energetic factions. They favoured a strong military, preparedness in the face of British power and isolationism. Economically they stood for mostly free trade but this was a secondary concern.



Michael Collins

Michael Collins was, as of 1936, the saviour and father of the nation. His position as President was found to be unassailable as consistent elections voted him into power. These elections were denounced as rigged by the opposition, and to a certain degree they were. Collins had, in the decade after the war, become a lonely, isolated figure. His wife Kitty had left for Boston some eight years prior with a minor military official. Divorce was illegal in the Republic and so she had simply left unceremoniously. This caused considerable scandal and prompted Collins to retire from public life for much of his long Presidency. However, the powers of the President were limited and the governance of Ireland continued under various old IRA figures. Collins busied himself with assessing the military infrastructure of Ireland, in an almost paranoid way. Under his direct command, the IRA established networks of tunnels under Belfast and in strategic locations where large scale forces could land. The taxpayer grumbled and his opponents scoffed. “The Big Fella has become the Batty Fella” was the comment made by his old rival Cathal Brugha. His return to public life at the 1936 Easter celebrations was portentous.


Richard Mulcahy and Sean MacEoin


Of all the men in either the Dail or the IRA, these two men are the ones Collins relied on the most. Mulcahy reigned as Director of Military Operations and MacEoin, the best man at Collins’ wedding, was Director of Intelligence. While it would be too far to suggest MacEoin ran a secret police force, he did maintain a network of old IRA spies personally loyal to himself and Collins, who kept reports flowing to his command centre at Dublin Castle, where the British once ran a similar operation. The irony of this was hardly lost on the three men.


Kevin O’Higgins


Representing the most politically active and right wing of the IRA, O’Higgins was a man whose ruthlessness had robbed him of true power. His role as Minister for Justice during the Ulster campaign was the cause behind a number of executions of UVF officers responsible for attacks on Catholic civilians. While satisfying Nationalist opinion, it soured the burgeoning peace agreements being drafted by Collins towards James Craig and as a result, he lost his seat to Gearoid o’Cuinneagain. Having been essentially kicked upstairs to the role of Foreign Secretary, O’Higgins spent much of this historical period abroad, securing trade deals and representing Ireland in international sporting events. His significance was to rise dramatically during the late 1930s but as of 1936, he was an ambassador in exile.


The Army Comrades Association

Oh young crusading man of Ireland!

With your shirt of blue and your sprig of green!

Girded by the Lord and with a firm stand,

Prepared to strike and make the country clean!

The youngest of our ancient story

A new Fianna set against the dark!

Ever primed to fight for Erin’s glory

To brave the cannon shout and rifle’s bark!
-“Holy Young Crusader.” ACA Marching Hymn, author unknown

A subsection of Fine Gael, and its main rival for ultimate power, is the ACA. The Army Comrades association was, in 1936, a mostly unofficial old soldiers club, often directly recruiting men who left the IRA due to the downsizing of the army following victory in the North. The ACA initially was moderately conservative but in the years preceding 1936, drifted further to the right. Like the IRA, they favoured a strong military, albeit one under their control. The two factions differed in that the ACA was pro-German, at least at first, and favoured a more protectionist economic policy. Although fanatically anti-syndicalist, they argued that mass action and a corporatist economic system would be superior to the IRA’s lack of interest in the economy. Their pressure within the government prompted many of the reforms and changes during the mid 1930s.


Eoin O’Duffy


A veteran of the War of Independence and a founder of the Irish police- An Garda Siochana, O’Duffy had managed to coerce his way into the position of Taoiseach. It is believed, in later years, that it was his authority which most corroded Irish democracy during the Collins Era, as he held the most power from 1934 onward. His style of governance was one of a slow gathering of strength, desiring total control of the state apparatus before committing to policy. He was never able to amass full control and yet his political acumen stood him in good stead. He would be the man primarily responsible for the growing of the ACA, if not its radicalization. That mantle fell to the next man.



Gearoid O’Cuinnegan


Of all those in the ACA, O’Cuinnegan was the most radical and in many ways, one of the most powerful. His role as Minister for Justice gave him considerable control over the judicial system, which he used as a blunt weapon to smash any opposition to his faction’s agenda. He oversaw legislation which broke the back of the syndicalism movement in Ireland as a legitimate entity and passed anti-Traveler settlement laws which involved the construction of new towns for settled Paveen communities, regardless of consent. His bullish, almost sociopathic attitude was nevertheless unwavering and systematic, and he was successful in ending the majority of organised crime in Ireland by late 1936. He maintained links with the Romanian Iron Guard, engaging in correspondence with its leader, Corneliu Codreanu, and expressed sympathy for establishing a similar regime in Ireland.


Oliver J Flanagan


A minor figure in the movement, Flanagan represented an economically able if cranky figure, being emphatically anti-Semitic, despite the lack of any significant Jewish population in Ireland and also being anti-Masonic. His position in the party was limited and his presence in government, while useful in balancing the budget and especially in marshaling resources to embattled constituencies, was eventually supplanted by Ernest Blythe.



Ernest Blythe


A moderate in the ACA, Blythe was different in his Protestant religion, his role in the Abby Theater and his less senior history in the IRA. His was the driving force in the secularization of Ireland, much to the chagrin of the other Blueshirts. Collins, ever keen to pit one part of the ACA against another, wisely supported some divisive Blueshirts against others. Blythe was able to summon heretofore unknown economic talent and was responsible for much of the economic actions following the Black Week. An Ulster Protestant, it was his mediation which was able to prevent tensions from exploding into outright ethnic violence in the North following the annexation.
 
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BBBD316

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Glad to see De Valera appears to have got his in this time line.
 

ReinhardtKrantz

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The Political Landscape of the Irish Republic of 1936: Part Two- The Opposition

THE NATIONAL CENTER PARTY

“Better to be in the pub singing over drunken boors than outside the pub singing to yourself”- W.T Cosgrave, 1935.
In coalition with Fine Gael was the National-Center Party, a more moderate wing of Fine Gael which split off during the years preceding the Ulster War. Despite feelings of ambiguity over the lack of democracy, the party nevertheless decided it would be more useful to operate within the government than outside of it. While not participating openly in government, they functioned as the loud middle ground, occasionally co-operating and occasionally dissenting. Moderate in all things, they functioned as a rural alternative to the more urban Fine Gael.


W.T Cosgrave


As is to be expected, Cosgrave was an IRA veteran and ardent Republican. His sympathies for Collins were motivated by old comradeship and a certain admiration for the old Commander’s even handed dealings with the North. His politics were free market, demanding a resuscitation of the rural agricultural economy and the economy in general. He was not as isolationist as many of his colleagues and took the brave stance of being Pro-Entente during the mid to late 1930s.


FIANNA FAIL
“The situation is intolerable. From Malin to Mizen, the whole nation is bound in worship of a false hero, a Caesar who has been romanticised and mythologized into a role he was never meant to take. It is our duty to knock the unearned laurels from Collins’ head.”- Eamonn De Valera, 1935.
The Opposition, as it was termed, was a loose coalition of anti-Fine Gael parties which maintained their independence from the big-tent Fine Gael.


Eamonn de Valera



The former President of the Irish Republic, while it was still a nation in hearts and minds and not on a map, de Valera was Collins’ furious opponent in the years following the annexation of the North and nominal leader of Sinn Fein. However, after he expelled Collins from the party, he realised the mistake he had made and spent the next decade in the political wilderness, refusing to take his seat in the Dail on the grounds of it being illegal in his own mind. A prisoner of the moral high ground, de Valera was by and large protectionist and isolationist, and yet very far from the reins of power. The fact that the Opposition took very few seats in the Dail only allowed O’Duffy to dominate Irish politics.


SINN FEIN

"It has been left to me, the last man standing, to preserve the spirit of Irish Republicanism. Collins betrayed us for the British and German crowns, and now has made his own. I won't sit in that traitor's Dail but I'll one day burn it down. You can put that in your paper!"- Cathal Brugha, answering a reporter from the Irish Independent, 1934.

Cathal Brugha

The Sinn Fein of Brugha is a shell of its former self. Reduced by the broad conservative appeal of Fine Gael and hampered by Brugha’s bombastic and brutish command, Sinn Fein has withered to a minor ally of Fianna Fail, the rural alternative to the Collins’ Coalition. Brugha was no threat to Collins during this period, and despite swearing to never do so, he did at least occasionally take his seat in the Dail to harangue Collins. This was more harm than good, as it allowed O’Duffy to present the Dail as actually democratic in that it had an opposition.


SAOR EIRE
"The cause of Ireland is the cause of Labour"- James Connolly, 1916

Jim Larkin

Of all the Opposition figures, none were so dangerous, or as divisive as Jim Larkin. The hero of the 1913 Lockout, Larkin had ruined his popular opinion by attempting to ferment a Syndicalist uprising in Dublin in 1924. Having avoided the assassination squads sent by MacEoin and safely hidden in a tenement block on the north side of Dublin, Larkin kept close contact with British and French syndicalists, reporting eagerly on the state of Ireland and the political climate. His devoted followers, the ICA, suffered greatly for their loyalty, the role they played in the 1916 Rising erased and its founder, James Connolly’s role downplayed. The ICA would soon be condemned for their role in the Second War of Independence but as of 1936, they were respected among the Irish left. Larkin was an unashamed syndicalist, calling for armed revolution and the establishment of an Irish Syndicalist Republic. His hidden presence in Dublin during the majority of the 1930s was a surprise to many as not even close associates were aware of his location. He was, to the Irish right, a monster hiding in the cupboard, ready to spring disaster on all.
 
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Ahearne

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This AAR looks great so far, I like the detail.
Also, the Second War of Indepedence? I wonder what war that will turn out to be referring to.. (my bets are on the Second Weltkrieg right now)
Looking forward to more.
 
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ReinhardtKrantz

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I'm planning on putting up the first actual pictures in a couple days. Won't be the longest AAR but I hope the detail and short story type sections might flesh it out a bit.
 

Droom

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Interesting stuff. I had some fascinating games with Ireland (Communist Europe and Syndicalist France reigning over West and East, Epic Qing Empire, Turkestan Empire, Russian communists and Hashemite Arabia controlling all of Turkey).
 

Milites

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I'm thoroughly hooked and eagerly awaiting where undivided Ireland goes! Be careful with those Maximists though! Red imperialism is still imperialism, innit?
 

ReinhardtKrantz

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Chapter 1: Taking Stock

The Easter celebrations of 1936 were the largest in the Republic's history
The return of Collins to public life had shaken the hornets’ nest of Government. For the past eight years since the scandal, Ireland had fallen into a state of sleepy isolation. The poverty of the nation and the divided political situation had damaged the ability of successive Fine Gael governments to manage the nation. The degree to which Collins was aware of the incompetence of previous governments and the political tampering which had gone on is unknown but it is fair to surmise he must have known more than he let on. In any case, his return to public life was followed by a series of governmental and military reports on the state of the nation. Collins’ sole occupation for eight years had been either military preparedness or virtual exile in his home county of Cork. If he was to truly return, he needed all the facts. Three main reports were compiled for his viewing, each one hidden from public eyes until 1986.​

The MacEoin Report

Ireland's total mobile forces did not surpass seven thousand men

“In the opinion of myself and other members of the General Staff, the Irish military is in a state of complete unreadiness. The economic position of the nation forced a downsizing of the IRA from a peak strength of 55’000 men and officers to some 6’500 men in five battalions. A further two thousand men have been deployed to Belfast. While these men are equipped as standard, they are utterly without even animal transport and will, if under duress, require reinforcement from Dublin. We do possess a large reservoir of veterans, both Weltkrieg and War of Independence, along with the Northern Campaign. We can at most draw an additional sixty thousand personnel with military experience and, with conscription, an additional forty thousand. However, this leads us to the issue of armament.


Irish mobile forces were at least ten years out of date, with poorly made helmets and threadbare uniforms.

In terms of munitions, our supplies are limited to a fraction of what is required for any conventional war exceeding six months of fighting. We lack a dedicated machine gun corps, with barely enough Lewis and Hotchkiss guns per battalion to resemble a British pre-weltkrieg battalion. Our airforce consists of thirty outdated aircraft only for use in reconnaissance. Our infantry are armed with Weltkrieg-era Lee Enfield rifles, along with German Mauser rifles supplementing the reserves and militias. We lack any significant armour corps, being limited to less than one hundred armoured cars and Weltkrieg era tanks last used during the Ulster campaign. Our anti aircraft capacity is limited to Dublin and Belfast.


Ireland's neutrality did allow it to conduct trade deals with both sides of any given conflict.

Thanks to the efforts of President Collins, we do in fact possess a certain advantage in that all major beaches suitable for sea landings have been re-enforced. However, in the opinion of myself and those who compiled this report, this will delay any foreign advance no longer than two weeks, three if the weather turns inclement.
Our strategy, therefore, in the case of a declaration of war with Britain or Germany, is to reinforce all beaches, hold as long as we can while the IRA mobilises flying columns as they did during the War of Independence. From there, capitulation is an unfortunate reality, followed by a protracted guerrilla campaign, using the resources amassed during the previous twenty years. With a bombing and assassination campaign, any conventional armed force would, lacking any concrete targets to identify and attack, be forced into an untenable situation. It is predicted that within five years, a settlement with surviving IRA command will be made due to the inability to control the entire country. However material loss, along with in terms of life, will be severe.”


Irish agriculture was by and large still not mechanized and despite the richness of the soil, waste was frequent.

A supplementary report was compiled on the state of Irish industry and agriculture, the Leeson Inquiry, a comprehensive governmental report on the state of Irish industry and agriculture. The report was similarly bleak, with agriculture being the predominant source of income for both the government and the population. With the black fields of the Ukraine providing MItteleuropa with much of its agricultural needs, Ireland’s crops found few markets. While this led to the Irish population having a vastly improved diet, it had let to poverty and flight from Ireland, with the United States and Germany seeing thousands of Irishmen leave a year. Dublin suffered under the economic slump, with large tenement flats dominating the northern side of the city, with tuberculosis and polio a constant scourge. Industry was likewise damaged, with the once vibrant textile industries of Northern Ireland damaged due to a lack of raw materials from the British Empire and the go-slow attitude of stubborn Protestant workers.

In summary, as 1935 became 1936, the Irish economy was stagnant, the military unable to man the coastline and industry insufficient to meet the needs of a modern nation. However, as optimists in the Irish cabinet ruminated, Collins’ return marked a change for the better, and the awakening of Ireland from poverty and privation.
 
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germandjinn

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subbed, first kaisserreich game i played was a social democratic Ireland
 

Moosemac

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Very interested to see where you go with this. I wonder if you could pull off puppeting wales and Scotland. While incredibly challenging, I have seen people do it before. Also interested to see how you will write the Irish-American influx.

On hand you are actually getting immigration to Ireland. On the other hand you are adding a unstable mixture of urban syndicalists and rural, gun-loving Dixiecrats to Ireland, plus the Boston-Irish (whom I imagine are going to get on everyone's nerves),
 

ReinhardtKrantz

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Oh I have short-story stuff and general stuff in the works, will be released Teusday.
 

Metroid17

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Following this avidly.
 

marlfox216

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Good to see the emerald isle represented. I've always been a fan of Collins. subbed.
 

ReinhardtKrantz

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Chapter 2: Recovery, Cute Hoors and Rifles


The tenements of north Dublin were an appalling place. With little in the way of heating or insulation, a constant fire hazard, each block only boasting two or three toilets, they were some of the worst slums in Europe and proved a profound embarrassment to the Government. The smell was rank, the tiny streets packed with feuding gangs and shoe-less children. The Gardai refused to go into them, a vast lawless tract which any attempt to arrest criminals led to showering chamber pots and shouts of abuse. It was in this decrepit slum that Jim Larkin found an ideal hiding place.

From the third story of a nameless block of flats, he had dug out a wee base of operations. On the morning of the Black Monday, he was busy as ever, dictating notes, giving orders for various agitations, sewing up various disguises, frying bacon and brewing tea. The big man was continually in motion, hurrying from hideout to hideout. He was well hidden, with only a handful knowing his whereabouts. Even if everyone knew, it would be unlikely the IRA would come for him this deep into the slums. Even the ACA, full of braggadocio and easy violence were wary of the looming blocks.

It was mere seconds after scalding his hand with some steam that one of his various officers burst into the flat. The ICA man bore a dour, sulky look and his right hand a newspaper. The Irish Independent was mournfully declaring the Black Monday. The room held its breath as the big man scanned the page. A small smile crept into life.

“We’ve got them now!”

=============================================================================================================================


The Third of February was the death knell for inaction in Ireland. The common perception that developed in the years afterwards, primarily from left wing sources, was that the Black Week was a classic example of the outmoded and inefficient capitalist system’s deficiencies. Syndicalists the world over celebrated the news, sure of a great socialist uprising across the world. Likewise, it was also a trope invoked in Syndicalist imagery and rhetoric that capitalists flung themselves out of windows all over the world, and that soon the people would assist them in the task. In Dublin, the effects were far less dramatic as the Irish capitalist class was limited in size and scope, being primarily in the business of agriculture, textiles and small industry. No recorded suicides of leading Irish businessmen were recorded, which perhaps hints there wasn’t enough of an economy in place to warrant suicide at its collapse.

The immediate ramifications were slow to take hold, with over three weeks passing until any damage hit Ireland. The main problem was a sudden lack of capital for the purchase of Irish potatoes and beef which had seen success in Germany and neutral Europe. Collins realized that the economy was on the verge of an utter free fall and this would only galvanize the tenuous alliance of Opposition parties to move against him. The economic collapse of Germany also prompted the ACA to demand economic reform and public works on a massive scale as a means of defeating the rapidly increasing unemployment. As a result of the failure of the IRA faction to manage the economic situation before hand, this meant a massive swing in power to the Blueshirts, who used their new power to copper-fasten the Catholic nature of the Irish Republic, as divisive as this would be in the North.


The USA was plunged into even further economic ruin, denying many Irish the traditional economic land of opportunity they so craved. Thus, Ireland was filled with large numbers of unemployed, frustrated men. This would prove difficult to solve.


Ernest Blythe proved the superior candiate to the "cute hoor" Flanagan.
Blythe was appointed to the newly minted office of Minister for Finance, a more neutral name than the prior title of Chancellor of the Exchequer. His radical plan involved massive government expenditure on work programmes to drain bogs, harvest turf and join an enlarged peacetime military. The plan would be implemented in bulk during the first half of 1936 and continue into 1937. The full effects would not be able to be implemented until 1939 but Government projections placed the economic recovery to be comprehensive by that date. However, of immediate concern was the increase in the peacetime IRA numbers, providing vital jobs for veterans and newer recruits. This final measure would prove to be the salvation of the Republic.


Bord na Mona proved popular, with large work gangs easing unemployment
His first decree as Minister for Finance was a massive peat harvesting campaign, to be performed by the unemployed in exchange for wages. Shares became available to the general public with a controlling share bought by the Government and himself, Minister Blythe, placed in control. This was to prove an immediate success although domestic consumption proved the majority of its business, exportation proving slow. However, the popularity of peat over coal was undeniable, easing import costs. There was even a fiddle tune composed at the time, "the Midlands Waltz" which was played over the radio and rose to be a highly popular tune.


The IRA needed new rifles, and they needed to be built at home.
The first priority of the industrial sector, which had been flagging since before the Black Week, was the production of new rifles for the IRA. The raw materials would be purchased at the cheapest possible rate- namely Irish lumber for the stocks and Mittelafrikan steel for the rest with assembly taking place in Ireland. The design would be essentially a carbon copy of the Lee Enfield, to be produced in Dublin, Belfast and Cork. The IRA would be outfitted with modern German machine guns, mortars grenades. The cost would be excruciating but, as Blythe assured Collins, at least they had the impetus to work and plenty of time in which to do it.

=============================================================================================================================

Caolán strained, putting his worn boot against the end of the boat for leverage. The herring squirmed in his net as he and his father hauled them on deck. The boat was small and wooden, the nets handmade, the herring thick in the water. The summer was on its way and for the small village of Cleggan, on the Galway coast, the woes of the world seemed far away.

As hours passed, the fish disappeared, spooked by something. Caolán idly thought it may be a whale that drove them away, and his father grumbled at their ill fortune.

Then the air filled with a drone. The great, steady sound was like thunder gathering but more regular, more mechanical. Setting the net, Caolán heard his father gasp. Looking up, he saw the entire horizon filled with ships, and the spring sky fill with the grim shapes of aeroplanes.

The British Republican Navy had arrived.

 
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