"We here in Ireland are not outside this struggle": the Irish Catholic Church, anti-communism and the Cold War, 1945-1965
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This project explores an understudied aspect of modern Irish Catholicism by examining the anticommunism of the Irish Catholic Church in the period from 1945 to 1965, which marked the early years of the Cold War. It looks in particular at Irish responses to Cold War events in Europe. Irish Catholic responses to the Cold War in Asia and to Catholic anti-communism in the United States, Canada and Australia are also examined. In a domestic context, the thesis explores Catholic responses to Ireland’s communists, who were involved in the Irish Workers’ League and the Communist Party of Northern Ireland for most of these years. Irish communists were monitored by lay Catholic organisations and individual lay Catholics, as well as groups directly formed by the hierarchy such as the Catholic Information Bureau and the Vigilance Committee. The hierarchy also received intelligence on communism from state sources. The potential appeal of the Connolly Association, a British-based Irish republican socialist organisation close to the Communist Party of Great Britain, was also a major concern to anti-communist Catholics in both Ireland and Britain, and this shall be discussed. The thesis will also examine Catholic suspicion of communist infiltration of the Irish trade union movement, as well as Catholic responses to particular Irish organisations who were affected by allegations of communist infiltration, such as peace and nuclear disarmament campaigns, the Irish Housewives’ Association, the Irish Association for Civil Liberty and campaigns by the unemployed. In focusing upon these issues, this thesis contributes to a growing global scholarship highlighting the importance of religion in the Cold War, and it provides an original contribution to the increasing volume of scholarship looking at Irish history from a transnational perspective.
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