Ireland’s post-war humanitarian aid to Europe, 1945-1950: Catholic networking, remembrance and missionary tradition in action

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Date
2022-12
Authors
aan de Wiel, Jérôme
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Peter Lang
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Abstract
This chapter explores Catholic Ireland’s aid to devastated post- war Europe between 1945 and 1950, an event quasi unknown in Ireland or continental Europe today. And yet, masses of unearthed archives show that Irish humanitarian aid extended from Normandy all the way to the streets of Tirana and the Greek islands. The memory of the Great Irish Famine of 1845 (the 100th anniversary was in 1945) played a role in the country’s collective response to the post- war catastrophe. The chapter throws light on the efforts of the Irish Catholic Church in organizing relief operations, using a transnational Catholic network in Europe and the United States. Relations between the Irish government and the Vatican are explored, notably concerning the government’s cooperation with the International Red Cross located in Protestant Geneva. There was relief competition between denominations in post- war Europe as some countries wished to return to their Christian roots after the horrors of Nazism and Fascism and were also now facing the Soviet atheistic threat in the emerging Cold War. Some continental clergymen believed that Ireland’s humanitarian aid was a reflection of its missionary efforts in past centuries.
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Catholic Ireland , Aid , Post-war Europe
Citation
aan de Wiel, J. (2022) 'Ireland’s post-war humanitarian aid to Europe, 1945-1950: Catholic networking, remembrance and missionary tradition in action', in Maclennan, A. (ed.) The Irish Catholic Diaspora: Five centuries of global presence. Oxford: Peter Lang, pp. 181-197.
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© 2022, Peter Lang Group AG. All rights reserved. This is an Accepted Manuscript that has been published in Maclennan, A. (ed.) The Irish Catholic Diaspora: Five centuries of global presence. https://doi.org/10.3726/b18486