Ireland and the US in post-war period

2006-11-14T14:22:29Z (GMT) by Maurice Fitzgerald
In the two decades following the Second World War, Irish-American relations experienced a roller-coaster ride veering from the mundane to the controversial. This was not just limited to diplomatic relations, which is why this paper briefly refers to cultural, economic, ideological, military, political, and social tenets in illustrating long-standing bilateral links. It considers ties under four headings: ministers and ambassadors; the multilateral arena; the US approach to partition; and visits by heads of state. These subjects allow Irish-American relations to be examined at a number of levels across this period, ranging from diplomatic representation to interaction within the context of Anglo-Irish relations, European integration and the UN. This paper specifically analyses Northern Ireland's position within the Washington-Dublin-London triangle, while looking at the impact of state visits by government dignitaries such as Irish president Sean T.O'Kelly and US president John F.Kennedy. What is now clear is that strong bilateral bonds are – in the words of US president George W.Bush – "in the national interest" (Irish Times, 19 March 2001). But there have been various stages in this relationship over the years amply demonstrating that Irish-American relations have not been without debate.