General Eoin O’Duffy

The Political Life of an Irish Firebrand


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About the Book

Most of the prominent figures from Ireland’s revolutionary generation have been endlessly profiled and commemorated but the controversial General Eoin O’Duffy remains a pariah. Despite reaching the heights of leadership in the republican movement during the Irish revolutionary period—and subsequently becoming a key state-builder in early independent Ireland as head of the national police force—O’Duffy’s legacy retains a whiff of sulphur. It has been tarnished by his controversial political career in the 1930s, including his leadership of the fascistic Blueshirts and his pro-Franco involvement in the Spanish Civil War.
Using a blend of well-charted and previously overlooked or unavailable material, this book examines the tumultuous periods of Ireland’s struggle for independence and the early Irish Free State. It foregrounds O’Duffy’s place within pro-treaty Irish nationalism. A militarist and supporter of Michael Collins, he became a safe pair of hands relied upon to rescue the pro-treaty regime during crises.The book offers new interpretations on his involvement with international fascism and provides a much needed nuance on the prevalence of crypto-fascist outlooks in the 1930s. It seeks to blow away the cobwebs of mythology and recalibrate our understanding of this most controversial Irishman.

About the Author(s)

Jack Traynor is an Irish Research Council–funded PhD candidate at the Department of History in Trinity College Dublin.

Bibliographic Details

Jack Traynor

Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 241
Bibliographic Info: 8 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2024
pISBN: 978-1-4766-9326-2
eISBN: 978-1-4766-5133-0
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface 1
1. Beginnings 3
2. Eoin O’Duffy’s War 12
3. From Truce to Treaty 30
4. The Treaty 43
5. The Civil War 58
6. Building the Guards 72
7. Leading the Blueshirts 91
8. In Politics 112
9. National Corporate Party 139
10. The Spanish Civil War 158
11. The Emergency 183
Epilogue 203
Postscript 207
Acknowledgments 210
Chapter Notes 211
Bibliography 229
Index 231