by TERENCE SHEEHY
Ireland, Britain and Germany, 1871-1914 by f-elician frill (Gill & Macmillan, Dublin £6.75)
Dr Prill, twice German Ambassador to Ireland, has compiled a fascinating and illuminating study of German interest in Irish affairs during the days when the European political scene was dominated by three men — Parnell, Gladstone and Bismarck.
The study is made from reports from the Imperial German Ambassadors to the Court of St James, from German newspapers and political journals. and front the handful of Germans who actually saw conditions in Ireland for themselves.
During this period, The Times observed that the Catholic Faith was not in accordance with the thinking and feeling of a "thorough Englishman." Imperial Britain was
then largely anti-Rome. antiFrench. pro-Protestant and ProImperial Germany. Germans looked on Ireland as a British domestic affair and occupied Poland and Alsace-Lorraine with easy consciences.
The Kulrarkampf was less dangerous to religious peace than One would have thought, the author maintains, since it was largely forgotten by 1914. when. "German Catholics and Protestants fought and died together in the trenches during the Great War."
The Curragh mutiny gave the German Press a boom period. and their historical soul-searching by the officer class as to where loyalties to the Stale lay, While Carson was seen as a moh orator and bluffer, the German Press spoke of the "golden honesty" of L.arkin.
Backdoor intrigues at the Vatican by the Duke of Norfolk and other British emissaries meddline in Irish Church and State affairswere closeIs observed by the German diplomats and the Press of the time.
Fascinating glimpses are occasionally seen in these pages of personalities ranging from the studfast and unswerving Archbishop Manning to the devious and devilish Field Marshal Sir Henry Wilson.
Human touches are frequently to he seen in marginal notes on historical documents. For example, On a report from Ambassador Iiatifeld on the sending of General Sir John Simmons to the Vatican as British Envoy Extraordinary. and Minister Plenipotentiary, Bismarck '5 rites: "Is this the old drunkard who attended the Berlin Congress?"
When this is confirmed. he adds in further marginal note: "An effete. ignorant person "