My Uncle - General Michael Collins
Editor's note: Éamon de Valera, the Irish statesman and political leader, , only had a distant relationship with what the salaciousness of urban Harry Boland, Michael Collins and Eamon De Valera photographed in the. 'Dev', of course, was Eamon de Valera who as Taoiseach maintained a Churchill as First Lord of the Admiralty felt it imperative to re-visit the matter of the side by Arthur Griffith and Michael Collins deeply resonated with Churchill's sense of. Not only does the implication that DeValera tricked Michael make Eamon look .. bravery which God gave to him, and it is for us to be brave as he was—brave.
The Lost Leader is less harsh but still of the same outlook: This, he felt, was a job for politicians, and he was none. He pleaded that his whole reputation as an extremist would make him far more effective kept menacingly in the background as a counter to unacceptable British proposals. De Valera, however, argued that Collins would elicit better terms by his supposedly intransigent presence at the conference table—a reasoning that makes his own proposal that, as a reputed extremist, he himself should stay at home, look a trifle odd.
Perhaps what Forester is trying to say in that passage is that Collins did not have the kind of career politician goal that DeValera did. So it was with Michael Collins, the unlikely Finance Minister who proved himself an administrator par excellence. For despite his relative anonymity and comparatively young age—at twenty-nine he was the youngest in a cabinet whose average age was forty-four years—he discharged his duties with considerable ease, incomparable efficiency and definitive purpose during the Anglo-Irish and Civil Wars.
Yet, amongst his cabinet colleagues, Collins was facile princeps, demonstrating an administrative flair that was both meticulous and perspicacious.
Because Collins was extremely well organized and efficient, he was unwilling to allow social activities [to] impinge on his work. If his unexpected death robbed the state of its most capable administrator, it also denies the historian the opportunity to compare him with his successors in Finance.
This man was without a shadow of doubt, the effective driving force and the backbone at G. A tireless, ruthless, dominating man of great capacities to defeat the enemy.
Versatile to an amazing degree Collins who had fought throughhad after his release from prison become one of the chief organisers of the volunteers. Quickly realising the importance of the Army Intelligence Department, he took over that responsibility and built a splendid organisation from the ground upwards. Griffith was in jail. Yet with all these Ministerial, political and administrative responsibilities his Army activities increased.
There was no branch of the Army Headquarters into which he did not enter. Policy, training, organisation, arms, supplies, propaganda, all felt the impact of his personality and efforts.
What makes these achievements all the more astonishing is that Michael had not been formally trained in political science or law. He was, for the most part, an autodidact. He reorganized the IRB, then dominated its ruling inner circle. He had no formal education beyond primary school, had worked in the Post Office in London, was of small-farm background—a Ribbonman1 operating at national level.
A History of its Roots and Ideology.
Collins and de Valera : Friends or Foes ? - Persée
Michael Collins Was a Political Realist. With the hindsight of several decades, Collins has been labeled by many historians as a realist. This can be viewed in two basic ways. On one hand, it can be taken literally: Collins had a realistic, pragmatic outlook regarding politics. Collins was a go-getter and a doer, not someone who sat around with his head in the clouds all day. He was a man of action, of military maneuvers, not of theories, and not of idle speculation.
On the other hand, it can be taken to mean that Collins subscribed to political realism as a philosophy. If this is the case, Collins would see as the root goal of politics gaining and keeping power.
He would also hold it paramount that Ireland pursue its own self-interests first and foremost2. For someone who had not been trained formally in political science, Collins had quite the well-defined viewpoint. There would be no more glorious protests in arms, he decided. Collins was a doer. Essentially a well-informed opportunist with very few scruples, his entire ideology could be stated in five words: He took the standpoint of a practical man whenever plans were submitted to him for approval.
The water became muddied and even polluted by the killings, sectarian and otherwise by the I. Collins was a man of action who wanted to see and make things move. Half a province cannot impose a permanent veto on the nation.
De Valera however had no doubts about what the British would do when it came to the discussions on the boundary after the Treaty would be accepted. Is it reasonable to assume, as events have borne out, that Dev was right, that the British had no intention of budging on the Boundary created by them in the Treaty?
It is surely reasonable to assume that Collins, had he lived, would have fought very hard to establish what he and Griffith understood would be the outcome of the Commission. That may have been effective at the time for the purpose of bringing the North closer to the South. However in more recent years suggestions of re-partition have not found favour with successive Irish Governments right up to the present.
The Civil War taught us many things, one above all the futility of violence as a means of securing the reunification of our people. The great majority of these who were together in the War of Independence and who opposed each other in the civil conflict came to one common conclusion in the pursuit of their mutual aim — that violence would never achieve it. This is and has been the view of the vast majority of the people of the 26 Counties, that the only enduring solution will be based on the coming together of the people of this island in peace and reconciliation.
We know that we cannot force unity and we do not wish to do so. Those in Northern Ireland whose aspirations are opposed to ours are entitled to our respect and understanding. Any settlement must embrace the different contributions each tradition has to offer. Our aim must be not to try to remake others in our image but to welcome their traditions in an Ireland of which we are all citizens. We would wish for a similar and reciprocal willingness on the other side — with mutual respect for the right to differ on points of principle.
After the trauma of the Civil War and after the decision of de Valera and his followers to enter Dail Eireann in adherents JACK LYNCH of both sides were drawn together in the common purpose of the economic progress and the reunification of our people. They knew that, whether as protagonists or as antagonists in their mutual cause, they shared the common bonds of sacrifice that they and their families had to endure in their different ways to achieve it.
They knew too, as their leaders, Collins and de Valera, knew, that it would need even more sacrifice and some deprivation to achieve their further goals of advance, economic as well as Their efforts and sacrifices ensured that we of later would not have to endure the same. I am not suggesting that we have had it easy since but time may have dimmed our memory and appreciation of what those who lived in the early decades of this century had to endure. Have we as a nation become soft as a result?
In its way the Treaty which Collins and his colleagues signed and adopted, and the manner in which de Valera and his having de facto accepted it, were able astutely to use some of its provisions which they changed in order to declare and maintain our neutrality during the — 45 World War, certainly shielded us from the fearsome horrors and most of the deprivations of that War such as were suffered by the French, the Germans, the Japanese and small nations like the Dutch and the Danes.
These small countries showed their resilience to the hardships they had to endure and effectively displayed the and the will needed to make their countries economically strong from a position of abject weakness. These countries also had their internal turmoils but they have been able to rise above them and to reach accord in the interests of their countries' progress.
We too must rise above past bitterness whose continuing effects can limit our capacity to reach our full potential. Is there not in the Irish nation which has substantially improved its standard of living, over the past few decades, but is now faced with most severe economic difficulties, not all of our own making, the capacity to face some hardship, even temporarily in the national interest, to co-operate more with each other, to better understand the problems of the other side, COLLINS AND DE VALERA: Non co-operation between trade unions ; repudiation by trade union members of the authority of those whom they elect to lead them ; failure of farm organisations to reconcile with each other ; unfair or selfish action by producers or employers in relation to other producers and employers, or in relation to their employees or indeed similar action by employees in relation to their employers.
Is there not in us as a people striving to reach the same goals of satisfactory well-being and standard of living for all, to acknowledge the damage that such divisions and actions do to our progress and eliminate them for our country's sake and indeed in our own personal interests? I am not exonerating politicians. Kilmichael was the catalyst in the War, with the entire force of 23 soldiers being wiped out by the West Cork Brigade.
That was the type of guerrilla warfare which was later adapted by Yitzak Shamir in the Israeli war, Mao Tse Tsung in China and the countless revolutionaries in Africa. It was the first example of guerrilla warfare brought to its fullest conclusion and that was the thinking of young Michael Collins.
The utter sheer joy that Neeson portrayed in his brilliant characterisation of Collins summed tip that one moment of precious success, — satisfaction. The joy of winning that all of us know after a lot of losses on the way up, was what Collins enjoyed to the full. Yet he was wondering what was ahead of him now. What would be the ultimate settlement?
Dc Valera had returned after an extraordinary seventeen months in America and Harry Boland wrote to Michael to say that his 50th attempt to see President Wilson met with the same result of the previous He never succeeded in meeting the U. There were eleven Irish — American Societies in the eleven major cites of the Sates that time. De Valera visited every one of them. He asked them to accept that they were Irishmen first and Americans second.
Irish Americans, will not accept this now any more than they would accept it then. I came here and I got a chance.
Each of those eleven societies dissolved or became ineffective within seventeen months. Dev was now a man of international stature, because of the worldwide publicity given to him.
In after being Comdt. Then came the Truce, and many of these simple fine Irishmen went back to their homes and pints were shoved into their hands. It was a period of great upset in Ireland. Collins saw the discipline dissolve.
Breen and Tom Barry saw it and they expressed an urgency to the Irish Republican Brotherhood to get on with some type of settlement.
Eamon DeValera: the assassination of Michael Collins
The first clear sign of jealousy was arising between Dev and Collins. Eamon de Valera then went himself to London to see Lloyd George as to what were the outlines of the potential settlement.
Over two days, he met Lloyd George alone for seven and a half hours. Eventually, a delegation was decided on to go and negotiate the Settlement. Collins was beginning to discern the dissensions that were beginning to build up and at first refused point blank to go. Many, many years afterwards I met her at the graveside ot her husband who was buried as near to Mick as they could put him. That was the sort of relationship that was there.
She tells the story that one day as a small child, she had hurt her leg the day before, and she was home from school. That night she heard her father and Michael discussing in an adjoining room until 5. She recalls it was the only time in her life that she heard two men crying. Years later, my father spoke with Birkenhead who told him that Chamberlain, Churchill and himself were astounded at the learning of this man, — of his knowledge of economics, of his planning for the fliture of his country, of the winning of the every concession, some minute, that he could get in the negotiations.
That Treaty was signed on 6th. Collins knew the rumblings at home. I should emphasise here that every time they returned from these negotiations, Collins interceded with Dev to meet him and to discuss tactics. Dev would not have anything to do with him. Collins turned then to the Organisation into which he was sworn by Sam Maguire, The Irish Republican Brotherhood, the ultimate Organisation of responsibility.
Without exception, they told Michael to do the best he could, and that no man could do more than he could. Collins came back to a Cabinet that was divided. Austin Stack had been promoted, though his Department, because of his inefficiency, was a joke to his colleagues. Collins felt hurt and slighted. The Treaty terms were debated in the Chamber and the bitterness developed, but when we look at Government majorities over the world now, how many Nations would be thrilled with the majority of 2 or 3, not to mind the majority of 7 given in favour of accepting the terms of the Treaty?.
However jealousy and small mindedness prevailed.
The ideal must always be there, and the ultimate freedom will be the determination of successive generations of Irish men and women working within the democratic process because the time for fighting is over. I think History has now recorded that one of the two greatest errors committed by a great Statesman, Mr. He was the educated man, being a Professor. He was President of the Republic. He was an American citizen who carried great power and had he, even after deciding not to go to London, subsequently followed the democratic process and opposed literally what the Settlement fell short of, -then democracy might have prevailed and Ireland might have gone further forward.
He expressed to de Valera his great admiration for the work done by Collins in achieving the military freedom of Ireland. The Cabinet tried to install the Treaty, which was passed by the majority itself.
They broke on the Oath which was an empty formula. Then came the second mistake of this man, who subsequently was a great Irish Statesman. He was a man of great ability and a man of deep faith. Met by this reckless and wrecking opposition, and yet unwilling to use force against our own countrymen, we made attempt after attempt at conciliation.