Freemans Journal censor war letter

Published: 3 August 1914

The Sinn Féin newspaper has published a letter today by Francis Sheehy Skeffington.  It was intended to be published by the Freemans Journal but what was not printed due to its content. The Sinn Féin claim Irish daily newspapers are censoring the opinion of Irishmen during the war.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         3rd August, 1914

Sir – As Nationalist and Unionist newspapers have combined to take the view of the British Foreign Office, that Germany is the aggressor in this war, perhaps you will allow me to state briefly a portion of the case on the other side.

It is true that Germany is now reaping the harvest of her past aggressions, the Nemesis of the policy of Blood and Iron. It is also true that Germany’s ally, Austria, has behaved in an intolerably high-handed fashion toward Serbia. But, so much conceded, it is non the less true that at the moment Germany is the victim of a conspiracy to force a war before the German navy has reached its full strength, and to dismember the central Empire for the aggrandisement of Russian despotism.

Since the beginning of the Anglo-French Entente this conspiracy has been maturing. The prime movers have been [xxxxx] diplomats of Russia, manoeuvring to hem in and crush Germany in order that they may be free to turn on Constantinople, Persia, and India. The secondary agents have been President Poincare and his entourage, who, when France returned and anti-war majority at the General Election of last May, succeeded at the instigation of the instigation of the Russian Ambassador, in falsifying the will of the French people and installing a warlike and anti-German Ministry. The third partner in the conspiracy is that incomparable ignoramus, Sir Edward Grey. The Russian people are not to blame; they have no voice in the government of their own country. The French people are still less to blame; they clearly expressed their wish for peace, but their verdict was nullified by Parliamentary intriguers; and at the first shock of defeat, they will make as short work of the Ministry and the President who have betrayed them as they did of Napoleon III.

Austria’s unwarrantable attack on Serbia gave the Russian Government the desired pretext for a war of conquest. It was not of the interests of Serbia that Russia was thinking; they would have been better helped by diplomatic action; and in any case Serbia, with Greece and Romania behind, is very well able to defend herself. But Russia knew that Germany was bound by treat to defend Austria if Russia intervened; and therefore Russia did intervene, with the express object of embroiling all Europe in a war from which Russia alone has nothing to lose and everything to gain. The German Emperor’s strenuous efforts to preserve the peace, the sincerity of which no one knows Germany from the inside will doubt – were met by a treacherous Russian mobilisation under cover of sham negotiation. The net was tightened on every side. A declaration of neutrality from either France or England would have made the Russian tortoise draw back its head at the last moment, but the needful word to save Europe from falling into barbarism was not spoken either by Viviani or Grey; Russian diplomacy had them both too closely enmeshed. After days of patience and restraint under the menace – days every one of which must have cost Germany dear – the German Emperor decided to strike out at the net which entangling his country; and at once the conspirators howl that he is the aggressor.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                F Sheehy Skeffington’

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