Éamon de Valera replies to Winston Churchill's criticism of Ireland's policy of neutrality throughout the Second World War.
Towards the end of the Second World War, Winston Churchill, in his Victory in Europe Day speech broadcast to the world, was critical of Taoiseach Éamon de Valera and Ireland's policy of neutrality throughout the war. Three days later, de Valera, in a much anticipated reply, outlined Ireland's right as an independent state to remain neutral. His response was praised widely in Ireland for its strength, dignity and restraint.
"It is indeed fortunate that Britain's necessity did not reach the point when Mr Churchill would have acted. All credit to him that he successfully resisted the temptation which I have no doubt many times assailed him in his difficulties and to which I freely admit many leaders might have succumbed. It is indeed hard for the strong to be just to the weak but acting justly always has its rewards."
De Valera gives credit to Churchill for not violating Irish neutrality. To illustrate his decisions on neutrality de Valera poses a hypothetical question: If Germany had won the war and occupied England for a number of years, finally giving freedom to England with the exception of six southern counties, would Churchill be prepared to "...lead this partitioned England to join with Germany in a crusade?"