Today in Irish History: Curated by Conor Cunneen IrishmanSpeaks
1912: The British Wreck Commissioner inquiry into the sinking of the Titanic opens in London seventeen days after the disaster. The inquiry under the stewardship of Lord Merseywould last for 36 days and find that “(H)aving carefully inquired into the circumstances of the above mentioned shipping casualty, finds, for the reasons appearing in the annex hereto, that the loss of the said ship was due to collision with an iceberg, brought about by the excessive speed at which the ship was being navigated.” See Report on the Loss of the Titanic.
A U.S. Senate inquiry had commenced April 19th, only four days after the sinking. While this might seem extraordinarily early, Senators understood that J Bruce Ismay, Chairman of the White Star line and Titanic survivor planned to return to England immediately after he landed in the U.S. The only way he could be forced to stay was via subpoena. The U.S. enquiry would hear witness accounts over 18 days.
1945: Eamonn De Valera signs the book of condolence on the death of Adolf Hitler at the German embassy in Dublin! Ireland had maintained strict neutrality during WWII much to the chagrin of Britain and the USA. In language that to many seems mind-boggling, De Valera claimed it “would have been an act of unpardonable discourtesy to the German nation and to Dr Hempel (German Ambassador.) During the whole of the war, Dr Hempel’s conduct was irreproachable.”
Hempel’s conduct may have been as described, but De Valera would have been well aware at this stage of the horrors of German concentration camps. One irate letter-writer from New York wrote:
“Have you seen the motion pictures of the victims of German concentration camps, de Valera? Have you seen the crematoriums? Have you seen the bodies of little children murdered by Nazi hands? Have you seen the flourishing cabbages—cabbages for German food—flourishing because of the fertiliser, human remains of citizens from almost completely Catholic countries like Poland? These were citizens of a conquered country—and ÉIRE might easily have been a conquered country, neutrality or no neutrality. Have you seen the living dead, de Valera? Skin stretched over bone, and too weak to walk?” Source National Archives
2009: Croke Park, the home of the Gaelic Athletic Association hosts a world record crowd for a non-international rugby match as 82,000 fans watch Leinster defeat Munster 25-6 in the Heineken Cup rugby semi-final.
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This history is written by Irish author, business keynote speaker and award winning humoristIrishmanSpeaks – Conor Cunneen. If you spot any inaccuracies or wish to make a comment, please don’t hesitate to contact us via the comment button.
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