WWII Irish leader's Hitler tribute

IRELAND's president during World War II offered condolences to Nazi Germany's representative in Dublin over the death of Adolf Hitler, newly declassified government records show.

Until now, historians had believed that Ireland's prime minister at the time, Eamon de Valera, was the only government leader to convey official condolences to Eduard Hempel, director of the German diplomatic corps in Ireland. De Valera's gesture -- unique among leaders of neutral nations in the final weeks of World War II -- was criticised worldwide.

The presidential protocol record for 1938-57, made public last week within a trove of previously secret government documents, shed new light on one of the most embarrassing chapters in the history of independent Ireland -- its decision to maintain cordial relations with the Nazis even after news of the Holocaust emerged.

The new document confirmed that President Douglas Hyde visited Hempel on May 3, 1945, a day after Ireland received reports of Hitler's death.

The newly released document says Hyde -- who served as Ireland's symbolic head of state from 1938 to 1945 and died in 1949 -- visited Hempel at the diplomat's home in Dun Laoghaire, a Dublin suburb. It says the president did not send an official letter of condolence to German government headquarters because ''the capital of Germany, Berlin, was under siege and no successor had been appointed''.

The Republic of Ireland, then called Eire, remained neutral throughout World War II.

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Thomas Reimer - 1/6/2006

So--the US had cordial relations with Uncle Joe despite knowing that he murdered at least 12, perhaps 20 million people between 1930 to 1941.

Ireland had diplomatic relations with Germany, Irish are a very polite people, and so they offered condolences.

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