This book had its origin when the author was glancing through an English translation of Adolf Hitler’s book Mein Kampf. He was so struck by Hitler’s account of German history before, during, and after the First World War that he went and bought the book. What amazed him was its resemblance to the version of Irish history that he had been taught in Irish schools. There was no question of either side borrowing directly from the other, but equally obviously both were drawing on a common set of ideas and used a common method of exposition.
Further study showed that both exposed a racist view of history and believed in the Darwinian struggle of the races. Both regarded their countries as subjected by alien races who destroyed the pure native culture. Both attributed every evil in their respective societies to these malign evil influences. Both saw that the alien races would have to be expelled from their countries so that their countries could again prosper when their native cultures were restored. Protestant landlords in Ireland had the same place in Irish racist propaganda and political mythology that the Jews had in Nazi political mythology. Most Irish boys of the author’s generation had, like Hitler, come across an inspiring teacher of history who inspired them to nationalism with his one-sided stories of Irish wrongs at the hands of the English.
Having realised that the standard version of Irish history was vitiated in its roots the problem arose as to how a version of Irish history could be written which was fair to all parties involved. Many excellent books and monographs on various parts of Irish history have been written, and he has drawn on them considerably in this book. It is noticeable that the further the subject of an historical study is from the present the easier it is to be objective, and the less controversy there is.
Some of the points examined and tested in this book are basic assumptions of racist propaganda, that separate races exist, that languages distinguish races, that each race has its own unique culture, and that foreign invasions necessarily destroy that unique culture. The author makes no claim to have done original research on any of the topics discussed in this book, but has drawn on the standard published works. He brings to the research a wide knowledge of the various subjects discussed which he has gathered over a lifetime.
As a result of his researches he came to several conclusions. Firstly, that there was no unique Irish or Celtic race, Celtic being merely a language that had spread into many parts of Europe including Ireland. There was only one race in Europe, that of the Palaeolithic hunters who spread over it in the wake of the retreating ice-sheets.
Celtic was a branch of the Indo-European languages which originated, apparently in southern Russia about 3000 BC. Gradually it broke into different dialects which further developed into distinct languages. But as late at 1500 BC Gaelic, Anglo-Saxon, and German were the same language.
There was no evidence of invasions like those of Celtic warriors or any evidence that they wiped out the native population. As one author (Raftery) however remarked ruefully, it was regarded as virtually heresy to suggest that there never was a Celtic invasion.
The culture of Ireland was not unique. It was derived bit by bit from centres of origin abroad, often in the Middle East. Nor were the various bits introduced by conquering warrior races. Farming techniques seem to have been spread largely by copying. Techniques in metal-working by travelling families who kept their secrets among themselves. Borrowing was selective. The Celtic language is as likely to have been introduced by traders as by warriors. Some things like writing and building with stone seem to have been neglected until introduced later in differing circumstances.
There is no evidence that Ireland was a peaceful and prosperous land before the coming of ‘the in