Date of Award


Level of Access Assigned by Author

Campus-Only Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Stephen Miller

Second Committee Member

Janet TeBrake

Third Committee Member

Richard Blanke


This thesis is a work of political history that examines Eamon de Valera's Fianna Fail Party between 1938-1941 and investigates how de Valera responded to challenges in the Dáil Eireann and military challenges at home and abroad. The Irish Republican Army of this period, led by Sean Russell, engaged in a series of operations that directly questioned the legitimacy of the Fianna Fail Party's central ideology of diplomatic republicanism and the legal standing of the Houses of the Oireachtas. To re-establish his party's political authority, de Valera sought to suppress all parties of opposition in the Irish Government and the Irish Republican Army. This was accomplished through the passage of five authoritarian legislative acts and the utilization of wide powers by the Garda Siochana, which together rendered political debate in the Irish Government impotent and destroyed the operational capability of the Irish Republican Army.