It’s pretty common for government of one country to express condolences when the leader of another country dies. (Assuming they are not at war and have diplomatic relations, like Ireland, Switzerland, Sweden and other neutral countries did all through WWII.)
Heck, here in the USA, we even sent high government officials to Japan for the funeral of the Emperor, despite a pretty major war between our countries when he attacked us sneakily. (Personally, I think he was a war criminal, and we should have sent some survivors of the Bataan Death March as our official representatives at his funeral. But we better go to the Pit if we want to discuss that more.)
It’s almost true. It wasn’t the President who called on the German ambassador to condole on the death of Hitler; it was the Taoiseach, Eamon de Valera. He was following diplomatic protocol in doing so, although it has to be said that not many other national leaders felt bound to follow the protocol on that particular occasion. He said that he did it as a personal gesture to the ambassador, Hempel, whom he had always liked, and whose own future was (obviously) looking a bit bleak. I suspect he did it mainly to annoy the British, though - in which objective he certainly succeeded.
Diplomatic niceties, as practiced by traditionalists in the field, are funny things. I read long ago that when FDR died, the Japanese sent their condolences* despite the fact that at the time their cities were being firebombed to cinders by the US. So I am not at all surprised that de Valera would do the same for Hitler. Especially if, as UDS points out, it would tweak the British at the same time.
*All I can find at the moment in the way of a cite is this, which is highly unsatisfactory. But I definitely recall reading it.
As for withdrawing the condolences, this doesn’t arise. And, no, it doesn’t mean that Ireland is “still sorry”. If I sent you a birthday card for your birthday in 1992, does that mean I have been continually wishing you “happy birthday!” every day since then?
(In any event, there wasn’t a lot of opportunity to withdraw condolences. The German embassy closed a few weeks later, when the Flensburg government ceased to operate. With no more paychecks from the German Foreign Ministry, the former ambassador and his wife remained in Ireland for some years and survived by selling home-made cakes and jam. But they had no diplomatic or representative status.)
They didn’t extend diplomatic condolences to the ambassador, as they did with Hempel when Hitler died. They showed their condolences in other ways, like flying flags at half-mast on governement buildings (which was not done for Hitler).
As with the gesture to Hempel, the lack of a gesture towards Gray, the American ambassador, was probably personal; de Valera regarded Gray as badly-behaved, and a complete pain in the arse, and tried several times to get the Americans to replace him.
The replies above do not stress that Ireland was formally a neutral state during the Second World War.* Therefore, like Portugal, its government was following the logic of the situation, behaving neutrally to a foreign country whose head of state had died. I am sure that they enjoyed anoying Britain by doing it, but it was correct diplomatic protocol.
Also remember that most people (even in Germany) still did not comprehend the full extent of Nazi bestiality. That only became clear as the war ended, when Allied propaganda began to be distinguished from the awful reality. Everyone knew that the Nazis were bad people, but the extent of their crimes was only partially understood at that time.
*In reality, of course, Ireland was not neutral, but heavily favoured the Allies. During the entire war, there was a safe area blocked off in the Irish Sea permitting trade with Britain. Overflights by armed Allied aircraft were permitted. Any German pilot who crashlanded was interned, while Allied pilots were returned across the border. And so on.
AK84, I agree. Indeed, there was a plan prepared by the Allies for exactly that purpose. The Germans had one too, of course.
However, Ireland’s neutrality has to be viewed in the context of a small state which had finally settled into peace. It had just come out of a war of independence, and a civil war in which vicious atrocities were committed on both sides. Britain was still occupying a large chunk of what they viewed as national territory (Northern Ireland).
If the government allied itself with the British enemy, it knew that there would be widespread unrest - maybe even a renewed civil war. The country was divided - many Irish people saw Britain’s enemy as Ireland’s friend, and initially supported Germany.
The fore-runners of the Provisional IRA actively sought funding from Nazi Germany. In the Nazis’ plans for invasion (Operation Sealion), they expected the Irish quislings to come from that IRA grouping. A senior member of the IRA (Sean Russell) died in a U-boat on the way back to Ireland from a conference with the Nazis.
Hell no. That would have taken America right out of the war against Germany, and the English knew it. In fact, if it weren’t the English who wanted to be stationed in Ireland, it probably wouldn’t have been an issue, although the infant Irish state also generally didn’t want to make themselves a target, either.
The United States Government was busy muttering very loud about “Irish cowardice” and “Irish Betrayal” well before the US went to war. So very very very unlikley.
As it is, a lot of it seems to have been DeVelera’s own decision, I think if say Lemass had been the PM at the time, he would have agreed. Probably cost Ireland in the long run, the Marshal plan would have helped what was the poorest nation in W Europe.
Finally; its not “English” its the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. England has not been around as a political entity since 1707.
This is slightly off topic but I have a recording of a singer from NI singing a song called something like “Hitler will be king of Europe in the morning” that he heard in 1940. Some Irish Republicans saw the war in Europe as another case of “England’s difficulty is Ireland’s opportunity”.