Revolution at the Waldorf, Crowdfunding the Revolution, A Global History.

Revolution at the Waldorf

America and the War of Independence.

New York, 1919. The lights of Broadway are back on. With victory in Europe, and influenza on the wane, a new generation was leading the metropolis of the world into the Jazz Age. America was still trying to define itself; the eighteenth amendment had been passed, the country was going dry; anarchist bombings, organised labour and bitter strikes fuelled a Red Scare; the Ku Klux Klan had become a political force and interracial violence was rife during the Red Summer. 


The ‘President’ of the self-declared Irish Republic, Eamon de Valera, joined representatives from other new European nation states seeking recognition and funding. Back in the ‘home country’, Michael Collins was raising funds in open defiance of the Dublin Castle authorities. Without American recognition and funding the young Irish Government was sure to fail against the might of the British Empire. 


This is their story.

Crowdfunding the Revolution

The First Dáil Loan and the Battle for Irish Independence.


‘Can you say whether your bank has an account in the name of a man called Michael Collins?’ - Alan Bell, official bank inquiry.



In 1919, the revolutionary Irish government launched an audacious plan to finance a counter-state in open defiance of British rule in Ireland. Half the money was to be raised in Ireland and half in America. This start-up government was determined not only to replace the British administration in Ireland but also to implement its own industrial and financial policies, including establishing a national bank.


It was imperative that the domestic funding campaign succeed. Without funds, the counter-state government would be doomed to failure. A financial ‘Ho Chi Minh Trail’ was established; couriers secretly began distributing three million promotional leaflets throughout the country and carrying subscriptions to Dublin. The money was laundered into bank accounts and converted into gold using a ‘gold exchange network’.


This is the untold history of the fight for the revolutionary government’s funds, the bank inquiry that shook the financial establishment and the first battle in the intelligence war. 

A Global History.

The publication, which has contributions from a host of scholars in the field, will focus on placing the Irish revolution in global context, with two key themes:

(i)              impact of transnational factors on the revolution in Ireland and

(ii)            the impact of the Irish revolution beyond Ireland, focusing particularly on the diaspora and wider imperial and comparative contexts.


What does a global history offer that we do not already have in many accomplished histories of Irish revolution? In the first instance, there is the much-needed perspective afforded by standing back from events in Ireland to understand the wider context of post-war Europe, and equally Ireland’s place in the newly-reconfigured western world where empires were now in irreversible decline.

Widening the focus from the history of the Irish overseas to the global significance of the ‘Irish question’ enables us to chart how extensively the conflict in Ireland was debated across the world in anti-imperial, labour, suffragist, dominion and other circles. Such an approach offers a way of broadening out consideration of the global dimensions of the Irish revolution beyond the involvement of the diaspora in activities such as fund-raising. Nevertheless there is no doubt but that the effort to raise funds from the global Irish diaspora was crucial in financing the Irish revolution.

What also emerges clearly is how transnational communications, primarily newspapers and the telegraph, fundamentally shaped how the Irish revolution was reported and written about. The digitisation of newspapers now allows for this story to be told from many different places.

Finally, and most importantly, the growth in digital archives such as the 1911 Irish Census of Population, the Bureau of Military History and the Military Service Pensions Collection enables people, wherever they happen to be located in the world, to explore in unprecedented detail the fascinating and rich history of Ireland’s global revolution.


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  • ISBN: 978-1-9161375-3-0
  • Availability: In Stock
  • €45.00

Tags: Revolution at the Waldorf, Crowdfunding the Revolution, A Global History.