"You’ve got to exchange the populations of Holland and Ireland. Then the Dutch will turn Ireland into a beautiful garden and the Irish will forget to mend the dikes and will all be drowned."
- Prince Otto von Bismarck-Schoenhausen, 1815-1898
[Otto von Bismarck]
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The Irish Question was a phrase used mainly by members of the British ruling classes from the early 19th century until the 1920s. It was used to describe Irish nationalism and the calls for Irish independence.
Bismarck is said to have proposed the above solution as a means of dealing with the Irish Question. The idea was that with their industriousness, sobriety, and civic virtue, the Dutch would soon have Ireland thriving. The Irish, meanwhile, would be so busy drinking and fighting, they would neglect the dikes. The sea would rush in and they would all drown.