Tag: Churchill’s relevance

Politics Before Country, 1936-2011, Part 4

Politics Before Country, 1936-2011, Part 4

con­tin­ued from Part 3

Amer­i­ca and the oth­er great democ­ra­cies con­front no mighty super­pow­er, like Britain did in 1936. Yet we face  prob­lems which, long sim­mer­ing, may indeed result in a wreck­age sim­i­lar to what might have befall­en the world, had Churchill’s Britain, and its Com­mon­wealth, not stood alone against Hitler, until, as he put it, “those who hith­er­to had been half blind were half ready.” The clear­est dec­la­ra­tion of Churchill’s char­ac­ter and prin­ci­ple I have ever read came in July 1936, at the height of the rear­ma­ment debate, Churchill told Par­lia­ment:

I would endure with patience the roar of exul­ta­tion that would go up when I was proved wrong, because it would lift a load off my heart and off the hearts of many Mem­bers.…

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Politics Before Country, 1936-2011, Part 3

Politics Before Country, 1936-2011, Part 3

con­tin­ued from Part 2

In 1937, Prime Min­is­ter Stan­ley Bald­win retired in favor of Neville Cham­ber­lain, with whom Churchill had served in an ear­li­er gov­ern­ment, and respect­ed despite their polit­i­cal dis­agree­ments in the past. But Churchill was soon dis­en­chant­ed with Chamberlain’s for­eign pol­i­cy, which remained as ded­i­cat­ed as Baldwin’s had been to appeasement—to not antag­o­niz­ing Ger­many.

Neville Cham­ber­lain 1869-1940. Paint­ing by Orpen, 1929 (Wiki­me­dia Com­mons)

Cham­ber­lain did begin to rearm the coun­try. In 1939, when Hitler took over what was left of Czecho­slo­va­kia, con­trary to his promis­es in the Munich Agree­ment, Cham­ber­lain sent a British guar­an­tee to the like­ly next tar­get, Poland.…

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Politics Before Country, 1936-2011, Part 2

Politics Before Country, 1936-2011, Part 2

con­tin­ued from Part 1

Churchill reflect­ed in his mem­oirs on why Prime Min­is­ter Stan­ley Bald­win had refused to admit his coun­try had a defense problem—the ris­ing might of Nazi Germany—because he thought the admis­sion might cost him the 1936 elec­tion:

Mr. Bald­win was of course not moved by any igno­ble wish to remain in office. He was in fact in 1936 earnest­ly desirous of retir­ing. His pol­i­cy was dic­tat­ed by the fear that if the Social­ists came into pow­er even less would be done than his Gov­ern­ment intend­ed. All their dec­la­ra­tions and votes against defense mea­sures are upon record.…

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