Wednesday, 15 May 2013

A Churchill Reminder

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This is a very interesting article by Richard Jencks from yesterday's Wall St journal. It is worth reading. I enjoyed it but do not agree with it.

There is a grotesque stereotype that he [Churchill] was a buoyant and bellicose man who had simply found his time. What really differentiated him from the pragmatic foreign secretary, from the hero-aviator, from the ambivalent philosopher, and from the Indian apostle of non-resistance, was that Churchill's moral judgment of evil was more acute and implacable than theirs.
Churchill was absolutely right to recognise, far better than the over-intelligent Halifax or many others, that Hitler and the Nazis were evil and could not be trusted. It was also true that 'the old bastard' as WH Auden called Churchill, the 'semi-American adventurer' as R A Butler called him, was bellicose, buoyant and a born war leader. But we did not go to war with Germany because her rulers were evil, though they were, or anti-Semites or fascists, but because they threatened the vital interests of the British Empire. Germany was defeated but the British Empire was defeated too and, unlike Germany, never recovered. The question is whether maintaining the balance of power in Europe, and Britain's export markets on the Continent, was as vital as rulers from Pitt the Elder onwards had believed. My answer? I am not sure. I tend to think not.


Should England have made peace with Germany in 1940? Alan Clarke thought we should have made peace after not before the Battle of Britain. Richard Jencks thinks Germany would have won her war with Russia had England stayed out but I think Russia would have probably done so.


Had England and France not gone to war in 1939 would Germany have attacked France or Russia?


I used to assume that the Jews would not have been sent to gas chambers had England and America been non-belligerents but on reflection there is no means of knowing.


It's impossible to guess what would have happened, but it is hard to imagine that the outcome of an alternative history could have been very much worse than what happened. Certainly the Second World War ended Britain's great power status and the British Empire, which we went to war to preserve. Britain, who in 1939 dominated the world, became a satellite of the USA. Eastern Europe suffered under Stalin. In total, between 50 and 70 million died


Between 50 and 70 million died. 

Bad news for Britain in Romanian papers, 1941

2 comments:

  1. It changed the balance of power to the detriment
    of the world. The ultimate result the ruin of the world.

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  2. "I used to assume that the Jews would not have been sent to gas chambers had England and America been non-belligerents but on reflection there is no means of knowing." Since the Nazis sent their first batch of Jews to the concentration camps right after Kristallnacht in 1939, that's a questionable assumption at best.

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