(One of a series of weekday posts on the life of Winston S. Churchill.)
Readers Note: Over the weekends I received emails from a few people who learned about this series when they “found” old series posts. I’d be curious to know if those folks are looking in today. All they need do is leave a brief comment at the end of this post.
In Martin Gilbert’s Churchill and America (Free Press, 2005) we read:
In the summer of 1938, when [ American financier and unofficial presidential advisor] Barnard Baruch visited Chartwell, he brought encouraging news with regard to the European crisis.The European crisis Gilbert mentions was, of course, Hitler’s demand that a portion of Czechoslovakia, the Sudetenland, be handed over to Germany. On September 29, 1938, Britain agreed at the Munich Conference to Hitler’s demand.
Churchill passed this on to Clementine. “The President is breast-high on our side and will do everything in his power to help, “ he wrote. In addition, “Baruch admitted opinion in the States had never yet been so friendly to us.”
There was, however, a limit to what the United States would do. “It is a great pity matters cannot be carried further now.”
Churchill added: “Apparently, you always have to have a disaster before anything sensible can be done which would prevent it.”(p. 166)
In the months and years before Munich very little that Churchill then and history now would recognize as sensible was done to stop Hitler.
Churchill’s letter to Clemetine was written July 5, 1938.
The excerpts you’re just read begin Chapter 17 of Churchill and America. Gilbert titled the chapter: Road to War.