Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The Churchill Series - Mar. 25, 2008

(One of a series of weekday postsabout the life of Winston S. Churchill.)

Churchill’s official biographer, Martin Gilbert, reflects one of the most important aspects of Churchill’s war leadership:

From the outset of the fighting , when he was First Lord of the Admiralty and a member of Chamberlain’s War Cabinet, he was able to convey to the British public something they overwhelmingly felt within themselves: that it was a just war, a war being fought against evil.

Even earlier, at the height of the pre-war debate about whether Nazi Germany could, or should, be appeased, Churchill had understood, and conveyed, that what was at stake was the survival of humane values. “War is terrible, “ he had written on 7 January 1939, “but slavery is worse.”

From the first months of Nazi rule in Germany, Churchill has spoken out in the House of Commons against the racism of the new regime and the cruel nature of Nazi anti-Semitism. He had argued in 1938 that any appeasement of Germany was a sign not only of British military weakness but also of moral weakness, and that, sooner or later – “and most probably sooner” – both would have to be redressed, since the object of appeasement – to satisfy Hitler by acceding to his territorial demands – would only encourage more and more demands.

Martin Gilbert, Continue to Pester, Nag and Bite. (pg. 39-40)


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