Thursday, July 10, 2008

The Churchill Series - July 10, 2008

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

The Commons’ debate on whether to approve the Munich Treaty began on Oct. 3, 1938. The outcome was never in doubt. PM Neville Chamberlain had claimed the treaty would assure “peace in our time,” and that was firmly believed by most people, including the members of the House.

However, the member leading off the debate spoke in opposition :

The Prime Minister has believed in addressing Herr Hitler through the language of sweet reasonableness. I have believed that he was more open to the language of the mailed fist. …

We have taken away the defences of Czechoslovakia in the same breath as we have guaranteed them, as though you were to deal a man a mortal blow and at the same time insure his life.”
Was that Churchill speaking? It sounds just like him, doesn't it?

But the speaker was Alfred Duff Cooper. He'd just resigned as First Lord of the Admiralty in protest of the treaty, the only cabinet member to do so.

During the war, Duff as he was called, served in Churchill’s National Unity government in a number of capacities including Minister of Information. From 1943 to the end of the war he held the very challenging position of Government Representative to the French Committee of Liberation (de Gaulle).

Note in Duff Cooper's remarks the word Americans spell "defenses" has the British spelling "defences." If you're a regular series reader you know British spellings appear often in the series.

And then there are my own spelling errors.

I hope you're back tomorrow.
William Manchester, The Last Lion, Winston Spencer Churchill, vol 2, Alone:1932-1940. (pgs. 365-366)


Anonymous said...

Duff must have been a master diplomat to be able to work harmoniously with "Le Grand Charles." They say on the U.S. side, Ike was the only flag officer who could tolerate DeGaulle.
Tarheel Hawkeye