(One of a series of weekday posts about the life of Winston S. Churchill.)
It's November 14, 1940.
London's enduring the Blitz. In the North Atlantic, the British and Canadian navies are fighting a desperate battle to keep open Britain’s vital supply line from North America. It will be more than a year before the U. S. enters the war.
Churchill hears there's talk in government circles that perhaps it would be in Britain’s interests to draw closer to French Vichy. He decides to send his cabinet colleagues a note. It follows in full:
“Although revenge has no part in politics, and we should always be looking forward rather than looking back, it would be a mistake to suppose that a solution of our difficulties with Vichy will be reached by a policy of mere conciliation and forgiveness.When was the last time you read an important government policy document that was so brief, to the point and wise?
The Vichy Government is under heavy pressure from Germany, and there is nothing that they would like better that to feel a nice, soft, cozy, forgiving England on their other side.
This would enable them to win minor favours from Germany at our expense, and hang on as long as possible to see how the war goes.
We, on the contrary, should not hesitate, when our interests require it, to confront them with difficult and rough situations, and make then feel that we have teeth as well as Hitler.” (emphasis in original)
Winston S. Churchill, Their Finest Hour. (pgs. 525-526)