(One of a series of weekday posts about the life of Winston S. Churchill.)
On March 7, 1936 Nazi Germany, in violation of the Treaty of Versailles, remilitarized the Rhineland. Churchill urged Britain and France to order the Nazi's to withdraw or face military consequences. But the two nations did nothing with one British leader remarking, "The Germans are after all only going into their own back garden"
A little more than three months later, on June 20, 1936, Churchill, then 62 and viewed by many as a failed leader whose parliamentary career could end with a defeat at the next general election, made a passionate and deeply personal speech to his constituents. Here’s its conclusion:
I have done my best during the last three years and more to give timely warning of what was happening abroad, and of the dangerous plight into which we were being led or lulled.____________________________________________
It has not been a pleasant task. It has certainly been a very thankless task. I has brought me into conflict with may former friends and colleagues. I have been mocked and censured as a scaremonger and even as a warmonger, by those whose complacency and inertia have brought us all nearer to war and war nearer to us all.
But I have the comfort of knowing that I have spoken the truth and done my duty, and as long as I have your unflinching support I am content with that.
Indeed I am more proud of the long series of speeches which I have made on defense and foreign policy in the last four years than of anything I have ever been able to do, in all my forty years of public life.
Martin S. Gilbert, Churchill: A Life. (p. 559)