“Britain Has Resumed Moral Leadership”

They wanted to give Neville Chamberlain the Nobel Peace Prize – for turning over Europe’s best armed military to Hitler in exchange for a photo op. Sounds about par for the course.

03 Oct 1938 – WORLD HONOURS MR. CHAMBERLAIN Britain Has Resume…

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9 Responses to “Britain Has Resumed Moral Leadership”

  1. Chamberlain possibly thought he was doing the right think. Either by luck or judgement he bought us time. Which is just as well otherwise this reply would be in German.

    • What a stupid comment. He gave Germany the Sudetenland, which had one of the best equipped armies. This allowed Hitler to immediately invade Poland.

      • Anon while at work says:

        The Sudetenland was part of Czechoslovakia, which had a modern well equipped army. That army remained intact after Munich. What was lost was the military defence installations along the border with Germany; this made the country undefendable.

        That said it’s a very debatable point raised by John Edmondson. We know that Germany had to rearm from virtually scratch after 1936. There was a whole load of bluff going on to impress the press particularly in the run up to Munich. In contrast, we and the French were still comparatively strong. and we would have had the support of the Czechs and Poland. Nor was Italian support for Germany a foregone conclusion.

        We do know that German Officer opposition to Hitler was being communicated to London at this time by those people who eventually conducted the July bomb plot. We do know that faced with the run of successes of Hitler in Rhineland, Austria, Munich, the takeover of the rest of Czechoslovakia in early 1939, they went quiet. If France and Britain faced off Hitler in 1938 and made it crystal clear that he wasn’t going to get the Sudetenland, then it is entirely plausible to wonder if Army support would be so forthcoming. he wouldn’t have been the dictator who had won dozens of bloodless victories

  2. Steve Tabor says:

    Good posts here so far. At least two more factors are also significant.

    Much of the industrialized world stood in fear of another war like World War I, 20 years previous. Before WWI, war was seen as mainly a gentleman’s game to see who’d prevail in cavalry charges and ambushes. Mechanized war that went on and on without conclusion was a new thing that sent shock waves through the population, especially with an industrialized media reporting trench conditions and the ongoing stalemate. No one, even the Germans, wanted that again. Hitler was successful in his wars until the Blitzkrieg meme failed. After that it was all downhill.

    The second thing is this: Much of the British upper class was in favor of what Hitler was doing domestically and would have liked to see the same happen in the UK. That may be the most important reason Hitler was given a ride. Much of the upper class was more in fear of the Bolsheviks than the Nazis. They feared, for one thing, that they might be next on the chopping block.

  3. Anon while at work says:

    I’m not convinced by the idea that much of the UK upper class was in favour of Hitler.

    This seems to be a favourite historical revision by socialists who also liked to claim that they formed the opposition to Fascism in the UK. There’s no denying that a few high profile cases like the Astor sister was a big fan but then she had another sister equally enamoured by Stalin and no one seems quite so upset by that. She somehow doesn’t represent the upper classes. In the same way today, the monied George Monbiot can preach as if he is outside the establishment.

    The support of the Daily Mail for British Fascism is often cited as revealing Beaverbrooks true feelings. It’s usually forgotten that it’s support vanished in 1936 once thuggish nature became apparent. Less known is the fact that the Manchester Guardian famously wanted the German Government to include Nazis in 1930. Democracy would be weaker if they were excluded. http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2007/nov/14/research.highereducation
    Also forgotten is the fact that Roosevelt and many progressives liked the Fascists. The New Deal was a copy of Mussolini’s program.

  4. It was Sept 1938 when Chamberlain went to Munich. The war started 12 months later. If the war had started in 1938 instead of 1939, the battle of Britain would probably have been won by the Luftwaffe. The Nazis would have probably been able to invade the UK having gained air superiority, who knows where we would be now if that had happened.

    • Me says:

      History would be the way is is now no matter how that happened.

    • Anon while at work says:

      Your contention relies upon
      1. the supposition that the Luftwaffe was as strong in 1938 as it was in 1940, which we know to be false. It was being built up then as fast as we were building our airforce. In fact we were building faster as is fully acknowledged (cf the build rates of aircraft during the era)
      2. the army being strong enough to defeat France, Britain, Poland and Czechoslovakia. This is highly debatable. The first Panzer III came off the assembly lines in Dec 1938. There were only 262 Panzer IV ready for the invasion of Poland. Do you know that the Nazis would trick foreign journalists by showing a mix of real and fake equipment. They only got a close look at the former. During the remilitarisation of the Rhineland, the Army were told that if there was any reaction from Paris or London they were to withdraw.
      3. The Germans being stronger than the Royal Navy. They weren’t in 1940, let alone in 1938. Sea Lion was a joke as every serious historian writes. It took the Allies years to prepare for Overlord, building landing craft and the logistical support and when we finally invaded we totally dominated the sea and skies (at best you only have the skies).

      The idea that the Germans could have succeeded in 1938 is plain asinine.

  5. savebyj says:

    Mr. Chamberlain’s contribution was significant because it gave political authenticity to the Nazi regime, strengthened their grip on Germany and then allowed Hitler to play the cat mouse game with the world powers while he consolidated his army and power (sound familiar, like Iran?). If true pressure had been applied from the very beginning he would have had to either back off or pull the trigger much quicker than he wanted.

    This also gave the Americans and the British the excuse needed not to spend monies on a military buildup.

    The results were catastrophic.

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