Churchill And The Avoidable War: Could World War II Have Been Prevented? (Kindle Single) (B017HEGQEU) Kindle Edition
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That is the premise of this book. Is there enough support here that Churchill predicted ahead of time that a new world
war could happen if the policies of the Chamberlain government and her Allies were not altered ?
And could it have been prevented by a new Triple Entente ?
Revisionists have always tried to discredit the warnings, statements and pre-war actions of Churchill. It is my opnion
that this small book does a very convincing job in showing that Churchill was right on the large issues. And when he was
quiet on Abyssinia or poorly informed about the will of the Austrian people, it made very little difference.
Richard Langworth makes a strong case through facts and references from the pre-war years and not through hindsight,
that Churchill predicted the threat from Hitler and Nazi-Germany.
His warnings about the failings of the policies of the governments of England and France all came true.
The British government was not the only one that completely underestimated the directions that Hitler was taking his country.
For instance in Holland, country of my birth,their Prime Minister, mr.Colijn (1933-1939) in a radio broadcast in 1936 to
the Dutch people stated :
" The threatening world storm will pass the Netherlands by, the government will take care of that.
The Dutch people can sleep peacefully. " It haunted him for the rest of his life. Colijn spend all the war years
in a German prison camp.
But when Hitler could be heard on the Dutch radio, people like my grandfather reacted very differently. He predicted that all
this would end very badly.
One more important point I like to make.
If Winston Churchill had been even more critical, more aggressive to government and colleagues in Parliament
he probably would have alienated himself much more then was good for the country.
Would Chamberlain still have brought him back in the government in 1939 ?
And would King George VI have enough confidence in Churchill to offer him the Premiership in May '40 ?
England could easily have ended up with a Lord Halifax type Prime Minister.
Indeed a scary thought !
I know this is hindsight, but without Churchill's great statemanship and diplomacy this could easily have happened.
The author tells us correctly tells us that a new Tri-Entente, with the support of Poland and Czechoslovakia
could have stopped Munich and all that came after that. Hitler's reign could have ended right then,
but Churchill did not know that at the time.
This book is not only a must read for Churchillians, but also should be available via the Internet, in bookstores
and in school libraries.
Readers can always count on Richard Langworth for both accuracy and fairness when reading anything he publishes on the topic of Churchill and his times. Langworth always gets his facts right and is fair in his assessments of not only Churchill but also his political opponents of this era--Baldwin and Chamberlain. When Churchill was right, when he was mistaken and when we simply can't be sure Langworth can be counted on to point it out. We can also count on him to avoid both factual errors and the omission of material information regarding his subject matter--an essential but, sadly, increasingly rare attribute in today's writing about Churchill.
Churchill had a career of incredible length (60+ years) in multiple pursuits (literary, military and political) and in which he dealt with complex and momentous world affairs as a senior government minister in both World Wars. As a result of the volume and complexity of the public affairs with which Churchill dealt, his life is one in which it is easy for an author to honestly overlook important details or to manipulate the facts to paint a misrepresentative portrait.
This book is a superb approach to dealing with the complexity of certain issues in Churchill's life. The author selects an important issue (Could World War II have been avoided had Churchill's advice during the "Appeasement Era" been followed?) and examines in depth the diplomatic events of the era along with what Churchill had to say about them at the time and later. By focusing solely on this narrow, but important and complex issue Langworth is able to first ferret out all of the relevant facts. He is then well positioned to reach his conclusions regarding the book's central question. The complexity of the topic demands this much detail in weighing the issue thoroughly, but devoting the requisite 100 pages is beyond the space available in other works covering Churchill and this period of history.
Hopefully, Richard Langworth will continue with the application of this approach to other complex, important and frequently misunderstood (or intentionally misrepresented) episodes in Churchill's long life. It is badly needed!
An example of what I reference above is that of Churchill's comments about Hitler during the 1930's. Here one finds not only Churchill's specific comments (all of them, including all of the relevant portions) in speeches, interviews, magazine articles and books, but also pertinent aspects of the political situation which Churchill faced at the time of publication. For example, he was urged to "tone it down" by the Foreign Office before one publication. Langworth gives us not only that fact but also the portions Churchill felt compelled to remove from the final version.
As other reviewers have pointed out, Langworth differentiates between what Churchill said at the time and what he said later with the benefit of hindsight. Most importantly, he does so with an even handed analysis. As icing on the cake, we are treated to all this in a work of only 98 pages, making it a quick as well as informative read.
More of these, please!
While the reality of the Oster conspiracy and its prospects for success if Britain had acted differently during the Czech crisis are subject to much historical argument, Mr. Langworth ably summarizes that story as well as the other strategic dilemmas of the various participants (nations and individuals) in the challenging years from Hitler's coming to power and the outbreak war six years later.
"Churchill and the Avoidable War" is well written, easy to read and will cost you less than a couple of cups of coffee - it is highly recommended.