Winston S. Churchill: The Watchman

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Winston S. Churchill: The Watchman

There has probably never been a greater political watchman than Winston Churchill. Still, the Western world hates the message and scorns the messenger. But the biggest tragedy is that we didn’t learn from that shameful and near-fatal disaster!
From the January 1999 Trumpet Print Edition

The danger was intensifying in 1936. Still, only Churchill was playing the watchman role. On reading one of Churchill’s speeches, Sir Clive Morrison-Bell wrote to him: “It is quite one of your best I think. You are so right about not being mealy-mouthed just now; the tone everywhere is far too apologetic, and you seem to be almost the only person who ever speaks out” (Gilbert, op. cit.).

Isn’t the tone in Britain and America apologetic and “mealy-mouthed” today? Who is there that speaks out with a strong voice in foreign policy?

Loren Thompson, chief operating officer of the Lexington Institute, a public-research organization headquartered in Virginia, says that during the Clinton era, the money spent on weapons procurement fell below one-fifth of the defense budget for the first time since 1950. By 2002, according to Thompson, the resultant ageing and wearing-out of equipment had caused a shortfall of 83 percent for armored vehicles and 86 percent for army helicopters. The Navy fleet shrank by half from its almost-600-craft peak in the 1980s. The Navy News Week reported in August 2002 that the number could continue to slide to fewer than 200 if budget priorities don’t change. Despite military budget increases under the Bush administration, proposed U.S. defense spending for 2003 was still only at 3.5 percent of GDP as compared to 6.2 percent in 1986.

Churchill wrote on April 9, 1936, “It seems a mad business to confront these dictators without weapons or military force, and at the same time to try to tame and cow the spirit of our people with peace films, anti-recruiting propaganda and resistance to defense measures. Unless the free and law-respecting nations are prepared to organize, arm and combine, they are going to be smashed up. This is going to happen quite soon. But I believe we still have a year to combine and marshall superior forces in defense of the League and its Covenant” (ibid.).

The leaders and people had become their own worst enemy!

On April 13, 1936, he wrote his wife: “We are really in great danger” (ibid.).

Does it make sense to think we can confront dictators without weapons, or, if we have weapons, without the will to use them?

As the danger grew worse, the British Parliament showed more peace films and kept resisting a strong defense! And if it hadn’t been for Churchill, they would have been “smashed up.”

The British leaders lacked the will to even prepare for war. They certainly lacked the will to lead in such dangerous times. Weak men will never face the brutal facts until it’s too late.

A few more people were beginning to see that Churchill was right. “Three months later, at an Independent Labor Party summer school, Eleanor Rathbone declared: ‘I have described Winston Churchill as a new recruit to pro-League forces. Watch that man carefully. You may feel distrustful. So did I. I’m not certain yet. But I ask you to dispel prejudice and consider facts. Churchill for three years has pointed out extensive German rearmaments. Later facts have justified his estimates” (ibid.).

Those people who listened closely to Churchill’s message and watched the terrifying events unfold knew he was right about Germany.

Surprise Attack?

Churchill saw that his nation was not mentally and physically prepared for war. He gave this warning in 1936: “Europe is approaching a climax. I believe that that climax will be reached in the lifetime of the present Parliament.”

“At the end of his speech Churchill called for a Ministry of Supply, or a Ministry of Munitions, to provide the necessary armaments in good time. As he told the House of Commons: ‘Surely the question whether we should be working under peace conditions depends upon whether working under those conditions will give us the necessary deliveries of our munitions—upon whether the gun plants and the shell plants and, above all, the airplane factories, can fulfill the need in time. If they can do so, then peace conditions are no doubt very convenient; but if not, then we must substitute other conditions—not necessarily war conditions, but conditions which would impinge upon the ordinary daily life and business life of this country. There are many conditions apart from war conditions—preparatory conditions, precautionary conditions, emergency conditions—and these must be established in this country if progress is to be made, and if Parliament and the nation are not to find themselves deluded in the future bymere paper programs and promiseswhich in the result will be found to be utterly unfulfilled” (ibid.).

What a deep lesson in this statement! If only we would so examine every phase of our individual lives and the life of our nation today, we would not be easily deluded. You can tell so much about people by how easily they are deceived. Deceit is our main enemy. The whole world is deceived about true leadership and God (Rev. 12:9). But who really believes that today?

America and Britain are deeply deceived about leadership today. And we are facing a greater crisis now than World War ii! The very same nation—Germany—is going to trigger that crisis—just as they did in World Wars i and ii!

War is ready to explode in Europe and the Middle East. The global economy is on the verge of collapse!

The time for polite words is past. It is time for the blunt truth.

Churchill said, “Something quite extraordinary is afoot. All the signals are set for danger. The red lights flash through the gloom. Let peaceful folk beware. It is a time to pay attention and to be well prepared” (ibid.). And so it is today. The danger signals and the red lights are flashing. But people are prone to ignore their watchmen until it is too late.

Churchill was accused of having a “strong anti-German obsession.” Sometimes we are so accused. But some of our own members are German. We believe in facing the truth. Those who fail to do so are going to learn by the sledge hammer of events!

“What woke them up was a series of horrible shocks, and intelligence from every quarter streaming in. … If I read the future aright, Hitler’s government will confront Europe with a series of outrageous events and ever-growing military might. It is events which will show our dangers, though for some the lesson will come too late” (ibid.).

He read the future beautifully. But most people still didn’t listen to his words and awaken until it was almost too late!

Prime Minister Baldwin publicly accused Churchill of a serious lack of judgment. But events eventually revealed who had good judgment.

Ezekiel is an end-time prophetic book. God prophesied that He would send a watchman (Ezek. 33:6-7). That is the good news. But there is also some very bad news. “And when this cometh to pass, (lo, it will come,) then shall they know that a prophet hath been among them” (v. 33). The people don’t recognize the watchman until it is too late physically. They ignore his words until they are in the midst of a nuclear disaster.

Churchill once said, “There is a purpose being worked out here below.” He sensed that God was working out His plan. And so He is. God even used Churchill to lead the Western world to victory.

But there is no Winston Churchill to lead us to safety this time. God is not going to save us again unless we repent (v. 11).

We can’t hide and escape from the series of shocking events that are about to bombard America and Britain!

“Churchill was one of the speakers at a Ralegh Club dinner, telling the assembled students and dons: ‘When I came to Oxford to make a speech, five years ago, I said you must re-arm. I was laughed at. I said we must make ourselves safe in our island home, and then laughter arose. I hope you have learned wisdom now’” (ibid.).

Did Oxford learn a lasting lesson from Winston Churchill? No! Has higher education today learned from Churchill’s World War ii experience? Mostly they scorn his political views today. Would they listen to a Churchill today? The answer is no! They would treat him just as they did in World War ii—only worse! If he were alive he would have some strong views on what is happening today in Germany, and other monstrous problems facing the world.

Some people also laugh at our warning today. But God prophesies that the laughter is about to be totally silenced!

Only fools laugh at God’s warning message!

“Also on June 12, Ralph Wigram sent Churchill copies of three further Foreign Office dispatches dealing with different aspects of Nazism. ‘Will you kindly destroy them when you have read them,’ he added. ‘I have marked the important passages.’ Six days later the Duchess of Atholl sent Churchill the transcript of a speech Hitler had made to the League of German Maidens. One paragraph, she pointed out, had been deleted in the broadcast version. In it Hitler had said that if war came, ‘I should fall upon my enemy suddenly, like lightning striking out of the night’” (ibid.).

These words had a great impact on Churchill’s mind. He also remembered Germany’s history in warfare.

“Churchill … was convinced about the possibilities of surprise in the German organizational framework. Commenting on the 1,200 machines and 1,114 pilots for whom the Air Staff had located no specific squadron and only non-first-line duties, he wrote, ‘This would be amply sufficient to duplicate every one of the 88 squadrons now believed to have been identified. When we remember the fondness evinced by Germany in history for this particular form of surprise, and note the large number of machines and pilots which seem to have vanished into thin air and the hundred-odd aerodromes which have been constructed, this possibility cannot be excluded’” (ibid.).

He understood Germanys history of surprise attacks! The Air Staff fully agreed with him. Germany had been fond of such attacks. And this is the method of warfare they followed throughout World War ii! This happened repeatedly to Hitler’s enemy nations and even those who thought they were his friends! Daniel 8:23-25 states that deceit and surprise attacks by Germany will be even worse in World War iii! History keeps repeating itself. (Germany has a powerful Air Force Unit stationed in New Mexico and other military facilities in the U.S. today.)

Still, the British government rejected what “might come as a great shock to the country and result in an upheaval of industry.” They refused to do what the crisis demanded! Time was running out.

A Thankless Service

“At any rate my conscience is clea,” Churchill said. “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. It has brought me into conflict with many former friends and colleagues. I have been mocked and censured as a scare-monger 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 40 years of public life. …

“Through our own folly and refusal to face realities and deal with evil tendencies while they were yet controllable, we have allowed brutal and intolerant forces to gain almost unchallenged supremacy in Europe and have placed ourselves in a position of weakness and peril, the like of which our history does not record for two-and-a-half centuries. …

“We are going away on our holidays. Jaded ministers, anxious but impotent members of parliament, a public whose opinion is more bewildered and more expressionless than anything I can recall in my life—all will seek the illusion of rest and peace.”

Many authorities agree that the Western world probably would not have survived without the warning and leadership of Winston Churchill. It is hard to imagine a greater service than that. Yet he was castigated even by many of his friends and party members as a scare-monger and warmonger. A thankless service indeed.

Yet I perceive that Churchill’s warning is being pushed aside more and more by some scholars today. It is to their shame and our terrifying danger that they do so.

Illusion of Security

The British people continued to seek the comforts and pleasures of life. They wanted the easy way of self-indulgence.

Churchill commented, “I must say that I am astounded at the wave of optimism, of confidence, and even of complacency, which has swept over Parliament and over public opinion. There is a veritable tide of feeling that all is well, that everything is being done in the right way, in the right measure, and in the right time” (Gilbert, op. cit.).

The Labor Party refused to even support rearmament in spite of Churchill’s warnings. Most people had convinced themselves that there would never be another war after World War i. Nobody who understands human nature could reach such a conclusion. Such naïve reasoning always leads into dangerous deception.

Our being deceived before World War ii also reveals a greater potential danger. Many people also thought World War ii was the war to end all wars. Because we don’t understand our evil human nature (Jer. 17:9; Rev. 12:9), we are easily deceived, which puts us in much greater danger today. We can ill afford such deception in this age of potential nuclear destruction.

Churchill also warned, “We are in the midst of dangers so great and increasing, we are the guardians of causes so precious to the world, that we must, as the Bible says, ‘Lay aside every impediment’. …”

Martin Gilbert wrote: “On October 3 Churchill was present at the Oxford High School for Boys, for the unveiling of a memorial to T. E. Lawrence [Lawrence of Arabia], who had been killed in a motorcycle accident in May 1935. ‘All feel the poorer that he has gone from us,’ Churchill said. ‘In these days dangers and difficulties gather upon Britain and her empire, and we are also conscious of a lack of outstanding figures with which to overcome them’” (ibid.).

Lloyd George, one of Britain’s most prominent leaders (prime minister in World War i), praised Hitler as the greatest German leader of the age. This was said in 1935, after Hitler had murdered political opponents and instituted racism. Such statements were criminal—the opposite of what a great leader should have said.

It takes great men to lead us to face huge problems. That is a sobering truth which also escapes us today. Today, as before World War ii, politics and the press often keep outstanding leaders out of office.

Winston Churchill didn’t get a leadership role until after the war began. He was kept out of office by politicians, educational institutions and the press. Today, nations have nuclear weapons and the power to deliver them in minutes. If we make the same mistake Britain and America made in World War ii, our nations will not survive!

That is why I keep saying we must learn from the horrendous mistakes we made before and during World War ii—or we will wake up too late. And just as Churchill warned Britain before World War ii, we are experiencing the same lack of will against strong dictators today. History warns about this disastrous kind of retreat. Churchill said, “Parliament is dead as mutton.” The leaders and the people had no real sense of the approaching danger of World War ii. They didn’t see the danger, so they didn’t prepare for it. And they drifted into this precarious condition. They were moving “towards some hideous catastrophe.” Today Britain and America are drifting toward a far more hideous catastrophe! That is why the World War ii lesson is so vital.

If we drifted so recently (World War ii), is it alarmist to think we could do it again? “I feel our country’s safety is fatally imperilled both by its lack of arms and by the government’s attitude towards the Nazi gangsters,” Churchill said. “It is fostering in them the dangerous belief that they need not fear interference by us whatever they do. That can only encourage those savages to acts of aggression and violence of every kind. I have, therefore, chosen to go my own way and to act independently in order to further the safety of our country and of the civilization without which we cannot survive as a nation” (ibid.).

Churchill knew that if Britain fell, Europe would also fall and perhaps the whole of Western civilization, including America. Some people may have forgotten how close we came to destruction in World War ii. It will be to our own deadly peril if we fail to remember.

Neville Chamberlain tried to make friends with Mussolini and Italy. One of Chamberlain’s strongest cabinet members, Anthony Eden, resigned. This was one of Churchill’s blackest moments. “I must confess that my heart sank, and for a while the dark waters of despair overwhelmed me. From midnight till dawn I lay in my bed consumed by emotions of sorrow and fear. There seemed one strong young figure standing up against long, dismal, drawling tides of drift and surrender, of wrong measurements and feeble impulses. My conduct of affairs would have been different from his in various ways; but he seemed to me at this moment to embody the life-hope of the British nation, the grand old British race that had done so much for men, and had yet some more to give. Now he was gone. I watched the daylight slowly creep in through the windows, and saw before me in mental gaze the vision of death” (ibid.).

Churchill believed that Britain’s great empire, built over centuries, would be destroyed suddenly. He was in deep sorrow, fear and despair as he watched his beloved nation drift toward disaster. But that was a mild crisis compared to the one we face today. We first must experience some of Churchill’s sorrow and fear to be motivated to change. There is hope only if we face reality and have the vision of what is on the horizon.

Austria Falls

Most people today believe that when Germany seized Austria, only 25-35 percent of the Austrians supported Hitler. “Within 24 hours of the German invasion of Austria, all the brutal apparatus of Nazi tyranny was put into effect. Throughout Sunday, March 13 [1938], and in the days and weeks that followed, all those suspected of hostility to the new order were arrested and sent to concentration camps. Many hundreds were shot. Others, fearful of Nazi terror, committed suicide” (ibid.).

The weak-willed press continued to deceive the people, even after Austria was conquered, aiding Hitler more than many of his own soldiers! “The division of opinion was exacerbated by the attitude of the press. The Times in particular urged the Czechs to make concessions to Germany, and argued that it was Czech obstinacy that was the main obstacle to a peaceful settlement. Yet even the factual reports in the Times did not give a true picture of the nature of Nazi rule. On March 18 Churchill was sent a first-hand account of events in Vienna since the German occupation from a young acquaintance, David Hindley-Smith, who had been angered by reports in the Times that Hitler had received an enthusiastic welcome from an overwhelming majority of Austrians. …

“‘Is our system of government adapted to the present fierce, swift movement of events? Twenty-two gentlemen of blameless party character sitting round an overcrowded table, each having a voice—is that a system which can reach decisions from week to week and cope with the problems descending upon us and with the men at the head of the dictator states? [He was wondering if a democracy was adequate in times of war. He was making a case for stronger rule from the top.] It broke down hopelessly in the war [World War i].

“‘But is this peace in which we are living? Is it not war without cannon firing? Is it not war of a decisive character, where victories are gained and territories conquered, and where ascendancy and dominance are established over large populations with extraordinary rapidity?’

“Churchill went on to warn of the dangers of allowing any momentary easing of tension to lead to complacency. ‘After a boa constrictor has devoured its prey,’ he said, ‘it often has a considerable digestive spell.’ There had been a pause after each German move—after the revelation that a secret air force had been set up, after the proclamation of conscription, and again after the militarization of the Rhineland. He went on:

“‘Now, after Austria has been struck down, we are all disturbed and alarmed, but in a little while there may be another pause. There may not, we cannot tell. But if there is a pause, then people will be saying, “See how the alarmists have been confuted; Europe has calmed down, it has all blown over, and the war scare has passed away.” The prime minister will perhaps repeat what he said a few weeks ago, that the tension in Europe is greatly relaxed. The Times will write a leading article to say how silly people look who, on the morrow of the Austrian incorporation, raised a clamor for exceptional action in foreign policy and home defense, and how wise the government were not to let themselves be carried away by this passing incident’” (ibid.).

The Times was considered by many to be the greatest newspaper in the world. It had thundered many accurate warnings in the past to build its reputation. It was recognized as the voice of the British government. Now, it had descended to this: rebuking the Czechs as being “obstinate,” since they would not voluntarily give a large portion of their country to the vile Nazis! They labeled the Czechs as the obstacle to peace—not Hitler! How could a revered institution pollute the truth so badly? And their reports grotesquely distorted Austria’s image in a dangerous way. They were a powerful support to Hitler’s people-enslaving and people-destroying war machine! Their own weakness and fear stained their reputation for years to come. Much of their reporting in the 1930s was a crime against humanity!

Because they were consumed with fear, the truth was cast aside. Such powerful institutions must be held more accountable. And we trust them at our own peril!

Has the press learned from their shameful mistakes of the 1930s?

The press deceived themselves about what was really happening. But not Churchill. He kept writing and speaking against this tragedy.

Most of the newspapers which had printed his speeches and articles stopped doing so. Even the people, on average, were more inclined to agree with Winston Churchill than the press.

Churchill was great enough to rise above the press, educational institutions and politics. Do we have any such leaders today?

American Tragedy

Churchill kept encouraging America to support the defense of Europe. “‘America’s attitude is vital to morale,’ Colville noted in his diary, ‘but America is the slowest to act of all the democracies’” (ibid.).

Even some of America’s news networks were against Edward R. Murrow’s strong cbs broadcasts condemning Hitler. They feared that America’s neutrality would be compromised.

But neutral is a heinous word under those conditions! Being neutral between Hitler’s Nazis and Britain was a shameful evil. And when would we have stopped being neutral if Japan hadn’t bombed us into the war at Pearl Harbor?

Our press often fails to make strong judgments against evil deeds committed today. They too often behave as though God and the devil should have equal time. This lack of judgment and courage allows the political leaders and their “spin doctors” to play the press like a fiddle. They are used and abused by politicians. As a result, many people become confused and deceived.

America should be ashamed of this history, before and during World War ii. Not just in words. A radical lesson must be learned, or we are destined to repeat the history—which will mean a deadly calamity!

Many authorities say World Wars i and ii were the greatest tragedies of our century. I disagree. The worst catastrophe is that we failed to learn a lesson from Churchills warning! That means we have retained our deadly capacity for deception into the nuclear age. That is why we are destined to experience a nuclear holocaust unless we wake up!

“‘What price have we all to pay for this?’ Churchill asked. ‘No one can compute it. Small countries in Europe will take their cue to move to the side of power and resolution’” (ibid.).

Other nations did move closer to Hitler because of his power and strong will. At the same time, they were turning away from Britain because of its weak will.

That is exactly what is happening today with the U.S. Though we have a greater military than any nation on Earth, we lack the will to use it. That is a major reason why other nations hate us and fail to support our policies.

“So they go on in strange paradox,” Churchill continued, “decided only to be undecided, resolved to be irresolute, adamant for drift, solid for fluidity, all powerful to be impotent. So we go on preparing more months and years—precious, perhaps vital, to the greatness of Britain—for the locusts to eat” (ibid.). America shared that deadly pacifism.

“Fool’s Paradise”

Winston Churchill’s own Conservative Party was turning against him. “The House of Commons listened to him with what he later described as ‘a patient air of skepticism.’ There were frequent, angry interruptions, and his criticisms of Chamberlain were widely resented by his fellow Conservative MPs. Bitterly he told them: ‘You are casting away real and important means of security and survival for vain shadows and for ease’” (ibid.).

The people wanted to continue in a peace-time atmosphere. Churchill tried to get them into an emergency posture, in tune with what Hitler was doing. Churchill served as an outstanding watchman for the whole Western world. But they hated the messenger and rejected the message!

The people wanted to believe they were living in ordinary times. “On June 8 [1938] Brigadier-General Edmonds, his former literary assistant, wrote from the Historical Section of the Committee of Imperial Defense: ‘Providence looks after us and confounds our enemies, but expects “works” as well as faith. To ensure peace we must be strong.’ But many people took it for granted that Britain was already strong, and even the News of the World, which had on May 1 published Churchill’s major warning, began to assure its readers that all was well” (ibid.).

Even those who published Churchill’s major warning didn’t believe him! It’s as if they were in a coma of deception! Those institutions which should have helped Churchill worked against him. As Churchill said, this helped the people continue “living in a ‘fool’s paradise.’”

“On June 24 George Harrap published the selection of the speeches which Churchill had made on defense and foreign affairs in the 10 years since 1928. Entitled Arms and the Covenant, the volume had been both suggested and edited by Randolph, and was welcomed by his friends. … The South African writer Sarah Gertrude Millin, whom Churchill had met during her visit to England that summer, wrote on 15 December, 1938, ‘The book reads like a toll and knell of doom. All that heartens me is that you yourself, as I saw, have still more heart than any other person I have met in England’”(ibid.).

This book helped those who would listen to see how accurate Churchill’s prophecies and warnings were! Anybody who sought the truth could find it. But the people didn’t want to hear the truth. That was at the heart of the problem. The people wanted to hear “smooth things” and “deceits” (Isa. 30:10). They wanted to be deceived! That is the biggest challenge each one of us must always face: Do we really want to hear the truth?

Sometimes hearing truth can be the most painful experience of our lives. It often means ripping wrong ideas from our proud minds. But the truth sets us free and greatly enriches our lives.

Czechoslovakia Falls

Hitler soon demanded that the Sudetenland of Czechoslovakia be given to Germany. He said it was because many Germans lived there. But most of the Germans there did not want his rule!

Here is a shocking statement only now available to the public. “Unknown to anyone outside his secret circle, Hitler was already contemplating a dramatic outcome. ‘I will decide to take action against Czechoslovakia,’ he had informed General Keitel on June 18, ‘only if I am firmly convinced, as in the case of the demilitarized zone and the entry into Austria, that France will not march, and that therefore England will not intervene’” (ibid.).

Hitler was going to take action onlyif he was firmly convinced that France and Britain would not intervene!

This statement greatly exposes the mind of a tyrant, which America and Britain generally refuse to understand. It is not complicated. It’s very simple. But it also reveals a lot about our nations. It clearly shows that we are weak and fearful nations when facing tyrannical dictators.

It was vastly different in much of America’s history. Theodore Roosevelt, for example, never backed down from a tyrant!

There is a very strong and clear message in all this: Tyrants always prey on weakness. All they ever understand and respect is superior force.

Why can’t our well-educated people understand this? Because they reason out of vanity, weakness and fear. That means your greatest enemy is yourself! Until we face our own weaknesses and fears, we are condemned to repeat our past mistakes.

Germany started and lost World War i. The Allied powers imposed upon them the Treaty of Versailles, which prohibited them from entering into a demilitarized zone in their own nation. In the 1930s Germany broke that treaty in every way. They took military control of the demilitarized area. The world watched and did nothing, fearful that opposing the Germans would lead to war. Then when Hitler seized Austria in 1938, again the world watched and did nothing. They feared it would cause a war if they stood up to the Nazis.

Hitler marched into those areas because he saw how weak Britain, France and America were. The same evaluation was being used with Czechoslovakia.

Now we can better see why Churchill called World War ii “the unnecessary war.” He believed it could have been prevented if the democracies of Europe had stood up to Hitler in the beginning.

Churchill was the only British leader the Germans feared. That fact alone should have gotten him into the British Cabinet. Instead, it was the main reason he was kept out! “On August 7 the British military attaché in Berlin, Colonel Mason-Macfarlane, reported secretly to the Foreign Office that Hitler had already decided to attack Czechoslovakia in September, whatever agreement Benes [the Czech leader] might reach with the Sudetens. Six days later the Conservative M.P. Charles Taylor, who had been traveling in Germany, informed the Foreign Office of massive German troop movements between Nuremberg and the Czech frontier. That same day Churchill wrote to Lloyd George: ‘Everything is overshadowed by the impending trial of will-power which is developing in Europe. I think we shall have to choose in the next few weeks between war and shame, and I have very little doubt what the decision will be.’

“As the German troop movements grew, with over 11/2 million men under arms, Hitler announced that he was holding the usual peace-time maneuvers. His announcement was widely accepted by the British and French public, for, as Orme Sargent noted in a Foreign Office minute on August 15, the French press had probably received the samehintas the Britishto write down the German mobilization as much as possible so as not to create a sudden panic.’ Churchill, however, in an article in the Daily Telegraph on August 18, warned that ‘if the optimists were proved wrong,’ the governments who shared their views would find themselves ‘at an enormous disadvantage in the opening stages of a world war.’ His article continued: ‘It would be only common prudence for other countries besides Germany to have these same kind of maneuvers at the same time and to place their precautionary forces in such a position that, should the optimists be wrong, they would not be completely ruined’” (ibid.).

What logical and practical advice. But it was rejected. Of course, the democracies ended up getting war—and shame!

Churchill thought America would come in sooner than they did in World War i. “The feeling in the United States against Germany is now far stronger than it was even in 1914,” he said. “In fact, there never has been in time of peace so fierce a feeling against any European country. It seems to me very likely that the United States would not wait so long this time before coming in themselves” (ibid.).

But the U.S. again waited a long time before entering, as they did in World War i.