Saturday, September 28, 2013

War Words

All my life the words "appeasement" and "Munich" meant cowering before the totalitarian bully, a metaphor that encouraged war sooner rather than later.  I heard it about the Soviet Union.  I heard it about Vietnam.  Fortunately, we avoided war with the Soviets but went to war with the latter and took  me personally to the farthest edge of that dark national experience for no good reason.  So I've always discounted the bias against negotiating with adversaries.  For me "appeasement" and "Munich" are catchphrases meant to avoid serious discussion and debate. 

Now it turns out that recent scholarship shows those canards to be as empty as I thought.  With greater access to wartime records, researchers are able to paint a more nuanced picture of the difficult choices facing Great Britain as Germany re-armed under the Nazis.  Instead of the cowering democracy afraid to confront the threatening Nazi bully, Neville Chamberlain played a weak hand as best he could.  In return Britain got one more year to prepare for a war it was in no position to win in 1938. 

Chamberlain's biggest mistake was declaring that he had secured "peace for our time" when all he'd done was buy time.  At least he got that much--time--of his grandiose statement.  A more useful result than a more recent grandiosely stated accomplishment.

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Blogger Grung_e_Gene said...

Ah but have you forgotten we are quickly approaching the 5 Year Anniversary of VI Day???

6:31 AM  

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