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Appeasement: Chamberlain, Hitler, Churchill,…

Appeasement: Chamberlain, Hitler, Churchill, and the Road to War (utgåvan 2019)

av Tim Bouverie (Författare)

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
1613135,549 (4.08)4
"A new history of the British appeasement of the Third Reich on the eve of World War II"--
Titel:Appeasement: Chamberlain, Hitler, Churchill, and the Road to War
Författare:Tim Bouverie (Författare)
Info:Tim Duggan Books (2019), Edition: Illustrated, 512 pages
Samlingar:Ditt bibliotek
Taggar:World War 1939-1945, English Diplomatic History


Appeasement: Chamberlain, Hitler, Churchill, and the Road to War av Tim Bouverie


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Thoroughly average. I don't understand this kind of history. We have perspective, why not use it? This is a familiar story, and Bouverie tells it ABC like a journalist, not a historian. There may be a few new details, but there are no new insights. He does not even try.

> the publication of a number of high-profile political memoirs suggested that the catastrophe had been one tremendous bungle. 'The nations', wrote Lloyd George in his best-selling War Memoirs , 'slithered over the brink into the boiling cauldron of war without any trace of apprehension or dismay.'5 The statesmen had failed in 1914 and the younger generation was not going to allow them to fail again. On 9 February 1933, students at the Oxford Union approved by 275 votes to 153 the motion that 'This House will in no circumstances fight for its King and Country'.

> The evils of the regime were plain to see and yet many within the British elite chose to embrace Nazi Germany on account of its achievements and its opposition to communism. In so doing they were wont to indulge in moral relativism or make invidious parallels, such as Lloyd George's comment that Hitler had not shown half the ferocity towards the Jews as Cromwell had towards the Irish Catholics. … 'People of the governing classes think only of their own fortunes, which means hatred of the Reds', lamented the Government MP a few weeks later. 'This creates a perfectly artificial but at present most effective secret bond between ourselves and Hitler. Our class interests, on both sides, cut across our national interests.'

> To understand Hitler and his dark ideology, enquirers might have studied Mein Kampf . Yet in Britain, as in France, that declaration of intent was little read and even less understood. To begin with, the first English translation did not appear until 1933 and had been so heavily pruned of incriminating material that it was a third shorter than the original.

> Mussolini. The independence of Austria was a major Italian interest and the Duce moved troops to the Brenner Pass as a warning to Germany that Italy was not going to stand by and allow the union of Germany with Austria, the so-called Anschluss. This had a lasting effect on Chamberlain, who would continue to view Mussolini as a check on Hitler right up to the outbreak of war

> Though less concerned over the fate of the League, both Baldwin and Neville Chamberlain were similarly convinced that war with Germany could have no positive outcome. France 'might succeed in crushing Germany with the aid of Russia', mused the Prime Minister, 'but it would probably only result in Germany going Bolshevik'.

> In retrospect, the remilitarisation of the Rhineland was seen as a watershed in the inter-war years: the last chance of stopping Hitler without a major war. This interpretation, propounded by Churchill in The Gathering Storm, was based on the knowledge that Hitler's bold stroke had been a massive gamble and that even limited action by the French Army would have been enough to drive the Germans out of the zone. Indeed, contrary to the hundreds of thousands of soldiers reported by General Gamelin, only three thousand German troops had crossed onto the western bank of the Rhine

> the remilitarisation of the Rhineland greatly restricted France's ability to come to the aid of her allies in eastern Europe – Czechoslovakia, Poland, Romania and Yugoslavia, not to mention Austria – by launching an invasion of Germany through the undefended zone. The door to Germany had been closed and the French had been humiliated in the process. Conversely, Germany had grown considerably stronger and Hitler had scored a triumph in the face of scepticism from his own Generals.

> when Winston was born lots of fairies swooped down on his cradle with gifts – imagination, eloquence, industry, ability, and then came a fairy who said 'No one person has a right to so many gifts', picked him up and gave him such a shake and twist that with all these gifts he was denied judgement and wisdom. And that is why while we delight to listen to him in this House we do not take his advice.

> For Hitler, Munich was ostensibly a triumph. He got everything he had demanded at Godesberg – the only real difference being, as Churchill pointed out, that the occupation was now staggered, over ten days, rather than happening all at once. Of course, as we now know, Hitler wanted a localised war which would have allowed him to annex the whole of Czechoslovakia and almost immediately regretted the deal he had made. … the Munich Conference destroyed a plot by the German opposition to remove Hitler from office the moment he gave the orders to march. Whether this coup, which was in place by 15 September and was led by the Chief of the General Staff, General Franz Halder, would have succeeded is doubtful. What is beyond doubt is that it was dead the moment the Western Prime Ministers decided to board their aeroplanes.

> From the perspective of the Western Powers, the principal defence of the Munich Agreement has rested on the fact that neither Britain nor France were ready for war in 1938 and that Munich granted them an extra year in which to prepare – the so-called 'breathing space'. … Germany was in no position to launch the Battle of Britain in 1938. Not only – as the events of 1939 and 1940 were to prove – did she first need to defeat her immediate neighbours and secure airfields along the Channel coast before she could turn her attention to Britain, but in 1938 the Luftwaffe was not equipped for a long-range strategic bombing campaign. Of course, not all of this was known to the Western leaders, many of whom were deceived by German propaganda. … the Germans were not ready for a major war in 1938 and would have been placed in an extremely difficult, perhaps impossible, position if Britain, France and the Soviet Union had joined forces in defence of Czechoslovakia … while the Western Powers made considerable progress in the 'extra year', the Germans made more, considerably outstripping the British and French on land and, to a lesser extent, in the air. … war for Czechoslovakia in 1938 would have split public opinion in both Britain and France, while it is unlikely that Britain would have enjoyed the support (at least initially) of the Dominions, all of which had made their opposition to war clear.

> Against this, however, must be weighed the effects of losing the opportunity of binding the Soviet Union into a 'Grand Alliance' against Nazi Germany (as advocated by Churchill) which, if it had come to conflict, would have forced the Germans into a protracted two-front war from the very beginning. There were, of course, good reasons for distrusting Stalin (as Churchill was later to discover) but there were even better reasons for distrusting Hitler, whose word Chamberlain was prepared to accept … Crucially, Munich convinced Hitler that the Western Powers would never fight but continue to accept his demands. 'Chamberlain shook with fear when I uttered the word war . Don't tell me he is dangerous', the Führer was heard to scoff, shortly after the Agreement. Later, when stiffening his Generals before the Polish campaign he declared, 'Our enemies are small worms. I saw them in Munich.'

> had succeeded in tapping the telephones of a number of leading anti-appeasers, including Churchill's. 'They, of course, are totally unaware of my knowledge of their proceedings', boasted Chamberlain to his sister Ida. But 'I had continual information of their doings and sayings which for the nth time demonstrated how completely Winston can deceive himself.'

> apart from attacks on British shipping, the Luftwaffe left the British Isles unmolested between September 1939 and July 1940. In return, the RAF dropped leaflets rather than bombs on German cities, while the French made a token advance of five miles into the Saarland before pausing and retreating to the safety of the Maginot Line. In Poland, it was very different. … In the east, the Soviets reported 50,000 Polish fatalities but no wounded – a statistic implying mass executions such as those which occurred near the Katyn Forest between March and May 1940.9 Over the next six years an estimated 5.7 million Poles died or were murdered under German and (temporary) Soviet occupation – one-fifth of the pre-war population

> That Halifax, rather than Churchill, was the preference of most Conservative MPs, the Labour and Liberal parties, the Cabinet, the press, Chamberlain and the King, is well documented. Immensely esteemed and devoid of enemies, despite his thirty-year political career, the high priest of respectable Toryism, as opposed to the erratic author of the Dardanelles, appeared to almost everyone as the obvious choice. The problem was that Halifax did not want the job ( )
  breic | Aug 7, 2020 |
This might be my last review of a book received through the discontinued Penguin Books First to Read program. I requested 29 since 2015 and was selected for 19 (I might read one more that I was not selected for, thus the "might") and I appreciate the opportunities.

Bouverie has composed an incredibly thorough relation of a narrow history of a particular time for a particular country, and particular players and their particularly disastrous choices of action. His political journalist chops are apparent...his research is extensive. For a reader not of his country, the insights were well received, including the acerbic observations throughout (on the future Edward VIII and his hands off opinion, Bouverie said "[l]acking intelligence and a sense of constitutional propriety, the Prince made his views clear ...") There are lessons here that are not being heeded in the country of this reader. I may draw crosshairs for finding parallels in a particular political party's appeasement of the heinous actions and comportment of the current (as of this writing) elected executive. There are other observations that parallel today; one being: I have the impression that the persons directing the policy of the Hitler Government are not normal. Many of us, indeed, have a feeling that we are living in a country where fanatics, hooligans and eccentrics have got the upper hand.
- British Ambassador to Berlin [Sir Horace Rumbold] to the Foreign Secretary [Sir John Simon], June 30, 1933Hitler laid out in plain text his intentions in his manifesto Mein Kampf, yet somehow the sign were ignored. (Obviously I wasn't there...and hindsight is always clearer.) Rumbold wrote to General Sir Ian Hamilton in 1938The continued effort to exterminate the Jews [Bouverie inserts "four years before the Wannsee Conference at which the 'Final Soultion' was agreed"] is part of their policy I cannot understand and this is turning the world opinion against them with all its dangerous repercussions...Unheeded. Rumbold makes another appearance in the epigraph to chapter VII "Hitler's Wonderland":I have rather come to the conclusion that he average Englishman - whilst full of common sense as regards to internal affairs - is often muddle-headed, sloppy and gullible when he considers foreign affairs.Huh. Fast forward to 2016 and since...little has changed save that maybe that common sense regarding internal affairs has waned (I speculate for Great Britain, but observe in the US.)

There is a lot here. A lot. I'll fast forward myself... Thanks to Bouverie, one can't help but feel for the bumbling of Chamberlain. When Germany invaded Czechoslovakia in 1939, Bouverie saysThe consensus that appeasement was now dead was instantaneous. In one swift stroke, Hitler had broken his word - repudiating the claim that Sudetenland constituted his last territorial demand - and revealed that "lust for conquest" with which his critics had always charged him. There could be no further dealings with such a man and, as one Chamberlain loyalist noted in his diary, "we" should fight him as soon as "we are strong enough." The French knew they had to prepare for war, but "Chamberlain, by contrast, did not immediately grasp the transformative nature of the event."

Bouverie snarks politely more than once, but (mostly) maintains his journalistic professionalism (I laughed at his comment on the British representative to the Soviet talks in 1939, Admiral the Honorable Sir Reginald Aylmer Ranfurly Plunkett-Ernle-Drax, as sounding "like a character from a Gilbert and Sullivan operetta."!) But he is hard on point in his conclusionThe failure to perceive the true character of the Nazi regime and Adolf Hitler stands as the single greatest failure of British policy makers during this period, since it was from this that all subsequent failures - the failure to rearm sufficiently, the failure to build alliances (not the least with the Soviet Union), the failure to project British power and the failure to educate public opinion - stemmed. For defenders of appeasement, this is an exercise in ahistoricism.We are failing today to maintain alliances, failing to measure the threats of dictatorial nations, allowing immediate twitting distractions to sway eyes from other threats such as Daesh. Those who do not study history might be doomed to repeat it, but those who do are too often forced to watch those who don't.

Very good history. ( )
  Razinha | May 28, 2019 |
Appeasing Hitler – A terrific book that reminds us who the Guilty people were

When appeasement finally failed, my Grandfather and his countrymen found out what happens when politicians let the people down. He was with the 8th Engineers trying to stop the Nazi invasion of Poland alongside other soldiers, awaiting help that never came from their allies in Britain and France.

When Neville Chamberlain came back from Munich waving a piece of paper declaring ‘peace in our time,’ having already Czechoslovakia down river. It was stated that the disaster of Munich 1938 saved war for a year, as it meant rearmament could take place. A plausible argument if it were not for those who supported appeasement who repeated this line often and sometimes taken as a historical fact. Reading this book, you will find that in 1938, Germany also was not ready for war, and if the British and French had attacked Germany things may have been different. But we will never know.

In this excellent debut, historian Tim Bourverie, sets out his argument, in a fine and very readable book. Any student who manages to graduate with a degree in Modern History, will tell you most books on appeasement are as dry as a bone. This is one of the most engaging history books I have read in a very long time. What Bourverie has done is written a vivid, detailed and one of the most fascinating investigations on what should bring shame on all those politicians that took part in the machinations of the 1930s.

When ‘Cato’ published The Guilty Men, back in 1940 and drew up a list Guilty Men, Bourverie’s list is far longer. Showing that no stone has been left unturned, there are some surprising inclusions, and the lengths they would go to support appeasement and Germany. How the editors of both The Times and the Daily Mail were pro-Hitler and pro- appeasement. How the director-general of the BBC offered to fly the Swastika from the roof of Broadcasting House! I will also add Nancy Astor, the first female to take her seat in the House, was an avid fan of Nazi Germany along with the rest of her Cliveden Set.

Bourverie also records the heroes, and not just Churchill, and how the Foreign Office was often in despair at Lord Halifax and the cohort around Chamberlain. What this book does remind us, that it is easy to point out the guilty when we look back at distance. People have forgotten that appeasement was a popular policy in the country as a whole. People could remember the Great War and what that had delivered on many families across the country. How appeasement did not start with Chamberlain, but that he was the most intransigent supporter of the policy.

What I do like is that Bourverie puts the case clearly against those who say that Chamberlain had allowed Britain to rearm, they only real thing he had managed was to unit the country in preparation for war. By 1939, Germany was in a more powerful position than it had been the year before, and Hitler got the war he wanted. Sometimes Bouverie offers to much hindsight, but I would argue that is his journalistic tendencies breaking through, as he grows as a historian, he will offer up less of the Monday Quarterback and more analysis.

This is an exceptional debut and will be on University reading lists very shortly, and an brilliant addition to the appeasement canon. ( )
  atticusfinch1048 | Apr 16, 2019 |
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« J’ai l’impression que les gens qui orientent la politique du gouvernement hitlérien ne sont pas normaux. Nous sommes nombreux à avoir le sentiment de vivre dans un pays où les fanatiques, les voyous et les farfelus ont l’avantage. »

De l’ambassadeur britannique à Berlin au ministre britannique des Affaires étrangères,
30 juin 1933
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Le désir d’éviter une nouvelle guerre mondiale fut peut-être le
souhait le plus compréhensible et le plus répandu de l’histoire. [...]

Le vendredi 1er septembre 1939, en début de soirée, Alfred
Duff Cooper, ancien Premier lord de l’Amirauté (à savoir exministre de la Marine), enfila comme d’habitude son smoking
avant de rejoindre Diana, sa femme, ainsi que trois autres
membres du parti conservateur, au Savoy Grill. [...]

La glace sur la Tamise gênait les rameurs d’Oxford. Dans
le Yorkshire, les chiens de chasse de l’East Holderness avaient
bravé le gel, mais leur flair était mis à rude épreuve. Il y avait
un nouveau comité de polo au Hurlingham Club, et la popularité du football professionnel avait de fâcheuses conséquences sur le jeu amateur. [...]
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