VE Day and Appeasement

Yesterday was the 73d anniversary of VE Day – the day when Nazi Germany surrendered to the most powerful alliance ever assembled, Great Britain and its Empire, the Soviet Union, and the United States, and a fair number of smaller powers, and governments in exile. It is a great day in the history of freedom, and it’s a shame that we don’t celebrate it more.

But maybe the reason we don’t is that it was a rather unnecessary war, if we had kept the watch in the 20s and 30s, it need never have happened. Imagine a world without any of the horrors of that period, it could easily have been, if, for example, the west had shut Hitler down when he reoccupied the Rhineland in 1936. But we didn’t, and it happened.

In 1938 the British Prime Minister journeyed to Munich and returned with a piece of paper, that sold out Czechoslovakia, which has come to be called appeasement. Somewhat unfairly, in my opinion. Mr. Chamberlain was as patriotic as any Briton could want, but his military cupboard was pretty bare, if he had gone to war over the Sudetenland, it is very likely that he would have lost, and left Britain occupied as well. That would have precluded the Allies winning the war, no matter what the New World, in all its power and might, might do.

The next year was different, a new Prime Minister, one of the greatest war leaders of the English speaking peoples was in charge, and the guarantee was given to Poland. And so, once again, as so often, Tommy Atkins paid in blood for his leaders lack of preparation.

But that war ended on May 8th, 1945, and the lesson was learned, and the Soviet Empire was in time destroyed, without destroying the world. But history did not end, as some claimed. It is well to remember what Churchill wrote about Nazi rule for Collier’s magazine in 1937…

To relax their grip may be at the same time to release avenging forces. Dictators and those who immediately sustain them cannot quit their offices with the easy disdain—or more often relief—with which an American President of a British Prime Minister submits himself to an adverse popular verdict. For a dictator the choice may well be between the throne or the grave. The character of these men who have raised themselves from obscurity to these positions of fierce, dazzling authority does not permit us to believe that they would bow their heads meekly to the stroke of fate. One has the feeling they would go down or conquer fighting, and play the fearful stakes which are in their hands. . .

Thus we are confronted with a situation in Europe abhorrent to its peoples, including the great mass of German and Italian peoples, in which bands of competent, determined men under ruthless leadership find themselves unable to go or to stop. It may well be that the choice before Germany is a choice between an internal and an external explosion. But it is not Germany that will really choose. It is only that band of politicians who have obtained this enormous power, whose movements are guided by two or three men, who will decide the supreme issue of peace or war. To this horrible decision they cannot come unbiased. Economic and political ruin may stare them in the face, and the only means they have to escape may be victory in the field. They have the power to make war. They have the incentive to make war; nay, it may well be almost compulsion.

Very wise words indeed, and have application beyond Nazi Germany.

Yesterday, the President ended the so-called agreement with Iran. It was an agreement that never should have been made, as President Obama was told by a huge proportion of Congress, which is why it was an agreement and not a treaty, the Senate would have decisively defeated it. In addition, there is a summit coming up with North Korea. Both of these countries are in the exact situation that Sir Winston describes above.

There are reports of additional air force units of British, French, and American origin moving into position around Syria. They may well be needed.

For Iran, like North Korea is a failed state, who has denied its people butter to buy guns, and is attempting to expand militarily. It is fairly obvious that such is a very bad idea, for us all, and especially for our ally Israel. Then there is the risk of nuclear weapons in the hands of a rogue state. This was, of course, the original impetus of the Manhatten Project, to beat Hitler’s henchmen to the bomb. And so once again, the valley is darkened by the shadow of death, and there are rumors of war, and there could well be war.

But once again, the west has made their bed, and will have to pay the price, or lose. It is ancient wisdom amongst our people, and few put it better than Rudyard Kipling did,

It is always a temptation to an armed and agile nation
  To call upon a neighbour and to say: --
"We invaded you last night--we are quite prepared to fight,
  Unless you pay us cash to go away."

And that is called asking for Dane-geld,
  And the people who ask it explain
That you've only to pay 'em the Dane-geld
  And then  you'll get rid of the Dane!

It is always a temptation for a rich and lazy nation,
  To puff and look important and to say: --
"Though we know we should defeat you, we have not the time to meet you.
  We will therefore pay you cash to go away."

And that is called paying the Dane-geld;
  But we've  proved it again and  again,
That if once you have paid him the Dane-geld
  You never get rid of the Dane.

It is wrong to put temptation in the path of any nation,
  For fear they should succumb and go astray;
So when you are requested to pay up or be molested,
  You will find it better policy to say: --

"We never pay any-one Dane-geld,
  No matter how trifling the cost;
For the end of that game is oppression and shame,
  And the nation that pays it is lost!"
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About NEO
Lineman, Electrician, Industrial Control technician, Staking Engineer, Inspector, Quality Assurance Manager, Chief Operations Officer

5 Responses to VE Day and Appeasement

  1. the unit says:

    Yeah, that reason to not celebrate the 8th more…and maybe ’cause of the Leftists efforts in the West ever since, ’cause “on May 9, the Soviets would lose 600 more soldiers in Silesia before the Germans finally surrendered” (according to This Day In History).

    Liked by 1 person

    • NEO says:

      Yeah, some people never get the word, like the stray Japanese in the 60s in the Philippines.

      Liked by 1 person

      • the unit says:

        Yep, Whoopee Hiroo Onoda remained in the jungle on Lubang Island near Luzon, in the Philippines until 1974, as he forgot to answer his call waiting that would’ve informed him the war had ended. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        • NEO says:

          Hahaha! 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Reblogged this on Boudica2015.

    Like

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