Munich: Prologue to Tragedy
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This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves. This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access. Google Scholar. Earl of Swinton and J. Margach, Sixty Years of Power London, p. CrossRef Google Scholar. Military unpreparedness was laid at the foot of various Conservative ministers, including Sir Thomas Inskip, whose appointment they labeled the worst since Caligula named his horse a Senator.
The real villain of their indictment, however, was Neville Chamberlain, whom they castigated for his betrayal of the Czechs at Munich. He was portrayed not just blind to the threat from Nazism but actually a Nazi sympathizer.
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Although there is no evidence for any significant Cliveden Set influence, the concept established the myth of aristocrats undermining British democracy. In particular, they downplay the pacifism of the British left, which consistently opposed all rearmament measures.
Munich : prologue to tragedy
The portrait of Chamberlain was unfair. He believed some diplomatic understanding with Hitler whom he described a common little dog was preferable to war but at the same time he supported rearmament including the crucial expansion of the fighter force that won the Battle of Britain. None of this mattered. Sympathetic government officials supplied Churchill with facts and figures about the growing danger from German militarization throughout the s.
He was largely indifferent to the threats from Italy and Japan and passed over the Spanish Civil War in just a few pages. His concentration was on German rearmament, a threat he had noted in even before Hitler came to power.
He called for massive rearmament programs, strengthening the alliance with France and, despite his well-known hatred of Communism, reaching out to the Soviet Union for action against Germany. Baldwin was a masterful politician but indolent and not interested in foreign affairs.
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Chamberlain, Churchill writes, was anything but indolent. He suffered from an almost hubristic belief that only he could make peace with Hitler, a belief that led ultimately to the disastrous events of , culminating in the sellout of Czechoslovakia at Munich.
The Munich settlement was popular. The subsequent events of the next six months—Kristallnacht with its savage attack on the Jews, the German absorption of the rump of Czechoslovakia and German threats directed at Poland—vindicated Churchill. Churchill had argued that there was a chance to stop Hitler during the Rhineland crisis of March or in the summer of as he was preparing up for war against Czechoslovakia.
The official records seem to indicate that he was right.