The Whitewashing and Appeasement of Hitler

       In 991 in order to fend off the Danes, Aethelred 2, King of England paid them 10,000 pounds (weight) in silver.  Three years later they demanded another payment to maintain the peace.  This time it was 16,000 pounds of silver.  In 1002 they demanded 24,000 pounds of silver.  This was equivalent to two years of gross national product.  In 1006 the Danes returned and demanded 36,000 pounds of silver.  This last payment of Dane geld finally convinced King Aethelred to fight back and he built large ships in Sandwich to combat the Viking longboats however his ships were defeated.  The lesson here is that if you appease, in the end you have to fight anyway.  If he had spent the money from the beginning on arms he would have had more money for ships and the Danes would have less money for ships and the outcome might have been different.

         In the 1930s when Germany was becoming Nazified, the Oxford Union passed a resolution that it would "in no circumstances fight for king and country."  When Winston Churchill gave a speech at Oxford in which he said that British rearmament was "essential for us to be safe in our island home" the audience burst into laughter. 

    British statesmen wanted to believe Hitler wanted peace.  Thomas Jones, who had been in and out of Whitehall for a quarter century, wrote in his diary: "Rightly or wrongly, all sorts of people who have met Hitler are convinced that he is a factor for peace."  Lloyd George, after meeting Hitler for an hour told the press that he regarded Hitler as "the greatest living German" and had "told him so to his face."   Back in England Lloyd George wrote in the Daily Express that Hitler was "a born leader, a magnetic, dynamic personality with a single-minded purpose": to keep the peace.  Arnold Toynbee wrote that he was "convinced of his sincerity in desiring peace in Europe and close friendship with England."  Walter Lippmann a Jew, wrote a column in the New York Herald Tribune on May 19, 1933 that he had heard a speech by Hitler that provided convincing evidence of good faith and that persecuting the Jews served a purpose by "satisfying" Germans yearning to "conquer somebody".  Persecution of the Jews served the purpose of shifting blame for everything to the Jews, and the lesson that Lippmann should have learned was that a country that is that brutal to its citizens would when strong enough wage a brutal war on its neighbors.  We face that today with Iran which brutally tortured and killed it's own people who protested against the false election of Ahmadinejad.  After Hitler had been in power for 8 months Sir Thomas Moore a respectable member of parliament with a university career behind him wrote in the Sunday Dispatch "If I may judge from my personal knowledge of Herr Hitler, peace and justice are the key words of his policy."  The next year he wrote "Give Hitler a chance."  Sounds a lot like Israeli chants of Give Peace a Chance.   Israelis who chant this want Israel to give up territory for peace to modern day Nazis.

The London Times thought it "essential" that the Germans be permitted "to build the forbidden weapons at once."  Restoring Germany's martial might would restore her pride and strengthen her feelings of security; then Germany and England, "in company" would launch a program of genuine, large-scale disarmament.  The MacDonald plan was one in which England, as the conscience of Europe, would divest herself of her most formidable weapons.  The press, universities, labor unions enthusiastically endorsed the plan.  Winston Churchill said that MacDonald's four years in Downing Street have brought us nearer to war and made us weaker, poorer, and more defenseless.  He was then criticized by members of parliament  for a disgraceful personal attack on the Prime Minister which was thoroughly mischievous and mean and contemptible.  Winston was described as "a disappointed office-seeker," the pursuer of a "personal vendetta" who was trying to "poison and vitiate the atmosphere" which MacDonald had tried to create in Switzerland.

    Anthony Eden told the House of Commons that if appeased Hitler's anger would vanish; his fear of encirclement would disappear; the Nazis, freed form anguish and insecurity, would become sensible, stable neighbors in a Europe free of rancor.  The House of Commons gave Anthony Eden a standing ovation. 

     Attlee accused those for armament of being delusional.  He said "We on our side are for total disarmament because we are realists."  Vansitart pointed out that the policy recommended at a Labour party conference recommended a policy of "subordinating our defense to the permission of Geneva, abolishing allegiance and loyalty to England, and pledging British citizens to a world-commonwealth which would 'override any national duty in time of war'. 

    After Hitler invaded the Rhineland Lord Lothian approved of the German invasion, remarking that , "after all they are only going into their own back garden."  Geoffrey Dawson, editor of the London Times, wrote an editorial titled "A Chance to Rebuild" and scorned those who called Hitler's invasion "an act of aggression."  As he saw it, the Germans were understandably afflicted by a "deep, instinctive fear - the dread of encirclement."

   The real fear was in England, it was fear of war with Germany, which was why people like Lord Lothian justified  Hitler's acts of aggression.  Harold Nicolson, a wise diarist, noted that the general mood

"is one of fear.  Anything to keep out of war...  On all sides one hears sympathy for Germany.  It is all very tragic and sad."

   Flandin, the French foreign minister wanted immediate action - ejecting the Germans from the Rhineland while imposing economic, financial and military sanctions against the aggressor. 

   Flandin told a press conference in England "Today the whole world and especially the small nations, turn their eyes toward England.  If England will act now she can lead Europe.  You will have a policy, all the world will follow you, and you will thus prevent war.  It is your last chance.  If you do not stop Germany now, all is over.  France cannot guarantee Czechoslovakia any more because that will become geographically impossible.  If Britain did not act, France, with her small population and obsolete industry, lay at the mercy of a rearmed Germany.  William Manchester wrote: "The reporters returned to Fleet street and wrote straightforward accounts of Flandin's appeal which their editors buried."  Why did they bury them? Probably because of fear that if England acted against Germany she would get into a war.  Of course by hiding the truth they helped bring about a much more terrible war. 

    Later Churchill said that the BBC muzzled him.

    Flandin met with British prime minister Baldwin who told him that the people of Britain wanted peace.  Flandin protested.  The peace would be unbroken.  Not a shot would be fired.  If faced by a police action the Germans would quickly evacuate the Rhineland.  According to Flandin, the prime minister replied: "You may be right, but if there is even one chance in a  hundred that war would follow from your police action, I have not the right to commit England.  Of course by not committing England Baldwin brought on a terrible world war. 

   Baldwin explained why he didn't pick Winston Churchill to be minister of defense. 

    "If I pick Winston, Hitler will be cross."

    Instead he picked Sir Thomas Inskip because he wouldn't make waves.   In 1938 Lord Swinton having been blocked in his earlier proposals, again submitted an RAF budget, this one representing the minimum of security  Attempts to match the Luftwaffe's overwhelming superiority in fighter planes were abandoned;  the RAF would settle for enough aircraft to meet German "bombers that could be used against this country."  Inskip said that would be too expensive.  He proposed cutting back not only Britain's first line air strength but also the reserve.  Halifax supported him, stressed "every possible effort to get on good terms with Germany," which as a code phrase of the time meant refraining from war preparations which might arouse the Fuhrer's wrath.

     Previously I quoted Manchester saying how the British papers buried warnings from Flandin.  When the Evening Standard printed an article by Churchill, letters poured in from outraged subscribers protesting the publication of such "nationalistic" articles by England's "number one warmonger."  In his article Churchill had quoted Goring saying that between four and five million Germans were working night and day in the munitions factories of the Ruhr to arm the expanding Wehrmacht. 

    One of the rationalizations of the British leadership as Hitler's belligerence became clearer was that Hitler would fight the Russians and leave them alone.  But as William Manchester wrote: "wishing didn't make it so."  Manchester also wrote that Neville Chamberlain told his cabinet that the government would deal with Hitler by extending the hand of friendship.  Neville reasoned that Hitler must realize that his demands had to stop at some point.  Churchill talked as though the Germans wanted all Europe.  It was absurd.  If they had it, whatever would they do with it?  And, obviously, the wild stories of storm troopers leading anti-Semitic pogroms were rubbish.  If the persecutions were as widespread as Winston claimed, Hitler would get wind of them and jail those responsible.  But to hear Churchill you would think that the Fuhrer wanted to kill every Jew in Europe!

    Hitler had seen many of his compatriots killed in World War I.  World War II may have been a mission of warped revenge.  He appears to have believed that the Jews were responsible for the German loss in World War I.  Prime Minister Chamberlain probably believed that Hitler simply wanted to help Germany become a secure and strong power.

    Chamberlain alienated the friends of England.  Though ready to hop through hoops to do Hitler's bidding he rejected an offer by President Roosevelt to convene in Washington with other European leaders to resolve their differences.  According to Sir Alexander Cadogan, Chamberlain "had an almost instinctive contempt for the Americans".  This contempt emanated from one of the most contemptible appeasers in history.  He also alienated the Russians by sending low ranking subordinates to meet with them which was disastrous because it may have been a factor in the Russians allying with Hitler.  We see today Obama alienating friends in his efforts to befriend enemies, the day may come when those friends join the enemies of America.

     When England and France told the Czechs that surrender of the Sudetenland to the Reich was the only way of averting war and that they would not defend the Czechs against a German attack despite their alliance with Czechoslovakia Roosevelt summoned the British ambassador in Washington and told him that the Anglo-French proposal was "the most terrible remorseless sacrifice that has ever been demanded of a State.  The president again proposed a conference of world leaders.  Roosevelt's proposal was swept from the prime minister's desk into his wastebasket.

     Anti-Nazi Sudeten Germans applied for visas from the French and British but were rejected.  Manchester wrote:

"They returned to their homes to await the Gestapo, which would not keep them waiting long." 

    This is incredible.  Not only would the British not honor it's alliance agreement with Czechoslovakia, it wouldn't even save those allies who were victims of that betrayal.

Churchill said that

"“The partition of Czechoslovakia under pressure from England and France amounts to the complete surrender of the Western democracies to the Nazi threat of force. … It is not Czechoslovakia alone which is menaced, but also the freedom and the democracy of all nations. The belief that security can be obtained by throwing a small state to the wolves is a fatal delusion

 In 1938 The Times of London wrote

"The war-mongers [Churchill and his supporters], those who would make war against another country without having counted the cost, ought to either be impeached and shot or hanged. There has never been a prime minister in the history of England who has in nine months achieved such agreements as those Mr. Chamberlain has made with Czechoslovakia, Italy ... and with Hitler at Munich."

  Intelligence information about the poor state of British defenses was given to Churchill by those who knew he was the only one who might do something about it but when Churchill gave speeches warning about the pathetic state of the British defenses instead of fixing them, the government hunted for his informants.  The government was more worried about it's public image and not antagonizing Herr Hitler than being defenseless against Hitler.

    When Hitler's troops invaded Austria The Times showed pictures of Austrian Nazis wildly and enthusiastically welcoming the Germans.  Anti-Nazi Austrians as well as anti-Nazi Germans who had fled to Austria desperately tried to flee.  No pictures of these refugees were shown by the Times.

   Sir Vansitart was the undersecretary of the Foreign Office and he warned of the danger of Germany.  Neville Chamberlain had him replaced with Sir Alexander Cadogan a zealous believer in appeasement.  After Germany swallowed up Austria Sir Cadogan wrote in a letter:

Thank goodness, Austria's out of the way. 

    Sir Cadogan also wrote in his diary that:

"We may be helpless as regards Czechoslovakia... Must we have a death-struggle with Germany again?... I'm inclined to think not.  But I shall have to fight  Van ... and all the forces of evil.  God give me courage.  So far we've not done wrong."

     To Sir Cadogan, Hitler was not the evil enemy.  It was Sir Vansitart who warned about Hitler.

    Czechoslovakia was Hitler's next target.  Prime Minister Chamberlain and his foreign secretary Halifax were determined that under no circumstances would England and France go to war to save Czechoslovakia.  On March 21 Halifax told Foreign Office aides that the great thing was "to dissuade France from going to the aid of Czechoslovakia." 

     This is incredible.  Not only was England not going to meet its obligation to protect the Czechs it was actively trying to convince France not to do so.

     In a speech to the Commons Churchill said:

If mortal catastrophe should overtake the British Nation and the British Empire, historians a thousand years hence will still be baffled by the mystery of our affairs.  They will never understand how it was that a victorious nation, with everything in hand, suffered themselves to be brought low, and to cast away all that they had gained by measureless sacrifice and absolute victory - gone with the wind!

Now the victors are the vanquished, and those who threw down their arms and sued for an armistice are striding on to world mastery.  That is the position - that is the terrible transformation that has taken place... Now is the time at last to rouse the nation... We should lay aside every hindrance and endeavor by uniting the whole force and spirit of our people to raise again a great British nation standing up before all the world; for such a nation, rising in its ancient vigour, can even at this hour save civilization.

The morning after his dire warning to the House the Evening Standard terminated Churchill's contract, thus ending two years of fortnightly columns because as the editor wrote

"it has been evident that your views on foreign affairs and the part this country should play are entirely opposed to those held by us."

    The Reverend Morley Headlam was an Anglican bishop who defended Hitler's suppression of religious freedom before a church assembly, arguing that Nazis saw their cause as "a real representation of Christianity."  The Editor of the London Times, Geoffrey Dawson published the bishop's sermons in full while consigning dispatches from his own Berlin correspondent, describing the imprisonment of German clergymen, to the wastebasket.

    Since the fall of Austria Maksim Litvinov, the Soviet foreign commissar tried to convince the British to form an alliance with the Soviet Union against Germany.  These proposals were probably rejected because Britain did not want to antagonize Germany by appearing threatening.

     Hitler told Chamberlain that the Czech problem was "the last territorial demand" which he would make on Europe.  The demand was that the Czech's leave the Sudetenland and hand it over to Germany.  Chamberlain chose to believe Hitler even though he knew that Hitler lied in the past.  When Hitler broke the Versailles treaty he promised to honor Germany's signature on the Locarno pact, when he broke the Locarno Pact he swore that the Rhineland would be his last territorial claim.  When he sent Wehrmacht bayonets into Austria he grandly guaranteed Czechoslovakia's borders. 

Chamberlain chose to believe Hitler even though Hitler was spreading lies about the Czech's gassing Germans in order to incite the German population for war. 

    The situation is very analogous to recent times in which the U.S. chose to believe Arafat and now chooses to believe Abbas despite their lies.

    Demanding that the Czechs give up the fortified mountains of the Sudetenland to Germany was the same as demanding that they become defenseless.  German generals were unanimously agreed that had the British and French stood up to Hitler, and had Hitler invaded Czechoslovakia, the Reich would have been swiftly defeated.  All this came out at Nuremberg. 

     History repeats itself and now in order to appease the Muslim world Israel is being pressured to  withdraw from the mountains of Judea and Samaria by Europe and the U.S. even though a U.S. study determined that Israel will become indefensible without Judea and Samaria. 

    When Chamberlain returned to England after betraying the Czechs he was greeted with great adulation and enthusiasm.  He wrote Ida his sister that "Even the descriptions of the papers give no idea of the scenes in the streets as I drove from Heston to the Palace.  They were lined from one end to the other with people of every class, shouting themselves hoarse, leaping on the running board banging on the windows and thrusting their hands into the car to be shaken.  Neville told the crowds that he had brought peace with honor and that "I believe it is peace for our time."  Lord Lloyd, who had been in the roaring throng outside No. 10 remembered felling "elated" until Chamberlain said "peace with honor."  Then "my heart sank; it was the worst possible choice of words, for I realized that he had sold honor to buy peace"

   The peaceniks rejoiced.  The following is a paragraph from an editorial written at the time:

Be glad in your hearts.  Give thanks to your God.  People of Britain, your children are safe.  Your husbands and your sons will not march to war.  Peace is a victory for all mankind.  And now let us go back to our own affairs.  We have had enough of those menaces, conjured up from the Continent to confuse us.

   Shortly afterwards Hitler invaded Czechoslovakia which succumbed shortly thereafter.  Not long after Germany attacked Britain and bombed London.  The Germans caused a lot more devastation as a result of the appeasement policies of Neville Chamberlain.

     Chamberlain called the Munich terms a victory for self-determination. Sinclair pointed out that it was "a plain travesty of self determination," because although the areas ceded were inhabited by "a substantial minority" of Germans, they were a minority and many of them wanted no part of the Reich.  The "irruption of German troops," he predicted "will sweep before them a whole crowd of refugees who certainly would have been in favour of remaining in those territories.

    This is reminiscent of the forceful evacuation of the Jewish inhabitants of Gaza and the fate of Arabs who had worked in Gaza for the Jews living there.  It brings to mind how Arabs apply for citizenship in Israel because they don't want to be under the heel of the Palestinian Authority.

     In 1939 Hitler invaded the rest of Czechoslovakia  William Manchester wrote:

Although the full scope of Nazi atrocities was concealed from foreign correspondents they could not be prevented from witnessing clubbings, the persecution of Jews, and the disappearance of Czech intellectuals once concentration camps had been built, wired and equipped with watchtowers for machine guns and search lights.  In a secret Fuhrerordnung he decreed that the Czechs are to be assimiliert chiefly as Slavenarbeit ("slave labor") in the Reich; the others, "besonder die Intellektuellen" ("particularly the intellectuals") were to be "entmanntet und ausgetshaltet" ("castrated and eliminated").  All this had been set forth in Mein Kampf."..  Parliament's indifference to the lot of Czech Jews infuriated Churchill.  Dispossessed by the Nazis they wandered the roads of Eastern Europe.  Photographs of their ordeal were profoundly moving, but Dawson refused to run any of them in the Times; he couldn't help the victims, he explained, and if they were published Hitler would be offended.  Then nine weeks after Prague, the Chamberlain government announced that British policy in Palestine had been changed.  Unlimited Jewish immigration was over; strict limits would be imposed on the number entering Palestine for the next five years, and after that all Jews would be turned away unless the Arabs of Palestine are prepared to acquiesce to it.  This closed the chief refuge for European Jews fleeing the growing Nazi empire, and it gave the Arabs veto power over the eventual establishment of a Jewish state. 

     Churchill suggested that this policy might have been an effort by the Chamberlain government to ingratiate itself with Hitler.    Restrictions were also place on the rights of Jews to buy land from Arabs. The Zionists responded to British restrictions by organizing illegal migration which the British countered by blockading Palestine.  Notice how the British had not lifted a finger to stop Hitler but were willing to send warships to keep out Jews who were fleeing for their lives.  Perhaps the British were concerned that the Arabs might join Hitler but to send war ships to turn back rickety old boats of Jews fleeing Hitler indicates to me that the Nazis and the British government had something in common when it came to the Jews, lack of humanity and compassion.

    One would think that after the invasion of Czechoslovakia, Chamberlain would have learned a lesson but like most people who are delusional, evidence had little impact on his beliefs and before the Nazi invasion of Poland he concluded that Polish obstinacy to giving the city of Danzig to the Nazis was the greatest obstacle to peace.  William Manchester wrote:

Ambassador Joseph Kennedy wired the State Department: "Frankly he is more worried about getting the Poles to be reasonable than the Germans.  Forcing the weak to submit is clearly easier than confronting the strong, particularly if you have persuaded yourself that the weak deserve what is coming to them."

    William Manchester's in his book, The Last Lion, William Spencer Churchill Alone wrote:

Whenever Hitler loomed large in headlines, Britons plunged their heads deeper into the sand.  And their leaders joined them.  Sir John Wheeler-Bennett, a British expatriate living in Germany, had first judged Hitler as a "man of sense... who does not want war," then, when his vision cleared, tried to persuade his countrymen at home that the Nazi regime was evil.  He failed, he came to believe, because in Britain the "forces of apathy, of willful myopia and of general delusion in high places were too strong for us."

    William Manchester wrote:

Nazism had become fashionable in London's West End.  Ladies wore bracelets with swastika charms; young men combed their hair to slant across their foreheads. 

    Perhaps Londoners thought if they'd act like Nazis the Nazis would like them and wouldn't want to make war on London.

     The Czech Prime Minister Milos Zeman in a visit to Israel  (Jerusalem Post 2/18/02) said that:

You cannot negotiate with terrorists because the single response of terrorists for fulfilling their demands is blackmail - new demands, nothing more...This was our experience with the regime of Adolph Hitler.  In 1936 he could have been defeated by two French divisions during the occupation of the Rhineland, and there was no courage by democratic countries because of the appeasement policy.

That Hitler could have been so easily defeated was confirmed by Hitler himself.  Calling the 48 hours after his three battalions entered the Rhineland, "the most nerve-wracking" of his life, Hitler said:

If the French had marched into the Rhineland, we would have had to withdraw with our tails between our legs.

Yet the international community applies pressure on Israel to give land for peace.  Peter Hutchins in an essay published on March 10th in the British newspaper, The Mail wrote:

The phrase 'land for peace' is interesting in itself. It is actually another way of describing the appeasement forced on Czechoslovakia by her supposed friends in 1938. This was also supposed to promise peace, but made the country impossible to defend and opened the gates for invasion a few months later. Those responsible for this cowardly stupidity are still reviled 60 years on. Those who urge it on Israel in the present day are praised.


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