Sunday, April 03, 2011

Milestones of Disaster

A couple of weeks ago I finished reading the first volume of four of Winston Churchill „The Second World War. Milestones to Disaster”. First and foremost, I was greatly surprised what a good writer Churchill was !
I must say that he fully deserved the Nobel Prize for Literature, he got in 1953. Some may argue about it and probably did, denying  his literary merits. But I believe one can hold such views only until he or she discovers his narration. Was it not about the greatest tragedy of XX century, I would say it is really fantastic and captivating story.

The tome describes the years that led to the war and its beginning, sometimes called by the term that Churchill coined „Twilight War” (see Phoney War)

I'm not going to relate the content of the book in this review — but rather prefer to focus on the most important conclusion of the book: It is true that the Second World War broke due to the madness of Hitler and his willing German, Italian or Japaneese helpers, the German guilt for it and all its atrocities including Holocaust, is unquestionable.

But, as Churchill proves, it was possible also because of so many errors and forbearances and the fundamental moral weakness of the alies in the period after the end of the First World War...

The list of incredible and literaly stupid things the Allies committed is long. When Hitler started to grow into power, British entered into shameful Naval Agreement with Germany. Americans passed the infamous Neutrality Act. When Hitler defied both Versailles and Locarno treatises and entered with arms into RhineLand, both French and English have full legal justification for a prevention. Nothing happened, even to the amazement of Hitler himself...

Churchill writes about all these facts openly and frankly. There is no hidden agenda to show British as heroes. Oppositely, he plainly condemns these acts, and the overall tone of his narration is that of seeking the truth, not the good opinion about his own flock.

One of the most deplorable act committed by French and English just at the dawn of the tragedy, was the Munich Betrayal, where Chamberlain along with Daladier, essentially allowed Hitler to partition and annex Czechoslovakia.

The true value of the book lies in the fact that most of these facts are not well known or publicised. The media style of portaying the Allies as heroes has dominated and still dominates the collective memory of Europeans. Churchill debunks the cheap, pseudo heroism of his own nation. Of course, where and when the English and French  soldiers fought, they deserved the admiration, and Churchill does not avoid it.

His demeanour can be a paragon of how any responsible politician should behave: first find your own nations sins, errors and attrocities — and speak about them openly an frankly and repent. Without such attitude the world can not become a better place...

All in all - „Milestones to Disaster” is a must for all who are interested in XX History.

Written in Paris, April, 3rd, 2011.

While there I also finished reading  Eric's Metaxas „Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy (2010)” and I'm deeply shocked by its implications. A review to come soon...


  1. Anonymous6:16 PM

    "His demeanour can be a paragon of how any responsible politician should behave: first find your own nations sins, errors, and attrocities — and speak about them openly and frankly and repent. Without such an attitude the world can not become a better place..."

    An excellent recognition and a great review.

    Raymond Harrison

  2. Thx Raymond !

    I just started the second tome of Churchill story: "Alone". Gives a bit different perspective on the point I made, but I will wait till I finish it ...