George Jonas: ‘Peace in our time,’ 75 years later

National Post | Full Comment

Three-quarters of a century has passed since then-prime minister Neville Chamberlain of Great Britain tried to use soft words to turn away wrath and only succeeded in starting the Second World War. Putting it this way is facile, of course; at least, it’s a gross oversimplification. Counterfactuals can’t be proven. There’s no way of knowing how Hitler might have reacted to a British government offering him resistance rather than appeasement. There’s no guarantee that the Nazis would have backed off or given up on their aim of detaching the Sudetenland from the body of Czechoslovakia. Pundits could argue (and some have) that had Winston Churchill been in charge of Britain in 1938, WWII, far from being avoided, might simply have started a year earlier.

Chamberlain’s abandonment of a fledgling democracy to Nazi predation, made worse by his oft-quoted remark: “How horrible, fantastic it is that we should be digging trenches…

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