Here is the World War II Post Made Yesterday

Today is the 70th anniversary of our declaration of war on Germany. My own view is that this was the greatest single disaster in British and perhaps world history. It beats the decision to go to war with Germany in 1914. That was a disaster in its own right, but did not necessarily mean the destruction of western civilisation. By 1945, around fifty million Europeans had been killed in battle or murdered or starved or bombed, and Bolshevik Russia was supreme across half the continent. British liberalism and world power had collapsed. Their best replacement was American corporatism with its increasingly ludicrous fig leaf of “human
rights” and “democracy”. None of this would have happened had we stayed out of another European war.

I see that the newspapers here are yet again pushing the Churchill cult. The man was named in a BBC poll some years ago as the Greatest Ever Briton. I suppose he had more solid qualities than the late Princess of
Wales. But I increasingly wish the “Fuzzy-Wuzzies” had tried a little harder at Omdurman and planted a spear in his belly. Without him to preach jihad against Germany, the 20th century might easily have been a
continuation of the 19th, rather than a precipitate retreat from a liberal world order underpinned by the Pax Britannica.

I am working on a new novel and have neither time nor inclination to set out my reasons at any length why the declaration of war was such a mistake. However, I refer you to an article I wrote in 2003 about Neville
Chamberlain and appeasement:



  1. Well, I am glad that Churchill survived. I don’t see how Britain could have remained neutral for long, if only because it might have meant accepting terms from Germany such as not allowing any Jewish immigrants, etc. There comes a point when standing aside is just not morally acceptable. As for the preservation of Western civilsation, by allowing Hitler to get awayt with conquering Europe, a big chunk of that civilisation would have been lost. True, half of Europe fell under Soviet hands after 1945, but by accepting your argument, all of it would have been under totalitarian control after 1945. Hardly a great result, but better than nothing.

  2. It has to be said that for Western Europe it seems, at least to me, to have been an uphill struggle since the Second World War. I personally think it was Hitler’s decision to invade the Soviet Union which was the fundamental mistake.

    Let’s not forget that although much of continental Europe may have fallen to Germany, Hitler would not have lived more than a few decades, being a drug-addict and all, and once conditions improved the Germans would have sought democracy or some return to a democratic and free society.

    There is the antisemitism, which is generally accepted as folly by some of the German side, Albert Speer and the Panzer General Heinz Guderian are examples. Terrible thing anyway, though, war. If that’s not a daft thing to say.

  3. Let’s see what might have happened in an alternative scenario…

    If we had not (however reluctantly) gone to war in 1939, then France would not either (try to see what odds you’d get on its unlateral entry on behalf of Poland.) Poland would have got dismembered anyway, and Stalin would have got attacked probably in 1940, which is what WW1, Brest-Litovsk, “Drang nan Osten” and “Lebensraum” were all about. Hitler would have ended up dominating the whole of the Eurasian landmass, and you have to think who was next – specially since the leaders of the Japanese-Imperium spent the 1930s being increasingly pissed off with us and the USA.

    There would eventually have been a much larger and more threatening global confrontation between the Anglosphere and the GramscoNaziSphere – the nationality of the aggressors would ultimately have been irrelevant.

    None of that makes going to war a right thing objectively. But in the forced circumstances we then found ourselves in , in late 1939, I believe like Jonathan that we Did The Right Thing, pyrrhic though the victory turned out to be.

  4. Stalin would have got attacked probably in 1940

    Well certainly if Britain and France had stayed neutral Hitler would have been free to invade Russia a year earlier but that’s not to say he would. It’s at least arguable that his easy victories over Norway, Denmark, France, Netherlands, & Belgium and the bottling up of Britain made him over confident. Perhaps hubris caused him to take on Stalin.

    In the real 1941 Hitler only faced a weakened Britain who needed to pull off a difficult sea invasion to be a threat. In your counter-factual, the undefeated French army was still intact and untested in 1940. Britain’s army would no doubt also have continued to grow. We do know that Hitler was fearful of a two front war and regardless of how the French army would actually perform on the day, he would be obliged to leave large reserves to face it just in case it chose to come to the USSR’s aid. That would have persuaded caution – a delay at the very least.

  5. An error:

    Should have said “take on Stalin so soon”.

    I, of course, accept the argument that he foresaw the clash as inevitable.

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