In Our Time in Our Time: The Chamberlain-Hitler Collusion the Chamberlain-Hitler Collusion Paperback – Jan 1 1997
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About the Author
Clement Leibovitz, a retired professor in computer services at the University of Alberta, lives in Canada. Alvin Finkel is Professor of History at Athabasca University in Alberta, an open-learning institute. Christopher Hitchens is a regular columnist for "The Nation" and "Vanity Fair".
ALVIN FINKEL is a professor of history at Athabasca University. He is the author of "Business and Social Reform in the Thirties", "The Social Credit Phenomenon in Alberta", and "A History of Canadian Peoples".
Finkel is Professor of History at Athabasca University in Alberta, Canada.
Christopher Hitchens (1949-2011) is the author of God Is Not Great, Hitch-22, and Why Orwell Matters.
Top Customer Reviews
On March 15 1939 Nazi Germany swallowed remaining rump of Czeckoslovakia .On March27 1939 in a speech to House of Commons Chamberlin gave a guarantee to Poland.Later it was told Western democracies by this time realised their folly went to war to stop further German depredations.Authors have shown guarantee to Poland was a sham ,only served as an instrument to deter Germany from attacking the West. By this time it came to be known ,according to British intelligence ,that Hitler was making secret preparations to attack the West.Western democracies ,however,communicated through secret channels that it was prepared to foresake Poland provided Hitler confine his ambitions to eastern Europe.Read more ›
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
'In Our Time:The Chamberlain-Hitler Collusion'--based on government documents, correspondence, diaries, etc.--shatters the conventional judgment.
There is no doubt that when Hitler first violated a treaty by entering the Rhineland, a firm response would have defeated him. The French were prepared to take action but the British government wouldn't. The Tory government, anxious to eradicate communism, was willing to accommodate Hitler's aggressive appetite in eastern Europe hoping that this would lead to war with the Soviet Union.
Many books I previously read described Hitler as a genius who continually overrode the warnings of his generals. The generals were properly cautious, assuming they would meet opposition. But Hitler was aware that his anti-communism had the approval of the British establishment and that his adventures would be successful.
German opposition forces tried to convince the British, that if they and the French took a firm stance, the German military would overthrow Hitler. Chamberlain rejected their pleas.
Hitler's demands against Czechoslovakia threatened to cause a major war since France had a mutual assistance treaty with the Czechs. To defuse the crisis, Chamberlain traveled to Germany and held three meetings with Hitler. The last one, with France and Italy, produced the Munich Agreement--which sold out a reluctant but consenting Czechoslovakia.
During those meetings, Chamberlain felt he had forged a separate agreement with Hitler-which granted Hitler a "green light" for aggression in central and eastern Europe.
But public opinion in Britain was a major problem that Chamberlain defused by issuing gas masks and calling for the digging of trenches. Hitler was advised to ignore any harsh criticisms; they were made to appease the public.
Munich's lesson (the convention one) is a fraud. Chamberlain knew he was not bringing 'Peace in Our Time'. His performance was a charade to deceive an unsuspecting public. What is the real lesson. Beware of the duplicity of our leaders. Those magical PR icons--Munich, Appeasement, and the newer ones, Humanitarian Intervention, Ethnic Cleansing--should alert us that they are used to get public support for dubious activities.
For history buffs and particularly those interested in World War II, this book is an absolute MUST read.
Firstly ,authors say [correctly]that appeasment was a myth.As early as 1934 British leaders of conservative party had adopted a policy of giving Germany a free hand in eastern Europe.In Nov1937, Lord Halifax met Hitler ,told Britain would not oppose if Germany carried out expansionist polices in eastern Europe.Later British ambassador in Berlin Neville Henderson gave similiar assurances to this effect.When Hitler commenced threatning Czchecoslovakia ,under the cover of demanding self- determination for Sudenten Germans ,Chamberlin refused to take action.But refusal was contingent on Germany not attacking the West.In other words, Germany was free to expand towards eastern Europe and Britain would ensure Czeckoslovakia does not stand on the way.
Shockingly ,this was the secret deal Chamberlin made with Hitler at Godesberg prior to Munich confabulation.One is now forced to endorse Soviet leader Stalin's view that West tried to embroil Soviet Union in a war with Nazi Germany
On March 15 ,1939, Nazi Germany swallowed remaining rump of Czeckoslovakia .On March 27, 1939 ,in a speech to House of Commons Chamberlin gave a guarantee to Poland.Later it was told Western democracies by this time realised their folly went to war to stop further German depredations.Authors have shown guarantee to Poland was a sham ,only served as an instrument to deter Germany from attacking the West.
Western democracies ,however,communicated through secret channels that it was prepared to foresake Poland provided Hitler confine his ambitions to eastern Europe.Hostile public opinion forced democracies to start staff talks with Soviet Union .The purpose was to form a collective front to stop Hitler's march to war.But talks dragged on with West showing no willingness to bring it to succeessful a conclusion.
What Soviets wanted from the West was ironclad guarantee.Russians were prepared to commit 100 divisions for defence of Poland.Since Moscow did not share common border with Germany it wanted right of passage for its troops.This obstinate Poles refused to give.Here it must be said Russians were trying 1934 onwards to forge collective security pact with West .Such a pact would have stopped Hitler's Germany on its tracks .Presumably Hitler's regime would have been ousted in a coup or would have resigned. Then course of history would have been different.But British leadership's moral blindness ,hatred for Communism such a splendid opportunity was botched.
Getting back to the point,Moscow talks served in my opinion to put pressure on Germany How? I refer to secret talks between Horace Wilson and Goering's representive Karl Wohltat in London.Germany was told to come to terms, renounce its aggressive designs on western Europe .If not ,Berlin would be assailed on both flanks wih Russia's help.This precisely had been Hitler's nightmare. Unfortunately authors have missed this crucial point.Ultimately Moscow talks failed because West wanted Soviet Union to vouch for Poland's security without giving any reciprocal guarantees to the soviets.This made Soviets suspicious about real motives of Western leaders .The double-dealing led soviets to sign non-aggression pact with Germany.
The Western democracies went to war against Germany because it committed apostasy by courting the Soviet devil.But secret channels remained open.Behind public gaze British leaders stll hoped to resurrect their secret deal this time with moderate Nazis by ousting Hitler from power.
Chamberlin policy boomeranged.Hitler reposed no faith Chamberlin ability to deliver goods.Nazi leader chose to free his rear before attacking Soviet Union.Appeasment policy now lay in tatters.
Appendix section of the book I find it very interesting.Here authors have evaluated ,critically analysed works of other historians on Chamberlin's appeasment policy.Historians-Alan Bullock,AJP Taylor,Donald C. Watt Simon Newman ,Paul Kennedy-have exonerated the British leader of any wrong deeds by projecting him to be apostle of peace. All evidence to the contrary either fudged or ignored Why?They were reluctant to admit that leader of a Western democracy could collaborate with a dictator who was hell-bent on going to war to realise his ambitions.
Such distortion of facts tantamount to pulling wool over the eyes of the public.This book has presented British politicians in the true light.These men instead of stopping Hitler shamelessly connived,collaborated ,co operated with the Nazi leader.Hyocrites,they were parially responsible for the outbreak of World War II and Holocaust that ensued.
The book represents a complete reappraisal of events leading to World War II.For me the facts contained in the book were nothing new.Having read the books of Soviet historians of war [Vladimir Trukhanovsky, Oleg Rzhevsky]I am aware of it.However this may be first time that few people in the West have come to acknowledge this unpalatable truth which for a long time dubbed communist as propaganda.
The authors have delved deeply into original sources, including Cabinet meeting minutes, diaries, letters and Foreign Office correspondence to thoroughly support their premise, simply put "that Chamberlain made what he considered to be a formal deal with Hitler in September 1938". He was convinced that "Hitler's expansionism would inevitably produce a military clash with Stalin that might result in dismemberment of the Soviet Union". It would be difficult to dispute their conclusions. Students of history should include this work in any consideration of World War II politics. Particularly because most historians, consciously or unconsciously, have a strong tendency to exonerate Chamberlain and the Tory government from suspicion of condoning Hitler and tend to treat Britain as deceived, lethargic and appeasing instead. This despite the fact that Churchill at least was sounding the alarm daily.
All that being said, I would caution the reader that this is a moderately difficult text that is in some respects slightly repetitive. It is immensely interesting but not light reading.
Authors Clement Leibovitz & Alvin Finkel,after painstaking research, have shown beyond a doubt,at least to this reviewer,that Chamberlain's policy was one that was backed by the British Establishment for ecomonic,political(anti-Communist)and racial reasons,after all the Brits are mostly of Anglo-Saxon stock.The role of the influencial "Cliveden Set"is examined,as is the of record of Lord Lothian(Philip Kerr)who as an influencial "Liberal" Party politician who opposed war, with Hitler, on account that such a war would mean the break-up of the British Empire(he was so right!)Many Tory Party members,Chamberlain's own party,were ardent supports of Hitler and were early to join the "Anglo-German Friedship Society.In fact Hitler greatly admire the British Empire, and why not,isn't that Empire based on Aryan domination?This is an excellent book that should be widely read.it is revisionism,but revisionism is not bad,or good in and of itself,it is good if it leads us closer to the truth,and I believe this book does just that.By knowing the truth we will be better able to make correct decesions,in the future.I cannot praise this book to much.
I am afraid that the authors did not consider also that, chronologically at least, gulags, concentration camps, mass murders and engineered famines came well before German Lagers. It is safe to assume, I guess, that educated politicians like Baldwin, Chamberlain, Halifax, Daladier were well informed of the brutish nature of Stalin's regime and might have been rather scary to ally with the Soviet dictatorship. The authors seem at times to downplay the extent of Soviet crimes against their own population and the aggressive policy they led against Central Asian states ever since the existence of the Soviet regime. While it is impossible to downplay the huge responsibilities of Chamberlain and his men for the military resurgence of Germany, I find it hard to consider Stalin's URSS as the white knight riding across Europe to safeguard democratic Europe's independence.
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