Britain had Its Darkest Hour. Is this America’s Darkest Hour?
Recently there have been many comparisons between the 1938 appeasement of Germany by the Munich Pact and the signing of an agreement with Iran which is an appeasement document that resolves nothing for our side but gives the Iranians time to create a nuclear bomb. British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain was the British appeaser and fortunately in 1940 he was followed in office by Winston Churchill. Back in 1938 Churchill had said, “Britain and France had to choose between war and dishonor. They chose dishonor. They will have war.” Munich was the first step towards WWII. Will the green-lighting of Iran to continue creating nuclear materials lead to WWIII?
Winston Churchill, whose birth in 1874 we celebrate today, coined the phrase “the darkest hour” to describe the period between the fall of France in June 1940 and the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941, a time when an invasion of Britain itself was fully expected. Had it occurred this would have been the first time since the year 1066, a period of nearly 900 years, that the island nation suffered a military invasion.
Although this period of time lasted 11 months and 28 days the darkest moment is general thought to have been May 10, 1941 when over 1,500 civilians died in Luftwaffe bombings of London. In 1938, Winston Churchill, then relegated to the opposition in Parliament, lambasted Chamberlain for the Munich deal. His words might equally have been addressed to Jean-Francoise Kerry or Barack Hussein Obama:
We are in the presence of a disaster of the first magnitude...we have sustained a defeat without a war, the consequences of which will travel far with us along our road... we have passed an awful milestone in our history, when . . . the terrible words have for the time being been pronounced against the Western democracies: "Thou art weighed in the balance and found wanting." And do not suppose that this is the end. This is only the beginning of the reckoning.
As the late President Kennedy said upon confirming honorary American citizenship on Churchill, “Whenever and wherever tyranny threatened, he has always championed liberty. Facing firmly toward the future, he has never forgotten the past.” Churchill was a man who knew history and learned from it. At one point he advised his listeners to “Study history, study history. In history lies all the secrets of statecraft.” Alas, his words have been ignored and/or rejected by the current American administration, headed by a feckless man who has not made his hatred of Churchill a secret.
Hardly perfect, as he himself would have readily admitted, Churchill understood that “The farther backward you can look, the farther forward you can see,” and that “Our past is the key to our future, which I firmly trust and believe will be no less fertile and glorious.” Yet, today America is rejecting its past and as a result might fall, just as Britain rejected its past (and Churchill) after 1945 and today is a shadow of its former self. Britain in 1938, and America in 2013 both appeased tyranny in the name of peace, but tyrants are never appeased as Churchill understood so well.
Winston Churchill was a man ahead of his times, a man much needed in our time, a man who wrote and spoke much about tyranny. He understood, “Tyranny is our foe whatever trappings or disguise it wears, whatever language it speaks, be it external or internal, we must forever be on our guard, ever mobilized, ever vigilant, always ready to spring at its throat.” These words were as relevant then as they are today.
Sadly, the great Churchill who had fearlessly led Britain from 1940 through the end of the Second World War was rejected in the 1946 elections in favor of the siren song of socialism, a socialism that still weighs down the British economy. Churchill said that “socialism is the philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance and the gospel of envy.” He also said that “The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.”
The half-American Churchill would have wept for the Britain and the America of today. The leadership of these two countries and those who elected them seem to have learned nothing from history and are therefore doomed to repeat it. While the leadership usually escapes, it is the man in the street who will feel the full brunt of appeasing tyrants and turning their countries into illusionary “worker’s paradises.”
Churchill was not perfect, but he was a role model for us today in so many ways. Today we needed his type of leadership and courage more than ever, for we are more desperate than ever. Who would have thought five years ago, that things would get worse, that our leadership would be so lacking in the necessary courage and tenacity to think big, bold and to be uncompromising in the face of tyranny. We need another Churchill, we need someone who will not only give us fine words but will live by them. But we also need men and women who willing to do battle on all fronts on behalf of liberty. Will you join the battle? Or will you instead invest your time and energies in trivial pursuits?
What can one man do you ask? Ask that of Lech Walesa. Ask that of Ronald Reagan. Ask that of Churchill.
Churchill spoke these words in 1941 (the war began for the British in 1939) at Harrow School:
Never give in--never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.
Happy Birthday Winston Churchill