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The Occasional Winston: The morrow of Munich

In the aftermath of the Munich Agreement Winston Churchill wrote in his November 17, 1938, column titled “The morrow of Munich,” at a time when he still occupied a backbench seat in Parliament:

Mr. Chamberlain is convinced that all this will lead to general agreement; to the appeasement of the discontented Powers, and to a lasting peace.

But all lies in the region of hope and speculation. A whole set of contrary possibilities must be kept in mind. He may ask us to submit to things which we cannot endure; he may be forced to ask us to submit to things which we cannot endure. Or again, the other side in this difficult negotiation may not act in the same spirit of goodwill and good faith as animates the Prime Minister. What we have to give, what we are made to give, may cost us dear, but it may not be enough….By this time next year we shall know whether the Prime Minister’s view of Herr Hitler and the German Nazi Party is right or wrong. By this time next year we shall know whether the policy of appeasement has appeased, or whether it has only stimulated a more ferocious appetite. All we can do in the meanwhile is to gather together forces of resistance and defence, so that if the Prime Minister should unhappily be wrong, or misled, or deceived, we can at the worst keep body and soul together.

Collected in Churchill’s compilation of fortnightly prewar columns titled Step by Step, this one echoes down the years today.

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