I just finished a book called Winston Churchill – The Wilderness Years: Speaking out Against Hitler in the Prelude to War. The term “wilderness years” refers to the span between 1929 and 1939 when Churchill was warning people about the danger of Naziism while the leaders of the UK, France, and the US were all busy disarming.
They were disarming because they thought since they had disarmed Germany (with the Treaty of Versaille), it was only fair for the rest of them to disarm too. That way, they thought, another cataclysmic war could not happen. The US, the UK, France, Russia, and others were drafting mutual agreements to destroy their own armaments, limit military service, restrict the size of their air forces, etc. Meanwhile, the Nazis ignored the Treaty and were furiously building their war capability in secret.
Churchill spoke out against universal disarmament, and he fell out of favor with the public and with his fellow politicians. He could see that the Nazis were militant, imperialistic and supremacist, and everyone could see they were gaining power. Churchill thought that disarming was the lastthing the non-Germans should do. But almost everyone but Churchill felt that the first World War was so horrible that war must never happen again. Within this “logic,” making weapons and building armies would be going in the wrong direction. It was considered “a provocation and a danger.”
Churchill was well-versed in the history of war and saw that historically, the most reliable way to prevent a war had always been to be capable ofwinning a war (because it discourages others from starting conflicts). He believed in building strong alliances between a well-armed UK, France, and America, and he pushed for a pact between them that they would defend each other in the case of German aggression, but he failed to convince the politicians of any of those three countries that this was how they could make sure that Germany would not rearm and go on the offensive.
Before 1929, Churchill had been a successful, well-known and greatly respected politician. From 1929 until WW2 started, he was no longer popular with political leaders. He was labeled a “scaremonger,” and in 1934 in the German press, Churchill was dismissed as “an incorrigible Germanophobe.” That is a quote. I kid you not.
People in high office, including the Prime Minister, Neville Chamberlain, believed Churchill’s criticism of the Nazis made the Nazis more hostile. They thought Churchill saying that the Nazis were dangerous would push the Nazis to war. They just wanted Churchill to stop talking and go away.
The reason I thought this was interesting is because, of course, we are in our own wilderness years. The parallels are startling. We have several modern day Winston Churchills (and in fact, there were more people than only Churchill speaking out in his day too), but I would say our modern day Churchill, if I had to choose just one person, would be Geert Wilders. And the majority of today’s European political leaders want Wilders to stop talking and go away too.
Churchill reached out to the general public, through newspapers and radio, just as Wilders is doing now. In The Wilderness Years, the author, Martin Gilbert, wrote:
Churchill sought in his regular newspaper articles to point out the dangers of disarmament to the general public; a public which was attracted by what Churchill believed to be the misguided and over simple appeal of the Disarmament Conferences at Geneva. In one such article he warned that the horror of war meant that people were now inclined to grasp at unrealistic platitudes, and to accuse those who warned of the true situation of “warmongering.”
Hostility and violence are so horrible, people (then and now) are inclined to grasp at “unrealistic platitudes.” In our day, for example, platitudes like, “Islam is a religion of peace, the violence is only perpetrated by a small minority of extremists, the vast majority of Muslims are peace-loving people,” etc.
Churchill had such a grasp of the situation that he was constantly predicting what would happen, and it all came to pass just as he predicted, one thing after another. For example, many years before WW2 began, back in 1932, Churchill said this to the House of Commons:
All these bands of sturdy Teutonic youths, marching through the streets and roads of Germany, with the light of desire in their eyes to suffer for their Fatherland, are not looking for status. They are looking for weapons and, when they have the weapons, believe me they will then ask for the return of the lost territories and lost colonies, and when that demand is made, it cannot fail to shake and possibly shatter to their foundations every one of the countries I have mentioned (France, Belgium, Poland, Romania, Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia) and some other countries I have not mentioned…
There were two main reasons Churchill was so accurate in his predictions: First, he knew a lot about the history of war. And second, he was willing to look. Most leaders of his day (and their constituents) didn’t want war, so they didn’t want it to be true that Hitler intended to start a war, so they didn’t investigate to see if he was or not. And the British, French, and American leaders (and their constituents) of today are doing exactly the same thing about the threat posed by people motivated by Islamic doctrine.
Churchill urged the political leaders of his day to “tell the truth to the British people, they are a tough people and a robust people.” And he said he couldn’t remember a time “when the gap between the kind of words which statesmen used and what was actually happening in many countries was so great as it is now. The habit of saying smooth things and uttering pious platitudes and sentiments to gain applause, without relation to the underlying facts, is more pronounced now than it has ever been…”
The author, Martin Gilbert, wrote that Churchill’s speech held the House of Commons spellbound, but “the warnings with which is was laced seemed to many MPs (Members of Parliament) to be far-fetched and alarmist.” Sound familiar? Hitler must have been so pleased to see Churchill marginalized and ignored. “Even after the rise of Hitler,” writes Gilbert, “even after his strident demands for arms and for territory, the Disarmament Conference had remained in session with Nazi German delegates sitting as bemused observers.” I imagine many Muslim leaderstoday must be just as bemused when world leaders from free countries assert so emphatically that Islam means peace.
Even as late as June 1935, in a ballot organized by the League of Nations Union, votes in favor of universal disarmament outnumbered votes against.
“We ought not to deal in humbug.” said Churchill. “It is no kindness to this country to stir up and pay all this lip service in the region of unrealities, and get a cheap cheer because you have said something which has not ruffled anyone…”
Churchill said that all the “soothing-syrup” talk was dangerous because “unless the people know the truth, one day they are going to have a very surprising awakening.” Gilbert writes:
Despite his political and Parliamentary isolation, Churchill determined to fight the apathy which he believed had been created by a combination of active German propaganda and British Government weakness. He resolved to use his considerable powers — of speech and expression — to try to avert the catastrophe to civilization which in his view would be inevitable if Nazi dictatorship were allowed to dominate Europe.
That is what we must resolve to do. To counter the apathy, brought on byMuslim propaganda and the weakness of our political leaders, to avert the catastrophe that would be inevitable if unrestricted Muslim immigrationand concessions to Muslim pressure to Islamize our countries is allowed to continue.
Gilbert writes, “Churchill’s forecasts were the opposite of exaggerated, as events were to show. But these forecasts were widely dismissed as alarmist.” Not entirely, however. There were others besides Churchill who understood. One was the head of the Central Department of the Foreign Office, Ralph Wigram, who wrote a memorandum in 1934 detailing the growing military capability of Germany and what it would mean. One of his comments reminded me of Raymond Ibrahim’s Rule of Numbers: Wigram warned that if Germany’s growing strength were allowed to continue, they would feel themselves “sufficiently armed to secure compliance” with their demands. “Instead of emitting protests and airing grievances,” wrote Wigram, “Germany will make demands and assert rights.”
Ibrahim says that as the percentage of Muslims increases within a country, they display more openly Islamic behavior. In other words, they transition from emitting protests and airing grievances to making demands and asserting rights. And organizing displays of unity and strength. And rioting. And killing.