Monday, October 18, 2010

Chapter V



We have shown that a free hand was given by Chamberlain to Hitler with respect to the latter’s ambitions towards the Soviet Union. This was the crowning of an amount of preparation work Britain had to do, over the preceding years, before Chamberlain could implement such a policy. Though done systematically, it was far from being straightforward.
While the preparation work had many of the attributes of a conspiracy, there was no ‘conspiracy centre’ planning the necessary steps for the implementation of a free hand policy. There was no need for a regular conspiracy. A large section of the establishment was openly advocating such a policy. The most influential of them, in clubs, private meetings and larger parties, were discussing and advocating appropriate measures for its implementation. As to those members of the government and of the Foreign Office who shared that view, they were careful to co-operate, without being explicit in their public statements.
As Vansittart’s letter to Lord Wigram shows, the matter was known to be very divisive of the public opinion. The political decisions which would facilitate the granting of the free hand were therefore taken under a variety of covers. The supporters ‘in the know’, knew the meaning of each step. Each in his particular position, contributed to the realisation of the free hand policy.
This effort, not being centrally co-ordinated, was subject to dissension as to the danger of the policy at particular times. In spite of unanimity in the relevant circles in favour of the free hand policy, there were disagreements on the quid pro quo that Britain should request from Germany, and on the estimate of the danger to the West resulting from German’s rearmament and expansion. At times, when he could not trust the dissenters, Chamberlain acted behind the back of the government.
The idea ‘was in the air’ since the ‘outbreak’ of the Bolshevik revolution. It was at first rejected on grounds that to allow Germany to ‘re-establish order’ in Russia, would transform Germany into the real victor of the World War :

As Clemenceau phrased it on June 2, 1919, in support of Polish claims, “if Germany were to colonize Russia, the war would be lost not won.”

Poland was ready to do the job. In September 1919 the matter was discussed by the allied leaders :

..the Allied leaders discussed an offer by Paderewski to invade Russia and to capture Moscow with an army of five hundred thousand men — if the powers were prepared to pay for the whole venture at a cost of a million pounds a day.. Lloyd George and Polk doubted that the Allies were prepared to take on such a heavy financial commitment, while Clemenceau argued that a Polish invasion would simply rally all Russians to the Bolshevik cause

And then, there still was some hope that the Bolshevik regime could be suppressed by military help to the various groups in Russia opposed to the Bolshevik regime.
When the Bolshevik regime proved to be too much of a hard bone, the idea of unifying all Europe against Russia seemed to impose itself. But how could you unite a Germany dissatisfied with the Versailles Treaty, with a France terrified at the prospect of a German military revival? Besides, there were more urgent tasks facing the allies. Everywhere in Europe, radical movements were developing and, in some countries, threatened seriously to establish a Soviet regime. It was therefore necessary to do the following:

w First, Europe itself, exclusive of Russia, had to be stabilised against radicalism and against social unrest.

w Then a formula had to be found to the mutual satisfaction of Germany and France. It should be such as to allow Germany to rearm, and to provide the necessary guarantees to France against Germany. This formula would be the object of a ‘general settlement’. ‘Ideally’, there would first be a general settlement and then Germany would rearm. Real life, however, rarely provides for ideal solutions.

w Something had to be done with respect to the League of Nations.

Here the situation was particularly difficult. The League of Nations was conceived in a spirit of collective security. As such it could play a role in providing the security needed by France. However, if its collective security nature was maintained, it would stand in the way of Germany’s expansion to the East. It was also necessary to reckon with the strong popular opinion in support of a strong League of Nations.

w It was necessary to take precautions to prevent the eventuality of Germany turning first against the West, and to be ready to face that eventuality in case the precautions proved to be ineffective.

w A delicate act of acrobatics had to be performed to balance the British Imperial interests in the Far East with the United States’ susceptibilities and with the important contribution that Japan could provide in the struggle against the Soviet Union.

w As much as possible, and while implementing the other points of the agenda, the Soviet Union should be kept out of decision making processes.

It is not reasonable to argue that though the agenda has indeed been implemented, and while a free hand, as shown in the first chapter, has indeed been given to Germany, there may be no direct relation between that agenda and the grant of a free hand to Germany. According to this argument, each topic in this agenda was implemented as the result of the interplay of factors, at the time at which each decision was made. While the decisions made a free hand policy possible, they were not inspired by the desire of granting a free hand to Germany.
What is not reasonable in this argument is the fact that so many documents and diaries belie it. The agenda itself never existed as such. There was no need for it. It was enough that whenever decisions of international consequence were taken, they would be influenced, each at its proper time, by the consideration of facilitating the German policy of expansion to the East.
For many politicians, the free hand policy was not a bargaining chip. It did not need to be formally offered. It would be enough if Britain, with the knowledge of the extent of Germany’s ambitions towards Eastern Europe, would make known her disinterest in the fate of that part of Europe. In such a case, the pretence could be made that no free hand had been given. The façade of respectability would be saved.
This de-facto agenda was predictable. What had not accurately been predicted was that Germany would play her role so crudely. This resulted in the British public becoming more and more opposed to an association with Germany. The ‘logic of events’ was such that the British Government could not steer the diplomatic course at will. The scare was great that, willy-nilly, the Western countries would be forced to take a strong stand against Germany’s aggressions, stand which would lead to a war with a Germany they were allowing to rearm, and expand.
Losing such a war would be bad enough; however, winning it, it was feared, would not be much better. Special efforts were needed to prevent a war involving the West. To secure a ‘peaceful’ German expansion, it was necessary, on the one hand, to convince the British public of the legitimacy of Germany’s claims. As an added precaution, it should be shown that no British interest was hurt in any particular German expansion.
With the advent of Fascism and Nazism the communist threat in Italy and Germany disappeared. Franco would take care of whatever threat may have been in Spain. In spite of fearful moments, the home front proved to be manageable, even during depression times. The Soviet Union herself was not perceived as being militarily aggressive. The fear of communism, in these conditions, should have played a relatively small role in the late thirties. The communist threat, in all appearances, was not imminent.
The ‘logic of events’ proved to be inexorable, and the establishment in the West was struck with a new scare. It was feared that the plans to keep the West out of a prospective conflict between Germany and Soviet Union would fail. It was even feared that a war could break out between Germany and the West in which the Soviet Union would not be involved.
The source of danger had two prongs. Its consideration was enough to create a feeling of paranoia in the conservative minds in Britain, and France.
On the one hand, they knew that the success of Bolshevism in Russia resulted from developments during World War I. The war catapulted the Bolshevik Party, which otherwise had been weak, into the largest political force in Revolutionary Russia.
The feeling prevailed, among the conservatives, that a European War, with western participation, would see the outbreak of a victorious European communist revolution. What reinforced that feeling was that not only did Russia become Bolshevik, but many other European countries barely escaped the same fate. England and France felt at home some of the tremors produced by the Russian quake.
On the other hand, besides the threat of revolution, a war between the Western countries and Germany raised the chance of their mutual exhaustion. It would leave them easy prey to a Soviet military imposition of communism.
With such a view, avoiding war in the West was imperative. Bending to the wish of the dictators was more due to just that consideration than to the fear of defeat at their hands.
We will illustrate, with quotations, the strength of the fear generated by the prospect of a social revolution brought about by western involvement in war.
On September 14, 1932, Thomas Jones records in his diary that the Prime Minister Baldwin told him another war “will end western civilisation”. The end of western civilisation was a common euphemism for a communist victory.
The French journalist, Genevieve Tabouis, wrote that in March 1936:

I met a big industrialist, a family friend. He told me: “Everything is better than war, since any war in Europe now would mean the end of our capitalist system, and then, where would we go?” (our translation).

That conversation was held just after Germany, in contravention of the Locarno pact, militarily reoccupied the Rhineland. It displays the typical feelings of the business circles in France.
Harold Nicolson, MP (National Labour), records in his diary on March 12, 1936, a few days after German reoccupation of the Rhineland :

The French are not letting us off.. The Covenant of the League has been violated. Locarno has been violated. We merely ask you to fulfil your obligations under these two treaties... Thus if we send an ultimatum to Germany, she ought in all reason to climb down. But then she will not climb down and we shall have war. Naturally we shall win and enter Berlin. But what is the good of that? It would only mean communism in Germany and France..

Nicolson’s opinion was common among most conservative politicians including the Prime Minister Baldwin. The Cabinet minutes of the time record :

The Prime Minister thought at some stage it would be necessary to point out to the French that the action they propose would not result only in letting loose another great war in Europe. They might succeed in crushing Germany with the aid of Russia, but it would probably result in Germany going Bolshevik..

Robert Coulondre, French Ambassador to Moscow, mentions in his memoirs :

..when I went to Russia, I had not yet perceived the deep reason, the political reason for which it was essential, crucial, for France, to avoid war. It is only at the end of my stay in U.S.S.R that this reason appeared to me.. Here it is in a few words: in war, France had to lose in both eventualities. Vanquished, she was nazified; victorious, she had, specially following the destruction of the German power, to sustain the crushing weight of the slavic world, armed with the communist flame-throwers... I must confess that when I went to Moscow my notions were more elementary. I thought that we had, up to the maximum, to work for peace consolidation for humanity reasons, of course in view of all the horrors, sufferings and ruins brought by war, but also specially for France, because, after the terrible haemorrhage sustained in 1914, one more bleeding could have for her the most fearful consequences.

Later, Coulondre was to become ambassador to Germany. The critical missions to Moscow and Berlin were given to him in view of the high regard in which he was held. Moving in the French highest diplomatic spheres, he came to know the intimate political thoughts of the French leaders. What he does not say, but was said by other well informed persons, is that most people in the French Establishment would have preferred defeat followed by nazism, rather than victory followed by communism. Coulondre gives an indication of this situation :

National-Socialism presents itself, in Europe, as the champion of civilization against the forces of destruction of world revolution. Here is what will not facilitate the grouping of French opinion for the alliance with the Soviets

Coulondre thinks that the French public believes the Nazi claim that they are the protectors of civilisation against communism. With such a belief, standing up to Germany must have been very low in the schedule of priorities. Most of the French people, however, were not taken in by the nazi propaganda. The French opinion considered by Coulondre is most likely that of the ruling circles.
On May 1, 1938, the German Ambassador in France reported to the German Foreign Ministry :

Bonnet.. begged us most earnestly not to compel France.. to take up arms by reason of an act of violence in favour of the Sudeten Germans. Both France and.. Britain too.. would exert their utmost influence to induce the Prague Government to adopt an accommodating attitude up to the extreme bounds of possibility; for he considered any arrangement better than world war, in the event of which all Europe would perish, and both victor and vanquished would fall victims to world communism

The American Ambassador to France, in a personal letter to Roosevelt, on May the 20th 1938, expressed his fears of the consequences of an European war. He suggested to the President to :

Call to the White House the Ambassadors of England, France, Germany and Italy. Ask them to transmit to Chamberlain, Daladier, Hitler and Mussolini your urgent invitation to send representatives at once to The Hague to attempt.. a peaceful settlement of the dispute Between Germany and Czechoslovakia.. You should also make a personal appeal.. referring to the fact.. that just as we are grateful for Shakespeare so are we grateful for Beethoven, that just as we are grateful for Moliere so are we grateful for Leonardo da Vinci..that we cannot stand by and watch the beginning of the end of European civilization without making one last effort to stop its destruction; that you are convinced that the only result of general European war today would be an Asiatic despotism established on fields of dead

‘Asiatic despotism’ is another euphemism for communism. Unlike the Soviet Union, Italy had no treaties involving her in the Czechoslovakian problem. Nevertheless, Bullitt would extend an invitation to Italy, but not to the Soviet Union, to discuss the matter. When it came to describe how all European nations share a common civilisation, Bullitt gave instances from Britain, France, Germany and Italy; no instance from Russia. In the same letter, Bullitt recognised that the action he suggested would expose the President to being accused of ‘selling out a small nation’. He thought, however, that it might offer France an ‘escape’ from their ‘desperate moral dilemma and general European war would be avoided’. The fear that a war would result in ‘Asiatic despotism’ must have been great indeed.
Weizsacker, German State Secretary minuted a conversation he had with Neville Henderson, the British Ambassador. He wrote to the German Foreign Minister :

..he came to me in order to deliver at once the letter enclosed herewith.. The Ambassador added.. it was.. intended.. as a personal and friendly appeal. Halifax considered the situation to be very grave, but earnestly hoped that we, the parties concerned, might be stronger than fate. We should not let it go out of hand, for the only ones to profit would be the communists.

In his message to Ribbentrop, Halifax said :

..I would beg him [Ribbentrop] not to count on this country’s being able to stand aside if from any precipitate action there should start a European conflagration. Only those will benefit from such a catastrophe who wish to see the destruction of European civilization

Comparing the last two quotations, we see that Halifax used the circumlocution “those who wish to see the destruction of civilisation”, instead of “communists” as used by Henderson, to deliver the same meaning. Halifax was underlining the common interests, that of “civilisation”, against communism. The horror of war was that it would end in the victory of communism.
Daladier’s language was not different :

Premier Daladier invited the German Ambassador to his home in order “to speak frankly as a French ex-serviceman to his German comrade” and to warn him that if Germany attacked Czechoslovakia “the French would have to fight if they did not wish to be dishonoured.”: The result, he declared, could be the “utter destruction of European civilization” and the triumph of “Cossack and Mongol hordes.”

On July 5, 1938, Dirksen, the German Ambassador in London, reported to the German Foreign ministry about the feelings of the British public towards war :

..the British public has become familiar with the thought of imminent war.. I have called attention to the fact that the only criticism levelled against the British Government by the public is that the measures [air armament increase and proposed introduction of general conscription at the outbreak of war] do not go far enough...

From circles close to him [Chamberlain], I know how clearly he realizes that the social structure of Britain, even the conception of the British Empire, would not survive the chaos of even a victorious war.

That Chamberlain, as Daladier, dreaded the social consequences of war, can be understood. What is surprising is that they were not careful to keep that worry within their own circle of leaders and prevent it to become so well known to the German leaders. They did not miss an occasion to let Germany know how they felt about these social consequences.
In August 1938, Sir Horace Wilson, used by Chamberlain as a personal representative in many particular missions, met Kordt, the German attaché in London. Kordt reported to the German Foreign Ministry :

Sir Horace [Wilson] ..asked me if the Fuhrer were prepared to regard such a solution of the Czechoslovak problem as the beginning of further negotiations on a larger scale. The Fuhrer had used the simile.. that European culture rested on two pillars which must be linked by a powerful arch: Great Britain and Germany were in fact the two countries in which the greater order reigned and which were the best governed. Both were built up on the national principle, which had been designed by nature itself as the only working principle of human relationship. The reverse of this, Bolshevism, meant anarchy and barbarism. It would be the height of folly if these two leading white races were to exterminate each other in war. Bolshevism would be the only gainer thereby

The source being German, there may be some question as to the extent to which the German views have coloured Kordt’s memorandum . In this case, however, there is little doubt that Kordt’s rendering of the conversation is faithful. The part about the European culture resting on two pillars, Germany and Great Britain would, as we have seen, be used by Chamberlain in a letter to his King. Other parts can be found, almost word for word, in ‘The British Case’ by Dolobran (see appendix). The racism evident in “the two leading white races” was common in the British ruling circles and was apparent in Neville Henderson’s book ‘Failure of a mission.’ As to the saying that “Great Britain and Germany were in fact the two countries in which the greatest order reigned and which were the best governed”, it speaks volumes. It means of course that Germany is better governed than France (which is not one of the pillars of European civilisation). The nazi regime is more to the liking of the British leaders than the French democracy. Of course, the theme of the social consequences of war is also present.
With such a statement, we have to conclude that the English leaders felt they had so much in common with the German leaders that their disputes were ‘within the civilised family’. The only real enemy was the Soviet Union, whether it was a guarantor of Czechoslovakia or not, whether it had an assistance treaty with France or not.
In the same document, Sir Horace Wilson was reported to have said he did not believe that Germany would use the South East of Europe against the British empire:

Wilson then turned to Germany’s Southeastern policy.. He himself was not one of those who held the view that Germany wanted to organize Southeastern Europe and then to use its resources for the annihilation of the British Empire.

On August 22, 1938 The German Ambassador in Moscow reports what the French Ambassador in that city, Coulondre, told him :

I hope from my heart that it does not come to a German-French conflict. You know as well as I do for whom we are working if we get at loggerheads.

A remarkable quote. Coulondre, the French representative to the Soviet Union, a country bound to France by an assistance treaty concluded for their mutual protection against Germany, did not work for improving the relations with the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union is ‘the devil’ whose name should not be pronounced. It can only be alluded to by “you know as well as I do for whom”. Germany and France should avoid quarrelling and rather recognise who their real common enemy is. Coulondre, in this way expresses France’s fear of communism, and her fear of war.
Genevieve Tabouis reports on a visit to George Bonnet, the French foreign minister on September 10, 1938 :

I paid a visit to Bonnet which I will always remember. I saw this man, generally so master of himself, so calculating, who always knew how to compose his personage, a prey to a veritable panic fear.. I went straight to my objective.. stating that I will never support the cession of the Sudeten to Germany.. I was stupefied to see the extent to which my words had agitated George Bonnet. He stood up from his desk and, almost shaking, he told me nervously: “But my dear Genevieve, do you know what war is? War with its bombs?” Then, after throwing an anxious look towards the ceiling of his office, going to the window, he showed me the river Seine with his finger: “If there is a war, I will end up there!” “No, no, I answered astonished, you will end up as all of us, at worst crushed by a bomb. Why do you want the bottom of the Seine?” He answered with a very loud voice, at the paroxysm of irritability, “Yes, in the Seine, because there would be a revolution and the fear would throw me there.”

Genevieve Tabouis was a family friend of Bonnet. He revealed his fears not to Genevieve Tabouis the Journalist, but to Genevieve Tabouis, a member of his class, a dear friend of his wife.
On September the 11th Harold Nicolson recorded in his diary :

I have a late dinner with Oliver Stanley. His point of view, I suppose, is typical of the better type of Cabinet opinion. What the worst type of opinion may be passes my comprehension. Thus Oliver agrees that the conflict has really nothing to do with Czechoslovakia, but is the final struggle between the principle of law and the principle of violence, and that the two protagonist in the struggle are Hitler and Chamberlain. He also agrees that if Germany were to make an attack on Czechoslovakia and if France were to be drawn in, it would be almost impossible for us to abstain. Yet his incidental remarks show me that at heart he is longing to get out of it. Thus he loses no opportunity of abusing the Czechs and of reviling Benes for being tricky and slippery. At the same time any reference to Russian assistance makes him wince, and at one moment he sighed deeply and said, “You see.. whether we win or lose, it will be the end of everything we stand for.” By “we” he means obviously the capitalist class.

This last quote is important. When the fear of the social consequence of the war is expressed to a German diplomat, a doubt can remain as to its sincerity. It is still possible to think that the British leaders thought they may thus influence Germany towards the avoidance of a war which could spread to the West. However, the same kind of talk between two friends, one an actual member of the British Cabinet and the other to become later a member of Churchill’s administration, has an unequivocal significance. Oliver Stanley is talking freely to a friend. Speaking to Harold Nicolson, he has no reason to pretend being afraid of a social revolution. His fears are genuine and are the expression of a friend of Chamberlain and member of his Cabinet.
Inskip made similar statements . Chamberlain is rumoured to have also spoken in the same vein :

When on 26 September, in the immediate prelude to Munich, General Gamelin gave him a more optimistic picture of Allied strength and they discussed the possibility of Hitler’s overthrow, Chamberlain wanted to know: ‘Who will guarantee that Germany will not become Bolshevistic afterwards?’ Of course no one could give such a pledge. Daladier took a similar line: ‘The Cossacks will rule Europe.’

On September 29 Chamberlain wrote to Hitler :

I cannot believe that you will take the responsibility of starting a world war, which may end civilization, for the sake of few days delay in settling this long standing problem

By now we know that ‘the end of civilization’ is the result of ‘Bolshevization of Europe’. On October 2, 1938, Chamberlain stated his case to the Archbishop of Canterbury :

I am sure that some day the Czechs will see that what we did was to save them for a happier future. And I sincerely believe that we have at last opened the way to that general appeasement which alone can save the world from chaos.

Chamberlain came back from Munich with a deal. It would avoid war in the West and therefore save it from communism (chaos). His conscience is made easier by expressing unrealistic hopes about post-Munich Czechoslovakia.
Oliver Harvey, past secretary of Eden and, at the time, secretary of Halifax, wrote concerning a conversation with W. Strang about Munich. After giving reasons to justify Chamberlain’s policy, he ended up with :

Finally, any war will bring vast and unknown social changes — win or lose — and no war is a solution — vide 1914.. Strang and I agree that the real opposition to re-arming comes from the rich classes in the Party who fear taxation and believe Nazis on the whole are more conservative than Communists and Socialists: any war, whether we win or not, would destroy the rich idle classes and so they are for peace at any price. P.M. is a man of iron will, obstinate unimaginative, with intense narrow vision, a man of pre-war outlook who sees no reason for drastic social changes. Yet we are on the verge of a social revolution.

There was however a difficulty. The public could not be told that the government motivation was the fear that war would bring about a communist revolution. It was therefore necessary that the Dictators be ‘helpful’. They would be told: “Please, do plunge in the pool of aggressions, but do not make waves, do it peacefully.” Aggressions could, for instance, take the mask of apparently legitimate reactions to emergency situations or, at least, avoid the display of violence. This would make it possible for the British leaders to avoid the involvement of their country.
A ‘peaceful aggression’ can only succeed if it is skilfully managed with full co-operation of the western leaders. It required some lengthy preparations of the public opinion. The help required from the dictators was that they be patient and abstain from moving at a speed inconsistent with the needed preparations. The dictators, however, had no sympathy for the difficult position of the West. They were impatient.
The dreaded war, a war involving the West against Germany became a possibility. Every possible step, however humiliating, would be taken to prevent its outbreak. It was more than a matter of preventing the slaughter of millions. It was a case of avoiding a social revolution.
Germany had again been allowed to become a strong military power so that she could realise her ambitions in the East and, thereby, rid the world of communism. Now that the German military machine had escaped from its bottle and proved to be potentially dangerous to the West itself, the need to deflect it towards the East became that much more important.
This need rather than the suppression of communism became the preferred argument to justify a policy of servility towards the dictators. It is thus that the fear of war was mustered to serve a policy which did not deflect from being pointed against the Soviet Union. Here is what Jules Romains wrote in the Saturday Evening Post in November 1940 :

But it would be unfair to let all the responsibility weigh on M. Laval. The English carry their share; first in general and inveterate fashion, through the lack of decision they’ve always shown, their perverse leaning toward spurious solutions which absolve them from acting or taking sudden risk. More precisely, England was handicapped by her fear of Bolshevism, and in England, specifically, three elements closely linked to one another — the venerable conservatives in the Parliament, the aristocracy, the City. When only one last fillip was needed to overthrow Mussolini, all these people said to themselves, with a spasm of fear: ‘But then, what’s going to happen? What will replace Fascism in Italy? Bolshevism almost certainly, or anarchy tending towards Bolshevism, which Russia will immediately exploit. And as Mussolini’s fall will almost immediately provoke Hitler’s, the same appalling regime will rise in Germany. And as we already hear things aren’t going so well in Spain, where the government is letting the Reds get out of hand, it may be the end of everything, and we’d be the ones, we good conservatives, good aristocrats, good capitalists, to let all hell loose.’ And they shrank back in terror. They didn’t picture in the least the siege of England by the Nazis or the bombing of London. Venerable conservatives lack imagination.

Jules Romains was a French writer who had no political associations with the left. His knowledge need not have been obtained from secret sources. It was notorious and prevalent among the people who had any connection with the British establishment. These facts resounded within the walls of the House of Lords, within all ‘respectable’ clubs and, often enough in the semi-official newspaper’s leaders.
President Roosevelt had his own reliable sources of information which included, at least, the American ambassador in London . Harold Ickes, The U.S. Secretary for the Interior, wrote in his diary on January 29 1939:

Lord Lothian came in to see the President a couple of years ago. It seems that they are old friends. At that time Lothian told the President that he thought there would be no difficulty in getting along with Hitler. “Hitler should be allowed his head in order to repair the crime of Versailles. At the proper time it would be easy enough to sit down with him and work out the European situation.” Lothian has been in this country again recently, but he is talking out of the other side of his mouth. When the President reminded him of his views two years ago and twitted him about them, Lothian admitted that no one could talk to Hitler. He said to the President: “Britain has defended civilization for a thousand years. Now the spear is falling from her hand and it is put to you to take it and carry on.”

The President told him very frankly that while he was willing to help all that he could, he would do nothing if Great Britain cringed like a coward. The President thinks that Great Britain is suffering from an inferiority complex. For the first time she is being outmanoeuvred at the council table. Her fleet is helpless and she has neglected to build enough airplanes. She has fooled herself with respect to Spain. The wealthy class in England is so afraid of communism, which has constituted no threat at all in England, that they have thrown themselves into the arms of Nazism and now they don’t know which way to turn

The date was January 29, 1939. Just a few weeks earlier Halifax had sent a panic cable to Roosevelt informing him that it seemed that Hitler, instead of marching East as it was believed, had decided to move West. This is of course enough for Lothian ‘to talk out of the other side of his mouth’.

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