Monday, February 21, 2022

"Weighed in the balance"

I recently watched Netflix's Munich—The Edge of War and enjoyed it. Andrew Roberts, biographer of Churchill, watched it, too, and wrote “The movie Munich is well-written (based on Robert Harris’s bestselling 2017 thriller), lavishly produced (by Netflix), fast-paced—and an absolute historical travesty.” His review of the film, "Munich: The Edge of Nonsense" is an excellent take-down of the film's version of history by someone thoroughly familiar with the subject. Movies are rarely a very good way to learn history.

Prime Minister Chamberlain returned from Munich professing that he had won "peace for our time" and he had " the impression that here was a man [Hitler] who could be relied upon when he had given his word."

Churchill was unconvinced and addressed the Munich Agreement in the House of Commons on October 5, 1938:
The Prime Minister desires to see cordial relations between this country and Germany. There is no difficulty at all in having cordial relations between the peoples. Our hearts go out to them. But they have no power. But never will you have friendship with the present German Government. You must have diplomatic and correct relations, but there can never be friendship between the British democracy and the Nazi power, that power which spurns Christian ethics, which cheers its onward course by a barbarous paganism, which vaunts the spirit of aggression and conquest, which derives strength and perverted pleasure from persecution, and uses, as we have seen, with pitiless brutality the threat of murderous force. That power cannot ever be the trusted friend of the British democracy. ....

I do not grudge our loyal, brave people, who were ready to do their duty no matter what the cost, who never flinched under the strain of last week – I do not grudge them the natural, spontaneous outburst of joy and relief when they learned that the hard ordeal would no longer be required of them at the moment; but they should know the truth. They should know that there has been gross neglect and deficiency in our defences; they should know that we have sustained a defeat without a war, the consequences of which will travel far with us along our road; they should know that we have passed an awful milestone in our history, when the whole equilibrium of Europe has been deranged, and that 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. This is only the first sip, the first foretaste of a bitter cup which will be proffered to us year by year unless by a supreme recovery of moral health and martial vigour, we arise again and take our stand for freedom as in the olden time.

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