sir winston churchill 1939
It was Arthur Koestler, the Jewish author, who coined the phrase “Darkness at Noon” in a book bearing that title published in 1940. Throughout the book Koestler analyzed the political and psychological processes that permitted Stalin to carry out his campaign of murderous purges in which most of his colleagues in the [party] leadership were butchered. Essentially, Koestler tried to explain what brought the victims to cooperate with the hangman until the very last moment. They continued to believe in communism even in the moments before facing the firing squad. They died believing that in their deaths they were making their contribution to the Communist Revolution.
Koestler joined the Communist Party in 1931. Like many thinkers in the West, Koestler was captivated by the magic
of communism and believed in the “World of Tomorrow”. He made many trips to the Soviet Union and came to know some of the leading lights of the Stalinist regime. This spring of 1938 he left the Party. Three years later he published the book whose main hero, possibly not by accident, carries the Jewish name Rubashov (as did Israel’s third president, Zalman SHaZ”aR Rubashov)…
The God That Failed
Koestler and a handful of Western intellectuals came to these conclusions and in 1949 published the book “The God That Failed”. In it they gave expression to their disappointment with the communist idea and the murderous methods occurring in the Soviet Union. Many others continued to believe in communism for many years during which rivers of blood were shed in Russia. Many persisted in their belief until the final collapse of communism and there are those who continue to believe in the world of tomorrow to this very day. Among them are quite a few Jews and Israelis.
Nowadays we have returned to a total eclipse. Once more darkness prevails in midday, a darkness that beclouds thought, obscures vision, and leads to paradoxical conclusions. This time it is not faith in the world of tomorrow, but in the obscure ideal of democratization and globalization of the world, including the benighted Moslem world.
Correspondingly, world anti-Semitism has increased and when Israel acts in self-defense versus Islamic Fascism it is confronted by mass demonstrations and threats to prosecute [IDF] officers and soldiers for “war crimes”.
What has darkened the skies nowadays is not the stance of the statesmen. From the United Nation’s Secretary who finds war crimes in Gaza but does not see the rockets launched by Hamas, to the Pope “who didn’t know” that one of the Holocaust deniers among his priests was elevated. The head of the observers Hans Blix [UN Weapons Inspector] explains with self-satisfaction that the work of the observers needs to continue ad infinitum; the UN General Secretary, Kofi Annan, who specialized in flattering tyrants with smooth talk; the German Foreign Minister, Joschka Fischer who excitedly explains “but the Anericans have not convinced me that Sadam possesses weapons of mass destruction”; the sycophant French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin; the Pope who speedily receives Sadam’s envoy and even sends him a personal courier – all of them are simply liars and hypocrites. They know the truth.
Darkness at noon is in the hearts of the millions who thronged the streets from Canberra to Toronto, from London to Rome in anti-Israel demonstrations.. Darkness at noon dwells in the hearts of intellectuals, authors, and artists who are ready to bring countless arguments why the head of the poisonous asp of Iran should not be crushed.
Cynicism, Cruelty, Stupidity
Statesmen are cynical, liars, and wicked. This does not prevent them from being fools as well. The closest analogy fitting our times is the period prior to the Second World War.
One of my readers writes thus:
“Achmedinajad’s actions and the new policy of Barack Obama have led him to examine Winston Churchill’s memoirs, especially the first volume, “The Gathering Storm”. I suggest to all knowledge seekers to read it carefully, and to specifically consider that the enormous tragedy of World War II could have been avoided. That could have been done had the major powers paid attention to what was happening in Germany in those years, to consider the illusion of peace, shortsightedness and helplessness of most of the free world’s leaders at that time”.
Churchill wrote about this in the book’s foreword:
How in their foolishness, thoughtlessness, and good nature the English-speaking peoples allowed the villains to rearm.
“Give Hitler a Chance”
A look at the newspapers published during that period and later research studies indicates that on the side of the unknowing multitudes who supported ‘peace at any price’ (it was then called appeasement) were the statesmen. The latter, out of cynical and villainous motivations, arrived at historic conclusions based on plain folly.
Characteristic of the ambiance of those days was a brief letter which appeared in the “London Times” on March 21, 1939, less than six months prior to the outbreak of the war. In the letter the writer says that Hitler should be given every chance “to take constructive steps”. Indeed, the letter goes on to say, that in the invasion of Czechoslovakia Hitler committed a terrible crime, but he still has “moral justification” in view of the injustice caused to the Germans in the Versailles Treaty signed at the end of World War I. Therefore, the writer states, “Britain should strive towards peace between the two nations.”
The widely circulated “Daily Express” writes: “Where is Prague? If the madmen of collective security (i.e. those demanding action against Hitler) achieve their desire you may suddenly find yourself in the trenches”. If there was anything which frightened the British masses most it was a return to the trenches. The trauma of the terrible slaughter of the First World War when millions of youths died in the trenches was still fresh.
“We Believe in Hitler’s Sincerity” [Retranslated from the Hebrew]
The fair-minded “Observer” writes: “Shall we fight in a vain effort to maintain a situation that would have been forbidden to transpire by the Versailles Treaty?” The intellectuals followed suit, joining the ignorant masses and the media. The well known historian Arnold Toynbee (who became famous by his theory on declining cultures and was known as an outstanding anti-Semite) announced that he believed in the “sincerity of Hitler’s desire for peace in Europe”.
Many researchers maintained that alongside the cynicism, foolishness, and blindness, there was also a prevailing atmosphere of unwillingness to recognize the truth. Everything, you see, was written in Hitler’s “Mein Kampf”, but it was not only the masses who didn’t know [the contents of] the book. The statesmen who determined Britain’s policies had not bothered to read it as well. Chamberlain’s appeasement was supported by the media and intellectuals as well as by the masses. When Chamberlain returned from Munich and held in his hand the famous agreement of “Peace in our Time” he was received by British crowds, who according to observers, were fired up, bordering on hysteria.
Only in the summer of 1939, several months before the war broke out, did the atmosphere change in Britain. In a Gallup Poll, 76% of respondents indicated that Britain should maintain its guarantee to go to war against Germany if it attacked Poland.
This view was not held by most British statesmen, except for Churchill, even after he became Prime Minister.
In his memoirs, Churchill writes that the coming generations will probably be unable to ignore the fact that the most important question of whether we were to continue to fight on alone was never on the agenda of the War Cabinet. The answer was inherently clear and obvious to all those involved in governmental affairs. We were too involved to waste time on such groundless academic issues.
Ian Kershaw, the British historian in his book “Fateful Choices”, quotes this excerpt and devotes an entire chapter to prove that Churchill simply lied.
The answer to the question whether Britain should continue with the war was not obvious. Britain had not arm itself throughout the years in which Churchill warned about the danger of Hitler. Now, all of Europe was under German jackboots, and hundreds of thousands of British soldiers were waiting on the coast of Dunkirk for evacuation or slaughter, and the question was not at all academic. Many hours were wasted in cabinet discussions where the majority held that some way had to be found to come to an agreement with Hitler, or at least with Mussolini, or whether to continue the war..
The situation as far as the overseas English-speaking superpower was concerned was not any better. American public opinion was for absolute isolationism. Americans wanted to live well and quietly and it did not matter to them that Europe was about to go up in flames, as long as no-one crossed their borders. President Roosevelt, who held a strategic world view of the place of the United States in the world, did not succeed in changing this attitude until the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. When the Czechoslovakian crisis came to a head in September 1938, Roosevelt was quick to publish a memorandum in which he stated that America should, in no way, be perceived as taking part in the anti-German bloc. In a secret conversation with the British ambassador he clarified that even should Britain participate in the war, the United States would not get involved unless there be a German invasion of Britain.
The American ambassador to Britain, Joseph Kennedy, (the father of who was destined to become President John F. Kennedy), was one of the proponents of the British policy of appeasement. Kennedy, who was a declared pro-Nazi, told the German ambassador in London that he “certainly understood the German policy vis-à-vis the Jews”. When the war did break out, Kennedy said that he had hardly any concept as to why it occurred.
And What of Today?
Today there is no American isolationism but the evil winds of 1938 are blowing forcefully in America. Obama is going to have talks with Ahmedinajad and is flattering Syria in an attempt to find an opening to grant legitimacy to Hamas.
Where is the Churchill of our times who will warn us of the illusion of peace. The shortsightedness and incapacity of most of the free world’s leaders in their foolishness, thoughtlessness and good nature have allowed the villains to supply themselves with weapons.
Is there a Churchill to day who can say like he said at 1939:
I would say to the House, as I said to those who have joined this Government: ‘I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears, and sweat.’ We have before us an ordeal of the most grievous kind. We have before us many, many long months of struggle and suffering. You ask, what is our policy? I can say: It is to wage war, by sea, land and air, with all our might and with all the strength that God can give us: to wage war against a monstrous tyranny, never surpassed in the dark, lamentable catalogue of human crime. That is our policy. You ask, what is our aim? I can answer in one word: It is victory, victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory, however long and hard the road may be; for without victory, there is no survival
[Translated by Joseph Schachter February 15, 2009 – items in brackets added for comprehension]