Friday, January 28, 2011

Churchill's Chamberlain: The Unnecessary War

Some years ago I read a book called The Chamberlain-Hitler Deal ** (1993) by one Clement Leibovitz (1923-2009), a Canadian computer engineer, born in Egypt, with a PhD in physics from the Technion, in Israel.

Leibovitz’s extraordinary and remarkably readable book presents the hidden history of the origins of WWII by means of contextualizing and annotating document after document to make his point that Chamberlain was bent on reaching a “general settlement” with Hitler’s Germany, in effect, a deal. Leibovitz’s theory is that Chamberlain hoped that Hitler would repay the British offer of “a free hand in the East” with peace in the West.

Perhaps Leibovitz’s most important contribution is to overturn the notion of Chamberlain as a timid and weak-minded leader, slow to understand the threat from Hitler.

Chamberlain is revealed to have been as tough, savvy, ruthless and as forceful as any of his contemporaries, arguably the equal as far as achieving his agenda, as any of the century’s dictators. Leibovitz’s portrait is consistent with the findings of other historians who have portrayed Chamberlain as essentially autocratic in nature, arrogant, stubborn and increasingly intolerant of criticism.

In addition, as former British Labor Parliamentarian Tony Benn writes in his “Introduction,” Leibovitz’s book (which he calls “by far the best book yet published about the causes and origins of the second world war”) exposes the sympathy many in the British establishment shared for Hitler and Mussolini. As ill luck would have it, the most dedicated and ideologically determined member of that group, Neville Chamberlain, rose to the position of prime minister of Britain.

But if Chamberlain was as shrewd, clever and forceful as the evidence suggests, how could it be that he gave up so much to Hitler at Munich in September 1938, removing the last obstacle to Nazi aggression?

In due course, I found that Chamberlain’s offer to Hitler of a “free hand in the East” was only part of the story. By throwing Czechoslovakia and Poland (not to mention Austria) to the Nazi wolf, Chamberlain was also endangering the West. In the end, I concluded that Chamberlain intentionally, treacherously, labored to undermine the security and independence of the West as well as the East.

“Churchill’s Chamberlain: The Unnecessary War,” (6 pp., 2550 words) is projected as the first in a series attempting to shed light on the hidden history of the origins of WWII, as well as prompting a re-evaluation of conventional notions of Hitler and Chamberlain and other key players.

The first two paragraphs of “ Churchill’s Chamberlain” follows. The entire article is posted on the DESIP website:

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**Clement Leibovitz’s The Chamberlain-Hitler Deal is now available as a free download from the Desip website:

A later version of Leibovitz’s book, co-written with Alvin Finkel, entitled: In Our Time: The Chamberlain-Hitler Collusion (1997), is available at Amazon and other booksellers.

Personal Note: Since I have shifted many or most of my postings to Facebook, those interested are encouraged to view my profile there and/or friend me. --RB


Churchill’s Chamberlain: The Unnecessary War

By Ronald Bleier

In the “Preface” to The Gathering Storm, volume I of his World War II memoirs, Winston Churchill writes that when President Roosevelt asked for suggestions about what the war should be called, he replied that it should be called “the Unnecessary War. There never was a war more easy to stop.”

Churchill doesn’t explain in his brief “Preface” how war could have been prevented, but two thirds of his memoir is taken up with Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain’s conduct in office in the crucial years 1937-1940. During that time Churchill was the most high profile critic of the prime minister’s appeasement policies, marked by Britain’s extraordinary and devastating security concessions to Hitler. Churchill was particularly outraged by what he saw as the prime minister’s purposeful obstruction of British rearmament in the face of the manifest threat from Germany. Churchill’s book may be read as a record of his frustration and its sum and substance amounts to an indictment of Chamberlain.

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