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THE SECOND WORLD WAR > 3. SECOND WW - February 2- February 8 ~ Book One - Chapters VI - VII (81-116) - Non Spoiler

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message 1: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44200 comments Mod
Oldesq wrote: "How likely do you think it would have been that the League of Nations would have moved against the Hitler Movement as WSC wrote on page 83? "

Highly unlikely; as Churchill stated before in previous chapters everybody and all of the big and powerful nations had inertia and did not want to push the envelope; including the United States. France probably was not in the position to do much.

message 2: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44200 comments Mod
Oldesq wrote: "I must confess to being completely uninformed about the tensions between Mussolini and Hitler. I knew that Hitler had this type of relationship with Stalin but was surprised that Mussolini would h..."

I, for one, feel that Mussolini has been severely maligned by an interpretation of history; he very much wanted Italy to be supported by GB and others; but when cut off he and his country had no where to turn. It was a very unlikely and distasteful alliance for Mussolini in many ways. Nobody feels that fascism benefited Italy or the Italian people in the long run; but in the short haul it did seem to assist them. Mussolini got caught between the rock and the hard spot and picked the wrong long term alliance because that was the only one he had. The Brits were not being too helpful that was for sure.

message 3: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Feb 02, 2009 08:54AM) (new)

Bentley | 44200 comments Mod
Oldesq wrote: "This will be the third weekly spotlighted thread for The Second World War - Volume One - The Gathering Storm by Winston S. Churchill.

[bc:The Second World War, Volume 1 The Gathering Storm..."

Folks, here are the details from the syllabus for this week as follows:

February 2 – February 8 ~~ Book One – Chapters VI - VII (81 – 116)
Also: First page after cover regarding Winston Churchill
Also: Appendix E. Comparative Output of First-Line Aircraft (619)
Also: Appendix F. Tables of Naval Strength…1939 (620 – 625)
Also: Appendix G. Minute of September 12, 1939, etc. (626 – 628)

There is still time to get your book and join in the discussion. This is a weekly non spoiler thread so we try to stick to the pages above in terms of our discussion.

There are a few supplemental threads opened up which are not non spoiler if you want to discuss the book as a whole, Churchill or his life, quotable quotes, a thread for urls, citations, reference material and the like. All of these are currently open as well. If there is a thread that you would like for me to open up, please feel free to contact me.


message 4: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Feb 02, 2009 04:45PM) (new)

Bentley | 44200 comments Mod
Antoine you are correct in many respects and of course everyone has their own take on history; nobody is saying that Mussolini was a saint; but I do not put him in the same league as Hitler though many would. I think the Abyssinian debacle was retaliation for other maneuvers and paybacks from the Brits and others and I think he felt maybe rightly so that if the Brits could go and invade spots in their best interest around the globe; why would they mind if Italy practiced a little self interest and did the same thing. I think he found out what was good for the goose was not good for the gander. A lot of this came out in the Buchanan book who did not deify Mussolini but called a spade a spade; although I do not like Buchanan what he had to say held water. Again, we can agree to disagree on this point and I know others will feel differently than I do; but I still do not think Mussolini was in the same league and he was one who was warning the Brits and others about Hitler and detested him; when he was left out in the cold is the only reason that he was forced to cast his lot with the devil and he paid that price with his life ultimately.

message 5: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44200 comments Mod
I put an interesting commentary in the websites, and urls thread.

message 6: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Feb 02, 2009 04:38PM) (new)

Bentley | 44200 comments Mod
First,I think it is the responsibility of each country's leadership to inform the country as to what is going on. So any problems in areas of communication and misinformation lie with the British government even if they are telling their people things they do not want to hear.

Second, the government during some of these times included Mr. Churchill so he bears some of the brunt and some of the responsibility. At times, you can catch certain sentences which show tremendous self interest like the true politician and political animal that Winston Churchill actually was.

Third, possibly this is a little self pity coming through considering his own situation.

Fourth, I feel that many times including in the Iraq War, that conflicts have been initiated along political lines and for the wrong reasons.

Fifth, I think that Churchill has an elitist attitude when stating that folks like himself know best; isn't that the same attitude he discusses about India earlier which got him into trouble with Baldwin and Ghandi. And the only way they can be misinformed is if they are fed lies or propanganda or not told the complete circumstances. I think that has happened to us regarding WMDs which did not exist. I think that Churchill was quite paternilistic in terms of his role, the country's image and sphere, etc. Many times he has stated that Britain needed to take care of this or that and that the native population here or there could not do it better or at all. I think that Churchill is a great man and goodness knows Britain was tremendously fortunate to have him; but I think some of his generation still had the feeling of entitlement and still had one foot backwards in time nostalgically pining away for the old expansive British Empire. The population of course needs to know the truth, be held accountable and live up to their individual and collective responsibilities; much as this country needs to do now and that includes all of us (its citizenry)

That is just my take. I see many of these single sentence nuggets interspersed which speak volumes; both for Churchill's times and in terms of our present dilemmas.


message 7: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Feb 02, 2009 08:58PM) (new)

Bentley | 44200 comments Mod
Oldesq wrote: "(Message 11) That is my take as well Bently, WSC puffs himself up here quite a bit- excepts of his speeches before Parliment. But this type of "we know best" shows an ignorance of the deep hurt in..."

Yes, he does Oldesq (like a peacock sometimes); quite remarkably in this work; more than My Early Life; I think it was the time period and how he felt after The Second World War ended. I love the Brits and am in England a lot (family and friends); but there is a long established legacy of the English feeling like the parent (goodness we know that over here too). The English were/are such a brave, loyal and stalwart group; just so hard to imagine the hardship that countries like England and France and others went through with this war not only on their doorstep but destroying their homes and the fabric of their families. Very touching and heart wrenching. It is no wonder that feelings and emotions ran so deep. WSC represented that war and love him as they did; they had to rid themselves of that image I think because of all that they had been through. Maybe WSC is still contemplating his hurt; hard to tell. But it is sometimes like he is speaking of his hurt to us even now. He had a lot of emotion pent up.

Diplomacy and talking to your enemies is better than no diplomacy and not talking to them. At least that much we have learned even though that has not been the tact for the last few years; I think WSC is fundamentally pointing out all of the missed opportunities overlooked which would have avoided this next war. I think then and now some countries and some leaders do not want peace; they really want a fight and that is what is very sad. Right now we are reading this legend's brilliant works which live on after him and he was a great great man; but like all great men; I bet he was one tough individual to deal with. He lived for war and conflict (that was what he was trained and schooled for).

message 8: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44200 comments Mod
My feeling is that WSC was tempered in this account aside from the very frequent bolstering of his record and beliefs and the occasional puffing up. I think he did not glorify too much those who he admired or felt somewhat inferior to (if there were some folks like that) and not terribly belligerant or degrading to his adversaries. Almost a mea culpa and que sera sera or let sleeping dogs lie.

However WSC was extremely proud of his air men and he had every reason to be; many made the ultimate sacrifice to keep the enemy off their shores.

But I agree with you.


message 9: by Sid (new)

Sid (sidthomson) | 26 comments If Baldwin wasn't referring to France, and Germany wasn't within striking distance, than what countries would he have been referring to? It seems like a meaningless quote in those terms, doesn't it?

message 10: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44200 comments Mod
I agree; for me Churchill is just soapboxing here.

message 11: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44200 comments Mod
Churchill has the tendency to do this often; even though I think he was a blessing for England and I admire him tremendously; he did like to hear himself talk.

message 12: by Billy (last edited May 16, 2009 02:15PM) (new)

Billy There is no doubt about it, Churchill went a bit overboard, but when reading his memoir, I've been trying to look at it as less of a scholarly, up-to-date historical work and more the musings of an older man looking back at the "Golden Days" so to speak. So when he brings up Clement Attlee, in my head I remind myself, "OK. this is the guy who ousted Churchill out of office write after Britain won the war." That allows me to look at the Attlee quote he puts in there and say, "I am not surprised this quote is negatively skewed."

I did the same thing when he started talking about India. Even when I know he's biased, it doesn't bother me, because his prose is so beautiful and the plot so engaging.

This section was particularly gripping, with all the possibilites to de-escalate the German situation coming to nothing.

The Serbian assasination of King Alexander and M. Barthou was particularly engaging. It's saddening the way Serbian assasinations keep on upsetting tense situations. Were they really so desperate for independence as to steer Europe in the direction of two World Wars?
I probably just have skewed information, but it seems to me more assasins came from Serbia than India. Were there any deep-seated reasons for this occupation to be so popular in the country, or is my information just not complete enough?
Edit: Added spacing

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