An incisive and provocative look at the history of WWII…
Seager delivers a deeply researched, fresh narrative of the history of WWII in his latest book. Most people know Winston Churchill as a political hero who stood up to Hitler despite vehement opposition from many members of his own party. Instead of favoring a compromise peace that others wanted, he opted to continue Britain’s struggle against Nazi Germany. Seager, however, has a different opinion about Churchill’s role in the war. He argues that Churchill did not initiate the war against Nazi Germany. It was, in fact, his predecessor, Neville Chamberlain, who, in the vain hope of pacifying Hitler, went ahead and negotiated the Munich accords of 30 September 1938. But after the conciliation was officially rejected, he announced that Britain was at war with Germany. His strategy was simply to put pressure on Germany through an economic blockade. He assumed that Britain could rely on the French army to do any fighting on land that might occur. Little did he know Britian was fighting a losing battle. Taken without due consideration for Germany’s military strength, the ill-conceived decision committed Britain and France to a war they barely had any chance of winning, leading to a decisive victory for Germany and reinforcing Hitler’s position in the process. Seager points out that Hitler had no intention of declaring a war against Norway, the Low Countries, and France. Chamberlain and Churchill’s decision actually led to many nations in Western Europe enduring Nazi occupation for more than four years. Seager is particularly eloquent in explaining how by declaring war without an army of its own, Britain handed the leading democracies of Western Europe to Hitler on a silver platter, and how the occupied nations were forced to supply Germany with industrial production, forced labor, and volunteers for the army. Particularly persuasive are Seager’s observations that the war began at a most inopportune time for the democracies. If they had delayed until Hitler was engaged against both the Soviet Union and the United States, most of the democratic European countries would have escaped four-years long Nazi occupation. Declaring that “Chamberlain’s war was a war of appeasement.” Seager concludes that “Neville Chamberlain’s war presents us with an object lesson in humility and patience: namely that war is not a matter to be entered into lightly.” He further writes: “The great powers of our own day may well take note.” Admiring, intensely detailed, and never dull, this is a revealing, well-documented narrative that explores all the layers of a past gone by. Highly recommended.
Neville Chamberlain’s War
How Great Britain Opposed Hitler 1939-1940
Pub date August 2, 2021
Price $7.22 (USD) Paperback, $7.22 Kindle