Winston Churchill described the Second World War as the ‘unnecessary war’.
He did this because he believed that Germany invading Poland was preventable. War in 1939 was avoidable.
The reason he felt the war was avoidable was because, had Britain and France or other members of the League of Nations taken a set of actions against the expansionary policies of Germany, it is highly likely that Hitler would have been overthrown in a coup. Up until 1938 at the latest, his power was not secure. Any credible challenge to his ambitions would have resulted in a military coup overthrowing his dictatorship.
If there had been coordinated military action when Hitler announced the existence of the Luftwaffe, re-militarised the Rhineland, and any other repudiations of the treaty of Versailles, it is likely that World War II would never have happened.
So what was it that deterred Britain and France from declaring war on Germany any time before 1939?
It may be encapsulated in Stanley Baldwin’s oft-repeated phrase “The Bomber will always get through”. British foreign policy was constrained by the fear of bombers. There was a popular feeling in Britain that a declaration of war would be followed almost immediately by a fleet of bombers appearing in our skies raining down death and destruction on a level that is actually only possible with a nuclear strike. Thus British foreign policy was informed by a fear of indiscriminate bombing that in the mid-to-late 1930s was actually impossible.
In the end that policy failed. It was not possible to negotiate with the Nazi dictator in good faith. After Britain handed over the Sudetenland without a pretence of consulting the Czech government, Hitler swallowed the rest of Czechoslovakia a few months later. Britain was on the road to war. Fear of indiscriminate bombing as a result of foreign policy led to a human catastrophe. There is a direct line from the extermination camp at Auschwitz back to a fear of people in 1930s Manchester and elsewhere being indiscriminately bombed.
Jeremy Corbyn is using this fear. He believes that by altering British foreign policy that the bomber will turn back. He believes that his somehow possible for the British government to use negotiation to stop indiscriminate mass murder in our cities. This is simply not true.
The reason why we are now being attacked by an organisation that does not represent any recognised government is simply because if any government had made such an attack it would be an act of war. Since wars of aggression are illegal, wars has to be fought by other means. This is why various foreign governments sponsor terrorists. This is why non-governmental organisations are set up because governments can no longer represent the aggression of their peoples. Britain is actually at war with a nongovernmental organisation. In war there are casualties.
The Labour leader has made it clear that there has not been any conflict since the Second World War where, given the choice, he would have sent in British soldiers. Corbyn is the vice president of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. The CND wishes to reduce Britain’s armed forces to an internal security and overseas humanitarian organisation and nothing more. Somehow, Jeremy Corbyn believes this is how terrorist outrages can be avoided. It is not so simple. If an organisation of extremists were to make a demand which was refused by the British government, then they could resort to mass murder to achieve their aim. Jeremy Corbyn solution would be simple. He would give in to the killers. It is impossible for him to say that his policy would remove all terrorist threats.
In the 1930s, Baldwin’s policy was called appeasement. This was the policy of sequential surrender but it led to war. There is no evidence that a latter-day appeasement would doing anything other than lead to further atrocity and destruction. Belgium’s foreign policy is vastly different from Britain’s. Belgium does not have the military presence around the world that Britain has. And yet Belgium is also the victim of the same kind of terrorists that have attacked this country.
Corbyn’s prominence is largely due to the fact that his supporters cannot remember what life was like in the 1970s when a Labour government was putting full-throated socialist policies into effect. People now also forget Stanley Baldwin’s policy of appeasement. Corbyn believes that terrorists cannot be defeated. He believes instead we must surrender to them and their demands. However, terrorists can be fought to a standstill, which is what happened with the IRA.
It is instructive that Daesh has not said that the vote for Corbyn would bring peace to the streets of Britain. There is no guarantee that Corbyn’s policies would do so. All terrorists would have to do would be to threaten or actually detonate a bomb and Corbyn would give in. He would replace the Union Jack that he clearly detests with a white flag.