Wat zou Winston Churchill doen?

Altijd leuk. Nu ook Hillary Clinton de parallel tussen de Krim en Sudetenland heeft gevonden (vorige maand), zoals eerder De Bicker op 1 maart opmerkte, is het zinvol terug te gaan naar 1938. Twee weken na de ‘Anschluss’ van Oostenrijk betrad Churchill het Parlement en sprak. Wat hij ervan vond kunnen we raden. Maar wat is hij toch een fantastisch retoricus:

“[A] country like ours, possessed of immense territory and wealth, whose defences have been neglected, cannot avoid war by dilating upon its horrors, or even by a continuous display of pacific qualities, or by ignoring the fate of the victims of aggression elsewhere. War will be avoided, in present circumstances, only by the accumulation of deterrents against the aggressor.”

“I have watched this famous island descending incontinently, fecklessly the stairway which leads to a dark gulf… If mortal catastrophe should overtake the British nation and the British Empire, historians a thousand years hence will still be baffled by the mystery of our affairs. They will never understand how it was that a victorious nation, with everything in hand, suffered themselves to be brought low and to cast away all that they had gained by measureless sacrifice and absolute victory—’gone with the wind.'”

En hij waarschuwt dat ‘appeasement’ niets oplevert:

“Do not suppose that this is the end. This is only the beginning of the reckoning. This is only the first sip, the first foretaste of a bitter cup which will be proffered to us year by year unless by a supreme recovery of moral health and martial vigor, we arise again and take our stand for freedom as in the olden time.”