Feature

United Kingdom: Why Crimea is not Czechoslovakia

Here we go again with the Chamberlain comparisons.

Peter HitchensThe Mail on Sunday

Here we go again with the Chamberlain comparisons, said Peter Hitchens. “Silly, half-educated politicians” in the U.S. and Britain are trying to act tough on Crimea by trotting out the one thing they “think they know about history—that Britain’s pathetic Neville Chamberlain didn’t stand up to evil Adolf Hitler in 1938 at Munich over Czechoslovakia.” Hitler was emboldened, World War II ensued, and it was left to brave Winston Churchill to save Britain. “Almost no part of this legend is true.” But bellicose Western politicians love to invoke it whenever aggressors threaten. They then piously cast themselves as Churchill, the only one with the courage and wisdom to act, as counterpoint to their craven political opponent, who gets to play Chamberlain. The truth is that Chamberlain had no choice but to avoid war in 1938, when Britain had “no proper army.” And as for Churchill, while he was indeed “a great man,” he also bowed to political reality and “appeased Stalin by giving him the whole of Poland and Eastern Europe.” The analogy breaks down further when you consider that the Crimea dispute is about Russia’s history, not Europe’s future. “What is it to us whose flag flies over Sevastopol?”

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