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Learn from history

A knowledge of history should be the bedrock of our development
and thinking as it is on previous experience that our current
decisions, our values and our lifestyles are based. The lack of
teaching of our more immediate history is, I know, something that
disappoints Jacob Rees Mogg. It is all very well to be able to recite
the wives of Henry VIII but if you have little or no understanding of
our 20th century history you will have little grasp of why WWI was
fought, what the subsequent effects of it were in terms of punitive
action against Germany and the follow up of the bitterness of Hitler
in prosecuting WWII. You will have little understanding of the
economics of that century, what the Wall Street crash caused, what
the divide between rich and poor created and the industrial unrest
that gave rise to the growth of organised labour and the Trade
Union movement. You will have no understanding of what the
Russian revolution was all about and the rise of Communism and
with it murderous purges undertaken by Stalin and Mao who
between them were responsible for the deaths of 100 million
people.

In particular you will have no understanding of just how close this
country came in WWII to being overwhelmed by German troops
and the flying of the swastika over Buckingham Palace and the
Houses of Parliament. Because of that lack of historical knowledge,
you will be ignorant of the immense courage shown by the British
people both at home, in the air, on the beaches, on the land and on
the hills when it came to the defence of our great country and
ultimately, to the defence of a Europe being desecrated by the
monster that was Hitler and his Nazi Party. I do use the word Nazi
advisedly because let us not be in any doubt, that War was
prosecuted by the same power hungry nation as had tried to do the
same in WWI – Germany. The war was not fought by a political
party, it was fought by a nation of peoples against the interests of
other nations.

As you may have gathered from a few of the words I used in the
previous paragraph, I am prompted to write this piece for The Daily
Globe having seen the magnificent film Darkest Hour with Gary
Oldman as Winston Churchill. My interest in history led me to have
a better understanding of much of the basis for the film which was
not a standard war film such as Saving Private Ryan – the saving of
our troops at Dunkirk was shown by a very simple scene of
hundreds of small boats crossing the English Channel and the
angst that Churchill suffered in having to give up the lives of the
British garrison at Calais to occupy the Germans sufficiently to allow
the mobilisation of the little ship’s fleet to rescue our troops at
Dunkirk.

What was covered quickly and simply was the capitulation of much
of Europe following the annexation of Czechoslovakia and Poland
with Holland, Belgium and France falling very rapidly to the German
onslaught so heavily outnumbered were they.

The main context of the film, though, notwithstanding the bravery of
the British that has given us this England of green and pleasant
pastures in which we live, was the same kind of appeasement that
we have seen since the end of WWII with most things European.
You will have noticed if you have even the most rudimentary
knowledge of our history that those countries that we liberated from
the potential oppression of German rule have sought instead to
align themselves with those former oppressors and for much of the
second half of the 20th century, make life difficult for Britain when it
came to discussing economic and trading ties as well as security
issues between the sovereign states of Europe. President de Gaulle
was, of course, famous for his constant use of “non” when it came
to Britain joining the early trade bloc. The same appeasement that
so very nearly cost the U.K. our sovereignty in 1940 was applied to
de Gaulle with no one having the backbone to point out that we had
given him refuge during the war and but for Britain and ultimately
the United States, France would have the swastika flying over the
Elysee Palace and German as the National language.

Many, hopefully, will know that in 1939 the then British Prime
Minister, Neville Chamberlain, famously returned from a meeting
with Hitler waving a piece of paper that was considered to be an
agreement with Hitler not to prosecute war in Europe. A matter of
months later, Czechoslovakia and Poland fell to German troops and
we found ourselves at war. Fortunately the Labour Party of the time,
unlike now, had some backbone under Clement Attlee and a vote of
no confidence in Chamberlain was passed and despite the
machinations of Viscount Halifax and the Tory elite, including King
George VI, the unpopular Churchill was made Prime Minister of a
war coalition government with Attlee as his deputy.

In 1940 Halifax and Chamberlain continued to try and force through
the appeasement option with at one time, draft papers put together
to use Mussolini as the go between with Hitler to sue for peace.
Arrangements were even considered to move the Royal family to
Canada. It was this latter move that persuaded George VI that he
couldn’t abandon his country and his birthright and so gave his
unqualified support to Churchill with the proviso that he had to be
honest with the British people and lay out the facts of what would
happen if we dug in for victory.

There then followed Churchill’s famous speech in the House
including the famous words of “we will fight them on the beaches,
we will fight them in the air, we will fight them at sea, we will fight
them on the hills, but we will never surrender – never, never, never”.
Halifax dryly commented, apparently, at this, that the English
language has just been sent to war. Churchill got rid of Halifax
immediately sending him as Ambassador to Washington.

You may wonder with some justification why I have chosen to not
only give a short critique of a wonderful film but have associated
that with a potted history of the background against which Churchill
initially struggled to overcome the appeasement strategy that would
have condemned this country to the loss of our sovereignty to
Germany and undoubtedly the rest of Europe to ethnic cleansing by
Hitler and jackboot control. The holocaust was bad enough but I
believe it would have been far worse if we had not won that brutal
war.

The similarities in post war Britain to the appeasement scandal of
1940 bear very close comparison with that of the lies perpetrated by
Heath in 1972 following the clear description of the aims of the
widening EEC frankly discussed by Jean Monnet with MacMillan
and then Heath during which both were made very aware of what
the future EU would look like with a common currency, a central
government in Brussels, the imposition of EU law, the free
movement of people and the complete loss of sovereignty of all
participating nations in this grand plan aimed at preventing
Germany from ever prosecuting war again against close neighbours
in Europe. That Germany would achieve by economic and political
means what she had failed to do twice in the 20th century by
military means was not considered by Monnet and de Gaulle and
Europe has paid a very heavy price for that lack of vision and
misunderstanding of the German psyche.

Not only did Heath lie to the British people in the EEC Referendum
but the devious Wilson misunderstood the question that should
have been put to the electorate to such an extent that we thought
we were voting for a simple trading relationship with the EEC being
left totally unaware of the expansionist plans to follow.

Major knew all about that when he forced through acceptance of the
Maastricht Treaty in 1992 with a Cabinet mandate to keep the truth
from the British people. Had we known the facts then of the
direction of travel of the EU and been asked to approve our joining
of the EU by a referendum then, we would have been saved from
25 years of EU domination, loss of trading development around the
world and the considerable costs our membership has incurred
since 1992.

That that similar class of appeasers as in 1940 have reared their
heads yet again in 2016 and since, that the people of the U.K. didn’t
know what they were voting for in 2016 and that the ruling classes
knew better underlines the poverty of historical knowledge of those
people and the complete contempt in which they hold the British
people. Such puny thinking very nearly cost this great country our
complete annihilation at the hands of Germany in WWII and would
do so again had the majority of voters in 2016 not invoked the same
valour in the face of adversity as our forebears did in 1940. The
Leave campaign was pilloried by the Remain voting establishment
as not being of sufficient intellect to understand the issues and to
simply lie down and accept the status quo of European domination
because the alternative by leaving the EU would be catastrophic for
our economy, jobs and whole way of life. The same was true of
Halifax and Chamberlain in 1940 that the British people could not
bear the truth of what war with Germany really meant and that they
should be saved from themselves and their blissful ignorance by
surrendering to Germany, have our Monarchy exiled to Canada and
become vassals of a European superstate.

That people like Blair, Heseltine, Major, Cable, Clegg, Grieve,
Morgan and Soubry cannot see the similarities with 1940s Britain
and appeasement of a voracious monster like the EU should cause
us to worry as to their motives and lack of knowledge of a fairly
recent history.

As with the people of 1940, we do have enough in this country with
the same brave visions that have saved this country before and
served her so well in the development of at one time a great Empire
and the inheritance she has passed onto the world of the thinking of
some of the greatest scientists, free thinkers, innovators,
entrepreneurs and inventors the world has ever known. The world
might still think that the human race was formed by some spiritual
intervention were it not for Darwin which is a sanguine thought to
have in its own right.

This historical message needs to be passed to our young people
who have listened to the naysaying of the Remain campaign and
are convinced that they and their children’s lives have been ruined
by our decision to Leave the European Union. That they have little
future to embrace and have adopted a common position of fear and
perpetual anxiety. This state of affairs has been created by 21st
century appeasers and liars for which they like Halifax and
Chamberlain before them should be thoroughly ashamed.

We do need a Churchill, an Attlee, a Thatcher to tell our young
people that we are where we are because we have been
determined to fight for our great country, on the beaches, in the air,
on the sea, on the land and in the hills and that we will never
surrender to those that would take away from us what it means to
be British, never, never, never.

About Ian Pye

Profile photo of Ian Pye
Ian is grammar school educated although he briefly flirted with the idea of becoming Britain's answer to Breaking Bad's Walter White with a short sojourn at university. The constant smell of hydrogen sulphide caused the break up of that partnership and thereafter he pursued a career in sales culminating in partnering with his second wife for many years in their own recruitment business. When the second marriage came to an amicable end, so did Ian's allotted time in the world of commerce and he became a retired person of no means but a still active brain. He lives on the outskirts of the great metropolis of Manchester and has close affinity with the red side of the football city being a United fan of over 50 years. He has deep interest in British politics, is conservative by nature and persuasion as well as reading much on aspects of religious theology particularly the works out of Albuquerque, New Mexico of Richard Rohr and hitherto Richard's mentor, Thomas Merton. Ian has three children, two of whom live in London and the third in Toronto as well as four adorable grandchildren

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