Two tragic ironies of World War II – and one crucial lesson
- Neville Chamberlain declared war on Nazi Germany in defence of Poland – a country that wasn’t defensible – but acquiesced in Germany’s occupation of Czechoslovakia and the Sudetenland, which were.
That’s just one of the practical consequences of appeasement.
- Britain declared war on Nazi Germany because Hitler invaded Poland, yet within two years Britain was an ally of the Soviet Union -- which was the co-invader of Poland, and the Nazi’s partner in Poland’s dismemberment.
That’s just one of the tragic ironies of twentieth-century history: that’s what happens when you fail to identify the nature of your so-called friends: the practical consequence of which was that a war undertaken ostensibly to deliver Poland from the Nazi yoke ended by delivering the entire population of Eastern Europe to the noose of Joseph Stalin.
Just as the moral is the practical, so too is the immoral the impractical. The lesson of WWII is so large that it’s so rarely seen, but it’s crystal clear when you look hard enough. In the words of Virgil, “Tu ne cede malis sed contra audentior ito.” (Loose translation from the Latin: Do not give your sanction to evil, but proceed ever more strongly against it.)
There endeth the lesson of 3rd September.