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Print this page Kind history 'History will judge us kindly', Churchill told Roosevelt and Stalin at the Tehran Conference in ; when asked how he could be so sure, he responded: And so he did, in the six massive volumes of The Second World War.
The first volume, The Gathering Storm, describes his opposition to the appeasement of Hitler during the s, and provides the text for a BBC TV drama of the same name. Munich re master thesis on risk is a good tale, told by a master story-teller, who did, after all, win the Nobel prize for literature; but would the Booker prize for fiction have been more appropriate?
There is, in fact, nothing very controversial about the claim that Churchill was alone in his opposition to appeasement; it was one he made himself inand is generally acknowledged.
If you want controversy, it must come in the form munich re master thesis on risk an argument to counter the central thesis of The Gathering Storm, namely that Churchill was right and his critics wrong. This is a difficult task, because The Gathering Storm has been one of the most influential books of our time.
It is no exaggeration to claim that it has strongly influenced the behaviour of Western politicians from Harry S. Truman to George W. Its central theme - the futility of appeasement and the need to stand up to dictators - is one that has been taken for granted as a self-evident truth in Western society, both during the period of the Cold War and subsequently.
The evidence for this supposed truth is Churchill's view of the s as 'the years that the locust hath eaten', during which the Western powers, by their own folly, allowed Germany to re-arm; never again, the message went, must this be allowed to happen.
Top Want of judgement? Churchill spent much effort in the late s in trying to warn of the danger that Hitler posed to Europe, and of the lack of Britain's preparedness for war.
In The Gathering Storm, he says nothing about his secret sources of information about the state of Britain's weaponry which mainly came from discontented RAF officersbut talks in detail about the central event in his own personal psycho-drama, the Munich settlement ofwhen Chamberlain accepted the transfer of part of Czechoslovakia to Germany as the price to be paid for 'peace in our time'.
Most historians have dismissed most of the supposedly secret information passed to Churchill as pretty worthless, but that is really beside the point - the central flaw in Churchill's version of events is that it amounts to no more than an exercise in self-promotion.
The sheer unlikeliness that everyone was out of step but our Winston is obscured by his iconic status as the man who won the war and as 'the prophet of truth' before it. It is not just that Churchill was inconsistent in his criticisms of Hitler whom he once hoped to see 'a kinder figure in a gentler age' ; his whole reading of events leading up to World War Two was badly flawed, and looks good only with the advantage of hindsight.
Because the war was won by a 'Grand Alliance' of Britain, America and the Soviet Union, it is easy to argue that Churchill's advocacy of such an alignment in should have been listened to at the time.
As the pressure on Czechoslovakia from Hitler mounted in earlyChurchill did indeed call for a 'Grand Alliance'; but far from this being an example of his far-sightedness, it actually showed the myopia and want of judgement that kept sensible men away from him during the s.
As Neville Chamberlain commented at the time, 'there is everything to be said for Winston's plan, until you examine it.
Contrary to the view promoted by Churchill, Prime Minister Chamberlain did not reject his plans without taking official advice, but as far as the Foreign Office was concerned, Churchill's ideas were the equivalent of amateur night at the karaoke bar, and the arguments against them were very strong.
First, America, the first part of the 'Grand Alliance', was still an isolationist power. It had no army capable of intervening in Europe and no politician arguing for such a policy.
Next, the second part of the alliance, the Soviet Union, which as Stalin had not forgotten Churchill had tried to strangle at birth, was actually part of the problem, not of the solution; only a mentality as Anglocentric as Churchill's could have imagined otherwise.
Top Grand Alliance This was because most of the countries of Central and Eastern Europe only survived, diplomatically, by balancing between Russia and Germany. Few liked Germany, but even fewer favoured Stalin's communist alternative.
A few rulers, like the wily King Boris of Bulgaria, suspected that Communism was just the latest excuse for Russian imperialism; no one thought that Stalin was a solution to their problems. Furthermore, on the military front there were very real doubts about whether the recently purged Red Army would be a match for the Germans.
France was a badly divided country, where many right-wing politicians preferred Hitler to the socialist premier, Leon Blum. That left only Britain herself to make up the proposed 'Alliance'.
In relation to Russia there was also a very obvious geographical problem, which Churchill overlooked. Russia could not help Czechoslovakia directly because she had no common border - and neither of the two countries with direct access to Czechoslovakia was likely to offer Russia any help.
The Poles, who had suffered under Russian misrule for more than a century and whose independence had been won at Russian expense, would be unlikely, understandably, to want Soviet troops on Polish soil.
That left only Rumania, where King Carol, facing a challenge from a strong local fascist movement, was not going to risk alienating it by co-operating with Communist Russia. Thirdly, the Foreign Office analysis also ruled out help from France.
Ever since Britain had refused to back the French in a hard-line anti-German policy inthe French had relied upon a defensive strategy against Berlin; they were not going to change in the late s at Churchill's behest. The reasons why Britain was not going to challenge Germany by herself were so numerous that they went on for pages of Foreign Office analysis.
Disillusioned by the experience and results of the Great War, British public opinion opposed the idea of another war. Rearmament was a far more problematic concept than Churchill allowed. As a global power, Britain already had to defend its interests in the Far and Middle East against Japan and Italy respectively; but to rearm against Germany as well would bankrupt the country - which would hardly deter Hitler.
Top Churchill's myth In addition to these arguments, rearmament was controversial politically; the Labour party opposed too much of it, and the trades unions wanted guarantees about employment for their members before they would agree to it.
Then, of course, it took time to build factories, and even more time to find skilled labour. In Britain had faced the biggest financial crisis in its history, but by the late s, thanks to Chamberlain's time as Chancellor, the economy was recovering, and to mount a massive rearmament programme would have placed that achievement in jeopardy.
In the face of these facts, the government had to proceed slowly. It is also worth noting that Chamberlain could hardly have been that bad a choice as prime minister, or Churchill would hardly have seconded his nomination - a fact he somehow omitted from his memoirs.I am a doctorand working in the area of seismic risk analysis at LMU Munich and Munich regardbouddhiste.com: PhD Student at LMU Munich and .
Prior to his intra-company transfer from Munich Re to the USA, he held the position of Chief Engineer carrying responsibility for all the Engineering Insurance business south of the Sahara.
In the USA ( to ), he led Munich-American Risk Partner’s Property . Conference Program. For additional pre and post conference programming, please check the Additional Programming page. Separate registrations apply. This is a working draft agenda.
Master Thesis Student Munich Re (Group) Mai – Oktober (6 Monate) Munich - Thesis: "Risk Evaluation and Assessment for Tailings Storage Facilities" - Presentation for Munich Re Engineering Colloquium "Tailings dams - design principles and reasons for failure" InternTitle: Associate Business Consultant at .
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