Recently we marked the 50th anniversary of the January 24, 1965 passing of Winston Churchill.
Churchill was not only a courageous leader but an eminent historian and lucid writer who left us with volumes of valuable insight and wisdom.
We have been flipping through his, “The Gathering Storm,” which recounts among other parts of history the lead up to World War II, when Churchill stood as a lone voice against Nazi Germany — a threat he so clearly saw while the world dithered.
Below are 12 passages from Churchill’s Volume I of “The Gathering Storm,” that look awfully eerie in light of the rising totalitarian, anti-Western, often anti-Semitic and savage, jihadist, Communist and fascist forces rising in the world today.
1. “We are not the same country we used to be when we are an island, only twenty years ago.”
2. “[M]ighty forces were adrift, the void was open, and into that void after a pause there strode a maniac of ferocious genius, the repository and expression of the most virulent hatreds that have ever corroded the human breast.”
3. “As Fascism sprang from Communism, so Nazism developed from Fascism. Thus were set on foot kindred movements which were destined soon to plunge the world into even more hideous strife, which none can say has ended their destruction.”
4. “The crimes of the vanquished find their background and their explanation, thought not, of course, their pardon, in the follies of the victors. Without these follies crime would have found neither temptation nor opportunity.”
5. “Mankind has never been in this position before. Without having improved appreciably in virtue or enjoying wiser guidance, it has got into its hands for the first time the tools by which it can unfailingly accomplish its own extermination.”
6. “All this time the Allies possessed the strength, and the right, to prevent any visible or tangible German rearmament…Up till 1934 at least German rearmament could have been prevented without the loss of a single life. It was not time that was lacking.”
7. “The greatest upheavals in history would have been unthinkable had it not been for the driving force of fanatical and hysterical passions. Nothing could have been effected by the bourgeois virtues of peace and order.”
8. “While these deadly changes were taking place in Germany the…[British government] felt found to enforce…the severe reductions and restrictions which the financial crisis had imposed upon our already modest armaments, and steadfastly closed their eyes and ears to the disquieting symptoms in Europe.”
9. “It was like being smothered by a feather-bed.”
10. “It is difficult to find a parallel to the unwisdom of the British and weakness of the French Governments…Nor can the United States escape the censure of history.”
11. “Delight in smooth-sound platitudes, refusal to face unpleasant facts, desire for popularity and electoral success irrespective of the vital interests of the State, genuine love of peace and pathetic belief that love can be its sole foundation, obviously lack of intellectual vigour…strong and violent pacifism…played a definite part in the unleashing on the world of horrors and miseries…”
12. “Wars come very suddenly.”
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