The avoidable war: Lord Cecil and the policy of principle, 1932-1935. Volume 1

Transaction Publishers - 389 páginas
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As historian Gordon Craig has observed, "Americans are deeply ambivalent about history, choosing instead to follow the imperative of moral absolutes; they are uncomfortable with the idea of national interest as a guiding principle of policy, preferring motivations that are nobler." What does the national interest require? What does morality command? These issues bedevil us in Bosnia and Rwanda today as they did yesterday in the Persian Gulf and in Somalia. Such questions were fully played out in the era that led up to the dominant event of our century, the Second World War.

The Avoidable War details how the war, its destruction, and its consequences could have been avoided. This original interpretation of history also provides insights into ways of preserving peace that can guide contemporary diplomacy.

J. Kenneth Brody describes an incomparable galley of characters: a chief villain, Hitler; a thoughtful, conflicted, and human Mussolini; a fatuous Ramsey MacDonald; an uncharacteristically silent William Churchill; a smaller than life Stanley Baldwin. Above all, he rescues from undeserved obscurity the noble and inspiring figure of Lord Robert Cecil providing a thorough, controversial reappraisal and sympathetic portrait of Pierre Laval, his policy, and his character. Brody is the first to tell the story of the Peace Ballot, the first modern public opinion poll, created by Cecil in 1935. In this privately organized referendum on issues of war and peace, the British voted overwhelmingly in support of disarmament and morality rather than the national interest. Unfortunately its results helped bring on the war they worked so hard to avoid as, instructed by the Peace Ballot, the British met brute force with arms limitations proposals, the love of peace, and exalted ideals. Under cover of those ideals they betrayed a trusting ally, France. In doing so, they reaped a whirlwind of wartime consequences.

The first of a two-volume series sheds new and original light on the origins of the Second World War. It is a study of both modern British history and a period of French history usually consigned to darkness. It also explores the role of morality in policymaking. This is a very human story of the passionate devotion to peace and justice of the proponents of the Peace Ballot and their supporters, and of the paradoxical and perverse result they achieved.

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Páginas selecionadas


Three Years and Three Months
A Noble IdeaA Noble Lord
A Separate Peace
Collective Security
AngloSaxon Attitudes
Adolf Hitler
Arms Control1932
Voting For Peace
An Abyssinian Incident
A Double Challenge
Arms Control1935
The Triumph of the Peace Ballot

The German Challenge
France and the German Challenge
Britain and the German Challenge

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Página 13 - Do you consider that if a nation insists on attacking another, the other nations should combine to compel it to stop by: (a) economic and non-military measures, (b) if necessary military measures?
Página 91 - The Members of the League recognize that the maintenance of peace requires the reduction of national armaments to the lowest point consistent with national safety and the enforcement by common action of international obligations.
Página 50 - 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.
Página 24 - We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed ; we are perplexed, but not in despair ; persecuted, but not forsaken ; cast down, but not destroyed...
Página 50 - Death stands at attention, obedient, expectant, ready to serve, ready to shear away the peoples en masse ; ready, if called on, to pulverize, without hope of repair, what is left of civilization. He awaits only the word of command. He awaits it from a frail, bewildered being, long his victim, now — for one occasion only — his Master.
Página 50 - I think it is well also for the man in the street to realize that there is no power on earth that can protect him from being bombed. Whatever people may tell him, the bomber will always get through....
Página 178 - BALLOT 1. Should Great Britain remain a member of the League of Nations? 2. Are you in favour of an all-round reduction of armaments by international agreement? 3. Are you in favour of the all-round abolition of national military and naval aircraft by international agreement? 4. Should the manufacture and sale of armaments for private profit be prohibited by international agreement?
Página 166 - I have indicated, then any Government of this country — a National Government more than any, and this Government — will see to it that in air strength and air power this country shall no longer be in a position inferior to any country within striking distance of its shores.
Página 97 - The Governments of the United Kingdom, France and Italy have declared that one of the principles that should guide the Conference on Disarmament should be the grant to Germany, and to the other...
Página 60 - Has anyone attempted to realize what would happen if there were to be a new partition of Poland, or if the Czechoslovak state were to be so curtailed and dismembered that in fact it disappeared from the map of Europe? The whole of Europe would at once be in chaos. There would no longer be any principle, meaning, or sense in the territorial arrangements of the continent.

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