Thursday, February 24, 2011

History should come down hard on Tony Blair for embracing Gaddafi

In the light of subsequent events, Neville Chamberlain's effort to appease Adolf Hitler is usually portrayed as one of the most shameful episodes in modern British history. But surely Tony Blair's love-in with Colonel Gaddafi was worse. Chamberlain never pretended to like Hitler. He certainly never embraced him. His aim was to prevent war by reaching an accommodation with a man whose full infamy he did not appreciate. He was naive to believe he could rely on Hitler's promises, and he was culpably indifferent towards the fate of the Czechoslovaks, but the prospect of another war between Britain and Germany seemed so terrible (as, indeed, it turned out to be) that his policy of appeasement can at least be understood. As Winston Churchill, the arch-opponent of appeasement, said in his House of Commons eulogy to Chamberlain after his death in 1940: "Neville Chamberlain acted with perfect sincerity according to his lights, and strove to the utmost of his capacity and authority, which were powerful, to save the world from the awful, devastating struggle in which we are now engaged. This alone will stand him in good stead as far as what is called the verdict of history is concerned."


No comments: