The Brave World of Churchill

Dmitrij Arkadewitsch Nalbandjan (1906-1993). Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin, Yalta, 4-11 February 1945. National Russian Museum St. Petersburg.

“When I awoke on the morning of Sunday, the 22nd, the news was brought to me of Hitler’s invasion of Russia. I had not the slightest doubt where our duty and policy lay. The Nazi regime is indistinguishable from the worst features of Communism. It excels all forms of human wickedness in the efficiency of its cruelty and ferocious aggression. No one has been a more consistent opponent of Communism than I have for the last 25 years and I will unsay no word that I have spoken about it. If Hitler invaded Hell, I would at least make a favourable reference to the Devil”. Churchill’s words (The Second World War, Volume III, London, 1950) echoed the will to beat Germany at all costs.

In May 1940, he saved the European civilization by this political decision, not by England’s military strength . That this struggle ended with the communist nightmare in Eastern Europe was a bitter pill for Churchill. The military facts, ruthless policy of Stalin and an inexperienced new American President sealed the fate of East-European countries and Poland in particular.

Churchill had lost the election in June 1945 and the new British government was no match for Stalin. Nevertheless, Churchill took the right decision to ally with the Soviet-Union in 1941, although this country opposed democracy and had invaded  the Baltic states, Finland and Poland in 1939. One might even speculate of a declaration of war by France and England, because the Sovjet-Union had also invaded Poland. The Soviet-Union was a clear aggressor.  Churchill understood very well what was at stake and he didn’t compromise form the very beginning, neither with regard to warfare and military campaigns, nor concerning the concept of sovereignty of European countries (he had a different opinion about India however).

England declared war on Germany because of the invasion of Poland, but the country could not protect Poland from another dictatorship after 1945. This is the tragedy of Poland, which fought so bravely for the allied case.