Many books tell us about history but here is one book that caused history to take place. In the period 1932-1938 England was creeping closer to war. Many people perhaps a majority felt that England should rely on her natural defenses, including the English Channel that no army had successfully crossed since 1066.
However, there was one almost lone voice crying in the wilderness that England should do more to prepare for war. That was the voice of Winston Churchill who was then only a lowly former member of the House of Commons.
This book is a collection of speeches he made from 1932 to 1938. The common theme in these speeches that England had done little to prepare for war. He said that war with Germany was coming and England would not be ready for it. Churchill was especially critical of Neville Chamberlain and his famous quote of “Peace in Our Time” and his police of appeasement.
It was when Churchill was proven right and the war actually started just as he had predicted that Neville Chamberlain resigned on 10 May 1940 and Churchill became Prime Minister. His speeches and radio broadcasts helped inspire British resistance, especially during the difficult days of 1940–41 when the British Commonwealth and Empire stood almost alone in its active opposition to Adolf Hitler. He led Britain as Prime Minister until victory over Nazi Germany had been secured.
A famous quote by Churchill is “History will be kind to me because I intend to write it.”
Churchill was a powerful writer starting from his first book in 1898 “The Story of the Malakand Field Force: An Episode of Frontier War”. It was his first published work of non-fiction.
In June 1938, Winston Churchill published this book under the title “Arms and the Covenant”. It was then published in the US in September 1938 as While England Slept; a Survey of World Affairs, 1932-1938. It highlighted the United Kingdom's lack of military preparation to face the threat of Nazi Germany's expansion.
In 1940, John F. Kennedy, then a student in his senior year at Harvard University, found he did not agree with the analysis by Churchill of the reasons for the war, so he wrote a book with almost the same title. Kennedy wrote it essentially as a critique and a rebuttal. In it, he in he examined the reasons for the UK's lack of preparation. He reached the same conclusion that some others since then have reached that it was not the “Policy of Appeasement” by British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain that let to the war.
It was an unfortunate choice to publish Why England Slept by Kennedy with almost exactly the same title as While England Slept by Churchill.
John F. Kennedy was born on May 29, 1917. He was only 23 years old when he wrote his book. In 1940, Kennedy completed his thesis, "Appeasement in Munich", about British participation in the Munich Agreement. The thesis became the bestseller under the title Why England Slept. This has led to endless confusion as commentators have constantly gotten the two books mixed up.
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