CHURCHILL OUT OF HIBERNATION, WEEK 22
Arms and the Covenant was Winston Churchill’s first book-length warning about the tremendous danger that Adolph Hitler and Nazism represented to the Free World. If only more had listened. We weigh it next in our sounding of the works of Winston Churchill.
In June 1938, George Harrap published Arms and the Covenant, a collection of Churchill’s speeches on defense and foreign affairs from the previous ten years. Edited by Randolph Churchill, the book demonstrated as nothing before the cumulative power and the clarity of Winston Churchill’s long-stated warnings about Germany.
The first printing of five thousand copies, however, failed to sell out. Clementine Churchill tried to console her husband, assuring him it was the book’s relatively high price that was depressing sales, adding that those who could afford it —namely Tories — did not wish to read what Arms and the Covenant had to say.
One who clearly did was President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who, after Arms and the Covenant was published in America in September under the title While England Slept, kept a copy of the book on his White House nightstand.
On September 30, 1938, Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain signed the Munich Agreement, accepting Hitler’s demand to incorporate the Sudetenland into the Third Reich. “Peace with honour . . . peace in our time,” proclaimed Chamberlain upon his return. Churchill responded in an excoriating forty-nine-minute speech in the House of Commons: “we have sustained a defeat without a war.”
A movement for Churchill’s return to government now began to stir in Great Britain. Enormous posters went up in the Strand and at other busy spots in London. Their message: “What Price Churchill?” Neville Chamberlain, however, viewed the campaign as “a plot,” and one, moreover, that had failed. He refused to leave his dream world and accept the facts.
We heartily wish you continued good health and safety and a brighter future nurtured by truth and grounded in reality.