THE ADVOCATE 503
VOL. 78 PART 4 JULY 2020
leading paper in Britain. Geoffrey Dawson was editor. The paper employed
a correspondent in Berlin who regularly filed dispatches reporting on Nazi
enormities. Incredibly, Dawson suppressed the truth.7 For years The Times
presented Hitler as a reasonable leader, a man of peace, seeking merely the
rectification of legitimate grievances. Dawson’s primary concern was to
avoid provoking Hitler. He deliberately lied to the British people. At the
same time The Times was highly critical of Churchill’s calls to rearm.
Other newspapers took a similar approach. Lord Beaverbrook, editor of
the Evening Standard, was similarly an arch appeaser.8 The media substantially
contributed to the success of parliamentary leaders, particularly Baldwin
and Chamberlain, in portraying Churchill as completely out of touch, a
man whose time was past, who should retire. In one of history’s great
ironies, Baldwin accused Churchill of “lacking judgment”!
Churchill’s constant warnings of the need to confront Hitler—and most of
all, to rearm—were anathema to the point where he faced financial ruin.
Churchill had no inherited wealth. Backbenchers were paid a minor stipend.
He supported his very expensive lifestyle with his pen. His columns were
published in hundreds of newspapers throughout the world. But as a result
of his unpopular warnings editors were cancelling his columns.
In March 1938 Churchill addressed the House thusly:
If mortal catastrophe should overtake the British Nation and the British
Empire, historians a thousand years hence will still be baffled by the mystery
of our affairs. They will never understand how it was that a victorious
nation, with everything in hand, suffered themselves to be brought
low, and to cast away all that they had gained by measureless sacrifice
and absolute victory—gone with the wind! Now the victors are the vanquished,
and those who threw down their arms and sued for an armistice
are striding on to world mastery. That is the position—that is the terrible
transformation that has taken place …9
Despite the mortal peril Britain faced, defeatism was totally absent from
Churchill’s makeup. He continued:
Now is the time to rouse the nation … . We should lay aside every hindrance
and endeavour by uniting the whole force and spirit of our people
to raise again a great British nation standing up before all the world:
for such a nation, rising in its ancient vigour, can even at this hour save
The morning after this powerful speech, Beaverbrook cancelled his column,
which had brought in twenty per cent of Churchill’s income, advising,
“It has been evident that your views on foreign affairs and the part this
country should play are entirely opposed to those held by us.”10
Churchill faced bankruptcy as the reward for insisting on warning of the
imminent peril. He continued undaunted.