As far as Great Britain is concerned, there is, in 1936, not a shadow of a reason for a war with anybody. It is because that there is no concrete reason that abstract reasons have had to be thought up and trotted out.
Nationalism may be superseded by the issue between different forms of political structure, between parliamentarism, fascism, and Bolshevism. .... Parliamentarism and Bolshevism seem to feel a remarkable affinity for one another, if for no other reason than that they are both consumed with an equal hatred of fascism.
No British statesman has ever desired a war with Germany. But they have apparently come to regard themselves as committed to a policy which is violently determined to rid Europe of Hitler. And they are well aware that that cannot be effected without the risk of another world-war. It is not so much ‘fascist dictatorship’ that excites them — for after all they left Mussolini in complete peace for a decade. Neither does Dictatorship , in itself, excite them so much as all that — even accompanied by a permanent Reign of Terror and the massacre of millions of people. For Soviet Russia has been left undisturbed. No, it can only be something about the internal regime of Adolf Hitler that excites in them this implacable mood.
The Franco-Soviet pact has been ratified and it is highly probable that a Rumano-Soviet pact, on the lines of the military pact between the Soviet and Czechoslovakia, will be signed in the near future. The Austrian Government (which represents a fantastically small fraction of the people of Austria) seems to be moving towards an entente with the Little Entente. So the game of ‘encirclement’ goes on: and all these arrangements — carried on in every case over the heads and usually in contradiction to the wishes of the people — are made possible, and constantly stimulated by British and French gold. The remarks which I have quoted from the Morning Post mean, in plain language, that Great
Britain is about to arm the Soviet against Germany. (Marshal Tukachevski stopped behind in England after the funeral of King George to go round the British armament factories to pick his tanks and guns.) There have constantly been rumours of a fifty million pounds British loan to France. That, too, in plain language, is Great Britain arming France against ‘the Hun’
There is one country where the Englishman is certain of a warm welcome: there is one country whose government never ceases to proffer friendship, and to be accommodating and polite, and that is Germany. Year in and year out, like a love-sick supplicant, Herr Hitler pays his court to the haughty Britannia. Every insult that can be invented even by the resourceful Mr. Churchill is tamely swallowed, every rebuff of Mr. Baldwin’s, every sneer of Mr. Eden, is meekly accepted, by this pertinacious suitor!
The text of the book is online: https://archive.org/stream/LeftWingsOverEuropeWyndhamLewis/Left+Wings+Over+Europe+-+Wyndham+Lewis_djvu.txt
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It might almost be said that, exhausted at last by the
White Man’s Burden, the English had subconsciously
made up their minds — if one can say that — to sleep
whatever happened through this next war that was brewing! So
murmuring ‘Peace’, ‘Collective Security’, and ‘We do
trust you!’ they fell asleep.
If to-morrow thermite bombs begin raining on our
cities, that will merely be part of our nightmare. The
nightmare began when our battleships steamed over the
waters of Trafalgar, and were met — and saluted —
by the ‘sea-sleds’ of Mussolini, come out to mock at this
What I am doing in this part of my book is to analyse
the extraordinary happenings at which we have all so
recently assisted. Retrospectively I will attempt to sort
out the untruth from the truth — retrospectively as far as
that is possible; for as I have said the Anglo-Italian
comedy is not quite ended yet, and it might at any moment
have a new flare-up, you cannot shut a crisis off and turn
it on in the way our government seem to suppose they
Looking back upon it, it has been an amazing broil.
For the first time the entire ‘left’ wing of the world —
not merely the ‘common front’ within any particular
country — the ‘common front’ of internationalism in all
the countries, storming week after week: all the Bench
of Bishops roaring together: Mr. Lansbury calling upon
all the hierarchies to repair to Jerusalem and proclaim
the reign of Christ on earth: fifty-four countries agreeing
with one voice to buy no more lemons from the wicked
fascist ‘lawbreaker’: the ‘Stresa Front’ shattered over-
night. Mr. Litvinov in the role of law-abiding citizen-
of-the-world, in whose mouth unsanctioned butter
would not melt, performing a frantic carmagnole in the
centre of the stage: Mr. Baldwin squatting down and
smoking the pipe of peace with the gunman who bumped
off the Tsar and all his family circle: while ‘Onward
Christians Soldiers’ was being community-sung by all
the Free Churches, and the League of Nations Union,
with Viscount Cecil as choir-master: the Paris Press
resounding with far more anti-British sound and fury
than at the time of Fashoda!