The Gathering Storm (1948)
Theme of the volume
How the English-speaking peoples through their unwisdom, carelessness, and good nature allowed the wicked to rearm
THE TWILIGHT WAR
September 3, 1939 — May 10, 1940
The Front in France
It is a joke in Britain to say that the War Office is always preparing for the last war. But this is probably true of other departments and of other countries, and it was certainly true of the French Army.
In the problems which the Almighty sets his humble servants things hardly ever happen the same way twice over, or if they seem to do so, there is some variant which stultifies undue generalisation. The human mind, except when guided by extraordinary genius, cannot surmount the established conclusions amid which it has been reared.
This is the answer to the question, ‘'Why remain passive till Poland was destroyed?” But this battle had been lost some years before. In 1938, there was a good chance of victory while Czechoslovakia still existed. In 1936, there could have been no effective opposition. In 1933, a rescript from Geneva would have procured bloodless compliance. General Gamelin cannot be the only one to blame because in 1939 he did not run the risks which had so erroneously increased since the previous crises, from which both the French and British Governments had recoiled.