Monday, September 27th 2021 | 7:00pm
It is a truth almost universally acknowledged that British foreign policy in the 1930s, commonly described as ‘appeasement’, was a disaster that produced the second world war. Winston Churchill was one of the few who insisted that not standing up to Nazi Germany by threatening armed force would lead to war. But was appeasement simply a policy of weakness and fear? Why was it so supported by so many leaders in Britain, the dominions and elsewhere, including Mackenzie King, the prime minister of Canada? What exactly was Churchill arguing and why was it rejected for so long? Professor Thompson will continue the presentation into the war, when Churchill himself had to deal with the threats of Italy and Japan entering the war and the territorial claims of the allied Soviet Union, and will conclude with some reflections on appeasement and diplomacy.
Neville Thompson is Emeritus Professor of History at Western University where he taught modern British and European history from 1973 to 2004, following five years at Huron College and three years at McMaster University from 1970 to 1973. His first book, published in 1971, was The Anti-Appeasers: Conservative Opposition to Appeasement in the 1930s. Fifty years later, his latest book is The Third Man: Churchill, Roosevelt, Mackenzie King, and the Untold Friendships that Won WWII, published in February 2021. In between, Professor Thompson wrote three other books, served as a board member of the Ontario Heritage Foundation and of the Historica Foundation, and was a member of both provincial and federal Electoral Boundaries Commissions. He was on the Editorial Advisory Board of The International History Review from 2003-06. Professor Thompson lives in London, Ontario.
This lecture is a presentation of the Churchill Society for the Advancement of Parliamentary Democracy, and is co-sponsored by the Yorkminster Park Speakers Series.