Modern historians regard Winston Churchill as one of the main political leaders who contributed to the defeat of the Third Reich and its allies. This paper will focus on his diplomatic strategies to defeat the Axis Powers and end the war. One can argue that he played a critical role in the creation of an alliance against Nazi Germany. Although his policies were not always popular, he was adamant in his decisions. To some degree, this steadfastness prevented many military plans of Nazi German from succeeding. This is one of the reasons why Churchill remains a role model for contemporary leaders, especially those who want to act as public officials.
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One should keep in mind that Churchill was extremely critical of the attempts to appease Germany. In his opinion, these attempts were flawed because they highlighted the weaknesses of various European countries that disagreed with the policies of Hitler. For instance, he opposed the Munich Agreement, which enabled Germany to annex certain parts of Czechoslovakia1. Moreover, he continuously laid stress on the idea that at the end of the thirties, the Third Reich had significantly increased its critical capabilities.
In particular, one can speak about German air forces that could threaten the United Kingdom2. Additionally, the key politicians of the Third Reich continuously emphasized the idea that Germany had to act as the dominant force in Europe. Nevertheless, very few political leaders were willing to recognize this danger. They believed that Adolf Hitler would restrict his aggressive policies after annexing the territory of Czechoslovakia. They did not consider the possibility that this approach was completely flawed because it relied on the assumption that Adolf Hitler was a rational individual.
The outbreak of World War II demonstrated that Churchill’s criticisms of these policies were quite justified. One should keep in mind that for a long time, the United Kingdom was the only country that actively resisted the Third Reich. At a certain point, Germany invaded and defeated France, while the United States and the Soviet Union did not join the war. In turn, the United Kingdom had to face a powerful opponent that bombed its cities.
Many British politicians insisted that the government should sign a peace treaty with Germany, event at the time when this state had already made war on other countries. However, Churchill was firmly convinced that such actions would eventually lead to the disaster because the leaders of Nazi Germany could never tolerate the existence of any country that could dispute German dominance in Europe.
This is why the British government rejected the peace offer of the Third Reich3. This decision made Churchill extremely unpopular, especially among the aristocratic elites. However, at the same time, it profoundly undermined the military plans of Hitler and his commanders, because they could not deploy all of their troops in the Eastern Front. This is one of the main impacts that one should take into account.
In turn, Churchill attached much importance to the creation of the alliance against Nazi Germany. At first, he persuaded the American government to launch the Lend-Lease program. As a result, the countries fighting against Germany could receive oil, food, and equipment that could be critical for the construction of weaponry and logistics. Moreover, Churchill attempted to convince American politicians that the Third Reich could be a global threat4. Moreover, the isolationist foreign policy of the United States could be perilous for the country.
In particular, Churchill continuously argued that Europe dominated by the Nazi Germany would eventually try to attack the United States or at least isolate this country both economically and geopolitically. Thus, in the long term, the policy of non-intervention could harm the interests of the United States. To a great extent, these arguments were quite effective. One should take into account that at that time, many American politicians opposed to the ideas of joining this war in any way. So, it is possible to say that Churchill was able to cope with a very difficult task.
Furthermore, as a diplomat, Churchill believed that at the time of war, allies had to set aside some of their political disagreements. This is why he supported the Soviet Union, when Germany attached this country. One should keep in mind that Churchill was extremely critical of the political and economic regime, established in the state. Furthermore, the country also tried to impose its political ideology on Europe and other countries regions of the world. Moreover, its political leaders signed a peace treaty with the Third Reich. So, Churchill tended to distrust the Soviet Union. Additionally, he criticized the oppressive policies pursued by Joseph Stalin.
Nevertheless, he argued that it had been vital to provide military equipment to the Soviet Union since the defeat of this country could shape the outcome of World War II in favor of Nazi Germany. One can refer to his famous statement, “If Hitler invaded Hell, I would at least make a favourable reference to the Devil in the House of Commons”5. To some degree, this quote shows that Churchill perceived fascism as the major threat to the world. Thus, it was critical for different countries to join their efforts against this force. Overall, Churchill significantly contributed to the creation of coalition against the Axis Powers and coordinated military actions against these countries.
Apart from that, Churchill could see that the defeat of the Third Reich would not completely eliminate the risk of military conflicts in Europe6. This is why he took an active part in various negotiations that could set the borders of post-war Europe and establish the balance of powers. For instance, one can speak about the Yalta Conference which had to delineate the spheres of influence in Europe and other regions of the world. At that moment, there was an increased risk of military conflicts between Western countries and the Soviet Union. Thus, it was vital to minimize these risks.
To some degree, these examples demonstrate that separate individuals can profoundly shape the course of history. Admittedly, one cannot assume that politicians or diplomats are the only people who determined the outcomes of World War II. It is critical to pay attention to the role played by millions of soldiers and officers who sacrificed the lives to achieve this victory. Similarly, one cannot disregard the importance of scientists and engineers who designed weaponry.
They also ensured that the Allies could achieve technical superiority over the Third Reich. However, much depends on the willingness of people to take steps that will be widely unpopular. Furthermore, they should be unwilling to compromise their principles. To a great extent, these arguments are relevant if one speaks about Winston Churchill and his diplomatic policies which prevented the Axis Powers from succeeding.
Adams, Jefferson. Historical Dictionary of German Intelligence. New York: Scarecrow Press, 2009.
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Axelrod, Alan. The Real History of World War II: A New Look at the Past. New York: Sterling Publishing Company, 2009.
Dallas, Gregor. 1945: The War That Never Ended. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2006.
Gilbert, Martin. Winston Churchill – the Wilderness Years: A Lone Voice Against Hitler in the Prelude to War. London: Tauris Parke Paperbacks, 2011.
Kaufman, Will. Britain and The Americas: Culture, Politics, And History: A Multidesciplinary Encyclopedia. New York: ABC-CLIO, 2005.
Knight, Nigel. Churchill the Greatest Briton Unmasked. London: David & Charles, 2012.
- Nigel Knight, Churchill the Greatest Briton Unmasked. (London: David & Charles, 2012), 74.
- Martin Gilbert, Winston Churchill – the Wilderness Years: A Lone Voice Against Hitler in the Prelude to War. (London: Tauris Parke Paperbacks, 2011), 127.
- Jefferson Adams, Historical Dictionary of German Intelligence. (New York: Scarecrow Press, 2009), 186.
- Will Kaufman, Britain, and The Americas: Culture, Politics, And History: A Multidesciplinary Encyclopedia. (New York: ABC-CLIO, 2005), 527.
- Alan Axelrod, The Real History of World War II: A New Look at the Past. (New York: Sterling Publishing Company, 2009), 292.
- Gregor Dallas, 1945: The War That Never Ended. (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2006), 399.