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Saviour of the Nation von Hodgkinson, Brian (eBook)

  • Erscheinungsdatum: 03.03.2016
  • Verlag: Shepheard Walwyn (Publishers) Ltd
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Saviour of the Nation

Published to coincide with the celebrations marking the 70th anniversary of VE Day, this engaging poem depicts Winston Churchill as a hero, in traditional epic style and echoes the works of Homer and Virgil. The metre adds an emotional intensity to the events of 20th century history more usually found within Classical literature. The narrative covers the period from 1940, when Great Britain faced perhaps the greatest threat to its very existence as an independent nation: invasion and defeat by the rampant forces of Nazi Germany, to 1941 when the United States entered the war after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. In this acute crisis King George VI appointed a man whose reputation and earlier political success were questioned by many influential figures. Yet public opinion and some wiser men and women of substance, such as Lord Halifax, the alternative choice as Prime Minister at the time, determined the outcome. Their choice was thoroughly vindicated by the events that followed. His courage, boldness, rhetoric and inspiration united the country in its solitary stand against the might of the Luftwaffe and the potential landing of the dreaded Wehrmacht on British soil. Under his leadership the Royal Air Force defeated the Luftwaffe's attack, foiling Hitler's plans to invade England to the extent that he began to think instead of attacking his apparent ally, the Soviet Union, and to leave Britain to wither alone. Churchill knew that that he had only won a respite, but he set about to strengthen the country and to turn it from defence to aggression. The bomber force was developed, the army enlarged and re-equipped, the navy set to the task of eliminating German surface marauders and submarines. The population at large were motivated to make a supreme effort to resist the still extant threat to their whole way of life. Until Hitler attacked Russia, Britain stood alone, confronting a Europe largely controlled by the Nazis and their allies. To Stalin he offered full support: Hitler was the immediate threat to a civilised world. Only when the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor brought the USA into the war, did he realise that Germany - and Japan - were sure to be defeated. He had led the British people from the brink of utter disaster to the expectation of victory. Brian Hodgkinson, who taught history for many years, has published three books of poems, as well as others on history, philosophy and economics. He is currently working on a narrative poem on the history of the Second World War.


    Format: ePUB
    Kopierschutz: watermark
    Seitenzahl: 198
    Erscheinungsdatum: 03.03.2016
    Sprache: Englisch
    ISBN: 9780856834332
    Verlag: Shepheard Walwyn (Publishers) Ltd
    Größe: 1003 kBytes
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Saviour of the Nation



Spring 1937

Upon the stage of British politics

Another actor rose to eminence.

The time had come for Baldwin to withdraw.

His powers were waning; he was not the man

To meet the challenge posed by Hitler's threats.

Succeeding him came Neville Chamberlain,

A man of conscience, self-assured, austere,

Who brought to government much efficiency

Acquired by years in peacetime offices.

He sought to understand the claims of those

Who threatened to disrupt the world's affairs:

If he could meet dictators face to face,

Discuss at length their problems, then assess

What compromise might meet their due demands,

Then none would have recourse to violent means.

Such was his view - negotiate, appease.

The path he trod, convinced of rectitude,

Was far too strait for men of Churchill's ilk.

When Chamberlain soon planned to recognise

Italian claims on Ethiopia,

Eden resigned as Foreign Minister.

Henceforth he joined with that tiny band

Who stood opposed to Chamberlain's designs,

And recognised increasingly the need

For Churchill's hand on Britain's helm of State.

The sacrifice of office Eden made

Awoke in Churchill feelings of respect,

And yet he also felt a dark despair

At this new step towards the brink of war.

Hitler was not chastened by the thought

That Chamberlain would meet his just demands.

Once more he'd break the treaty, threatening now

The Anschluss with his native Austria.

Courageously the Chancellor Schuschnigg tried

To show by plebiscite his country's will,

But Hitler's fury swept away such hopes.

Where music once had charmed the Viennese,

In Summer parks and vacant palaces,

There echoed now the clattering of tanks,

With harsh commands and footsteps of the Reich.

Just at the time when German soldiers marched

To implement the Anschluss , there occurred

A luncheon party at 10 Downing Street.

The guest of honour was von Ribbentrop,

Departing as the Reich's ambassador,

To be, instead, its Foreign Minister.

Churchill, too, was present, and observed

A note was passed to Neville Chamberlain,

Who then seemed worried and pre-occupied.

Deliberately the Ribbentrops stayed late,

As though to hamper Chamberlain's desire

To take some action over Austria.

When Churchill rose to leave, and said he hoped

That Anglo-German friendship would endure,

The wife of the ambassador was curt;

'Make sure you do not spoil it!' she replied.

The British government only could protest;

But Churchill spoke in quite another vein,

When, on the morrow, he addressed the House:

'Again a solemn treaty is ignored,

To build, so it is claimed, a greater State;

Yet it transfers the Ostreich's minerals,

And access to the Danube waterway.

Now south-east Europe lies at Hitler's feet,

And Czechs and Slovaks henceforth are besieged.

How can appeasement check the Führer 's will?'

Already Wehrmacht generals had prepared

A detailed plan to seize Bohemia.

The pretext was the Czech Sudetenland,

Where Germans claimed they were deprived of rights.

A Nazi party there became the tool

For Hitler's pressure on the Czech regime.

Their leader, Henlein, would not compromise.

At Hitler's bidding all he would accept

Was full succession to the German Reich.

In Berlin's Sportspalast the Führer spoke,

Calling the German people to their fate:

To fight for Lebensraum , for blood and race.

His petty figure, with a small moustache

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