Colourise

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As you know, the House of Commons meets tomorrow at 2:45 London time. And I can tell you that the Prime Minister is being urged very strongly not only to outline the recent exchange between Hitler and the British government  — which so far remains a secret  —  but he has today been urged by certain opposition leaders to tell the whole story of the breakdown of negotiations with the Soviet Union. If he does tell that story, we shall be in for further surprise.

Mr. Chamberlain has been told that the Parliament will provide a good sounding board; that a full, complete statement would convince doubters. But he has no appetite for personal government, and is prepared to defend Britain’s actions in the open. Of course, what he says will, in large measure, depend upon whether or not he has received Herr Hitler’s reply to Britain’s message, which Sir Neville Henderson is now taking to Berlin by air.

On the whole, I should say that the possibility of avoiding war has not increased during the day. Government circles are in fact exceedingly pessimistic. But there is a general belief that the strategic position has improved; that Hitler is hesitating; that the Russians may betray the Germans. You are already aware of the reaction in Tokyo and Madrid as a result of Hitler’s retreat to Moscow. We are not yet certain of its full effect in Rome. Italy still has only a quarter of her army under arms, and if war comes and Italy stands with the Germans, she will suffer more terrible havoc than will Germany.

There is still hope that Hitler may pause and think again. There is still the possibility of a conference. The people with whom I have talked in London today certainly haven’t expressed any optimism, but their spirit is better. They believe the Germans are worried and uncertain, if not frightened, and that’s a pleasant situation to most Englishmen. They think, rightly or wrongly, that they now have the initiative; that if war comes, they will win it.

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from Cut the lights, released July 20, 2015

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