This first volume summarizes the time between the wars, with an emphasis on the few years right before war broke out. The Moral and Theme of the works really sum up Churchill's position.
Moral of the Work:
In War: Resolution
In Defeat: Defiance
In Victory: Magnanimity
In Peace: Good Will
Theme of the Volume
How the English-speaking peoples through their unwisdom, carelessness, and
good nature allowed the wicked to rearm.
That pretty much sums up the book. It is amazing the things that Hitler got away with. A lot like those crime movies where the criminal is so bold faced that he always gets away with things. Hitler was just daring France or the League of Nations or anyone else to step in and stop him and no one ever did. Belgium and Holland were just cowering, trying desperately not to antagonize Germany, and they though they could survive that way. Britain's course was called "Peace at Any Price" They soon found out that the price was too high.
It is funny, Churchill was a part of the government during the first World War, and he was a member of theHouse of Commons during the interval, but he was a constant thorn in the side of the Prime Minister and those in power, even though he was a member of their party. He mentions several times, at least I wasn't a part of the government that made all those mistakes in the beginning, that meant the I could start the fight free of the taint of all that had gone before.
So this book ends when he becomes Prime Minister and actively started the fight against Germany. The detail of the book was fascinating. I just picked it up from the library on a whim but I was thoroughly engrossed. I've learned a lot, not just about WWII, but about how politics at the highest levels works and what a real head of state does. I think this should be required reading for people get degrees in political science. Of course, maybe it is, I don't know. But I feel like I'm much smarter that when I started.
The Gathering Storm. Winston S. Churchill. Houghton Mifflin. 1948