Preparing for War
As the Nazi storm brewed in 1936, only one man was forecasting where it was headed. On reading one of Winston Churchill’s speeches, Sir Clive Morrison-Bell wrote to him: “It is quite one of your best I think. You are so right about not being mealy-mouthed just now; the tone everywhere is far too apologetic, and you seem to be almost the only person who ever speaks out” (Martin Gilbert, The Prophet of Truth; emphasis mine throughout).
Isn’t the tone in Britain and America apologetic and “mealy-mouthed” today? Who is there that speaks out with a strong voice in foreign policy?
Churchill wrote on April 9, 1936 (ibid.):
It seems a mad business to confront these dictators without weapons or military force, and at the same time to try to tame and cow the spirit of our people with peace films, anti-recruiting propaganda and resistance to defense measures. Unless the free and law-respecting nations are prepared to organize, arm and combine, they are going to be smashed up. This is going to happen quite soon. But I believe we still have a year to combine and marshal superior forces in defense of the League and its Covenant.
The leaders and people had become their own worst enemy!
On April 13, 1936, he wrote his wife: “We are really in great danger” (ibid.).
Does it make sense to think we can confront dictators without weapons, or, if we have weapons, without the will to use them?
As the danger grew worse, the British Parliament showed more peace films and kept resisting a strong defense! And if it hadn’t been for Churchill, they would have been “smashed up.”
The British leaders lacked the will to even prepare for war. They certainly lacked the will to lead in such dangerous times. Weak men will never face the brutal facts until it’s too late.
A few more people were beginning to see that Churchill was right. Gilbert wrote:
Three months later, at an Independent Labor Party summer school, Eleanor Rathbone declared: “I have described Winston Churchill as a new recruit to pro-League forces. Watch that man carefully. You may feel distrustful. So did I. I’m not certain yet. But I ask you to dispel prejudice and consider facts. Churchill for three years has pointed out extensive German rearmaments. Later facts have justified his estimates.”
Those people who listened closely to Churchill’s message and watched the terrifying events unfold knew he was right about Germany.
Churchill saw that his nation was not mentally and physically prepared for war. He gave this warning in 1936: “Europe is approaching a climax. I believe that that climax will be reached in the lifetime of the present Parliament.”
At the end of his speech Churchill called for a Ministry of Supply, or a Ministry of Munitions, to provide the necessary armaments in good time. As he told the House of Commons: “Surely the question whether we should be working under peace conditions depends upon whether working under those conditions will give us the necessary deliveries of our munitions—upon whether the gun plants and the shell plants and, above all, the airplane factories, can fulfill the need in time. If they can do so, then peace conditions are no doubt very convenient; but if not, then we must substitute other conditions—not necessarily war conditions, but conditions which would impinge upon the ordinary daily life and business life of this country. There are many conditions apart from war conditions—preparatory conditions, precautionary conditions, emergency conditions—and these must be established in this country if progress is to be made, and if Parliament and the nation are not to find themselves deluded in the future by mere paper programs and promises which in the result will be found to be utterly unfulfilled.
What a deep lesson in this statement! If only we would so examine every phase of our individual lives and the life of our nation today, we would not be easily deluded. You can tell so much about people by how easily they are deceived. Deceit is our main enemy. The whole world is deceived about true leadership and God (Revelation 12:9). But who really believes that today?
America and Britain are deeply deceived about leadership today. And we are facing a greater crisis now than World War ii! The very same nation—Germany—is going to trigger that crisis—just as it did in World Wars i and ii! (you can learn about this prophecy by reading Germany and the Holy Roman Empire).
War is ready to explode in Europe and the Middle East. The global economy is on the verge of collapse!
The time for polite words is past. It is time for the blunt truth.
Churchill said, “Something quite extraordinary is afoot. All the signals are set for danger. The red lights flash through the gloom. Let peaceful folk beware. It is a time to pay attention and to be well prepared” (ibid.). And so it is today. The danger signals and the red lights are flashing. But people are prone to ignore their watchmen until it is too late.
Churchill was accused of having a “strong anti-German obsession.” Sometimes we are so accused. But some of our own members are German. We believe in facing the truth. Those who fail to do so are going to learn by the sledgehammer of events!
Churchill continued: “What woke them up was a series of horrible shocks, and intelligence from every quarter streaming in. … If I read the future aright, Hitler’s government will confront Europe with a series of outrageous events and ever-growing military might. It is events which will show our dangers, though for some the lesson will come too late” (ibid.).
He read the future beautifully. But most people still didn’t listen to his words and awaken until it was almost too late!
Prime Minister Baldwin publicly accused Churchill of a serious lack of judgment. But events eventually revealed who had good judgment.
Ezekiel is an end-time prophetic book. God prophesied that He would send a watchman (Ezekiel 33:6-7). That is the good news. But there is also some very bad news. “And when this cometh to pass, (lo, it will come,) then shall they know that a prophet hath been among them” (verse 33). The people don’t recognize the watchman until it is too late physically. They ignore his words until they are in the midst of a nuclear disaster.
Churchill once said, “There is a purpose being worked out here below.” He sensed that God was working out His plan. And so He is.
But there is no Winston Churchill to lead us to safety this time. God is not going to save us again unless we repent (verse 11).
We can’t hide and escape from the series of shocking events that are about to bombard America and Britain!
“Churchill was one of the speakers at a Ralegh Club dinner, telling the assembled students and dons: ‘When I came to Oxford to make a speech, five years ago, I said you must re-arm. I was laughed at. I said we must make ourselves safe in our island home, and then laughter arose. I hope you have learned wisdom now’” (ibid.).
Did Oxford learn a lasting lesson from Winston Churchill? No! Has higher education today learned from Churchill’s World War ii experience? Mostly they scorn his political views today. Would they listen to a Churchill today? The answer is no! They would treat him just as they did in World War ii—only worse! If he were alive he would have some strong views on what is happening today in Germany, and other monstrous problems facing the world.
Some people also laugh at our warning today. But God prophesies that the laughter is about to be totally silenced!
Only fools laugh at God’s warning message! Gilbert continued in his book:
Also on June 12, Ralph Wigram sent Churchill copies of three further Foreign Office dispatches dealing with different aspects of Nazism. “Will you kindly destroy them when you have read them,” he added. “I have marked the important passages.” Six days later the Duchess of Atholl sent Churchill the transcript of a speech Hitler had made to the League of German Maidens. One paragraph, she pointed out, had been deleted in the broadcast version. In it Hitler had said that if war came, “I should fall upon my enemy suddenly, like lightning striking out of the night.”
These words had a great impact on Churchill’s mind. He also remembered Germany’s history in warfare. Gilbert continued:
Churchill … was convinced about the possibilities of surprise in the German organizational framework. Commenting on the 1,200 machines and 1,114 pilots for whom the Air Staff had located no specific squadron and only non-first-line duties, he wrote, “This would be amply sufficient to duplicate every one of the 88 squadrons now believed to have been identified. When we remember the fondness evinced by Germany in history for this particular form of surprise, and note the large number of machines and pilots which seem to have vanished into thin air and the hundred-odd aerodromes which have been constructed, this possibility cannot be excluded.”
He understood Germany’s history of surprise attacks! The Air Staff fully agreed with him. Germany had been fond of such attacks. And this is the method of warfare it followed throughout World War ii! This happened repeatedly to Hitler’s enemy nations and even those who thought they were his friends! Daniel 8:23-25 state that deceit and surprise attacks by Germany will be even worse in World War iii! History keeps repeating itself.
Still, the British government rejected what “might come as a great shock to the country and result in an upheaval of industry.” They refused to do what the crisis demanded! Time was running out.
A Thankless Service
“At any rate my conscience is clear,” Churchill said.
I have done my best during the last three years and more to give timely warning of what was happening abroad, and of the dangerous plight into which we were being led or lulled. It has not been a pleasant task. It has certainly been a very thankless task. It has brought me into conflict with many former friends and colleagues. I have been mocked and censured as a scare-monger and even as a warmonger, by those whose complacency and inertia have brought us all nearer to war and war nearer to us all.
But I have the comfort of knowing that I have spoken the truth and done my duty, and as long as I have your unflinching support I am content with that. Indeed I am more proud of the long series of speeches which I have made on defense and foreign policy in the last four years than of anything I have ever been able to do in all my 40 years of public life. …
Through our own folly and refusal to face realities and deal with evil tendencies while they were yet controllable, we have allowed brutal and intolerant forces to gain almost unchallenged supremacy in Europe and have placed ourselves in a position of weakness and peril, the like of which our history does not record for 2½ centuries. …
We are going away on our holidays. Jaded ministers, anxious but impotent members of Parliament, a public whose opinion is more bewildered and more expressionless than anything I can recall in my life—all will seek the illusion of rest and peace.
Many authorities agree that the Western world probably would not have survived without the warning and leadership of Winston Churchill. It is hard to imagine a greater service than that. Yet he was castigated even by many of his friends and party members as a scare-monger and warmonger. A thankless service indeed.
Yet I perceive that Churchill’s warning is being pushed aside more and more by some journalists and scholars today. It is to their shame and our terrifying danger that they do so.
We must work hard to avoid making this same mistake. Instead of pushing aside reality we must accept it, and prepare accordingly. This is why the Trumpet exists: We not only strive to explain the dark realities of the present, but we explain the thrilling realities of the future, and what you can do to see them come to fruition in your life. Don’t hesitate—click here to subscribe to the free print edition of the Philadelphia Trumpet. •
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