The war cabinet met again at 10:00 pm with the Chiefs of Staff in attendance. Greenwood insisted that it would be disastrous to approach Mussolini.Churchill spoke again and firmly dismissed an approach to Mussolini as futile, dangerous and ruinous to the integrity of Great Britain's fighting position. Halifax presented a telegram from the French government which suggested an approach to the Italian dictator On the morning of 24 May, Hitler, having consulted Boulogne surrendered on the afternoon of 25 May and the The war cabinet had already commissioned a report called The report had two main conclusions. He reminded his colleagues that a continuation of the conflict would see severe losses inflicted on Germany also.The minutes confirm the war cabinet's agreement with Chamberlain's comment as "a true statement of the case".Chamberlain called for a realistic assessment of the situation.
The CoS would prepare a supplement to their report, based on Churchill's terms of reference.Apart from the docks, where a British contingent held on until the Monday morning, the town of Calais was taken by the Wehrmacht on Sunday afternoon. On 20 March 1931, Irwin paid tribute to Gandhi's honesty, sincerity and patriotism at a dinner given by ruling princes.
Eden resigned as Halifax's political line as Foreign Secretary must be seen in the context of existing British foreign policy, which was predicated on a broad consensus that in none of the democracies was there popular support for war, military pressure, or even rearmament. I have only to add that nothing which may happen in this battle can in any way relieve us of our duty to defend the world cause to which we have vowed ourselves; nor should it destroy our confidence in our power to make our way, as on former occasions in our history, through disaster and through grief to the ultimate defeat of our enemies.Attendance was limited to the five war cabinet members with Sinclair, Cadogan and Bridges.The argument between Churchill and Halifax began again almost immediately, but this time Churchill was not at all conciliatory. He doubted in any case if Mussolini wanted to come into the war yet and, as Greenwood had argued, Hitler might not want him to declare war at all. But he did come round eventually to the view that war with Germany was unavoidable. They had not expressed alarm at the position in France, but had expressed the greatest satisfaction when he had told them that there was no chance of our giving up the struggle. The government had a nominal majority of 213 in the House: at the end of the "Under ordinary circumstances, such a weak vote would not have been politically disastrous, but it was decisive at a time when the Prime Minister was being strongly criticised by both sides of the House and there was a strong desire for national unity.The description of Chamberlain attempting to persuade Churchill to agree tacitly to Halifax's appointment as Prime Minister is also hard to reconcile with Halifax's having expressed his reluctance to do so to Chamberlain at a meeting between the two men on the morning of the 9th.In his diary entry for 9 May, written up the following morning, Halifax later wrote:
Attlee agreed with him and added that Mussolini would never be satisfied with anything offered to him and would at once ask for more. Churchill countered by saying that it was the French purpose to have Mussolini mediating between Great Britain and Hitler, an unacceptable scenario. There was debate about the extent to which the dictatorships' very separate interests could be teased apart.
Reynaud, he said, would be best advised to make a firm stand. He persuaded many wavering peers to support the government.In retirement he returned to largely honorary pursuits. If the worst came to the worst, he concluded, it would not be a bad thing for this country to go down fighting for the other countries which had been overcome by Nazi tyranny.Chamberlain did not agree with the French proposal but he suggested that an outright refusal might not be wise while efforts were being made to persuade France to fight on. The key to the current problem was phrasing the reply so that France would not see it as a complete rejection of their proposal, only that now was not the right time to be doing it. "In December 1937, Halifax told the Cabinet that "we ought to get on good terms with Germany", as despite the best efforts of Eden and Chamberlain, Britain was still faced with the prospect of war with Germany, Italy and Japan.By February 1938, Halifax warned Chamberlain of strains in the Cabinet, and tried to broker a deal between Chamberlain and Eden.
A fleet of ships and small boats would be assembled for the evacuation. I had no doubt at all in my own mind that for me to succeed him would create a quite impossible situation. Churchill would be running Defence, and in this connexion one could not but remember the relationship between Churchill's political position was weak, although he was popular with the Labour and Liberal Parties for his stance against appeasement in the 1930s. On Irwin's return to England in April 1931, the situation was calm, but within a year the conference collapsed and Gandhi was again arrested.
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