This week is the 70th anniversary of the day when Chamberlain and the French Prime Minister, Daladier, capitulated to Hitler at Munich. It had marked a particularly turbulent time for France's fourth republic, with successive leaders coming and going with remarkable speed. Before Daladier there was Leon Blum, and after him Pierre Reynaud. Charles de Gaulle had been running between Paris and London to try and broker an agreement as the then Foreign Minister, before both he and Reynaud were ousted at a stroke and replaced by that great appeaser, Philippe Petain*. There was only one direction in which France was then heading - towards armistice with Adolf Hitler - and so it proved.
Remarkable times! What worries me is that the era preceding all this marked a time of considerable economic turbulence - rather like now! Let's hope our current EU continues to do its job in avoiding war. Of course, no-one likes or wants war - how could we with all that blood spilt by innocent victims? But, what are governments to do when every generation or so yet another tyrant pops up in a position of total power? One thing's for sure, if we hadn't gone to war against Nazi Germany, I would not be writing this blog today! So, I think I agree with the Americans when they don't use the word 'commemorate' to refer to wars; rather they use the word 'memorialise'.
*To read more about Petain and wartime France, order my novel 'Je ne regrette rien' - now available to order from walk-in bookstores (ISBN 978-1-84753-366-1), or online: http://www.lulu.com/.