Ghost in the Machine: Britain as a Great Power
‘We are the only unbroken nation that fought against Hitler’s tyranny in the war from start to finish’, Churchill said of Britain’s role in the defeat of Nazi Germany in the Second World War a year after that event. ‘We sought no material gains … We, and with us the whole Empire and Commonwealth … drew the sword against the mighty antagonist at the call of honour and in defence of the rights of weaker nations, according to our plighted word, according to the fair play of the world. We did not fight only in the sacred cause of self defence like the Russian[s] … No one attacked us. We fought for a higher and broader theme. We fought against tyranny, aggression, and broken faith, and in order to establish that rule of law among the nations which alone can be the shield of freedom and progress.’1 There could be no nobler crusade than the one that Britain waged against Nazi Germany, given that the Soviet Communist system, its moral equivalent and one time ally, was the less immediate threat in geopolitical terms. There could be no more glorious way to mark the end of Britain as a Great Power than to lead by example in defiance of the Nazi regime, and then to play her full part in the coalition with the Americans and with Stalin’s Russia that destroyed Hitler’s regime and its Axis allies.
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