William Essex

Week or two back, I wrote a piece about the strange echoes of a previous war in this one. Scroll down if you’re interested; it’s here somewhere.

This morning, reading about the fighting inside the steelworks at Mariupol, I’m not thinking about the fighting inside the grain elevator at Stalingrad. I’m remembering that after the defeat at Stalingrad, Goebbels gave a speech in which he declared ‘Total War’.

On 18th February 1943, at the Berlin Sportpalast, to a carefully selected audience, Goebbels promised “a war more total and radical than anything that we can imagine today”. [Thanks to various sources on Google for that translation.]

Historical echoes are hard to block out, aren’t they?

Shopping list. Tinned food, bottled water, medical kit, loo rolls…

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By way of a precedent, Chamberlain resigned on 10th May 1940 and Churchill became Prime Minister on the same day. There was a war on at the time.

During the debate immediately preceding the change of leadership — the Norway Debate — the Conservative MP Leo Amery said this to Chamberlain: “You have sat too long here for any good you have been doing. Depart, I say, and let us have done with you.”

Amery was quoting Cromwell.

Of course, he was not suggesting that Chamberlain had broken the law in any way whatsoever.

Before he became PM, Churchill was First Lord of the Admiralty. That job no longer exists; its present-day equivalent is Secretary of State for Defence.

And that job is held by Ben Wallace MP, who was formerly a Captain in the Scots Guards.

Just saying.

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William Essex

William Essex

Writer, editor, publisher, Creative Director (seriously) at Climbing Tree Books (dot net). All views are my own. Mostly.