The Golden Years & War clouds gather 1935 – 1939
It was noon on Sunday, September 3rd 1939. Time seemed to stand still as the Peoples ofÂ the Dominions and Colonies of the British Empire and Commonwealth and their Western Allies waited, expectantly, for Neville Chamberlain, the British Prime Minister, to announce on a World Wide Radio Broadcast from the B.B.C, Britain’s declaration of War on Hitler’s Nazi Germany. Dad, Wally, Arthur & Kate and I had gathered in the lounge, around the old round-topped Pye Radio, at Ermond, Summerly Road, Kenilworth.
The atmosphere was tense as we listened to his emotional and gloomy statement. Memories came flooding back to those who remembered the First World War and the horrors of the Trench warfare in France. This was the culmination of Hitler’s aggressive rise to power and the unfolding of his dreams and plans as stated in his book “Mein Kampf”. During the 1929 – 1930 worldwide depression, the Hitler Youth Brigades appeared and support grew rapidly for the Nazi party. The Hitler “Brown Shirts” rigged the Reichstag fire and the Communists were blamed. Hitler, as Chancellor, stifled the freedom of the press, and personal and civil liberties. His reign of terror began as he purged the local government, judiciary and civil service and filled the newly opened concentration camps with Jews and anyone who showed any opposition to his political aspirations. Within his own party he had Ernst Rohm and his Storm Troopers murdered by Himmler’s “Black Shirts” and, when President Hindenberg died Hitler immediately assumed the combined powers of Chancellor and President. He then followed his plan to re-arm Germany and to reclaim all the territory lost in the First World War and which Germany had surrendered at the Treaty of Versailles. An unending stream of propaganda was broadcast over Zeesen Radio. “Germany Calling” was a program broadcast by Lord “Haw Haw”, who had an impeccable English accent, and spread the most vicious propaganda. A 5th Column of spies and agitators infiltrated The Saar, Rhineland, Austria and Sudetenland. Hitler withdrew from the League of Nations and the Western Allies were left in disarray, helpless to stop Germany’s rearmament and surge to power. Churchill’s “The Second World War” Vol.1 – The Gathering Storm, depicts the indecision of the World Political leaders at the time.