by Anna Manning
John Locke Foundation Senior Fellow, Garland Tucker, was featured in Real Clear History writing on what we can learn from history and what appeasement has taught us.
Winston Churchill left us a marker: “Study history, study history. In history lie all the secrets of statecraft.” From our 21st century vantage point, we gaze back over the most violent century in human history, the 20th century, and desperately seek the guidance of history.
Historian Paul Johnson saw the devastation of the 20th century as a result of “the rise of moral relativism, the decline of personal responsibility, and the repudiation of Judeo-Christian values.” The gaping void left by the “retreat of the old order” was an open invitation for the emergence of Nazism and Communism and their despotic regimes. More recently, historian Niall Ferguson has identified the forces of ethnic conflict, economic volatility, and empires in decline as the moving forces behind this tragic century.
However one understands the causes, there are certain lessons to be learned. One such lesson is the folly of appeasement. The long preamble to World War II is the story of misplaced confidence by men of good will in their ability to reason with aggressive dictators.
As the West encounters renewed threats of aggression from China, Iran, and Islamic terrorism, what will we learn from history? If we cannot understand the past, how can we hope to navigate the future?
Will we follow Chamberlain or Churchill?
Read the article here.