Neville Chamberlain

On the Use and Abuse of Munich

Please, American blowhards: No more analogies to 1938

The 1938 conference between Chamberlain and Hitler is misunderstood. And the blowhards who constantly evoke its memory are dangerous.

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I. “The standard left-wing person never seems more comfortable than when attacking Israel.” This is the novelist Martin Amis talking to Ha’aretz when he was in Israel this past fall.“Everyone else is protected,” Amis continued, “by having dark skin or colonial history or something. But you can attack Israel.” Freely! Of course, it’s not only the standard left-wing person who is so empowered, but also those who belong to mainstream Protestant churches associated with the National Council of Churches on Riverside Drive in Manhattan.

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Will Hollywood stand up to William Randolph Hearst over the matter of Orson Welles’s film, Citizen Kane? RKO, the distributor, announces that it is going ahead with plans to show the picture. It has been booked into the number-one movie house of the nation, the Radio City Music Hall in New York City, and many other places.

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Seventy years ago, in the summer and fall of 1940, Western civilization teetered in the balance as Britain stood alone against Nazi-controlled Europe. Other major world powers did not lend aid; Russia supported Germany, and the United States remained neutral. After Britain resisted the assault of Nazi bombers, in what was dubbed the “Battle of Britain,” the country was saved and German momentum stymied. The whole course of the war then radically shifted.

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This post is from our new In-House Critics blog. Click here to read more about it. Sometimes, Leon Wieseltier’s eloquence disguises a murky argument. “Political conviction cannot be indifferent to events,” he writes in his last Washington Diarist, “but not every event is an occasion for new thinking.” The Iraq war turned certain liberals (unnamed) who once believed “in the responsibility of American power to do good in the world” into Obama-admiring realists. They would be wiser, he counsels, to stick to their “fundamental beliefs.” And to grasp those, “The study of history should suffice.

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Is Barack Obama a new Adolph Hitler or a new Neville Chamberlain? The Washington Times says... both!

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The Bill Clinton Show

My Life By Bill Clinton (Alfred A. Knopf, 957 pp., $35) Click here to purchase the book. Bill Clinton used to tell us that he wanted to feel our pain, even though he often gave us one. In this characteristically garrulous volume of almost one thousand pages, he tells us all about his own pain.

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Jonathan Rauch evaluates the philosophical arguments for and against gay marriage in his 1996 cover story.

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Sodom and Demurrer

Courtroom Three, on the second floor of the Denver City and County Building, is a neoclassical jewel, with its mustard walls and gray Vermont marble and polished oak backboard. It is a platonic ideal of a courtroom, which is perhaps why Viacom commandeered it in the mid-1980s to film several episodes of the new "Perry Mason." At the producers' behest, local architects installed a pair of ornate, but scarcely functional, beaux arts chandeliers; and their dim orange glow makes it hard for the judge to see the witnesses without squinting.

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The whole truth about the recent general strike in Great Britain has not yet been told; and perhaps it never will be told until the memoirs of the chief actors in the struggle are published. But we know enough of it already to be sure that when it comes it will be a strange story, smacking more of the fencing school than of the duelling ground, of comic opera than of tragedy. The second of these metaphors is the more pertinent, for certainly this “great struggle” belonged rather to the stage than to the world of reality.

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