Prelude to War - United Kingdom

After World War I, Great Britain was marked by the death of a million of her young men, more than she was to lose in World War II. Her leaders, many old men overdue for retirement whose replacements were dead in Flanders field, were gripped by the memory of their war dead. The true horror of trench warfare had been kept from the British public, but not to the same extent that the German public was. With the returning armies came graphic descriptions of the violence and fear of massive unemployment.

Throughout the twenties, Great Britain faced industrial conflict. The war had proved that men of all classes died together, seriously shaking the foundation of Edwardian culture. The abdication of the King in 1936 to marry a divorced American woman is the most striking example of how English class lines were beginning to blur.

In “exile” during the thirties was a master politician who had planned the disastrous Gallipoli campaign in 1915 and went to France as a lieutenant. Winston Churchill had come out of World War I critical of the Versailles Treaty and warning of the danger of a rearmed Germany.