Today it’s inconceivable that a British Prime Minister would dismiss Hitler’s invasion of Czechoslovakia as a, ‘quarrel in a far away country between people of whom we know nothing’, but Chamberlain did. Britain declared war because it had no choice.
Yet collectively Britons (and others in the West) decided that the war would be for so much more. British soldiers returned home and kicked Churchill’s Tories out demanding a new world order. It’s hard to believe today, but the Beveridge Report was sold on newsstands and became a bestseller.
Attitudes to war changed too and this where Wiesenthal comes in. The Allies were often lax in tracking down war criminals and Wiesenthal picked up the slack bringing more than a thousand war criminals to justice. Hopefully Wiesenthal’s legacy will be to ensure that those who continue to commit crimes against humanity will forever after live in fear of being brought to justice.
And just today a Serb accused of war crimes is to be deported from Canada, so perhaps that hope is to be realised.
What the war was for