The Battle For Rhodesia

The Battle For Rhodesia

RESPECTED READER, To those of you who know my books (a diminishing band: but aren’t we all?) and to those who know them not, let me recall that in 1936, sitting at a window in Vienna, I wrote a book, Insanity Fair, about the coming Second World War. In 1966, sitting at a window in Salisbury, Rhodesia, I find myself writing this book about the coming of a Third World War. This is where we all came in. The scene has shifted from Europe to Africa, but the new post-war years have seen the same ladder like process calculably leading to war.
In these latter years I did many things, and writing was of the things undone, for my writ, I felt, ran out. There was only the oft-told tale to re-tell and its constant iteration came too near the praising of myself, for every fool can play upon words. If “warnings” were needed, let others warn, and probably in vain, for by a divine instinct men’s minds mistrust ensuing danger. So I sought other paths and spent many years in South Africa.
Man proposes: looking for pastures new, I found myself in the centre of another world conflict in the brewing. Africa was this time the scene of the preparatory steps, and Southern Africa the last rung of the war-ladder. The British Government’s onslaught on Rhodesia, in 1965, returned the world to its plight of 1937, when war was two moves away and could yet have been averted by obvious countermoves.
Let me briefly recall those days to you, senior and junior classmates. From 1933 Hitler’s patent intention to make war was fore-told by all competent observers in Berlin. Even the date (about five years ahead) was accurately estimated, in its dispatches to London, by the Berlin office of The Times (where I was a correspondent).
The London government, however, to the end encouraged Hitler on his warpath by the method called “appeasement” (throwing children to pursuing wolves until only the parents remain, in the fleeing sleigh, for the wolves to devour). German rearmament was let pass, then the seizure of the Rhineland, then the recreation of the German air force (in 1935 Hitler personally told the British Foreign Minister of its massive strength, as I then reported).