慕尼黑的错误教训

纽约——70年前的这个月在慕尼黑,英国首相内维尔·张伯伦签署了一份文件,允许德国侵占捷克斯洛伐克的一大片土地。所谓“慕尼黑”协定将被看作是对张伯伦口中“我们几乎一无所知的遥远国度”的无耻背叛。可那个时候很多人并不这么想。

张伯伦相信英国并未准备好同纳粹德国交战,因此外交和妥协是更安全的选择,这种看法在当时的欧洲人中很有市场,这些人亲身体验过战争带来的可怕后果。尽管如此,张伯伦仍然在历史上被视为懦夫,而他对纳粹德国的“绥靖政策”常被指责为鼓励了希特勒其后发动的征服欧洲其它国家的战争。

张伯伦也许是错了。英国和法国本来可以阻止德国。“慕尼黑,1938”,是民主国家历史上谨慎外交犯下错误的一个罕见先例。历史需要一个嗜血的浪漫英雄,愿意以民族命运为赌注参与作战,“无论付出什么样的代价”,用温斯顿·丘吉尔自己的话说。

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