24 MAY 1940, Page 6

The attacks on what it is fashionable in some quarters

to style " the old men of Munich " seem rather damp squibs in the light of M. Reynaud's action in calling General Weygand and Marshal Petain to be the saviours of France. Who the other " old men of Munich " are I do not pretend to know, but I assume that Mr. Chamberlain is the oldest of the sinister brotherhood. He is 71. Weygand is 73, Petain 84. Now that Mr. Chamberlain has resigned, the controversies his policy has provoked may properly be left dormant. But this, at least, it is fair to observe, that if General Ironside, who was certainly speaking with full knowledge, was speaking also with sound judgement when he said, in an interview of doubtful wisdom, that he trembled to think what would have happened if Hitler's drive had come last September, it follows, a fortiori, that a German attack in the previous September, the month of Munich, would have been more disastrous still, in view of what is known of French and British unpreparedness at that date. In saying that I am not forgetting how important a com- pensating factor the Czecho-Slovak army, which was then mobilised, would have been. Mr. Chamberlain's friends are fully entitled to claim that his policy secured to the Allies a breathing-space which may prove, in the event, to have turned the scale between victory and defeat.

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