My Political Life - Vol. 3

My Political Life - Vol. 3

My Political Life - Vol. 3

My Political Life - Vol. 3

Excerpt

My original intention, when I began the present work, was to cover the whole period from 1929 to the end of the Second World War in a single volume, and to let that conclude the task of recording my political experiences. By the time I had dealt with the complicated and controversial story of the years in which we drifted into that war I realized that it would be difficult and, indeed, inappropriate to include in the same volume with it the very different story of the war itself, as I saw it, and, more particularly, of the Indian constitutional problem with which I had to deal. It was not merely a question of bulk. It would have meant including under a single cover two periods of history of an entirely different character, as well as two entirely different phases of my own life.

The decade from 1929 to 1939 is a definite and self- contained period of British and, indeed, of world history. It is treated such by Sir Winston Churchill in his Gathering Storm and by Lord Templewood in his Nine Troubled Years, to both of which the present volume may be regarded as complementary and, in some respects, corrective. Both of them, too, like myself, treat the period as ending, not with the outbreak of war, but with the German break through in the West and the fall of the Chamberlain Government. That dramatic moment marked the end of an era. It slammed the door on the years which 'the locust had eaten'. With a fierce gust of whirlwind it opened a new chapter in world history, a chapter with an atmosphere of its own and with new problems, problems generated by the war itself, but continuing to unfold themselves, in these post-war years, towards still dimly discerned solutions.

I have told the story of those troubled and wasted pre-war years as I saw and felt it myself and from my own personal angle. I know how keenly the fires of controversy are still burning under the deceptive crust of what is not yet solid, cold history, and what risks I run of reviving those fires or of giving offence to old friends and colleagues or to their relatives.

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