On Changes in History

Winston Churchill in 1940 had a few days to decide the reaction of Britain to the German aggression in Europe. Till that point the most likely outcome was that that Britain would strike a compromise deal with Germany and avoid entering the war. That was what everyone expected within Britain and in Germany and everywhere else. However the gravity of the consequences of any decision to be taken by Churchill made it necessary to review all possible options rather than quickly reacting and following the expected pattern. In a way Churchill entered in his here and now and saw other future possibilities out of hope that US will support Britain, out of pride, out of spite for the docile Chamberlain or whatever other reason. Hitler did not need to enter in his here and now at this juncture in time and make a decision of that gravity, he was just waiting Britain´s reaction believing that Britain will concede to peace. So when Churchill convinced the others in UK that Britain should resist, in effect his new future eliminated not only his past but also Germany´s past making it irrelevant how the situation reached that point. It did not matter what happened and what everyone believed till then. None of these pasts mattered anymore. A new reality emerged created by the person and the country that had more necessity than any other to be in the present fully unfolding and reviewing all possible options. None else had that necessity, so his here and now decision affected the outcome of the war in an objective sense, simply because his here and now was the only here and now that mattered at that point in time.

Was it then destiny or free will behind that outcome ? neither of the 2 really. None could predict with certainty that Churchill would choose the possible but not probable course, so it can not be claimed that was destined. However it was not pure free will as the reasons behind his decision were not free of conditional and prejudiced responses. It was not wisdom that guided him in reaching that decision, rather was a mix of arrogance and excessive optimism with an explosive emotional personality. So in that perspective someone like him was rather probable that would take such a risky decision so in that aspect was more destined. So a combination of personal and collective probabilities were blended and created an event. However if Chamberlain or the King had demonstrated even slightly stronger conviction against the war, then the blend of probabilities would alter the final decision. If Mussolini when approached by Britain was even slightly more willing to mediate, the whole thing would be different. So Mussolini instead of playing kingmaker and mediate which his vanity was feeding on, he arrogantly ignore Britain´s approach for mediation to Hitler. Of course he has done that out of weighing probabilities on the benefits that Italy would derive if Britain entered the war and Italy can attack their Mediterranean colonies and gain more than through a negotiated settlement. However his process lacked here and now elements and was rather arrogant reaction rather than exploring and weighing all probabilities arriving in a peacefully made choice.  His rejection actually forced Britain into the war because the probabilities of a truce were diminishing leaving Britain with no choice. So this is an example on how we collectively affect each other´s futures and pasts by creating ever shifting probabilities either being in the here and now or not been in the here and now. Italy did not need to make a quick decision forced by any circumstances and had more positive probabilities and could have chosen at least to explore negotiated gains from Britain (decision made acting out of conditioning in the lack of here and now presence). Britain on the other hand after Italy´s rejection was running out of choices (decision made seeing all probabilities utilizing the here and now)

0 replies

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *