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On the evening of June 2, 1938, Winston Churchill declared that “volcanic forces were moving in Europe” in a speech on the European situation at a meeting of the League of Nations Union in Birmingham. He said that “the idea that dictators could be appeased by kind words and minor concessions was doomed to disappointment.” The “dictator countries” were preparing night and day to advance their ambitions and that Britain and other countries were in great danger. Churchill observed that at the moment Britain was sheltered by the strength of the French army and the supremacy of the Royal Navy. In the air Britain was, however, falling farther and farther behind. Speaking on the Spanish Civil War, he said that the German and Italian interference in the conflict was shameful and in that light he found it “very difficult” to remain neutral.

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