On the rare occasions when I am asked about my position on the present war in Iraq, I reply that I am agnostic. I do not know the answer. That is what research into cultural attitudes around the Second World War has taught me.
When I was researching the biography of William Joyce, Lord Haw-Haw, I encountered perhaps two dozen anti-war, peace – and appeasement – movements existing in Britain in the late 1930s. These ranged from frankly pro-Fascist organisations such as Joyce’s own National Socialists to left-wing and feminist organisations supported by Quakers and the Women’s Peace Pledge Union, not to mention varieties of communists opposed to all ‘imperialist wars’.