"The British Press and Germany",
a review by Carroll Quigley in Georgetown Today,
of a book:
THE BRITISH PRESS AND GERMANY, 1936-1939,
by Franklin Reid Gannon.
Oxford University Press: New York, 1971
"The British Press and Germany"
The British Press and Germany, 1936-1939.
By Franklin Reid Gannon, Ph.D.,
Oxford University Press, New York, N.Y. 1971. 314 pages.
Georgetowners of the early 1960s will
remember Frank Gannon (FS '64) as the most prominent undergraduate of
his day on the East Campus. He was in politics as president of his
freshman class and eventually president of the Walsh Area Student
Council and was active on the Courier and WGTB. Perhaps he is best
remembered for his musical talents, as a pianist at the 1789 who could
play instantly any piece suggested and as principal composer of the fine
Calliope musical shows of the 1962-64 era. He also played occasionally
at the White House in the Kennedy period.
Few who saw Frank on the campus in those days thought of him as a
serious student, simply because he was always in the public view and
could have had so little time for studying. But, in fact, he was deeply
concerned with public affairs and with history and, in his junior year,
decided to go to graduate school. Since then he has had a brilliant
record in scholarship, taking a master's degree at the London School of
Economics in economics and a doctoral degree at Oxford in history. While
in England, he made many friends in English public and academic life and
did some of the research for the second volume of Randolph Churchill's
life of Winston Churchill.
The British Press and Germany, 1936-1939 is a revision of Frank's
doctoral dissertation, and reveals his extraordinary talent in
understanding the most diverse kinds of people and his ability to have
himself accepted by persons of power and influence. This book shows a
deep understanding of such persons in Britain in the late appeasement
period and displays a knowledge of the complexities of English social,
political, and academic life such as few Americans ever get. So much in
English life, especially the internal relations of the power structure,
is never stated that only a very perceptive person with unusual
opportunities to get inside affairs can handle these matters with the
sure touch which is found in this book.
Among the opportunities which Gannon had were access to the
archives of The Times and of The Manchester Guardian and to various
private papers such as the diary of F. A. Voigt of The Guardian, the
papers of Geoffrey Dawson of The Times, and those of G. Ward Price of
The Daily Mail. He also had conversations with and letters from some of
the survivors of the appeasement period. These materials were used to
supplement a careful reading of 10 chief papers and some periodicals of
this three-year period.
Gannon's only weakness is in his first introductory chapter, which
goes into the historical background of his period, and which does not
reveal the same degree of understanding as is shown in his own special
period. This is, perhaps, not surprising, as the history of appeasement
has not yet been written. When it is written, it will show that
appeasement had little to do with Hitler directly. It goes back even
before the armistice of 1918 and may be seen at that time in such straws
in the wind as Lord Milner's warning, in October 1918, that Germany must
not be crushed in the war's end and the peace settlement in order to
preserve a balance of power in Europe. Aside from the minor weaknesses
of this first chapter, however, Gannon's book is a very fine piece of
— Reviewed by Dr. Carroll Quigley
Professor of History.