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Ukip Leader Nigel Farage Thinks The Armistice Was The Biggest Mistake Of The 20th Century

12/11/2014 13:58
Rob Stothard via Getty Images

Nigel Farage has made use of this week's Remembrance Day by saying that he thinks the armistice was the biggest mistake of the 20th century and voiced his opinions on how he would have stopped Hitler and World War Two.

In a discussion on the "myths" of the First World War and the impact of the conflict, the Ukip leader said he believes Germany should have been forced to unconditionally surrender - even if it had cost 100,000 more lives.

Trying his hand at some "What if" theoretical history, Farage argued that if Britain and its allies hadn't ended the fighting in western Europe for another six weeks, Adolf Hitler and the rise of the Nazis could have been stopped.

Farage claimed that if the war had been prolonged for a bit longer, with the further loss of thousands of lives, Germany's history would have been dramatically altered in the wake of the "harsh" Versailles treaty.

"But I don't actually think Versailles was the mistake. I believe the real mistake, the anniversary of which we remember today, was the Armistice," he said, in a speech published on The International Business Times.

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Farage at the Tower Of London poppies last week

What "war-weary governments did", he said, was "allow the Germans a dignified, an honourable way out. And that, I think, that was the biggest mistake of the entire 20th century."

“I believe we should have continued with the advance,” Farage said on Monday, on the eve of Armistice Day.

“We should have pursued the war for a further six weeks, and gone for an unconditional surrender. Yes the last six weeks of the war cost us 100,000 casualties, and I’m prepared to accept that a further six weeks of war might have cost us another 100,000.

“But had we driven the German army completely out of France and Belgium, forced them into unconditional surrender, Herr Hitler would never have got his political army off the ground. He couldn’t have claimed Germany had been stabbed in the back by the politicians in Berlin, or that Germany had never been beaten in the field.”

"What I believe very passionately is that the refusal to push for unconditional surrender was a desperate, desperate mistake. With another five or six weeks, particularly at the rate at which we were pushing the Germans back, unconditional surrender would have been straightforward."

Others were not as keen on Farage's views of the past, with critics saying his "grasp of history is as shaky as his morals."

The Eurosceptic MEP also compared the Berlin Wall to the Euro, saying: "Europe was divided east to west by the Berlin Wall, and we have just celebrated 25 years of that wall having gone.

"Europe is now split north-south, and it's split by something called the Euro. It doesn't work, and it isn't going to work.

He then said that the European Union, built in the wake of World War Two to prevent such killing and destruction ever happening again, could actually provoke further conflict.

"My feeling is that the architects of the modern Europe in the 1950s drew the wrong conclusion," he said.

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"They concluded that if we abolished nation-states in Europe there would be no war, and the reason that wars existed was because nation-states existed. The political project since then has been the eradication of the nation-state.

"I think that was hugely mistaken. I don't think the existence of nation-states has led to war; it has been the lack of democracy, or the breakdown of democracy, that has led governments to expansionism and thus to wars happening. I can't think of an example of mature European democracies fighting each other, they don't.

"I think the attempt, without the consent of the people, to effectively corral people in a new state, far from giving us peace and harmony in Europe, is actually likely to stir up the sort of nationalism, and extremism, it sought to eradicate in the first place."

"The future of Europe, the future of France and Germany, the future for all of us in this part of the world, a Europe of solid nation-state democracies that trade with each other, and co-operate with each other, there'll be no more First or Second World Wars," he concluded.

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