Gandhi’s letter to Hitler in 1939
This week the Prime Minister David Cameron and Indian dignitaries unveil a statue of M.K Gandhi in London.
This is apparently the letter sent by Gandhi to try to avert war at a time when Hitler was ambitiously pushing into Eastern Europe:
According to the MKGandhi website “the diametrically opposite ideologies adopted by both the leaders prompted Gandhi to write to Hitler to dissuade him from a bloody campaign against humanity.”
The above first letter was written on July 23, 1939 before the invasion of Poland and the start of World War II, while the second was written on Christmas eve in 1940.
Addressing him as ‘Dear Friend’, Gandhi wrote “Must you pay that price for an object however worthy it may appear to you to be? Will you listen to the appeal of one who has deliberately shunned the method of war not without considerable success?”
The second letter in December 1940, 17 months later, shows Gandhi clearly stating how appalled he is at Hitler’s conduct while not yet being willing to agree with Hitler’s critics that he is a ‘monster.’ Here is an excerpt:
“We have no doubt about your bravery or devotion to your fatherland, nor do we believe that you are the monster described by your opponents. But your own writings and pronouncements and those of your friends and admirers leave no room for doubt that many of your acts are monstrous and unbecoming of human dignity, especially in the estimation of men like me who believe in universal friendliness. Such are your humiliation of Czechoslovakia, the rape of Poland and the swallowing of Denmark. I am aware that your view of life regards such spoliations as virtuous acts. But we have been taught from childhood to regard them as acts degrading humanity. Hence we cannot possibly wish success to your arms.”
to see the full two letters as well as description of the film, ‘Gandhi to Hitler,’ see http://www.mkgandhi.org/newannou/ghitler.htm