Gershon Hepner

Yalta was perhaps more of a lemon than Baldwin

Returning from Yalta with branches of lemons
from the tree Stalin gave FDR for martinis,
western leaders seemed happy to deal with such demons,
exploding an A-bomb while expelling bikinis.

Regardless of whether the president gave
away far too much we should give far more credit
to Baldwin for arms that helped Winston to save
the UK though Winston perhaps never said it.

For me it is hard to use this friendly metric
for Stanley who hardly was good for the Jews
in Palestine, more like a lemon than etrog
providing no succor to Jews with his views.

Nicholas Bird in a letter in the 2/4/22 TLS suggests that Stanley Baldwin is not given sufficient credit for rearming Britain before Churchill became prime minister:

In his criticism of Stanley Baldwin, James Connelly has fallen for Churchill’s version of history. As Lloyd George in his Memoirs (1933) rather did for Haig’s reputation, so Churchill did for Baldwin’s. But in overwhelmingly pacifist Britain, and facing a unilateralist Labour Party, Baldwin pushed through Cabinet a staggeringly ambitious rearmament programme, greatly expanding the Royal Navy, re-equipping the army and creating 40 new RAF squadrons (in two years!) – initially ordering 2,400 new aircraft but increasing this to nearly 4,000 (to parry the Nazi threat), including orders for Hurricanes (600), Wellingtons (180) and Spitfires (310). Baldwin also approved development of four-engine bombers (which eventually resulted in the Lancaster) and investment in radar, key to winning the Battle of Britain. Baldwin was not a sleepwalker; he knew there would be war. But it was not until the 1935 election, when Baldwin returned as prime minister, that he felt a mandate for rearmament existed. Before then he had to tread warily, an admission (to the Commons) that Churchill thought “squalid”. But without Baldwin’s subtlety we would have been doomed. About Churchill, he was both generous and prescient, writing that “we must keep him fresh to be our war prime minister.”

About the Author
Gershon Hepner is a poet who has written over 25,000 poems on subjects ranging from music to literature, politics to Torah. He grew up in England and moved to Los Angeles in 1976. Using his varied interests and experiences, he has authored dozens of papers in medical and academic journals, and authored "Legal Friction: Law, Narrative, and Identity Politics in Biblical Israel." He can be reached at
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