Posted by: Dr Pano Kroko Churchill | September 18, 2017

What would Winston Churchill Do? (Chapter 50)

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One of the most exciting and important elements of piecing together this most personal of Winston Churchill’s story was getting to know the character, the words, and the contributions, of all those mostly forgotten, yet loyal and devoted people, who worked with my grandfather. I earnestly searched for all those people, in the hope that I discover the kernel of truth and the motives, behind the public man’s existence, and beyond the person that had always been expressing himself in grand words for the common good, and who were those who chose to steer him upon the difficult road of public service, from day one and then helped him carry on from day to day.

And somehow selfishly, I also wanted to “meet” the men and women whose voices served my grandfather well, as voices of reason, and voices of rare humor and intelligence, so that he can go on and serve the people best he knew how. And it is all those people around him that were always supporting, strengthening, and on occasion, staying the hand of the leader – so that he kept a steady hand that also benefited from their stern voices. And because it is all those people around him, that always guided him, but also on occasion saved him from himself, and often saved his life, from his rashness of speed, and wish to risk it all, for a prized glory. Along the way – I hoped to learn also how the Art of Leadership was a communal exercise, and who are the communards that help make it possible. Because n Winston Churchill’s life, they are all invariably remembered in him, and for being with him, from early on, as was his nanny Mrs Everest, whose photograph still hangs above his study at Chartwell, and all the others he loved and kept around him, at Number Ten, or at Number Ten Annexe, or just above the Cabinet War Rooms.

What I’ve come to know is that they all conspired to help Winston by lightening his burden and alleviated his work by helping do the simple yet most important things that Winston was seemingly incapable of doing for himself. They watched over his health, they helped care for his vitals, and for the provision of his victuals, his nutrition, his moderation, and always worked over his “moods” and made sure that he got out of office in order to get his exercise by walking in the park daily, and getting some sunshine and fresh air always when the changeable London weather allowed. Thus, rain or shine, Winston was seen walking the park once, twice, and often times several times per day, seen walking purposefully with the puppies in tow, when he was in search of some mental solution, or trying to untie another Gordian knot of a military, or diplomatic and political problem…

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And they always trailed after him with an umbrella because Winston often times would go out after the air raids and wanted people to see him with his unfurled umbrella, even though it might not be raining. He did this, so he could declare to anyone within earshot: “Bombs” while answering those who invariably would ask him “Why the brolly?” He meant that had his umbrella opened so that he could deflect all incoming German bombs. A terrible joke indeed, but one that elicited plenty of laughter, smirks of mirth, and measured merriment, at a time that these emotions were in an awfully short supply.

So today, if one were to go see the War Rooms as they are today, or find oneself going past them — please have your umbrella open as you stand opposite the building in St James’s Park. Have your umbrella open in a show of defiance against the forces of Evil raining down bombs on our heads today, whether from North Korea’s Chinese made nukes, or from the terrible Islamic jihadists that attack our cities unprovoked from within. So when in London, please have your black brolly open, and stand there watching with your mind’s eye; old Winston walking about the park with his black umbrella at the ready, and his dog in tow.
So go ahead and stand on the green grass of the parkside, and then cast your eyes towards the entrance on the War Rooms, and then scan the facade of this small building, by moving clockwise slowly towards the right, until you see a doorway situated, well above ground. To the right of that doorway you will see a set of six windows ending in a curved window at Storey’s Gate.

Stop your gaze right there. Rest, because you’ve arrived…

You’ve reached your historical destination in your quest of Winston Churchill, because those are the actual rooms in which he worked during the whole of the second World War. And by the way this is also where he lived, he ate, and slept as well. He spent here almost the whole of the time of the war. Indeed Winston Churchill was defiant, courageous, and unafraid, during these times, and this is where he actually and purposefully lived. Not underground, but on the first floor facing the park. This is where he spent, the 1,559 nights of the war. Today it s worth noting that Winston Churchill slept underground in the bunkers, only three nights out of the 1,562 nights of the Second World War.

How is that for amazing?

Simply amazing to behold.

Winston slept above ground and quite exposed during the Blitz. In this simple abode. In those six rooms which are well and truly above ground, and it is those rooms and his defiance that defined his outlook, because this is where he lived freely, and fairly unprotected, from the bombs, breathing the fresh air and seeing the sun — whenever the Thames river valley’s fairly constant cloudcover permitted it. Of course the roof had been “strengthened” and plants were planted on top to make it look like park land from above, and indeed lots of effort had been made to make this building look “Green” and very much a part of the park — but still it was an open and highly visible target.

In retrospect some think that Winston had a death wish, or wanting to become a Martyr, or a living legend in his own time — but for anyone who knew the man — this talk is poppycock. Sure Winston was courageous and unfazed by the German bombing raids, but he had to be unafraid and fairly certain of his Destiny, wanting to keep him alive, in order to complete the job, and therefore he had to survive in order to win the Second World War. And that is why he chose to live largely unprotected, in the midst of the most horrible days and nights of the German bombing Blitz and beyond — in order to “tell” the British public that he was not afraid of anything the Germans had to throw at him. And thus through his actions, if not his words — he could “impart” some backbone and courage, into those who had lost their own.

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So this is where he lived during the most difficult, and during the finest hour, of Britain and the World, and for the whole duration of the Second World War. Today if you approach and look closely at this low slung building on the side of the park, you will even see the holes where the metal shutters were affixed to the exteriors of all the windows. Indeed as War Prime Minister, Churchill did not want, after all to be blasted out of his rooms; so the heavy metal shutters were installed right then in order to be able to close and secure the building’s openings, during the German nightly bombing raids.

But be certain that those were the very rooms from which both of the wars were conducted and won. In this case both means, the overt war, and the secret war, both fought during the time of the Second World War against Germany and her allies, Japan, Italy and a few others comprising the Axis of Evil powers.
“Number Ten Annexe” was his home-house during the war years, that is, when he did not slip back, as he so often did, to No 10 Downing Street itself. And indeed the record will show that this humble abode, was the place where most of the WarTime Cabinet Meetings were also held, and where most of the important decisions were taken…

From those above ground rooms of the humble abode named “No 10 Annex” also came most all of Churchill’s great wartime speeches. Almost all of his directives, invectives, and instructions, were dictated in those rooms as well.
So next time you go by, do have a look up at the windows of the War Rooms, and pay homage to Winston Churchill’s ferocious courage, his intellect, and his Love of Life; for this Great Man’s ghost might still be there looking out at the park. This view is treasured, because he was able to wage the whole War unafraid from his lovely rooms facing there park, open to fresh air, and plenty of sunlight, with a beautiful view inside a green and floral park — while his opponent Adolf Hitler, lived in constant raging fear, deep inside the earth, in a cold & wet cement bunker, that resembled a tomb for the living dead; always breathing stale, polluted, and sordid air; while planning evil deeds, and ordering actions designed to bring hate and suffering to children and visit death upon the innocent, across the whole of Europe and the world…

The contrast between the two men and their lives could not be greater. When I get around to write the next book, “The Parallel Lives of Churchill and Hitler” — we will expand upon these themes and examine the origins of the two men’s vastly differing psychological make-ups, and of the two men’s actions, and reasons behind them.
Churchill loved flowers and greenery as they were. He loved watching them and walking amidst them. He loved the park and it’s greenery. He loved flowers for what they were. Truth and Beauty. Winston was not at all interested in their utility value, and often times he didn’t even want them cut for decoration in the vases indoors. He loved looking at them and enjoyed the aromatics too. But his opponent, looked at everything from a utilitarian perspective and he even saw flowers for their nutritional value, since the vegetarian meals that Adolf Hitler enjoyed, often contained these along with the green salads that he ate. He also had them, steamed and cooked for his edification. “Barbaric” is how Winston described the diet of Adolf Hitler. Because Churchill enjoyed the greens, in vivo and at large, and he loved to walk amongst them. And that is why Winston would always would take his walks in the park, in order to enjoy the rejuvenating powers of Nature, the Sunlit park, the fresh air, the constitutional value of the walks, and of course it’s beauty. Truth and Beauty can always be found standing next to Churchill, but history, is a fickle mistress. Because after all, she is not a muse who points the way — rather it is You and I, devoted acolytes — who must do that for all of us.

And at long last after some 90 years of active life, Winston Churchill died quietly during the night, at the time and date of his own “choosing” with all of his plans completed. Even the plans for his own disposition, for his memorial services, and of course for his stately funeral arrangements – were completed and carried out as planned.

By his side he had the Lord’s prayer and was last heard praying:
“O Lord God, when though givest to thy servants to endeavour any great matter, grant us also to know that it is not the beginning, but the continuing of the same unto the end, until it be thoroughly finished, which yieldeth the true glory, through him who for the finishing of they work laid down his life, our Redeemer, Jesus Christ…”

 

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In reality Winston’s death, left a few things undone, and although he agonized about finishing his work until the very last breath – he left a couple of great books unfinished long after he had started them, but although he did not like that, perhaps it was somewhat unintentional…

He had no say in the matter, for he had always loved to write the definitive biography of Julius Caesar, but he hadn’t met the man; so this is what Winston had to say about remedying this situation: “Julius Caesar was surely waiting for him on the other side to tell him his own stories.” This is how Winston joked about leaving behind this massive biographical work barely started and certainly unfinished.

He felt similarly strong, about writing Napoleon Bonaparte’s biography, whose story he had researched fully, and thoroughly, and had even been giving tours of the relief maps of Waterloo to his grandchildren, like yours truly, explaining the vast battle in great and fascinating detail under the true timeline of this great battle.

He wanted to write the definitive story of Napoleon, the Leader, with whom he thought would complete his pantheon of biographies of Great Leaders, as a labor of love, that Winston planned to leave behind, and as part of his legacy because once he was gone, he saw this as a method of instruction to the British and the American Leaders, that were to come after him — so that they could understand both through his Life and through his Writings about Great Leaders, the true lessons for those exercising the Art of Power, the Art of Statesmanship, and the Art of Leadership.

But the “Lord Up Above” managing the affairs of men and and the affairs of time and space — must have laughed at Winston’s plans, and recalled him for the permanent holiday in the Elysium Fields of eternal rest and assured garden leave.

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People say, that shortly before taking leave of this world, Sir Winston Churchill, who had lived a very long and illustrious life, was reportedly asked about the state of his soul and he answered thus: “I am perfectly ready,” he said, “to meet my Maker. Whether my Maker is prepared for the ordeal of meeting me is another matter.”

“People go on to say that only someone of the stature of Sir Winston could pull off a piece of effrontery that egregious. And, thank God, there’s probably not much of him in most mortal men.”

Yet, I seriously doubt that this “story” actually transpired, because Winston was far too humble in important matters, to trade witticisms with the Lord above…

Like Rantzinger, Churchill believed that a human being emerges into the light of full reality and truth, upon death. That is when the many masks behind which we have so often sought to hide, can no longer be worn. “Man is what he is in truth. Judgment consists in this removal of the mask in death. The judgment is simply the manifestation of the truth.”

And why should this be? Because each of us is nothing less than a divine work of art, something that God is making. He will not be satisfied until the work achieves a certain perfection. Shaping the soul to conform to the criteria laid down by Christ is not to be taken lightly.

Indeed, when a man leaves behind the company of other men, and walks toward the seat of divine judgment, there to gaze upon the face of the living God, all pretense and falsehood are stripped away. There is no room for maneuver, no way to disguise the weight of what one has done or become. Then the true worth of a man’s deeds, whether empty straw or sold metal, will be shown in an absolutely piercing light, which is God himself.

Life, the poet Keats tells us, is a vale of soul making. A lovely image, it reminds us of the impossibility of escape. That we are here to make our souls pleasing to God. And death, of course, is the final scene we are all destined to play. Whether to say to God, “Thy will be done,” and thus to fall blissfully into his arms. Or God to say to us, “Thy will be done,” and thus to sink us into an everlasting misery — it all depends on our conduct while we were on this Earth doing our thing… unbidden and unheeded of the call of our everlasting soul.

 

 

 

Or in the words of St. Augustine, who, recalling the rapture of the soul seized by God on the far side of death, reminds us of the joys that await those who love God:

“There we shall rest and we shall see;
there we shall see and we shall love.
Behold what shall be in the end and
shall not end.”

And this is how the Guardian described Winston Churchill’s funeral in one of the best pieces ever written about him, especially coming from this left leaning newspaper affiliated with the Labour party:

“Winston Churchill’s funeral”

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“The cortege as it makes its way down Whitehall.”

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“United once again in common purpose,
United in Sorrow shared by millions”

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“As during the greatest years of his life, so at his end Churchill brought together and unified in a common purpose the people of his country, by saying:
“On Saturday we stood, shoulder to shoulder, from Westminster to St Paul’s, from St Paul’s to the Tower of London, along the banks of the Thames, with one mind, united with those millions who quietly watched and listened in their homes – in common sorrow, as the passage of that small, flag-draped coffin through the streets of the capital burnt into the mind a strangely sudden awareness that a great chapter had finally closed.”

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“Throngs of mourners line pavements to view Churchill’s funeral, some sleeping overnight to get a good vantage point.”

“As Big Ben struck 9 45 a.m. the first poignant strains of the Funeral March were blown down Whitehall, the blocks of soldiers, sailors, and airmen with arms reversed moved forward and the great procession began its relentless progress to the Cathedral. At the same moment, the white drag-ropes of the gun carriage tightened and Churchill’s body was slowly drawn away from the buildings of the Parliament, he had entered 65 years ago and which he had loved and served so well.”

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“As the carriage left New Palace Yard, a single gun fired in St James’s Park; a muffled boom echoed through the hushed streets and along Whitehall all was still but for the measured, deliberate crunch of boots against the road, a steely jingle of harness, and the sad music of the march.
Numb with cold and cut through by the searing wind, the crowd, at no point thick along Whitehall, stood stock still as first the Battle of Britain air-crews, then contingents from the army, the Brigade of Guards in sombre grey greatcoats, the Royal Marines in long, khaki coats and white helmets, the scarlet cloaks and white plumes of the Life Guards, passed slowly by.”

“Members of the public watch the funeral cortege with the three Chiefs of Staff who followed and behind them, alone, Lord Mountbatten, Chief of the Defence Staff. We stood moved by the solemnity of the march forward, by the honour this great military procession was paying to one man. But it was the sight of the four black cushions bearing the decorations Churchill had earned and worn – carried now by four officers of the Queen’s Royal Irish Hussars – and behind them the two banners, one of the Cinque Ports and the other of Spencer-Churchill. fluttering defiantly in the wind, that brought the shock of sorrow, the sharp realisation that Churchill had gone.”

Here is how the BBC and Associated Press describe the funeral ion Sir Winston Churchill in vivid imagery: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hQldUeevrQQ

“Soldiers escort the coffin decorated with the Order of the Garter. As the gun carriage, effortlessly drawn by the tight ranks of naval rating sailors, rolled past the Cenotaph, where Churchill had stood on so many occasions behind his Sovereign, there was a flurry of colour along the pavement as random national flags were lowered.”

“National standards were “dipped” ceremoniously, held tight by teary eyed solemn fighters bowing their uncovered heads. These people were individual Citizens who had come from Greece, France, Poland, Norway, Russia, Denmark, Belgium, India, Ireland, Italy, Holland, Spain, Republic of Catalunia, United States of America, Hungary, Chechoslovakia, Australia, New Zealand, Burma, Romania, Free Yugoslavia, and even one rather tall man from Iceland — all carrying old national flags, that had seen plenty of “action” in their respective wars of Liberation and Defiance against the forces of Fascism during the Second World War. These individual soldiers had fought for their country’s Liberation, and in some cases still fought, alongside British forces in the field of honor around the World, to free their countries enslaved behind the Iron Curtain.”

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“Yet today, all of them came to say Goodbye to Winston — some free, some slave, because some of their countries are now enslaved under the Communist boot of the Soviet Union, and must hold their Liberty deeply hidden inside their Hearts, as they live their lives in the gray states behind the vast Iron Curtain that divides Europe. This is the fear that they come to assuage and rid themselves of, as they say Goodbye to the most fearless leader amongst all those who have had Liberty and even those who didn’t. Today on this wintry day, these colourful banners, were carried by these solemn men who had fought in their national resistance movements, and in many foreign battlefields alongside the British forces — and now “dipped” their honour as they lowered their flags out of respect for the ‘Man of the Hour’ and the ‘Man of the Century” — the most important Man of the World during the last Century — Winston Churchill, whose mortal coil was now passing in front of them. They all teared up, as Winston’s coffin was rolling by, laid atop the gun carriage, and draped with the flag. It was at this passing moment that these foreign flags held by hatless soldiers of Freedom and Democracy, steadfast friends of Great Britain and all that it stands for — were lowered low, in honour and respect of the Great Leader past.”

 

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“The coffin, with the black cushion bearing the emblems of the Order of the Garter, high on the heavy, grey gun carriage, seemed an incredibly small centre for this great procession, so much smaller than the man who had so often stumped the pavements of Whitehall with a dogged, determined gait between Downing Street and Parliament, and into the various Ministries which at one time or another he had ruled.”

“The funeral cortege on The Strand, with members of the family following. The men and the boys of the Churchill family followed on foot, all but one boy in black silk hats. Randolph the son, and Winston, the grandson, walked side by side ahead of the others. Lady Churchill and her two daughters followed in the first of the six horse-drawn coaches, obscured from sight in the dark interior; but their coachmen wore scarlet coats. Every minute the sound of the steady same gunfire volleys was added to the strains of the funeral marches, the tread of slow-marching feet, the clatter of hooves, and the roll of the carriage wheels; sounds which moved along the Strand, Fleet Street, Ludgate Hill, and ceased only when the gun carriage drew up outside the great west door of St Paul’s cathedral. There, the crowds were immense, pressed tight and packed high on boxes and ladders in the side streets and thousands could gain but a glimpse of the plumes and the procession, the cortege, the gun carriage, the headdresses of the riders, and the coffin.”

“The coffin was carried up the steps of St Paul’s Cathedral, and after a solemn ceremony, presided by the Archbishop of Canterbury, by one o’clock, the great State funeral was over, the Kings and Queens, Presidents and Prime Ministers, the generals and Politicians, and all the Leaders from the world over, had paid their respects, and given their thanks in the cathedral service, and upwards of 7,000 armed services men had lived their part in the nation’s last honour to the greatest leader amongst its wartime fighters, with more than a million people lining the streets of London to pay their respects too. Queen Elizabeth II stood with all the other dignitaries on the steps as the casket of Winston Churchill left the Cathedral of St Paul.”

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The body of Winston Churchill was brought aboard the Thames river barge christened “Havengore” and sailed down the river towards festival pier.

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The funeral barge carrying the coffin moves into mid-stream off Tower Pier, London, for the journey up the Thames to Festival Hall Pier and Waterloo Station. Look at the cranes lowering their long ‘necks’ to the fallen leader, sailing past them for the last time: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=3&v=6kPrTWsotlg

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After disembarkation at the Festival Pier, it was an ordinary black Princess hearse that received Winston’s body and drove into the central carriageway of Waterloo Station at 1 23 p.m., unescorted by soldiers or police, and followed only by the large limousines with the members of the Churchill family.

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Waiting, there, were 10 men from the Queen’s Royal Irish hussars, bareheaded and rigid, who, shoulder to shoulder, sidestepped up to the door of the hearse, as it halted beyond them.

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Lady Clementine Churchill, was escorted on the arm of her son Randolph as they followed the coffin. With movements precise as clockwork they lifted the coffin, still draped with the Union Flag, and carrying the emblems of the Garter, and step by step bore it on their shoulders through the wide railway-van doors, placing it gently on a catafalque built inside. Motionless, holding the arm of her son, her eyes never leaving the progress of the coffin, Lady Churchill stood and watched. Behind her were the other members of Sir Winston’s family, bearing the unmistakable Churchill profile.

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The crowds had been kept away: the platform was deserted, but for a few railway porters and the soldiers. The van doors were closed, the family entered the train, the guard waved his flag, and with a whistle and a belch of steam, the Battle of Britain class locomotive “Winston Churchill” moved forward. It is significant that the train Winston’s body left Waterloo Station, commemorating the great battle that Winston Churchill had always said so much about. As he left now for the last time this station of Waterloo, the Station Master stood to attention. And as the Pullman coaches pulled out, the station-master took off his silk hat, and the porters removed their caps, as two Guards officers stood at the salute – until the last carriage had disappeared from sight.

This was London’s last salute to Churchill.

That was of course not the end of the line for Winston Churchill who will always live in our Hearts and in our Minds, as a guiding light for Democracy, for Liberty, and for the Rights of Man.

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Truly very few Men have received such blessing from History as Winston Churchill did, and in retrospect we all can agree that Winston Churchill will always be honoured and remembered as a Great Statesman — but amongst those who knew him — he will similarly be cherished and respected as the Finest Leader of men of his generation.

 

Hey there Winnie — May You rest in Peace…

 

THE END

 

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Epilogue:

Securing the Future of the Republic
If there is one thing today that President Trump gets right it is that the last few Presidents of the US will be remembered as weak, especially Bush, Clinton, Cheney Bush, and Obama, who were all pathologically weak Presidents due to ingrained personal weaknesses, character flaws, & addictions.

It’s no secret that they all suffered from an obsessive desire to being liked, and that caused them to always be speaking, deciding, & behaving in a manner construed to make them likable. They all looked at polls obsessively, before making major decisions, and today in retrospect, we can see the massive flaws in all that wavering and wasting, over.

However in clear contrast to that line of weaklings, President Trump not only does not make an effort to be likable, but seems like he does not even care why one should be likable, or behave in a manner that will make him likable to a wide swath of population.

He simply doesn’t give a rat’s ass about this whole Political Correctness thing, and that makes him a real Leader, walking alone ahead of everyone else, unapologetic, and strong, like the Alpha male of the species that he truly represents.

He is one of us and yet stands taller above us…

And that’s a gift that he alone has…

A gift that makes him clearly different from his predecessors. A gift that could help America become the World Leader all over again, because Trump can clearly choose his path and he can play this country’s course by keeping his own counsel, and doing what’s best for the Republic without falling victim to the PC brigades, or to the Cultural Marxist troops occupying the ramparts of our Culture during these topsy turvy times.

Securing the Present of the Republic is the most vital mission today…

The main contributors to the recent past Presidents’ international failure and general source of weakness, the likes of Carter, Bush, Clinton, Bush, and Obama, exhibited as their main failure point, was their unwillingness to lead with our core principles upfront. And that is what has put America’s subsequent administrative foreign policies on a path to repeating Obama’s isolationist, & debilitating foreign policy. That of course is changing, but is it changing fast enough? Because that’s another thing that Trump gets right: The urgency of now. And he fully gets it, that we cannot afford to wait another moment, let alone another four years of that malaise. And that is why he fired all the ambassadors and all the foreign consuls of the deeply rotten and from the Obama-Clinton corrupted State Department, as his first order of business.

Time is not our friend here… and we have to make haste…

“Securing the Republic”

“The liberal appropriations made by the Legislature of Kentucky for a general system of Education cannot be too much applauded. A popular Government, without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a Prologue to a Farce or a Tragedy; or, perhaps both. Knowledge will forever govern ignorance: And a people who mean to be their own Governors, must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives.
I have always felt a more than ordinary interest in the destinies of Kentucky. Among her earliest settlers were some of my particular friends and Neighbors. And I was myself among the foremost advocates for submitting to the Will of the “District” the question and the time of its becoming a separate member of the American family. Its rapid growth & signal prosperity in this character have afforded me much pleasure; which is not a little enhanced by the enlightened patriotism which is now providing for the State a Plan of Education embracing every class of Citizens, and every grade & department of Knowledge. No error is more certain than the one proceeding from a hasty and superficial view of the subject: that the people at large have no interest in the establishment of Academies, Colleges, and Universities, where a few only, and those not of the poorer classes can obtain for their sons the advantages of superior education. It is thought to be unjust that all should be taxed for the benefit of a part, and that too the part least needing it.
If provision were not made at the same time for every part, the objection would be a natural one. But, besides the consideration when the higher Seminaries belong to a plan of general education, that it is better for the poorer classes to have the aid of the richer by a general tax on property, than that every parent should provide at his own expense for the education of his children, it is certain that every Class is interested in establishments which give to the human mind its highest improvements, and to every Country its truest and most durable celebrity.
Learned Institutions ought to be favorite objects with every free people. They throw that light over the public mind which is the best security against crafty and dangerous encroachments on the public liberty. They are the nurseries of skilful Teachers for the schools distributed throughout the Community. They are themselves schools for the particular talents required for some of the Public Trusts, on the able execution of which the welfare of the people depends. They multiply the educated individuals from among whom the people may elect a due portion of their public Agents of every description; more especially of those who are to frame the laws; by the perspicuity, the consistency, and the stability, as well as by the just & equal spirit of which the great social purposes are to be answered.
Without such Institutions, the more costly of which can scarcely be provided by individual means, none but the few whose wealth enables them to support their sons abroad can give them the fullest education; and in proportion as this is done, the influence is monopolized which superior information every where possesses. At cheaper & nearer seats of Learning parents with slender incomes may place their sons in a course of education putting them on a level with the sons of the Richest. Whilst those who are without property, or with but little, must be peculiarly interested in a System which unites with the more Learned Institutions, a provision for diffusing through the entire Society the education needed for the common purposes of life. A system comprising the Learned Institutions may be still further recommended to the more indigent class of Citizens by such an arrangement as was reported to the General Assembly of Virginia, in the year 1779, by a Committee, appointed to revise laws in order to adapt them to the genius of Republican Government. It made part of a “Bill for the more general diffusion of knowledge” that wherever a youth was ascertained to possess talents meriting an education which his parents could not afford, he should be carried forward at the public expence, from seminary to seminary, to the completion of his studies at the highest.
But why should it be necessary in this case, to distinguish the Society into classes according to their property? When it is considered that the establishment and endowment of Academies, Colleges, and Universities are a provision, not merely for the existing generation, but for succeeding ones also; that in Governments like ours a constant rotation of property results from the free scope to industry, and from the laws of inheritance, and when it is considered moreover, how much of the exertions and privations of all are meant not for themselves, but for their posterity, there can be little ground for objections from any class, to plans of which every class must have its turn of benefits. The rich man, when contributing to a permanent plan for the education of the poor, ought to reflect [Volume 1, Page 691] that he is providing for that of his own descendants; and the poor man who concurs in a provision for those who are not poor that at no distant day it may be enjoyed by descendants from himself. It does not require a long life to witness these vicissitudes of fortune.
It is among the happy peculiarities of our Union, that the States composing it derive from their relation to each other and to the whole, a salutary emulation, without the enmity involved in competitions among States alien to each other. This emulation, we may perceive, is not without its influence in several important respects; and in none ought it to be more felt than in the merit of diffusing the light and the advantages of Public Instruction. In the example therefore which Kentucky is presenting, she not only consults her own welfare, but is giving an impulse to any of her sisters who may be behind her in the noble career.
Throughout the Civilized World, nations are courting the praise of fostering Science and the useful Arts, and are opening their eyes to the principles and the blessings of Representative Government. The American people owe it to themselves, and to the cause of free Government, to prove by their establishments for the advancement and diffusion of Knowledge, that their political Institutions, which are attracting observation from every quarter, and are respected as Models, by the new-born States in our own Hemisphere, are as favorable to the intellectual and moral improvement of Man as they are conformable to his individual & social Rights. What spectacle can be more edifying or more seasonable, than that of Liberty & Learning, each leaning on the other for their mutual and surest support?
The Committee, of which your name is the first, have taken a very judicious course in endeavouring to avail Kentucky of the experience of elder States, in modifying her Schools. I enclose extracts from the laws of Virginia on that subject; though I presume they will give little aid; the less as they have as yet been imperfectly carried into execution. The States where such systems have been long in operation will furnish much better answers to many of the enquiries stated in your Circular. But after all, such is the diversity of local circumstances, more particularly as the population varies in density & sparseness, that the details suited to some may be little so to others. As the population however, is becoming less & less sparse, and it will be well in laying the foundation of a Good System, to have a view to this progressive change, much attention seems due to examples in the Eastern States, where the people are most compact, & where there has been the longest experience in plans of popular education.
I know not that I can offer on the occasion any suggestions not likely to occur to the Committee. Were I to hazard one, it would be in favour of adding to Reading, Writing, & Arithmetic, to which the instruction of the poor, is commonly limited, some knowledge of Geography; such as can easily be conveyed by a Globe & Maps, and a concise Geographical Grammar. And how easily & quickly might a general idea even, be conveyed of the Solar System, by the aid of a Planetarium of the Cheapest construction. No information seems better calculated to expand the mind and gratify curiosity than what would thus be imparted. This is especially the case, with what relates to the Globe we inhabit, the Nations among which it is divided, and the characters and customs which distinguish them. An acquaintance with foreign Countries in this mode, has a kindred effect with that of seeing them as travellers, which never fails, in uncorrupted minds, to weaken local prejudices, and enlarge the sphere of benevolent feelings. A knowledge of the Globe & its various inhabitants, however slight, might moreover, create a taste for Books of Travels and Voyages; out of which might grow a general taste for History, an inexhaustible fund of entertainment & instruction. Any reading not of a vicious species must be a good substitute for the amusements too apt to fill up the leisure of the labouring classes.”

–Thomas Jefferson — 4 Aug 1822

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CREDITS

Winston Churchill stands out as a titan among his fellow men.

Consequently his mistakes and triumphs are often intermingled on a grandiose scale, and his personality seldom fails to draw a challenge. As a statesman he moved through four decades of tumultuous events before he reached the grand climax of his life. But in retrospect his political misfortunes seem providential, for without them he might not have been set apart, or ‘spared’, as Mr Attlee once put it, to lead his country in the stirring days of the war years of the 1940s.

Acknowledgments are made to the following writers and publishers for some of the selections of their works that were reprinted in this book and to all the others who have not been selected nor singled out here below.

Thank you to one and all and especially to old grandpa Winnie for his lucid and prolific writings.

Here below follows a List of Names of Grateful Acknowledgments for the many, writers, journalists, and publishers whose Thanks is warranteed by virtue of their contributions to this book, and also a great Thanks to the other many unmentioned and unknown contributors to this work, because all words have been written at some point of another and we are shamelessly using them all over again.

As this earth does not produce any fresh atoms and we are constantly in need of recycling the existing ones — so it is wit books. We recycle words and thoughts, and ideas and streams of consciousness and we rearrange things n a way to present the song of Life n a new way.

So here are some of the most valuable Books, Newspapers, Magazines, and Personal Accounts that comprise this work like a great Collage: The Times, The Guardian, The New York Times, The Free World, The London Times, The Evening Times, The Punch, The Observer, The Guardian, The Evening Standard, and all the Hansards of the Houses of Parliament, that reported dutifully all the speeches of Winston Churchill, and all his Policy initiatives and all the votes in the House of Commons, during all of his long yeas in Parliamentary service.
People: Winston Churchill, Randolph Churchill, Lord BeaverBrook. The Churchill family. Virginia Cowles. Dimitra Crocou. Randolph Churchill.
Books: Winston Churchill all of his books, and the six volume History of the Second World War, and all of his biographies. The Malakand Force, by Winston Churchill. Triumph and Tragedy: The Second World War by Winston Churchill. Lord Curzon, the Last Phase, by Harold Nicolson. The Aftermath, by Winston Churchill. Churchill by Virginia Cowles. Lays of Ancient Rome, by Thomas Babington Macaulay. The Ecclesiastical History of the English People, by Bede (AD 731). History of the Second World War, by Winston Churchill (Six volumes). A History of the English speaking Peoples by Winston Churchill (Four volumes). The History of the decline and fall of the Roman empire, by Edward Gibbon. War Diary by Lord Riddell. Odhams Press, Ltd: Lord Randolph Churchill by Winston S. Churchill. P. Putnam’s Sons: Great Contemporaries by Winston S. Churchill. Anglo-American Memories by George Smalley. Charles Scribner’s Sons: The Aftermath by Winston S. Churchill. Amid These Storms by Winston S. Churchill. Thoughts and Adventures. Marlborough by Winston S. Churchill. A Roving Commission by Winston S. Churchill. My Early Life. The World Crisis by Winston S. Churchill. Fighting in Flanders by E. Alexander Powell. Christophers Ltd: Incidents and Reflections by J. B. Atkins. History of England: Lord Macaulay. The Life of Marlborough: Winston Churchill. J. ML Dent & Sons, Ltd. Certain People of Importance. Pillars of Society and Prophets, Priests and Kings by A. C. Gardiner.
Doubleday & Company, Inc: Life of Lord Fisher by R. H. Bacon.
Politicians and the War by Lord Beaverbrook. Five pillars of Wisdom.
Harcourt, Brace & Company, Inc; The Economic Consequences of Mr
Churchill by J. M. Keynes. Intimate Diary of the Peace Conference and
Afterwards by Lord Riddell. Henry Holt & Company, Inc: A Shropshire Lad by A. E. Housman. Houghton Mifflin Company: The Second World War by Winston S. Churchill. Alfred A. Knopf, Inc: My Diaries by Wilfrid Scawen. Blunt Little, Brown & Company and Lord Beaverbrook: War Memoirs of David Lloyd George, by David Lloyd George. Little, Brown & Company: Memories and Reflections by the Earl of Oxford and Asquith.
Longmans, Green & Company, Inc: Our Partnership by Beatrice Webb.
William Morrow & Company: Life’s Ebb and Flow by Frances, Countess
of Warwick. Nicholson & Watson, Ltd: C. F. G. Masterman by Lucy Masterman.

 

Posted by: Dr Pano Kroko Churchill | September 18, 2017

What would Winston Churchill Do? (Chapter 49)

Winston Churchill thought that the General Election of 1950 was “positively demure” yet he had no such criticism of the contest that followed twenty-one months later…

The General Election of that chilly all too English October of the year 1951 was fought by the Conservatives on the high cost of living at home, and the deterioration of British prestige abroad. The Persians had announced their intention of nationalizing the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company, and trouble was brewing in Egypt.

According to the Tories: “This was the fault of weakness, and indecision, on the part of the ruling Socialists of the Labour government, who managed the country terribly and who had reduced her standing across the world, to that of a third rate power.”

 

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The Labour Party retaliated by reminding the public of Winston Churchill’s impulsiveness, and warning voters that precipitous acts were capable of landing Britain in another war.

Winston Churchill quite righteously and fairly angrily immediately denounced these attacks, and on the day of the poll itself issued a writ against the Daily Mirror which printed a front page picture of a revolver with the headline: “Whose Finger on the Trigger?” and ran a story that Winston intended to deliver an ultimatum to the Russians, if he were returned to power. Nevertheless, his resentment subsided that night when the final results were nearly complete and he learned that once again he was Prime Minister, this time by a small majority of twenty two MPs.

Winston Churchill’s action against the Daily Mirror was settled out of court. He accepted a profuse apology from the Daily Mirror which was published in all newspapers on May 24, 1952. The Daily Mirror agreed to pay Mr Winston Churchill’s costs, and to make a contribution to a charity named by him.

A month later he attended the Lord Mayor’s banquet at the Guildhall and told his audience: “Though I have very often in the last forty years or so, been present at your famous Guildhall banquets to salute the new Lord Mayor, this is the first occasion when I have addressed this assembly here as a Prime Minister. The explanation is convincing.” He then smiled and said: “When I should have come as Prime Minister, Guildhall was blown up, and before it was repaired I was blown out. I thought at the time they were both disasters.”

At last the “affront” as he termed it, that he had received from the British people in 1945 had lost its sting. At last he was Prime Minister not through extraordinary circumstances but by an elected majority in the House of Commons. And this represented the final ambition of fifty two years of political life.

 

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At seventy-seven he seemed strong and vigorous, still towering over all of his parliamentary colleagues, like a Colossus. The country held its breath waiting to see how and where the master of the sensational, and unexpected, would direct the Ship of State.

But once again W. Churchill surprised his audience: “There was to be nothing dramatic in his approach to the serious problems facing the British economy, or for that matter in his handling of world affairs. His policy was one of amelioration. Ruffled tempers were to be smoothed down, angry hands joined in friendship.”

However, since this Policy was unexpected enough, coming as it did from the most pugnacious statesman the century had produced, he was determined to put an end to the class war which had been mounting during the Socialists’ tenure of office at home, and to also lower the tension between the two parties of the British Parliament, which he believed had become unnecessarily divisive, bitterly confrontational, and downright inimical. As for the world abroad, he was keen on building the Peace in Europe and across the World, through the United Nations, and through other institutions to be built, in order to counter the enemies of Peace, peacefully and through the extraordinary powers of NATO, and those of the Transatlantic Alliance.

To that end, he spoke magnanimously in his first House of Commons speech, as a returning Prime Minister in 1951 by saying: “We are met together here with an apparent gulf between us, as great as any, I have known in fifty years of House of Commons life. What the nation needs is a period of tolerant and constructive debating on the merits of the questions before us, without every speech on either side being distorted by the passions of one election or the preparations for another.”

Now Winston Churchill appointed Mr R. A. Butler, one of his more “left wing” conservatives to take over the chancellorship of the Treasury, and the British economy moved forward with surprisingly few changes. For example, the surtax, which many businessmen claimed was destroying incentive, remained as high as before, because war debts had to be repaid and the costs of the nation were also high. But he enthusiastically buoyed the economy through his efforts and through his optimism that was contagious and rousing…

Nevertheless the emphasis on the economy was different too. Winston Churchill had wanted to “set the people free” and although his officials convinced him this was impossible on the grandiose scale he had envisaged, many restrictions and regulations gradually were loosened. The Conservative Government privatized war time industries, denationalized steel production, and separated road haulage from the control of the nationalized railways. The terms of British trade with the outside world improved, industry was given tax relief for capitalization, the stock market soared, and businesses all over the country expanded in a new burst of confidence. The prosperity of the country could be gauged by the increase in ownership of television sets alone, when in 1951, there were just over 1,181,126 licenses that were issued by the Post Office — in 1955, the ownership numbers of television sets had risen fivefold to 5,400,083. Winston loved to create prosperity for his people and truly believed that internal consumption was the giant lever for economic growth and development.

Winston Churchill’s real interest, however, lay in maintaining and enlarging the Gettysburg ideal for both domestic and international affairs. That is of building and maintaining “Government by the people, for the people, and from the people.” And internationally this was a sticking point as Democracy was a vast minority across the world. Yet here his mood was also one of conciliation. Friendship with America, of course, was the cornerstone of his policy. He also believed that Germany must be allowed to reenter the European family on equal terms. But most important, and most startling, was his belief in the possibility of harmonious co-existence with Soviet Russia.

When asked, he replied: “I am an optimist – It does not seem to be of much use being anything else.” He felt that if the great powers would consent to talk with the Russians informally, they might gradually work out a harmonious “modus vivendi” which would lay true foundations of peace.

The idea of these informal talks, with no fixed agenda, took root in his mind shortly after Stalin’s death. As rumors spread of a Russian “new look” as Churchill put it, he became increasingly convinced that the talks should not be delayed. The United States, however, was heavily embroiled in the Korean war; feeling against Russia ran high; and the American government flatly rejected the idea of a friendly, tripartite meeting. Churchill refused to take “No” for an answer, and in the spring of 1953 he arranged a trip to Washington to try and
persuade the newly elected President, Mr Eisenhower, of the urgency and importance of his proposal. However, a few weeks before the journey was to take place, the Prime Minister was taken seriously ill, and the project abandoned.

Nevertheless, Churchill continued to hammer his theme. In 1954, he made an important speech at the Guildhall in which he said: “I am one of those who believe that West and East ought to try and live in a peaceful and friendly way with each other. It certainly would not be to anyone’s disadvantage if they tried.” By the end of the year he had decided that, if the United States would not play, at least Britain should meet the Russian leaders. There were indications that Malenkov was more liberal than his predecessor, Joseph Stalin; that all sorts of profound changes were taking place within the Soviet Union; and that if the Western powers did not move they might lose a heaven sent opportunity to influence the Russian leaders and create a new atmosphere between East and West. But W. Churchill was doomed to disappointment. Just as it looked possible to arrange a meeting, the Soviet Government began to make difficulties about the European Defense Community, and Churchill was forced to admit that the time was not propitious.

In March 1955 he told the House of Commons: “It is quite true that I would have liked to have seen a top-level conference of the three Powers. I would have liked to have seen it shortly after Mr Malenkov took power, to see, as I said: “Is there a new look?” I wanted to do that and my colleagues agreed. I prepared to go over to see the President and hoped to arrange with him to invite a three-Power conference. However, I was struck down by a very sudden illness which paralysed me completely physically. I had to put
it all off, and it was not found possible to persuade President Eisenhower to join in that process.”

“I have also considered the possibility of a dual meeting at some neutral place like Stockholm. I had hoped that after my last visit to America something like a dual meeting might take place at Stockholm, or somewhere, and that it might be a sort of go-between prelude to a meeting of the three, because we cannot settle anything alone that would be decisive. But then the Soviet Government began
a very elaborate process of trying to stop the ratification of E.D.C., which I thought had been more or less accepted. Therefore, all this other matter has come up and stood in the way of further talks.”

Winston Churchill’s colleagues were beginning to grow uneasy. The Prime Minister was now in his eighty-first year. There was talk in the House of Commons that he was finding it increasingly difficult to concentrate his mind on the day-by-day business of government, and that important decisions frequently were being delayed. In April 1955 several members of his Cabinet, led by Mr Anthony Eden and including Mr R. A. Butler, Mr Harold Macmillan, and Lord Salisbury, called
upon the Prime Minister and begged him, for the good of the country, to offer his resignation. Churchill replied that his heart was set on talks with the Russians, thus if he could work out a peaceful pattern for Europe, he would feel his life’s work was done, and would willingly lay down his mantle. However, his ministers told him bluntly that they did not feel he was able to lead them through another General Election, and that it might be advantageous to the Conservative Party to appeal to the electorate before the summer. So in the end Churchill agreed to go. There were no national newspapers due to a widespread
strike, and his resignation was reported to the country by the British
Broadcasting Corporation, in a moving address…

Winston Churchill left Britain prosperous and happy.

Never in the history of the nation had the people enjoyed so many of the luxuries of life.

During the past five years London had thrown off much of its drabness; houses were newly painted, shop windows sparkled; even the Brigade of Guards was back in its prewar finery. As new life and spirit flowed into the country, Winston Churchill had been the object of many stirring occasions, and in 1953 the new Queen, young Elizabeth II, had bestowed the honor of the “Order of the Garter” upon her First Minister, and from then on, he became known to the world as “Sir Winston Churchill.”

Later, that same year the Royal Swedish Academy announced that the British Premier Sir Winston Churchill, had been awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. In his speech of acceptance Sir Winston said: “I am very proud indeed to receive an honor which is international. I have received several which are national, but this is the first that is international in its character. I notice that the first Englishman to receive the Nobel Prize was Rudyard Kipling, and that another equally rewarded was Bernard Shaw. I cannot attempt to compete with either of them. But I knew them both quite well, and my thought was much more in accord with Mr Kipling than with Mr Shaw. On the other hand Rudyard Kipling never thought much of me, whereas Bernard Shaw often expressed himself in most flattering terms. I should like the opportunity of expressing my thanks to the Academy in person, and also the warmth of my sympathy and feeling for Sweden, for her wonderful record and famous warriors, and my regard for her King and people.”

But perhaps the most stirring scene took place when the Houses of Parliament paid their tributes to the Prime Minister in 1954, on the occasion of his eightieth birthday. Winston Churchill described it as the greatest honor that had ever been accorded him. The members of both Houses, and all parties, gathered in Westminster Hall on the morning of November 30th to do him homage. He was presented with a Birthday Book in green leather, inlaid with a pattern of his racing colors, chocolate and pink. Inside were almost all the signatures of the members of Parliament, with a dedication which said: “We, the elected Members of the House of Commons, representing all political parties and all the people within Her Gracious Majesty’s realm of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, do hereby join in one accord to show our deep affection to your person and our abiding gratitude for your incomparable service to the Parliament and the peoples of this realm, and to the causes of justice, freedom and peace during more than fifty years.”
There were over two thousand people present at the ceremony, and as Winston Churchill entered the Hall the famous wartime V sign was beaten in Morse on a drum. He took his seat amid a tremendous burst of applause, while the band played Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance. Winston Churchill did not try to hide his emotions. Tears came to his eyes when Mr Attlee, the Leader of the Opposition, praised his greatness in a deeply moving speech.

There was only one cloud which threatened to darken the sky of this memorable day. The Houses of Parliament had commissioned Graham Sutherland to paint a portrait of Sir Winston in oils, which they presented to him during the ceremony. He was shown a photograph of the painting a short while before the Birthday gathering took place, and he was so horrified and indignant that he told Lady Churchill impulsively that he would refuse to attend. The picture showed him as an old man, straining forward as though he were anxiously and perplexedly trying to see his way ahead. Sir Winston felt it was a deliberate insult, almost a jeer at his years, and perhaps at his failing perceptibility. He was assured that the artist had not intended it so; nevertheless, his anger rankled.

Word of Winston Churchill’s reaction began to get around, and people waited nervously for the presentation to take place. By this time, however, the Prime Minister had mastered his feelings. He thanked Parliament for its gift and remarked with a twinkle in his eye: “The painting is a remarkable example of modern art.” There was a burst of relieved laughter and the ceremony proceeded with harmony undisturbed. That afternoon the painting was sent to Winston Churchill’s house in Kensington, where he personally saw to it that it was placed in a cupboard, and locked up. There it remains to this day.

When he rose to reply, Sir Winston’s voice shook as he said: “This is to me the most memorable public occasion of my life. No one has ever received a similar mark of honor before. There has not been anything like it in British history, and indeed, I doubt whether any of the modern democracies abroad have shown such a degree of kindness and generosity to a party politician who has not yet retired and may at any time be involved in controversy. It is, indeed, the most striking example I have known of that characteristic British parliamentary principle cherished in both Lords and Commons “Don’t bring politics into private life.” It is certainly a mark of the underlying unity of our national life which survives and even grows in spite of vehement party warfare and many grave differences of conviction and sentiment. This unity is, I believe, the child of freedom and fair play, fostered in the cradle of our ancient island institutions and nursed by tradition and custom.”

Then he referred to the generous words of the Leader of the Opposition: “I am most grateful to Mr Attlee for the agreeable words he has used about me, and the magnanimous appraisal he has given my variegated career. I must confess, however, that this ceremony with all its charm and splendor, may well be found to have seriously affected my controversial value as a party politician. However, perhaps with suitable assistance I shall get over this reaction and come round a bit.”

There were people who said that Sir Winston Churchill would not survive separated from the power and the stream of political events which for so long had dominated his life and thought. However, once again, Winston Churchill surprised them. After a few restless weeks he set to work to revise the manuscript of The History of the English-Speaking Peoples, which had lain on his desk for sixteen years. He went to the South of France and lived for some months in Lord Beaverbrook’s spacious villa. He was accompanied by a devoted entourage, almost royal in the profuseness of its numbers. Nearly a dozen secretaries,
research workers and servants travelled ahead of him to look after his interests. He worked methodically every morning; he painted; he enjoyed good food; and for the first time in his life he discovered music. He became particularly fond of Tchaikovsky, and night after night sat listening to the dramatic, majestic sounds from the phonograph. “If I had another life to live” he remarked to a friend, “I would like to conduct a great orchestra” and with that, he gave an impressive demonstration of this latent talent…

In April 1956, when Bulganin and Khrushchev visited Britain to take part in the informal talks, for which he had strived so long, he made the following statement: “They have a right to be treated with courtesy and goodwill. I hope they will enjoy their time in this country, and that easier and more fruitful relations will emerge as a result of their visit. Peaceful co-existence is, after all, the first thing we are seeking, and to this easier personal relations
between their national leaders and ours, and a dearer comprehension of the way we live, can make a valuable contribution.”

A few weeks later, on May 10th of 1956, when he went to Germany to receive the Charlemagne Prize, he sowed an idea which inspired worldwide headlines; if the Russian “new look was real” he said, “the Western Powers ought to consider the possibility, in the not far future, of urging her to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.”

On December 20th, of 1951, a London Sunday newspaper, the Observer, printed a profile of the Prime Minister which said: “Any consideration of Winston Churchill’s career as a whole brings one up against the extraordinary fact that, for all its majestic scope, it remains to this day tragically unfulfilled and fragmentary. His political role certainly has not been meteoric and disastrous, like Napoleon’s or Hitler’s. But neither has it been linked to a definite achievement, like Richelieu’s or Chatham’s, Washington’s or Lincoln’s, Bismarck’s or Lenin’s. So far, he leaves no completed work, for even the war he won has not been ended. He leaves glory, tragedy and unfinished business.”

This is a superficial and unjust judgment, because after leaving aside the fact that the writer has compared Winston Churchill to statesmen who, with the exception of Chatham, created unity out of civil war and disorder, within their own countries — the suggestion that Winston Churchill’s life presents no theme or no definite achievement is absurd. Now that when his political work is measured, one will find that this pattern stands out boldly: A fierce belief that the freedom of man, Western Civilization, Democracy, and even Christendom itself, must be guarded, and can only be preserved, by the combined efforts of the English-speaking people.”

It was the vision of this alliance that prompted Winston Churchill in the early thirties to begin writing an Anglo-American history; it was faith in this alliance that gave him heart for his prodigious task in 1940. Throughout the war he hammered his conviction to Roosevelt, and although the American leaders were not ready to accept his premises in 1944, the events of the last eight years have drawn the two countries together in an association which almost marks the
fulfillment of Winston Churchill’s heart’s desire. Never before in peacetime have the affairs of two free nations been so tightly interwoven.

Although some people regret the fact that he has not used his influence to draw the countries of Europe close to the British orbit so that the Anglo-American partnership could develop on terms of equal power, it was Winston Churchill’s inspiration that gave birth to the Council of Europe, and the Council may yet illuminate the minds of the statesmen who follow him. But if the English-speaking alliance continues to be a foundation stone for both NATO and for the United Nations, and the United Nations continue to stand up against aggression and to insist upon negotiations, as the only civilized method of settling difficulties and disputes, between nations, Winston Churchill’s immortality is assured. He led the free world in its darkest hour, and when the battle was won he used his counsel and influence to bring millions of people together on a
path of common endeavor.

Yet it is not only as a statesman that he must be judged. No one can meet this extraordinary man without a feeling of awe. He not only stands head and shoulders above a century of powerful statesmen, but his vitality, his mastery of the English language, his contribution to literature, his scientific inventiveness, his painting, his far-flung interests from housebuilding to race horses, and even his astonishing constitution, place him in a category far removed from mere mortals. The range of his talents forces one to compare him with an imaginary Leonardo da Vinci if he were coupled with Charles the Great, or Michelangelo if coupled with Luigi De Medici, in one body, and the veritable “Master of All” Aristotle, the teacher of Alexander the Great, coupled in one existence with Philip the King.

Yet even then, Winston Churchill was so much more, than all these great men in their own rights, individually or collectively. And indeed he had mastered everything and every art and science and innovation that he card for or that he happened to touch. And he touched so many fields, and so many people, and influenced so many subjects of Art & Science and Executive Power, through his Leadership and the Power of his Oratory, and most importantly through his unabashed Leadership, and his unapologetic Exercise of Power.

And we can learn from that here, and in every memory of his Life, but today I must say that I sincerely have no doubt whatsoever, that the world will have to wait a very long time before we get to see someone with his talents and his courage ever coming around again…

Yet although his accomplishments place him apart as a giant, students of the future may find his character the most unusual subject of all. For well over hundred years Winston Churchill has attracted world-wide interest. At various times he has provoked his countrymen to anger, admiration, indignation, laughter, gratitude, fury and veneration. But whatever the feeling, he has never failed to fascinate, for the swift, changing facets of his personality and leadership; because with Winston Churchill it is possible to see the changeable weather in full riot act. One can witness human selfishness turn into generosity; mischievousness retreat before a strict code of Ethics and Morality; impulsiveness melt into wisdom; dejection surge into wit; flouts and jeers dissolve into a warm and loyal friendship, and above all else in himself and always in his presence abject fear would turn into COURAGE and strength.

As he always said: “Attitude is Everything.”

And so shining through all the contradictions of his Life, his Love of exercising the Art of Power and Leadership, through his mercurial temperament; there is always this burning courage, and his deep faith in the power for good within the human race.

This concludes your tour of Churchill’s Life and his Art of Power and Leadership, but should you feel that you need to take a tour of England, whereupon you will be tempted to take a little tour of Churchill’s world in London and environs — You just might be able to do this, following these important toponyms, and addresses below:

Do this, because while being in London — invariably, you will happen upon, even if you do not intentionally want to visit, many of the places associated with Winston Churchill’s life and heroic times. But if you are a true student of Power and Leadership, you will surely find the time to go and see some of the places, in which he spent his youth, his career, and even his later life…
Of course the people who live in these houses today, are proud and honored to be there as living guardians of the toponyms, and of the physical ‘snapshots’ of Winston’s brilliant history as defined in mortar, brick, and stone, because Winston Churchill lived such a long life, that he had far too many London residences. Residences, like the one in the street where he spent several years as a child, near the house that Chopin lived in, and from which he went on to give his last concert… Next you can visit 105 Mount Street, his first bachelor pad, in which he lived from 1900 to 1905, and from which, incidentally, he went to the House of Commons to make his maiden speech; and in which he was still living when he crossed the floor of the House from the Conservative, to the Liberal benches.
Then one can see his first house, which is located on 48 Charles Street. This is telling because he lived here as a Conservative – while the second one is where he lived as a Liberal Member of Parliament, at 29 St. James’s Place. Next you go along Bolton Street, past his charming bachelor house at No. 12, to the first house ever of his own property.

Now let’s, pay homage, to the strange drama that this house led to, because when Churchill purchased the modest dwelling of Bolton street; Randolph Churchill, his family father, had already been dead for more than a decade, and he had no one to look after him. Instead he had to look after his Mother and younger brother Jack. Winston by that time had already become the breadwinner for his family. It was then that Sir Ernest Cassel arrived, in the scene, as a guardian angel, and offered to furnish the salon in this house for him. Maybe because his Mother Jennie had asked him, or maybe because he admired the young Parliamentarian — still Sir Cassel did this.

Of course Sir Ernest Cassel already managed the savings accruing from prudent Winston Churchill’s speeches in America, and from the small financial earnings coming from the publication of his books and magazine articles. This financial management work, Sir Ernest did so well, that in due course, Winston’s meagre earnings and savings were turned into quite substantial stock holdings, and equity investments. So it was quite a small thing for Sir Ernest Cassel, a wealthy financier to be able to afford the small gift of furnishing the living room of young Winston Churchill’s first homehouse in London. This is the first House Winston Churchill ever owned and he lived there himself for more than fifteen years, as it had become the City home he loved beyond compare. That is until he found, and founded, the Chartwell House, where his family life blossomed and where he lived till the end.

Twelve years later Churchill found himself being denounced all over England by a brilliant lecturer, Lord Alfred Douglas, the poet friend of Oscar Wilde. Douglas claimed that Churchill had been in the pay and pocket of Sir Ernest Cassel, a Jew, to such an extent that after the Battle of Jutland in 1916, Churchill had concocted an incredible plot: the Government would announce a naval defeat (which indeed it did), British stocks would collapse on the New York stock market (which indeed they did), and Winston Churchill, centrepiece of this swindle, would then issue a statement (as indeed he did) saying, in effect, “Well, you know, it wasn’t such a defeat; our fleet is still on the seas and has a good chance of beating the German navy next time.” His statement was issued at request of the Government for the sake of public morale.

One result of Churchill’s reassuring statement was that the stocks went up in New York and several hundreds of millions were made by speculators. Lord Alfred Douglas claimed it was Churchill who had mastered this whole financial episode, which he portrayed as a deliberate swindle. He pointed to Bolton Street and the fact that Sir Ernest Cassel had provided the furniture. So there, it was surely clear for all to see, these two were obviously fellow-conspirators.

In 1924 the newly elected Conservative Government decided to bring a criminal libel action against Lord Alfred Douglas: the Prime Minister of the day, Stanley Baldwin, had just appointed Churchill Chancellor of the Exchequer, and did not like him being denounced all over the country for a major financial swindler. A case was brought, and Churchill told the court: “. . . ten years before the Battle of Jutland — not after it — Sir Ernest Cassel furnished for me a room in my house at 12 Bolton Street. Sir Ernest Cassel was a great friend of mine, and a great friend of my father’s before me. I first got to know him well about the year 1897. At the end of the year 1905, when for the first time I took a small house of my own in Bolton Street, he asked my mother whether he might furnish my sitting room for me. I accepted this gift from him as an act of spontaneous friendship. That is the sole foundation of truth which exists for these libels; and, as I have stated, it occurred ten years before the Battle of Jutland, and not after it.”

Churchill added, in connection with another of Lord Alfred Douglas’s accusations: “I did not spend the weekend with Sir Ernest Cassel before the Battle of Jutland occurred. It is only a detail, but is as untrue as the rest. I never at any time discussed any matter connected with the Battle of Jutland with him until after these libels had appeared, when I naturally drew his attention to them. He then in the last year of his life, although very ill, immediately offered to come forward and join in any prosecution which it might be thought right or necessary to institute.” Lord Alfred Douglas was found guilty, and sentenced to six months in prison. Perhaps 12 Bolton Street does deserve a plaque after all.
In 1940 Alfred Douglas was to send Churchill a poem of praise and of hope for his war leadership. Churchill accepted this tribute with magnanimity. As he had written to a former constituency opponent in 1940: “As for me, the past is dead.”

As to Sir Ernest Cassel the “co-conspirator,” on Cassel’s death in 1921 Churchill wrote to his granddaughter, Lord Mountbatten’s wife:
“Your grandfather was a great man & he made a mark on his generation & on the world that will last long. He was also a good & just man who was trusted respected honoured by all who knew him. He was a valued friend of my father & I have taken up that friendship & have held it all my grown up life. I had the knowledge that he was very fond of me & believed in me at all times — especially in bad times. I had a real & deep affection for him. I saw with sadness that he was approaching the end of his mortal span. The last talk we had — about six weeks ago — he told me that he hoped he wd live to see me at the head of affairs. I could see how great his interest was in my doings and fortunes. I did hope he would live to see a few more years of sunshine. The horrible period of the war had passed away. The two griefs which dominated his life — your grandmother’s death & your dear mother’s were being softened by the new light with your coming into blossom & brilliancy cast upon his footsteps. He would have had happier days than he had known for many a long year. It is very sad & hard that this prospect should be closed. I know how you will cherish his memory, & I hope you will find in yourself his strength & virtue.
“I have lost a good friend who’s like I shall never see again.”

In memory of these days, one should take also a journey through Hyde Park, and walk through the paths, with Kensington Palace and Gardens on the left and Hyde Park on your right. Where the road crosses the Serpentine lake, you will see facing you a rather beautiful low building with columns and portico, standing empty and unguarded. It is a rather innocuous building today. Yet this used to be the London naval munitions depot — the ‘magazine’ in which explosives and ammunition for the defence of London were stored. This was one of the very much undefended spots that Winston Churchill was so concerned about, at the height of the international crisis in 1911, when it suddenly appeared that Germany and Britain might fall at war, over Agadir, a small and hitherto insignificant port on the Atlantic coast of Morocco.

Churchill was at a garden party at 10 Downing Street when he happened to meet Sir Edward Henry, the Chief Commissioner of Police. To Churchill’s surprise, he learned from Henry that as Home Secretary he, Winston Churchill, was technically responsible for the safety of all the reserves of naval cordite, explosives, and munitions — some of which were stored in magazines throughout London, including this magazine ‘hard by’ the Serpentine of Hyde park. Churchill at once returned to the Home Office and telephoned the Admiralty. The Admiral in charge refused, however, to accept any responsibility, and declined to send a detachment of marines to guard these hitherto neglected but vital magazines. Accordingly, Churchill telephoned Lord Haldane at the War Office and persuaded him to send a company of infantry to each magazine. This was “the first of many actions,” Randolph Churchill has commented, “which in a long life was to gain for Churchill the reputation in pussyfoot circles of being an alarmist. He always maintained that it was better to be alarmed before a catastrophe rather than after.”

In his mind’s eye — and this was one of his great attributes — Churchill had immediately conjured up during that garden party at No. 10, the possibility of a small group of Germans, possibly German agents in London, seizing this magazine, and destroying it. Churchill was now deeply absorbed in the Agadir crisis, and perturbed by it. On the one hand Britain was threatening war with Germany — enormous headlines, excitement all over the world. On the other hand, there was no guard to protect the vital munitions needed for the navy’s Fleet, and there didn’t seem to be any sense of urgency among those responsible to guard such stores of munitions…

Thereafter, one result of this garden party conversation was that Churchill emerged as a leading advocate of a strong and adequate defence. Two months later he was given the job of being in charge of the naval forces of Britain. This was the beginning of his career as First Lord of the Admiralty. So, when one goes past this building in Hyde Park, it is worth looking at, and thinking what a change in Churchill’s fortunes, perhaps in Britain’s fortunes, arose from that place’s utter vulnerability and defenseless position during his time.
One ought to recall that in those days, Churchill was not only a liberal, but a pillar of the Liberal Party. He was of course a member of the National Liberal Club, which one can also go past, between Whitehall and the River Thames. One day before the First World War, Winston Churchill’s friend Lord Birkenhead, who, as you know, co-founded the celebrated Other Club in the Pinafore Room at the Savoy, was walking from the Temple, where he had his legal chambers, to the House of Commons. Suddenly he found that he had to do what I had to do just before I got up to speak here tonight. So he went into the National Liberal Club, which he was passing at that moment. Birkenhead being a prominent figure in the Tory Party, the club porter said, “Excuse me, Sir, but are you a member of this Club? Surely not!” To which Lord Birkenhead replied, “Club? I thought it was a public convenience.”

Now inside this Club, for it was indeed a Club, hung a superb portrait of the great Liberal Winston Churchill, painted by the established painter Ernest Townsend in 1915, as it was paid for, by an anonymous donor. It was ready for presentation on 20 December 1915, when Churchill was already serving in the trenches of the Western Front. It was therefore hung temporarily in a Club Committee Room, until such time as Churchill could unveil it. No opportunity was found for the ceremony. In 1921, when Churchill was no longer ‘persona grata’ within the National Liberal Club, the Club decided that his portrait should be “packed and stored in some dry place.” During the Second World War it was taken out of storage and re-hung; almost immediately it was damaged by bomb blast. After being restored, it was finally unveiled by Churchill himself in 1941. You will be pleased to know that it is still there. So please look in at the National Liberal Club, at the portrait, even if you do not use the other facilities.

Clubs, and dining, and private moments, in Churchill’s life are, of course, always fascinating. But oddly enough, they have never been described, nor recounted, because the colours of Winston Churchill’s ‘siren suits’ were discreet, and his symposia, seldom if ever reported. That is excepting his taking out the whole Cabinet to the Savoy for lunch, or dinner, as the occasion demanded, based upon their successes; and of always having his stenographer, his Pol Rogers champagne, his single malt Scotches, and his fat cigars — always at the ready nearby.

It is a rather intriguing and informing exercise to walkabout in London and thus cover the years of Churchill’s life, career, and history, by seeing the very places where Winston Churchill had lived, slept, wined, and dined.
One of the most interesting things to find is where Winston was, on the night that war was declared against Germany in August 1914…
He was of course in the Cabinet meeting, on this overlong and difficult day, where evening found him. The Cabinet had broken up at about 9:15 pm, when Winston Churchill and Lloyd George walked to their favourite restaurant within walking distance of number 10 Downing Street; at the Carlton Hotel, at the bottom of the Haymarket. Some years later it was destroyed by Hitler’s bombs, and it’s replacement is ‘New Zealand House’ a rather modern and austere building. Yet at the time it was inside the Carlton Hotel the two leaders had supper together.

And in the personal ‘Churchill papers’ there still is the Carlton Hotel bill, of what they ate and drank, in their pleasant repast. But what is bizarre, is that within the register of the working staff at the Hotel, is listed among the vegetable cooks at the bottom, and well under the chefs, and anybody of culinary significance, the name of what must have been a recent recruit to the kitchen’s staff — a person freshly arrived from French Indochina: A certain individual from IndoChina named Ho Chi Minh.

Yes, the Vietnamese leader Ho Chi Minh had been in London as a vegetable cook on the outbreak of war, when he had gone to the French Embassy in London in order to volunteer his services wanting to fight, as a patriotic Indo-Chinaman (as they were then called). Sadly he was turned down, and then he crossed the Channel to Paris, and began his career of disgruntlement, militancy, and revolution.

When in London, of course, one will walk and wander many times, around the Horse Guards Parade, because it is indeed the nexus of all Churchill activities, memories, and events. And if one looks particularly hard at the Admiralty; the great building in which he worked and thrived, and then at the Admiralty House, in which he lived, you cannot fail to look up at the main windows of Admiralty House and of the one that is lit differently because that was his window to the world..

Not only did Churchill wrote his great speeches of the early months of the First World War there, but he also wrote the first great speeches of the Second. “Fight on the beaches” was written in Admiralty House because, being a kind-hearted man underneath the gruff exterior, Churchill did not want to dislodge the sick and dying Neville Chamberlain precipitately from No 10 Downing Street. Winston allowed Neville Chamberlain to remain in 10 Downing Street, while he, as Prime Minister, and also Minister of Defence, remained at Admiralty House, crossing the Horse Guards Parade grounds far too many times each day; in order to go to the Cabinet Room at No 10 Downing Street for his meetings and for his work with Cabinet and Visiting Heads of State and distinguished leaders.

Yet it is curious how history suspends itself sometimes; and treats us to surprises that never fail to impress it’s urgency to live through it doing great things. Because in one of Churchill’s many innovations in the Admiralty House offices, within this vast building — it was to arrange in his office’s library, so that some of the oak panelling would open on a swivel lever and reveal behind it his plans. This is where he put up maps of strategic positions of Britain’s ships at sea, and their intended movements to targets of his choosing and to engagements with the enemy’s fleets. Winston’s idea on this innovation; was that if someone were to come through the room — such as a well-meaning young naval officer, or, dare one imagine it, a politician, or a spy or an unaccompanied cleaner — he could shut the paneling; and the naval dispositions would be hidden from view. This innovative system, he set up in August 1914.

But in May 1915 he was thrown out of the Admiralty after the Dardanelles and Chanak disasters. However, in September of 1939, when he returned to the Admiralty, as the First Lord again, with his secretary Kathleen Hill, he strode into the room, and to her utter amazement — because hitherto she had only been on his staff at Chartwell — he went up to the panelling and pulled it open. And there exposed to view after 24 years, was the last of his naval engagements and disposition maps; still bearing the fleet dispositions in May 1915.

Thus, if you have been in the Cabinet War Rooms, you may recall in his bedroom another of the main war maps, hidden behind a long curtain which can be pulled across to obscure it. This huge curtain was always drawn when people came in to see him, because in it were marked all the ‘hot spots’ and the “vulnerable points” on the British coast, where, if the Germans did attempt to land, there were no defenders, and not fixed positions, and therefore precious little that could be thrown against them.

Another huge opportunity for retelling History’s power plays can be found when one goes down walking the Strand, toward Trafalgar Square, and stops at the lovely station hotel on the left, which is the Charing Cross Hotel. It has recently been refurbished and is a rather attractive building with great amenities inside, and a beautiful exterior that belies the crisis of May 1915 which took place because Lord Fisher, Churchill’s chief executive officer of the Admiralty, and Winston when Fisher got up and walked out. Lord Fisher, simply left the Admiralty building and announced, “I’m going — I’m not serving under Churchill, and let there be a political crisis.”

Of course, Fisher had informed the Conservative opposition of exactly what he was doing. But no one knew where he was going. The Prime Minister searched London for him: sent a messenger round London carrying a letter ordering Fisher to return to his post. That letter typewritten on the Prime Minister’s 10 Downing Street letterhead, read curtly: “Lord Fisher. In the King’s name I order you at once to return to your post. H.H.Asquith. 15 May 1915.”
Unknown to Winston Churchill, or Prime Minister Asquith — Lord Fisher was, in fact, at the Charing Cross Hotel resting and entertaining himself. But Winston did not send anyone there.

Sadly the messengers went instead to the hotels near Euston Station, St. Pancras, and KingsCross station, because they thought the old Admiral was going north to Scotland, or to Norfolk. But actually what they didn’t know was that, Lord Fishers’ lady friend, the Duchess of Hamilton, lived in the south of England, on one of the train lines leading out of Charing Cross. And Winston Churchill, who was a shrewd person, many years later met the Duchess and told her: “If only I had known about your friendship with Lord Fisher then, I would have gone to see you. You were the only one who could have persuaded him to go back to the Admiralty.”

The Charing Cross hotel, was indeed disastrous to Churchill’s fortunes… because In May 1915, the Dardanelles crisis saw Winston Churchill completely removed from his central position of authority.

In 1915 Churchill left the centre of war direction, even though he remained in the Cabinet. It was then that he discovered ‘Hoe Farm’ which one might still visit today. No doubt, the good folks who live there now, will tell you all about how Churchill did his very first paintings there, how Lady Lavery arrived in her Rolls-Royce and persuaded Churchill to “assault the canvas,” that marvellous moment recalled so vividly by Winston Churchill himself in his book ‘Painting as a Pastime.’ All that major fun, took place at Hoe Farm and it did not involve any ‘hoes’ no matter the politically incorrect name or today’s meaning of it. Indeed, Churchill’s first two surviving paintings were of the pond and the little field there, which the visitor, will no doubt see reproduced in faximile inside the farmhouse, should you visit the beautiful setting yourself and ingratiate your person with the owners…

In London, too, is the house at 41 Cromwell Road from which Winston Churchill emerged when he thought that ‘gave up’ politics for good, in November of 1915, and left for the bloody trenches of the Western Front in Western France and in the Alsace Lorraine region, during the height of the millions of ‘killings’ of the First World War.

At the time, this London house belonged to Winston’s brother Jack, and today one can do down Cromwell Road, just opposite the Natural History Museum, in order to see it. It is a fine corner house in which at one stage Lady Randolph Churchill, Jack Churchill, and Lady Gwendeline Churchill, their three children, Winston Churchill himself, his wife, and their three children, all lived. Fortunately it is quite a large house. Now it is a Catholic education centre. Still, I believe that you might just knock on the door and ask if you can have a look in there. The people are quite polite and accommodating with visitors. They are in God’s business after all and they remember how Winston Churchill saved the Christian World from the National Socialist and Atheist menace of one artless colonel Adolf Hitler… by defeating him boldly. They will surely invite you inside and also offer you a cup of tea, while you look around to see ‘visions’ of Winston Churchill as he was preparing to go fight in the killing trenches himself in order to support the war effort and also redeem himself for the Dardanelles fiasco… and his forced retirement from the Admiralty.

Back when he was at the Admiralty, Churchill had a young shorthand writer, Harry Beckenham, who travelled everywhere with him — one of the first of what were to become his staff of ever-ready, ever-patient, ever-devoted secretaries. Beckenham was there to take dictation, day and night. He has also to be left behind, when Churchill went to the trenches, at which point Churchill wrote in exasperation in a private letter, “I pray to God for a month of power, and a good shorthand writer.”

I must say that I know exactly how Grandpa Winston felt, after writing this book without help of a private shorthand secretary… or a ghost writer — and yet we all know that the best things are written when one is alone with their thoughts and with their memories; as this following letter of Winston Churchill will attest…

Because this is one of the most extraordinary and moving letters which Winston wrote to his wife, from the muddy trenches of the Western Front. It is one of those long letters which he wrote every day in his own hand, as he openly expressed himself in these personal, tender, loving, sad, and determined letters, about what was happening. These are all very private and personal letters, which were never intended for publication of any kind, but more than fifty years have passed since his death and at long last we can share these memories because all the people involved are long dead and even the official Secrecy Act has expired about these privacies.
Still amongst all of these I want to share this one which, ought to be a central yet private part of Winston Churchill’s understanding of the private man. THe man who loved a woman and wanted her to know of his gratefulness of being alive for her…

And to juxtapose this personal letter with his other famous remarks — we should recall another of his emotional outbursts during his Finest Hour speech, where he ‘poured-out’ his souls in a similar manner, connecting with that Divine Spirit that emanates from deep within and that connects us all to the place i the sky where God might be…
So here is Winston Churchill’s finest and most intimate personal letter to the Love of his Life.

It was written on 28th of March 1916, a wintry day in the trenches of the Western Front. The Germans were sending yet another methodical artillery barrage along the British front line. Churchill calculated that the fifth or sixth shell would hit the ground quite near to where he was standing. Indeed it did. And it was thus he wrote his wife describing the day’s events:
“Twenty more yards to the left and no more tangles to unravel, no more anxieties to face, no more hatreds and injustices to encounter. A good ending to a chequered life. A final gift, unvalued, to an ungrateful country, an impoverishment of the war-making power of Britain which no one would ever know, or measure, or mourn.”

Winston Churchill served with distinction, and survived unharmed his time in the trenches of the Western Front, unlike most of his colleagues — and was thus left with an enormous understanding of what soldiers went through in the defense of a little bit of earth. Winston carried within him, this understanding which was to substantially affect his future conduct in the First World War, and his Exercise of Power and leadership during his Premiership of the Second World War. And that might explain his deep reluctance to throw men ashore, in hopeless enterprises. His time in the trenches attending to his fellows and seeing the casualties mount day in and day out — caused him to become a fierce critic of the policy of attrition, which was to culminate in the Battle of Passchendaele, in 1917. His very public criticism of the government, is what led Lloyd George, the wily, and remarkable Prime Minister, to bring Churchill back into the Government, in order to use his energies to fight the Germans, rather than to fight the Government; and also in order to benefit from his caution, and his mature view of events, and of the war knowledge that he had accumulated since he was then 43 years old. Lloyd George liked to rub shoulders with Winston Churchill because he benefited as much from Winston’s serious Strategic and tactical planning and Organizational efficiencies and his cautious optimism, as from his more publicly seen pugnacity and pugilistic warlike famous personality showcasing the Spirit of English Defiance. That of the English Bulldog. John Bull incarnate.

Churchill became Minister of Munitions, and worked in a requisitioned London hotel, the Metropole. Today it is the Metropole Building, part of the Ministry of Defence. You can see what a lovely structure it really is right on Northumberland Avenue. You can even look inside straight from the street and you will see the Minister’s room, through the rather attractive window.

That is where Churchill was situated when the First World War ended on the 11th hour, of the 11th day, of the 11th month, of 1918, sitting in front of that window. And if one reads from Winston’s description of looking out of that window; you can hear these words; or better still read them out aloud on the pavement, when you look up at his window from Northumberland Avenue:
“Suddenly the first stroke of the chime. I looked at the broad street beneath me. It was deserted. From the portals of one of the large hotels absorbed by Government Departments darted the slight figure of a girl clerk, distractedly gesticulating while another stroke of Big Ben resounded. Then from all sides men and women came scurrying into the street. Streams of people poured out of all the buildings. Northumberland Avenue was now crowded with people in hundreds, nay thousands, rushing hither and thither in a frantic manner, shouting and screaming with joy. I could see that Trafalgar Square was already swarming. Around me in our very headquarters, in the Hotel Metropole, disorder had broken, out. Doors banged. Feet clattered down corridors. Everyone rose from the desk and cast aside pen and paper. All bounds were broken. The tumult grew. It grew like a gale, but from all sides simultaneously. The street was now a seething mass of humanity. Flags appeared as if by magic. Streams of men and women flowed from the Embankment. They mingled with torrents pouring down the Strand on their way to acclaim the King. Almost before the last stroke of the clock had died away, the strict, war-straitened, regulated streets of London had become a triumphant pandemonium.”

I often think that one should, when looking at Churchill’s London, try and look at the places where he was at these most important moments in World history. Let’s look not only at the famous houses, and important locations, but at the actual physical places where he lived, and the simple rooms where he slept, and the spots where he found himself, on those particularly important moments, such as that lovely window in the Metropole building.

The fact that when the war ended — is when Winston Churchill was made Minister of War, did not escape his well attuned radar for irony and humour, especially when it was aimed squarely against him. Indeed it was a usual thing coming as this type of jibes and jokes came quite often from his political and from his parliamentary frenemies that he most often called ‘misguided friends.’ Clearly this was not the only ironic moment of mirth and laughter in his career. Far from it. But this particular joke foisted upon him was the apotheosis of pantomime: “When the war was over — the Ministry of War was given to Winston.”

So immediately after the war, Winston found himself responsible, not for fighting the Bolsheviks in Russia — which he was quite keen to do — but, by order of Lloyd George and the Cabinet, he was responsible for pulling all expeditionary armies of British troops, out of Russia, and out of her territories, and dominions.

Indeed only another chapter of Winston Churchill’s life could stand out as more cynically ironic than this. Because this is when this Courageous Military Man, who was so furious against the Bolsheviks and rearing to fight the ‘Good Battle’ — was appointed ‘Minister of War’ and instead was given the responsibility of withdrawing all British forces from every corner of the almost disintegrated Bolshevik empire under the express orders and direction from the Prime Minister, of avoiding any conflict at any cost and just withdrawing.
Just imagine what the Duke of Marlborough — John Churchill — would have thought of this…

Yes, this is a historical anomaly because it truly represents a vast and somewhat humorous, if not slightly insulting curiosity of Churchill’s beliefs and principles — but such is the complexity of history, because this incident hides behind it quite a riddle. An unknown riddle because within this ‘strange’ story and it’s unfolding and expansive scenery — there is another and even greater political peculiarity hidden in plain view. A peculiarity worthy of Sir Conan Doyle and his character’s Sherlock Holmes powers of inquisitive intellect to discern the potential crime motives that brought us to this moment of history.

Back in March of 1918, Lenin and Trotsky were about to achieve their bittersweet triumph they had worked hard to bring about. Namely they strived to achieve this: ‘Peace with Germany’ in their own time and terms. This was the rationale behind the famous ‘Treaty of Brest-Litovsk’ under which the Bolsheviks gave up to Germany, in return for peace, vast areas of western Russia, including virtually the whole of Ukraine. Ukraine, that was literally Russia’s breadbasket, because of her vast wheat fields and her capable and hard working fieldhands, was now becoming part of Germany’s foodstuff magazine. What Russia lost — Germany gained without much fighting.
Indeed, everyone around the British government’s Cabinet table in London was alarmed about this.

First, it meant that Germany would acquire enormously wealthy areas of Russia and her breadbasket. Second, that with no fighting left to be done against the Russians, the Kaiser could turn millions of battle hardened and well armed military men against Britain in the Western European fields of War — in the horrible trenches of the torrid ‘Western Front’ spread out for hundreds of miles stretching throughout the Alsace Lorraine region of Eastern France, Belgium, and the Low Lands.

As a counterbalance Britain counted on her American cousins. And of course America had belatedly entered the war by then, and its troops were streaming on the front lines and the trenches — or almost coming in the line of fire, but Winston Churchill knew that the Allies could not withstand this mass of new German troops.

And in light of these changed circumstances, it was right then that Winston Churchill proposed to Lloyd George: ‘Why doesn’t somebody like Theodore Roosevelt (who was then in Europe) go at once to Russia, and join the Bolshevik government as one of its Commissars, as Commissar for the Allies in fact. Then, in return for Lenin’s Russia rejoining the war with Germany, Britain and the United States would guarantee the permanence of the Bolshevik Revolution.’ The postscript to this is that Winston Churchill of course was too modest, to propose himself, and in fact proposed FDR to get the chestnuts out of the fire — something that as we all know; he really craved for himself.
Well, this was not the only thing in Churchill’s life that did not turn out as he proposed, or as he planned and executed. And indeed this episode although unheard of in the UK, it was somehow picked up by spies and back in Moscow, it created a certain tremor of excitement and expectation…

Looking back over Churchill’s career, I have often thought that one of the most neglected periods is the two years which he spent as Colonial Secretary. It is neglected, perhaps, because we think now, in the post-Colonial world, and especially in America which is vehemently anti-colonial — that the colonies were somehow Victorian, old fashioned, slightly disreputable, out-of-the-way places, ill-governed, weak, corrupt, and perhaps we rightly got rid of them. But this is just an illusion when you see today India due to its civil service and her English democratic traditions that were built-in during the days of the British Raj — is the biggest Democracy in the world.

And this was one of the main issues with which Churchill had to deal as Secretary of State for the Colonies, along with the thorny problems of managing Ireland. It is my view that Winston Churchill’s attempt to resolve the Irish question in 1920-21, his negotiation of the Irish Treaty, and his unabashed bringing of the Irish terrorists into negotiations with the British Government — were one of the greatest achievements of his life. And his influence is writ large today because his handling of this colonial crisis led to the creation of today’s Nation of Eire, and what today is the Unionist Northern Ireland, still part of the United Kingdom.

Of course if you read the correspondence of Winston at the time, and the Treaty papers, and if you look at the minute record of the negotiations — one can easily see that this was intended as a temporary ‘expedient’ until the passions could subside. Well, it still may prove to be a temporary ‘expedient’ but we should all remember that the whole of History is temporary and as the Buddhists and the Physicists keep on reminding us — everything is transient. Therefore as politicians we simply have to define “temporary” in a somewhat elastic way.
Indeed Winston Churchill worked exceptionally hard on the Irish settlement, and his super strong effort shows because Peace has been maintained to this day after a few periods of flare ups. And with the Good Friday accords power sharing in the North Irish part of the United Kingdom retains the peace — albeit at times an uneasy one.

But for today’s difficult times when we are dealing with the threats of Militant Islam and Islamic Terrorism — Winston Churchill’s advice to the terrorists themselves surely remains relevant and rather useful today, maybe more than ever: “Quit killing, and start talking.”
Hard though he worked, and late into the night he agonized — so late into so many nights, that people thought he was going sleepless for ages meditating upon the Irish settlement. And although that was true, Winston Churchill understood best amongst all of his contemporaries that Ireland needed a measure of Independence and to be released from the patronage of England — because it could not be wholly governed by treaties and negotiations, and it needed a postcolonial future, in the catholic part and a firm hand as well for the Ulster Protestant North.

He had a clear view of the Irish passions and the divisions because when he was a child growing up in Ireland — he remembered being awfully scared by the Irish Fenian, and the Irish Republican Brotherhood terrorists, who had even burned down the children’s theatre, where he was going to see a play, as a little boy with his beloved ‘Woom” Mrs Everest.

And perhaps remembering this, and that, and the other, from his very early life’s Irish experience, and from his first formative years spent growing up at the ViceRoy House in Dublin — is why he introduced the ‘Irish Treaty’ in the House of Commons by making a marvellously long speech in order to win both political spectrum sides, that occupied the English Parliament and the House of Commons at that time. Indeed this was the first of the four major speeches, each lasting more than two hours, that he made on the issues of Ireland during that period of historically charged times.

 

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Winston’s conciliatory speeches not only had to soothe the irate Tories who did not like the idea of an independent Catholic Southern Ireland — but he had to quiet down the passions of the even more irate Liberals, for whom breaking up Ireland by creating a separate Protestant enclave in the North of the island, was the thing they had nearly gone to war over, just before the “real” First World War got started, back in 1914.

But Winston was set to liberate Ireland from the Colonial past and to set her on her way to Independence and nationhood. One should this fine passage, spoken when Churchill was confronted, as so often in his Ministerial as well as his Opposition days, by a hostile House. As so often in his life, he could look farther back than many of his listeners, to a period in which he had been even then at the centre of dramatic events.

This is what Winston said: “I remember, on the eve of the Great War, we were gathered together at Cabinet in Downing Street, and for a long time, an hour or an hour and a half, after the latest Irish conflict, we discussed the boundaries of Fermanagh and Tyrone counties. Both of the great traditional parties were at each other’s throats. The air was full of talk of civil war. Every effort was made by us to settle the matter and to bring them together.”
“The differences had been narrowed down, not merely to the counties of Fermanagh and Tyrone but to parishes and groups of parishes inside the area of Fermanagh and Tyrone. And yet, even when the differences had been so narrowed down, the problem appeared to be insuperable as ever.”

 

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“Then came the Great War. Every institution, almost, in the world was strained. Great empires were overturned. The whole map of Europe had been changed. The position of every country had been violently altered. The modes of thought of men, the whole outlook of affairs, the grouping of political parties, all had encountered violent and tremendous changes in the deluge of the world. But as the deluge subsides and the waters fall short, we see the dreary steeples of Fermanagh and Tyrone emerging once again. The integrity of their quarrel is one of the few institutions that has been unaltered in the cataclysm which has swept the world.”

And that was that. The modern nation of Ireland was born. And in large measure it was born because of Winston Churchill’s visionary politics and his principled stand on fighting for what is RIGHT and PROPER and in the interest of the PEOPLE. His principled stand on the Irish Question as well as on everything else — he proved time and again. But he was never recognized by peers, enemies and friends alike. Because human nature being what it is — they always assigned to him some dark and intriguing imperial motives every time that he was proven to be a Republican and in favor of liberating people and always fighting alongside them with personal danger and personal courage and cost — whether in the trenches, or in the high seas, or in the air, or in the ramparts along with the defenders as in Antwerp and so many other places — and perhaps most visibly when he fought inside the Houses of Parliament inside the Westminster Hall of the government and the opposition in the Commons and the Lords of the British Empire.

These two most Irish counties of Fermanagh and Tyrone, are still today framed in their original borders, that constitute the central part of the original six counties, that comprised the Northern Ireland in it’s entirety. Yet the year 1922 saw the fall of Lloyd George, and Winston Churchill fell alongside him, and thus went into his first of several political ‘wilderness’ years. Those were years of solitude and years of focusing on family and reflection through writing, advocating, and ‘venting’ only through his article writing, and through his oppositional speeches — while he was writing and publishing his XL historical books for his own edification if not for a living… As indeed for the first time since 1900, he was without a seat in Parliament.
Yet unbeknown to Winston and to his surprise, after having fought a Conservative Government in two by-elections and after having done very well against them, and finally having been re-elected — Winston was summoned as he thought; by the new Conservative Prime Minister, Stanley Baldwin, in order to be offered a minor post in the Government. Perhaps he would be offered a Ministry of Local Government, or he will be asked to become the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, or he might be given some other purely decorative role. This is what he fully expected from the type of funny people that in jest had given him the Ministry of War when Peace was declared.

Yet this ignominy — Winston was firmly resolved not to accept…
But as chance would have it — the question was not just to get Winston back in the government in a minor role to just keep him quiet. Churchill misread the mood, and erringly thought that the question in the minds of Prime Minister Baldwin and his Cabinet, of people jealous of Winston, and even some haters of his ideas — was instead this: “How small, how pitiful, and how derisory this offer should be, in order to be rejected by Churchill outright?”
And therefore somewhat to Winston’s disappointment, Prime Minister Baldwin said to him: “I’d like you to be Chancellor.” Churchill assumed that he was to be Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, the sinecure he had held briefly in 1915…
He said that: “I am willing to do it, if we could have some influence on social policy.”
Yet the offer was in fact more. Indeed, it was much more, because what PM Baldwin was offering to Winston who was negatively predisposed at that meeting — was the position of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the number one post in the Cabinet, after the position of the Prime Minister.
Churchill, never at a loss for words, had the wit and temerity to ask in reply: “Will the bloody duck swim?”

It was a brilliant and fateful choice for Winston to hold the British government’s Ministerial spot that his family father Sir Randolph Churchill had held during his days of glory in the Cabinet many years earlier. And Winston liked the challenge and thrived in this place of Economic power, because it was a place where he could see all the innovation and Financial Technology of his age unfolding while also being applied to Public Policy and the Economy. As a matter of fact, one young man, whom Churchill spotted in the early days of the year 1925, was Harold Macmillan, a recently elected Conservative whom Neville Chamberlain had somehow failed to encourage onwards. Winston Churchill gave young Harold Macmillan a room in the Treasury, and encouraged him to set down his ideas on how the economy should develop: the human face of Tory economic policies. It was the basis of a long and eventually very friendly political and personal relationship of Winston acting as a Mentor to the young man and his aspirations.

Winston Churchill, I’ll have you know; began writing his own biographic works even before his return to Conservatism. That is when he started to write his war memoirs, titled: ‘The World Crisis.’ He was long overdue, because he had already completed 30 years in politics. Indeed those were 30 years at the epicentre of decisions reflecting events of world shattering proportions. By this time Winston had a lot to say about the exercise of power and the principled yet shrewd, and sometimes even monstrous decision making process, of effective leadership. Because his style of leadership was always judged by its short term, as well as the long term, and also the utterly distant long term effectiveness — he always required to be examined. Perhaps he was the only man of his age that thought in 1,000 year terms, but that he did. He did and decided about them, yet also manifested actions that brought about the desired results and repercussions, we are faced with today. And he also somehow despite all odds — managed to live and write about all of it. We all know now that very few people have the luxury of time in an overlong life, an extraordinarily lengthy political career in the centre of power, and the great fortune to be able to redeem all of his mistakes. The learnings he received during his Life and the Import he placed at correcting what is wrong — will make this exercise in teaching you how to be an awesome leader, abundantly clear. And that is why his exercise of the Art of Power and his example in the Art of Leadership are such important lessons for those seeking Mastery of the simple skill of being the Best Leader there is; for self and country.

And yet while Winston embarked on reflecting and writing about his long career while contemplating permanent retirement — he had to abandon hope for ever returning back to Power. Winston Churchill trusted that the future, the fates, and the fortunes, are all unknown to us. Yet they are especially opaque, to anyone who does not consult ‘the inner Oracle’ residing deep within each man and woman of self understanding. Those who live an ‘examined’ life by practicing the art of ‘Knowing Thyself” are keen to serve, and also share of themselves for the benefit of others. It was here that Winston felt he was going to have more time in Politics and he needed to take a break and reflect. Maybe he didn’t know that he had a couple more decades worth of Leadership time — but he had surely sensed that a long life awaited him. By his own estimate, he strongly felt that it would be another 20 additional years in Political Leadership within the British Parliament, and in helming the coming War — before he would decide to call it ‘Quits’ but for obvious reasons he couldn’t share that feeling and not be found boastful and cocksure. This was surely outside even his interior Oracle’s purview, or of any hope of convincing anybody about it and that even goes for his all understanding, ever forgiving, and always loving Clementine.
Winston Churchill had become by then quite a wise Oracle, so that by 1930, and he had set his mind to sharing his wisdom with his beloved nation. At the same time he was reading so many false accounts because it was always that other people would send him their own books for his review and for his commentary or asking him for a simple quote for the publishers and the public about the ‘historical value’ of their book to the conversation going on at the time. One of these new writers, was his own good friend Lord Beaverbrook, who sent him his own published account of what he thought had happened in 1914 and 1915, in the relationship of British Politicians’ decisions and the First World War.
Winston Churchill read this book carefully and enjoyed it, but was immensely saddened by it. He made copious notes on the margins, and furious corrections, as he no doubt was preparing his ‘rebuttals.’ Indeed, Winston saw Beaverbrook’s hard hitting style of journalistic writing as revisionist and revanchist. Immediately by return post, he send a thank-you letter, where Winston Churchill wrote: “What a tale. Think of all these people, decent, educated. The story of the past laid out before them: what to avoid, what to do, etc. Patriotic, loyal, clean, decent, trying their utmost: what a ghastly muddle they made of it. Unteachable from infancy to tomb, that is the first and last characteristic of mankind.”

What a torrid lesson for all of us. Beaverbrooks book is essential reading for anyone who considers themselves a serious student of History and leadership and it’s magnificent, and manifest failures. It is interesting, too, that on the bottom of his letter to Beaverbrook — Winston Churchill added: “No more war.”

Sadly, that is the exact point in time, when Churchill’s ten-year ‘Wilderness’ in exile from Political involvement and from the good Society of London started…

Indeed one may have seen the film which was made on the basis of that section of his Biography, “The Wilderness Years” where we see Winston being totally absorbed in offering his warnings to the Nation about the looming threat of Germany; his isolation from all Society; his intentional loneliness; his walks in the valleys beyond; the devotion of the very small circle of people around him; his bricklaying; his building an annex wall; his painting; his wild intelligence gathering of Germany’s rearmament; his foreign trips for fact finding purposes; and above all else — the love of his wife Clementine, that kept him in good spirits, and always helped him remain even keeled, by driving the ‘black dogs’ of depression and dysthymia away. And that is something one should never forget: The value of the devotion of this small band of high standing people who brought him information, of people who believed in him, and of people who encouraged him to go on against a totally hostile Parliament; a small number of devoted friends and quiet allies who together with his small Secretariat and his stenographers — were absolutely loyal to him.

Still at all these pivotal moments, Winston Churchill gave his warnings at every opportunity afforded to him, and he wrote many articles where he warned the Head of Government, and the Sovereign, about all the areas that Germany was surpassing Great Britain in those prewar days. He stressed that significant weakness in the air, and on fast moving mobile tanks, would give the Germans the ability to dominate Europe; and that if we neglected our air power, they would simply gobble up country, after country, and the whole of Europe would be theirs in months, if not weeks. He was so vocal about it that he was called a ‘Kassandra’ and worse…

Still Britain and its leadership class, did neglect its air power development completely, and thus when Hitler invaded Poland, her allies the Brits were totally powerless to do anything; but simply watch helplessly allied Poland whose integrity they had guaranteed — being violated, mauled, destroyed, and fully partitioned between Adfolf Hitler’s Nazi Germany and Josip Stalin’s Soviet Russia.

Great Britain was indeed powerless. She was found to be even more feeble, when Hitler invaded Denmark, and then Norway — even though Winston Churchill, who had by then returned to Government, tried to anticipate and deflect the German invasion of Norway; albeit unsuccessfully. Even France capitulated quickly because she could not be effectively helped or saved either. The fact that our own most valuable Expeditionary force of 320.000 battle hardened troops, was delivered by an act of ‘divine will’ and a ten thousand vessel flotilla, from the enemys’ encircling clutches in Dunkirk — was the only bright spot in an otherwise darkest hour.

 

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Even the great armies of France with her vast defenses that were built at great cost to protect her from exactly that eventuality — capitulated quickly. France which had so often fought against Germany valiantly, and had never been conquered by the Huns; this time ‘fell’ completely, and surrendered. France waved the white cloth to the German conquerors, despite Churchill’s incredible exertions, his hundreds of telegrams, his offers of assistance and even his three personal visits, always courting danger and certain death, by flying low across the Channel, and landing in various frontal points of the conflict. With his daredevil pilots, Winston was always landing in many out of the way airstrips, grassfields, and even roads, in order to meet with, cajole, and ‘rally’ the French Generals, and the French Political Leaders, to fight on. He later said that he wanted to give the ‘Frenchies’ some backbone, and a good dose of Courage from his personal stock that he happened to have in immense supplies — even as the German armies were thrusting forward to Paris, and beyond. He fully knew that France couldn’t hold, yet he wanted her to stem the invaders and the tide of German armies pouring in — at least a little longer; in order to ‘buy’ some more time for Britain to prepare… Yet at this late hour Winston hoped against hope to have the same effect as he had on the Belgians in the previous war, and as he always had on people. He had hoped to help them rise-up to their full measure of Humanity’s Greatness and fight on.

But with the French, this time around — this was not to pass…

Yet it was right then, that Britain began in her small ways to try to fight back against the locust of millions of heavily armed jackbooted thugs streaming out of Germany and visiting violence, death, and terror, across the whole of Europe. But Winston Churchill was defiant and even at the height of the massive German air bombardment against the whole of England, Winston directed the diminished British Air Force and they manned-up, and thus were able to mount several small bombing raids on Germany. Yet back home the intensity of the German Bombing Blitz was of such ferocity, and effectiveness; that on one occasion — Churchill personally sent to Roosevelt an account of it, which was ‘suppressed’ by the British Embassy in Washington, and was never delivered to FDR, because the British seasoned Diplomats felt that if Roosevelt would read it; he would conclude that there was no way in which Britain could survive such an onslaught, and he would give up completely on any plans that Winston cultivated for his TransAtlantic Alliance. This mental construct of Winston that was clothed as an Alliance of the English speaking Peoples in order to fight the Germanic Hun menace; and in some equal measure to also bring the United States into his sphere of influence. He joked about bringing Lady Liberty and America ‘into his harem’ meaning to get the Yanks into the Alliance, and together fight the Second World War against Germany and against her Axis powers of evil..
This was not to pass either…

At least not at this early point in time.

This time of war, awful death, and bloody destruction — he had to be all alone.
Britain had to fight alone for the first two long years of the Second World War…
Hard years to live through, let alone to lead through.
But the man at the helm had already been shot at in five continents, attacked with sword and bayonet, hunted down as a fugitive, bombed, shelled, almost killed by assassination, or accidents — many times; and yet he always survived.
So he was not overly afraid of anything that might take his life away.
He fought on…

And Great Britain — not so great by now — she fought on too.
Gradually Britain was able, with great difficulty; and against the loss of more than 55,000 pilots, and aircrew flight members of the British Royal Air Force over that time; to regroup. She was still able to fight on, and through bulldog tenacity — she eventually managed to reverse the balance of terror in this pitiless conflict of the forces of Light versus the soldiers of darkness, death and destruction. Things started to look up…

Of course at that rather pivotal moment — the ‘peaceniks’ and their protests began at the home-counties, led by the Archbishop of Canterbury and the German sympathizers in London, who were illogically opposed to any type of bombing of Germany. One wonders, what it was that they were hoping for? What conceivable outcome? Maybe the archbishop was dreaming of a painless entente? Or of a mutual surrender? Or like Mosley of a joining of the hands?
Winston also reflected upon these things often. And as he wondered often, about what else there was to be done, to force Hitler to surrender… he carried on dispatching a measure of retribution from the sky. So for now the bombing continued unabated.

It is here that I would like to quote you Winston Churchill’s reply to the critics of the tit-for-tat British air bombardment of Germany, after the German Bombing Blitz had reduced much of London and many other British cities and industrial centers to rumble…

 

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That is what Winston Churchill pointed out: “This air power, was the weapon which Germany selected as its main tool of conquest. This was the sphere in which they were to triumph. This was the method by which all the nations of Europe were to be subjected to their rule. I shall not moralise further than to say there is a strange, stern justice, in the long swing of events.”
After this solemn speech, of the Prime Minister — Great Britain went on, flew onward, bombed extensively, and generally exacted her toll upon Germany from up high in the ‘Air’ as promised by Winston and delivered by the wheels of that divine justice St George always delivered on behalf of the English people towards their evil enemies… It was then that the German High Command became completely powerless to repel the bombing campaigns coming from Britain, and instead had to watch helplessly the bombings and the burnings, same as her soldiers also had to watch, repeal, and hoping to defend in retreat…

 

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At this moment the Germans generally bore the burden of the advancing Russian Red Army quite well. Yet this was not to last because the Red Army, after years of defeats and retreats; through the plentiful aid of General ‘Winter’ by now had gained enormous military and political advantage, as it advanced from the steppes of the East, towards Berlin aiming at the belly of the ‘Beast’ the Reichstag.

The Russians by now had truly become the largest and the fiercest single military factor in Hitler’s defeat. Now, by and large, the Russians had twenty men engaged against Hitler at any single time; for every one of ours…
But even here, Winston Churchill’s magnanimity in the throes of bloody conflict and terrible war — never wavered. One evening, a year after Churchill’s defence of the Government’s air policy, the policy of the Labour Ministers, as well as his own, Churchill was at Chequers, where “Bomber Harris” head of Bomber Command, had come, as he often did, with his charts. They showed the destruction of German cities, something of which Harris was rather proud.

Instead of Churchill being excited and impressed by the charts, as he often was, he looked sombre. Then addressing Harris in the third person, something quite unusual, he said: “What I want to know is this: when Air Marshal Harris has finished the destruction of every German city, what will then lie between the white snows of Russia, and the white cliffs of Dover?”

 

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On another occasion, watching a film of the fierce bombardment of a German city by the Royal Air Force, Winston Churchill turned to the person next to him and asked:

“Are we beasts?”

 

To be continued: 

Posted by: Dr Pano Kroko Churchill | September 17, 2017

What would Winston Churchill Do? (Chapter 48)

Churchill was sent for a forced “Garden Leave” by the British electorate.

Indeed the English People suggested that Winston needed a long period of holidays, for R&R. So they fired him…

That is exactly what happens in Democracies. The Leader serves at the pleasure of the People.

Yet, because Winston’s overwhelming defeat at the General Election of Britain in the early Summer of 1945 — came in a poll that was held only a few weeks after the surrender of Germany — this was regarded as astonishing news, even by the British voters, who had voted against him.

When they were going to the polls, they never believed that their vote would dethrone the “Saviour of the Nation.”

It never entered the calculations of the average Labour voter that his vote will send Mr Churchill into retirement.

And yet this was the collective outcome of all the votes that were tallied after the polling stations closed.

It was a Stunner of the First Class.

As for Winston himself, this was a stunning reverse: First because he was at the very summit of his power, at the apex of his fame, and at the zenith of his popularity. And second, because no other statesman emphasized the superior qualities of the British people more forcibly than he had demonstrated with his vast intelligence and his out of the ballpark Victory pitch.

But Winston must have known in the cockles of his Heart, that his time was up after he finished the job that he was brought forth to accomplish. Proof of that is that when during the war, someone would congratulate him on a special broadcast, or on a parliamentary speech by saying: “You are giving the people the courage they need” he would always reply quickly: “You are mistaken. They already have all the courage they need. I only help them to focus it.”

Yet, to have been rejected by a people towards whom he felt such pride, such honor, and such special possessiveness — must have been a bitter blow, indeed.

A few years back, during the first years of his Premiership Churchill had declared privately that he would not commit the same mistake Lloyd George had made in seeking to retain power once hostilities had ended.

He remembered how, in the difficult months that followed the war, Lloyd George’s prestige had gradually dwindled until in 1922, he was dismissed from the PM’s office never to return again.

However, when Churchill took over the leadership of the Conservative Party in 1940 many people were sceptical about his sticking to his principles and to his resolve. His action was criticized at the time by those who considered that as head of a great coalition government he should remain above Party politics; and even his friends warned him that it might be a mistake to commit himself so far in advance.

But it was not Winston’s nature to play the role of a detached Elder Statesman; and it would have taken a man of far less sanguine disposition to refuse to offer himself to the electorate when all the world was acclaiming him. Leading Conservatives were aware that a new wind of social consciousness was blowing through England, but they believed that Winston Churchill’s fame could keep them in power; and Churchill believed this too.

Although from time to time he had been pressed to make some important and
positive statement about peacetime domestic policy, he was so absorbed by
the problems of the war, that except for one or two occasions, he refused to
put his mind on the internal affairs of the British people. Besides, he was confident that when the time came — the British people, who had followed him so loyally throughout the conflict, would heed what he had to say about the days to come.

This was a severe miscalculation by Winston because the British people had never ever pledged absolute loyalty to a single man, except in times of extreme existential emergency. And this Existential emergency had just been solved due to his own Herculean efforts. And secondly, nowhere in the world is the Party system so highly developed as in England, where the Political guillotine drops with the regularity of the Big Ben striking the hourly bells. This time the
British electorate was not looking for a personality, but for a programme; and the only programme that was forthcoming was that one that was put forward by the
Labour Party with its emphasis on social reform and a long overdue redistribution of the national income. The working classes remembered the hard times they had had between the wars; first the soaring prices and the bad housing, then the long years of unemployment. And they also remembered that except for two short spells the Conservative Party had dominated the parliamentary scene for most of the twenty-one years prior.

Besides, had it not been Winston Churchill who had fought the Tories tooth and nail, throughout the thirties, and who had accused them of allowing the country to drift into war?

Why had he attached himself to the Tories anyway?

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Churchill himself did not add to his own chances.

If the public needed a reminder that he had always been rejected as a peace-time leader on the grounds of bad judgment and instability, they had it, to use a figure of speech, straight from the horse’s mouth.

Overnight the statesman vanished and in his place appeared an irresponsible politician hurling invective at his opponents and offering few proposals of his own.

He sounded the first gun in a radio broadcast telling the country that Socialism would result in a “Gestapo State” taking hold in England. In retrospect it seems that it was a childish blunder, and a huge political mistake, to attack the Labour leaders, like Clement Attlee, Morrison, Bevin, and Cripps, who had won the respect and admiration of the public for their loyal service in his own Winston Churchill’s Wartime Coalition Government. People heard the broadcast at Lord Rothermere’s house and remember the silence when he had finished. “If he continues like that, the election is as good as lost” is what the host said…

But Winston did not change his tactics. Next, he turned his fire on the Chairman of the Labour Party Executive, Professor Laski, insisting that the latter would be the “Boss of any Labour Government that got into power.” Since the Party Chairman is only an annual appointment this was patently nonsense. The Times tried to play down Winston’s attacks but Churchill, buoyantly confident, and with an old-fashioned tendency to regard an election as something of a lark, insisted on reviving his charges at every opportunity.

There is no doubt that the electorate was greatly shaken by his campaign.
People were in a serious mood and wanted facts, not political stunts.
Although the Conservatives put forward a Rve Year Plan under the
guidance of Lord Woolton, it contained few constructive ideas. The result
was that the Conservatives fought the battle equipped with litde more
than Winston Churchill’s photograph while the Socialists went into action with a carefully planned programme. This seemed to confirm the suspicions of the working class that the Prime Minister took little interest in domestic matters. In one speech Winston referred to milk for babies, and the comments of the people in the village where he was staying were: “What’s ‘e know or care about babies’ milk? Guns is his speciality and any time there’s a war we’re glad to let him run it, but when he talks about babies’ milk we know someone’s put him up to it and it’s not him speaking at all.”

Although it was obvious that opinion was hardening against him, even
the pessimists believed he would win, a majority of thirty seats. The result
of the Gallup Poll published in the News-Chronicle showed a landslide
which proved to be accurate within one per cent, but Britain was not
‘poll-conscious’ at the time, and very few people paid any attention to the poll figures.

Two days before polling day, Winston Churchill addressed an enormous gathering
at Walthamstow Stadium on the outskirts of London and was amazed at the amount of opposition and heckling he received. He was interrupted so often he could scarcely get through his speech. When he had finished, his daughter Sarah invited the journalist Virginia Cowles to a private room, to have beer and sandwiches with Winston and his family, before Churchill went on to his next engagement. Knowing her as a war correspondent for the previous eight years — Churchill knew that Virginia had seen a number of countries invaded and overrun by the enemy, and when Churchill saw her he exclaimed: “What a bad omen! For the first time I have my doubts about this election. You only appear when the established regime is crashing to the ground!”

Only him, and no one else had any idea how prophetic his words were to prove…

Still, up until the last moment he was confident of victory, or at least he projected that Churchillian victory swagger. He even arranged a small dinner party in advance to celebrate the results. One of the guests said afterwards that she had never sat through a more depressing meal.
Winston Churchill’s daughters were in tears and the old man himself sat immobile as though, too stunned to speak.

Defeat burned deep into Winston Churchill’s soul. He felt he had been badly treated by an ungrateful population, and when he wrote his first volume on the second World War he allowed himself the bitter comment: “Thus, then, on the night of the tenth of May, at the outset of this mighty battle, I acquired the chief power in the State, which henceforth I wielded in ever-growing measure for five years and three months of world war, at the end of which time, all our enemies having surrendered unconditionally or being about to do so, I was immediately dismissed by the British electorate from all further conduct of their affairs.”

This resentment was unlike Winston, for throughout his long political
life no man had taken greater care to hide his disappointments from public
view. He had always made a point of treating an election as a good healthy
English game with winners and losers shaking hands amiably in the traditional sporting fashion. But in this case the shock and humiliation were too
great and it took him many months to overcome a feeling of deep resentment.

However, as far as Parliament was concerned his manners were distinguished. He refused to allow vindictiveness to creep into his speeches and faced the House with a courage and aplomb which aroused general admiration.

His peculiarly disarming quality of forgive and forget, was expressed when he had bronze plaques made, adorned with the oak and the acorn, which he sent to all those who had served in his war-time Government. Socialists whom he had branded as future “Gestapo leaders” were surprised to receive these souvenirs with their names inscribed bearing the words: “Salute the Great Coalition 1940-1945”

Churchill also managed to retain his sense of humour. When an acquaintance suggested that he should tour England so that the thousands of his own countrymen who had never seen him could have a chance to honor him he growled: “I refuse to be exhibited like a prize bull whose chief attraction is its past prowess.”

Many of Winston Churchill’s friends urged Winston to leave Parliament and devote himself to writing a history of the war.

The Labour Government had already accomplished a measurably huge majority and was bound to run its full course; and it was always possible that it would be reelected for another five years after that. Considering the heavy responsibility that Churchill had carried, and in view of his unique position as the greatest living statesman in the world, they felt it was undignified for him to occupy himself in day to day altercations in the House; he should reserve himself for the big occasions “the Test Matches” as one of them put it, not village cricket. But Winston insisted that he liked village cricket, and as for leaving Parliament, that was unthinkable. “I am a child of the House of Commons” he announced solemnly. His friends then argued that even if he remained in Parliament, he at least should give up the Leadership of the Opposition. It was an exacting job, and undignified for one who could command world attention whenever he chose.

But Winston had no intention of retiring from this position cither. He
knew that the leadership of the Conservative Party was the only course
that might take him bade to No. 10 Downing Street again, and the truth
was that a few months after his defeat he resolved to become Prime Minister again.

He had had enough experience of the back benches to know that real political power only lies in high office. Although he realized that another election probably would not come before he was seventy-five he still felt full of vigour; more important still, the conviction that he could manage things much better than anyone else, which he had carried with him all his life, still burned strongly within him. “It would be easy for me to retire gracefully in an odour of civic freedoms” he told a Conservative Party Conference on the 5th of October, 1945, “and the plan crossed my mind frequently some months ago. I feel now, however, that the situation is so serious and what may have to come so grave, that I am resolved to go forward carrying the flag so long as I have the necessary strength and energy and so long as I have your confidence.”

So to those friends who urged his resignation from the Party leadership, he replied firmly: “My horse may not be a very good one, but at least it’s
better than being in the infantry.”

As Leader of the Opposition it was Winston Churchill’s duty to oppose, and he plunged into the attack against the Labour Government, with obvious relish.

On 28th of November, 1945, he told a large Conservative Party audience that the verdict of the country at the polls was: “a hideous lapse and error in domestic affairs. I hope you will believe that it is with no personal bias, soreness or conceit that I declare that the vote of the nation at the General Election was one of the greatest disasters that has smitten us in our long and chequered history.” These were strong words, and annoying words too, for the electorate does not like being told it is a fool. However, Winston went on to develop the two main themes which were to be his battle-cries for the next five years; first, that the Labour Government by its misguided and spiteful economic policies would lead the country to industrial ruin, and second, because of their doctrinaire and unpatriotic theories they would carry the country towards totalitarianism.”

Neither of these prophecies was fulfilled; in fact, the direct opposite proved true.

Although the Labour Government took over a nation which had exhausted her wealth and resources in a gigantic war effort and was literally facing bankruptcy, five years later, almost to the month, it was in a position to announce that Britain was the first country in Europe able to stand on her own feet and pay her own way. And far from flirting with totalitarianism, under the leadership of Ernest Bevin, the Labour Government not only established itself as a formidable foe of Communism, but was playing a leading role in spreading the democratic faith throughout the world. “Ours is a philosophy in its own right” explained Prime
Minister Atdee in a broadcast in January 1948 saying: “Our task is to work out a system of a new and challenging kind which combines individual freedom with a planned economy; democracy with social justice. The task which faces not only ourselves but all the Western democracies required a Government inspired by a new conception of society with a dynamic policy in accord with the needs of a new situation. It could not be accomplished by any of the old Parties, nor by a totalitarian Party, whether Fascist or Communist.”

The Labour majority of 1945 undoubtedly will take its place alongside the Liberal sweep of 1906, as one of the great reforming Parliaments of British history. But the programme that it carried through, like that of its forerunner, has been so largely accepted by the country as a whole that even from the short perspective of today it is difficult to see what all the fuss was about. A large amount of social legislation was passed which now has the support of most Conservatives, and a number of basic industries were nationalized, almost all of which were in need of vast sums of capital equipment, and which today only a few of the most rabid Tories would like to see back in private hands.

Why, then, the reader may ask, was Winston Churchill’s opposition so violent?

Did he really believe in the disaster he predicted, or was it merely part of
his fight to regain power?

There is litde doubt that in the first years of the Parliament Winston viewed the future with dire apprehension. But it should not be forgotten that home affairs opened up a field of thought for him which had been closed for nearly a generation.

During the ten years before the war he had been wholly absorbed by foreign relations; and during the five years of his Premiership he had been so occupied with military matters that he had delegated the country’s domestic problems to his Labour colleagues. Aside from this, his long political life had not been distinguished for his judgment or understanding of internal issues. Probably the least satisfactory period of his career was the five years between 1924 and 1929 in which he had served as Chancellor of the Exchequer.

The cold science of economics had never held the slightest attraction for him. He had a few simple, fundamental views on finance, which had been instilled in him as a youth, and from which he had never deviated. “I was brought up to believe that taxation was a bad thing” he told the House of Commons on 27th of October, 1949, “but the good thing is the increase of the consuming power of the people.”

“It was a good thing I was brought up to believe that trade should be regulated mainly by the laws of supply and demand and that, apart from basic necessaries in great emergencies, the price mechanism should adjust and correct undue spending at home, as it does, apart from gifts and subsidies, control spending abroad … I still hold to these general principles.”

What Winston failed to understand in those grim days after the war was
that Britain was actually facing starvation. It would have been impossible
for any Government, whether Conservative or Socialist, to let the laws of
supply and demand work freely. The country was desperately in need of foodstuffs, fruits, animal protein, consumer goods, durable white goods, cars, tractors, textiles, china, kitchen utensils, office machines, and in fact everything one could mention. Yet unless Britain starved her home markets, she could not export enough goods to feed herself, for she had to buy the raw materials with which to continue manufacturing, and many of these raw materials were in short supply, across the world. This meant that the strictest control on industry was absolutely necessary in order to ensure that the key industries received necessary materials.

Winston did not care to understand these matters and he considers them as theories, but not as practicalities. Maybe because they were contrary to all
the things that he had been taught, and maybe because he refused to open his eyes to the fact that the situation itself, was quite unlike any other that the country had faced at any earlier time.

So this is what he told a Conservative Party meeting in November 1945: “Whoever thought of starving the home trade as a peacetime measure of stimulating exports? Sir Stafford Cripps is under the profound delusion that he can build
up an immense, profitable export trade while keeping everything at the minimum, here at home. Look what he is doing to the motor car industry. He is a great advocate of “Strength through Misery.””

Winston decided that all the controls and restrictions imposed by the
Socialists were merely part of a spiteful ideology. The Government’s
decision to continue high taxation on the largest incomes, in order to be
able to ask the wage earners not to press for larger wages, was construed
by him as pure malice; and the principle of maintaining a rationing system
while goods were in short supply was interpreted as bureaucracy gone
mad. “The Socialist belief” he told a Conservative Rally at Blenheim
Palace on 4 August, 1947 “is that nothing matters so long as miseries are
equally shared, and certainly they have acted in accordance with their
faith.”

In October of the same year he told the House of Commons: “The reason why we are not able to earn our living and make our way in the world as a vast, complex, civilized country is because we are not allowed to do so. The whole enterprise, initiative, contrivance, and genius, of the British nation is being increasingly paralysed by the restrictions which are imposed upon it in the name of a mistaken political philosophy and a largely obsolete mode of thought. I am sure that this policy of equalizing misery and organizing scarcity, instead of allowing diligence, self-interest and ingenuity, to produce abundance, has only to be prolonged to kill this British Island stone dead.”

During the next five years Churchill painted a horrific picture of what
was happening in Britain. He claimed that the Labour Government was a
disaster almost as great as the second World War; he declared that the
country was “hag-ridden by Socialist doctrines” that it was “torn by feud
and faction, and strangled by incompetence and folly.” He accused the
Labour leaders of “squalid Party motives” of “cheap and bitter abuse” of
‘crazy theories and personal incompetence” and of a “dismal and evil reign.”

These polemics were characteristic of Churchill when he was fighting a
battle. He always saw an issue as a stirring and vital challenge. Fierce
partisanship was the very essence of his nature, and this time, with a glittering prize awaiting the victor, he threw himself into the fray with increased ardor. A large section of Conservative support, however, was embarrassed by his invective, and felt that perhaps he was conjuring up a savage
dragon in order to continue in the role of Britain’s saviour. Even in the
Conservative Parliamentary Party there began to be discontent. Winston
was so unpredictable, they complained. He only made sporadic appearances in the House, and instead of trying to organize the Opposition as a
team, he often made speeches without even consulting his shadow Cabinet.
The Conservatives had not won a single by-election; it was obvious, said
their backbenchers, that they must produce a policy, yet Winston refused
stubbornly to commit himself to any programme. It was rumoured that
he had never even bothered to read the Tory Industrial Charter which
R. A. Butler had produced so painstakingly.

Perhaps things would be better, they whispered, if Winston Churchill resigned, the Opposition leadership post, and Eden took his place. At that point, in 1949, even Picture Post ran an article entitled: “Is Churchill a Liability to the Tories?”

Yet, Lord Beaverbrook’s Sunday Express stoutly replied: “When Winston Churchill is in his scat, the Opposition breathes fire — when he is not, the Tory frontbench has the venom of a bunch of daffodils.”

Although the discontent of the Tory back bench continued, the Members found that it was not easy to remove a leader, and far less easy to remove a leader of Winston Churchill’s leadership stature, personal determination, and formidable powers of diplomatic skill. Although the latter was well aware of the agitation in favour of Eden, he clung firmly to his saddle and remained unperturbed. “When I want to tease Anthony” he remarked slyly to a friend, “I remind him that Gladstone formed his last administration at the age of eighty-four.”

Winston was right to remain unruffled, because when the results of the 1950
General Election, came to be known, Conservative criticism abruptly ceased. The
Tories had cut down Labour’s majority to only six, and this made another
election in the very near future inevitable, and if the swing continued
against the Government, which it was likely to do as long as Britain was
undergoing hardships, Churchill was certain to become Prime Minister again.

Winston also understood that he now had to change his tactics. It was a wise time to do so, for in June of 1950, roughly five months after the election had taken place, his prophecies of industrial disaster had been proved completely false, and Britain was the only country able to forgo the Marshall Aid, two years earlier than what the Brits and the Americans had expected — and she was now able to again start paying her own way.

However, a month later, the war in Korea broke out and before the year was over Attlee had pledged the country to a large defence program, all over again. Rearmament and stockpiling began to send up prices of raw materials all over the world, and England, which had hoped for easier days, found herself confronted with new economic worries. The cost of living was rising, and the terms of trade were moving against her… So these were the issues on which Churchill concentrated, and with good reason, because his program had to be modern and satisfying for the British public.

Yet today, when one looks through the press cuttings between the years 1945-51, one cannot fail to be staggered that even a man of Winston Churchill’s capacity could have poured out such an avalanche of passion, energy, and work. He wrote five volumes of the history of the second World War; he exhibited new paintings at the Royal Academy; he made important speeches in America and half the capitals of Europe; he was the most celebrated figure at all the great functions of the day; he received honorary degrees from the Universities, and civic freedoms from countless cities; he was awarded medals, and he awarded them as well; he signed souvenirs; he addressed rallies upon rallies; and was accorded tumultuous ovations, wherever he went.

At home, he also played the country squire, by acquiring five hundred acres of land near Chartwell house, where he plunged into farming. You see, he loved animals, and was as pleased as a child, with the marmalade kitten his wife gave him, and with the French poodle that was sent to him by a friend. He found dimple delight in his goldfish, and he hung a drawing of his pet cat in an honoured position in his study, and also daily watched after his beautiful black Australian swans with tender solicitude. One day, when a fox killed the mother swan, leaving behind an enraged father, and six three-week-old cygnets he telephoned the superintendent of the Zoo for advice, and a man was sent out to remove the young ones to safety, in order to return them upon maturity. But Winston’s interest in animals did not stop there. In 1949 he took out the chocolate and pink racing colors that both his father and grandfather had used, and bought a colt which soon became famous on the turf and the races, as Colonist II. In 1950 he entered this horse in the Winston Churchill Stakes at Hurst Park in the hope of breaking the run of successes of French owners, who had triumphed every year since the race started in 1946. As a tribute to Churchill the clerk of the course printed on the programme the memorable words starting with:
“Let us, therefore, brace ourselves to our duties.”

At any rate, his horse the Colonist II, did not win, but he came in second, and Winston was mighty proud and pleased with the result.

Winston Churchill’s work on his history of the second World War was a major operation, that he continued throughout. But he still held to his personal management theory, that it was foolish to indulge in detailed work that others could do for him. His first step, therefore, was to assemble a large and competent staff to check facts, sort material, produce memoranda, collect information, and give advice. He gathered around him naval, military and air experts, scientists, historians and classical scholars, not to mention a competent team of secretaries who worked day and night on eight hour shifts. Winston did all his writing by dictation, sometimes turning out eight or nine thousand words a day.

As the work progressed he began to receive offers for the serial rights from
editors all over the world. “I am not writing a book” Winston commented to a friend: “I am developing a property.” Eventually Life magazine bought the serial rights to the book, for a sum that was said to be near two million dollars.

When all six volumes of the book were published, the literary critics, his fellow Officers, Generals, Politicians, Soldiers, and Historians, all universally hailed it as one of the classics of all time. It stands in a category of its own, for no other great statesman has ever had the ability to write as a great historian; and no great historian has ever been provided with more dramatic material. “When before, through all the centuries of this island’s history, has such a theme matched such a pen?” commented the Spectator.

For recreation, while he was writing his book, Churchill turned back to his old love, painting. During the war he had been forced to abandon this pastime, but now he re-embraced it with enthusiasm, and according to the art critics, painted better pictures than he had ever done before. In 1947, for the first time, he exhibited pictures at the Royal Academy; and when, a few years later, he was asked to contribute a painting to a society of amateur artists he announced that he was “a professional.”

An amusing account of Winston, as an artist, was given by Sir John Rothenstein, an eminent critic and Director of the Tate Gallery. In February 1949 Churchill invited Rothenstein to lunch at Chartwell and told him that he would be grateful for any criticisms of his paintings he would care to make. “Speak, I pray, with absolute frankness” he said, as he led his guest into lunch. “As soon as we sat down” wrote Rothenstein, “he began to talk about Sickert. “He came to stay here” said Winston Churchill, “and in a fortnight he imparted to me all his considered wisdom about painting.”
“He had a room specially darkened to work in, but I wasn’t an apt pupil, for I rejoice in the highest lights and the brightest colors.” “Winston Churchill spoke with appreciation of Sickert’s knowledge of music-halls, and he sang a nineteenth-century ballad Sickert had taught him not just a line or two, but to the end.””

“I think,” he went on, “the person who taught me most about painting was William Nicholson. I noticed you looking, I thought with admiration, at those drawings he made of my beloved cat.”

“Back in the studio” continued Rothenstein, “fortified by a bottle of
champagne, I found his invitation to give my opinion of his work without
reserve much less alarming. Winston Churchill was so exhilarating and so
genial a companion that, before I had been with him a few hours, the
notion of speaking with absolute frankness seemed as natural as it had
earlier seemed temerarious.”

“My first detailed criticism of one of his paintings had an unexpected,
indeed a startling, result. I offered the opinion, with regard to a landscape
a wood on the margin of a lake that the shore was too shallow, too
lightly modelled and too pale in tone to support the weight of the heavy
trees with their dense, dark foliage, so that, instead of growing up out of
the earth, they weighted it down. “Oh,” Winston Churchill said, “but I can
put that right at once; it would take less than a quarter of an hour,” and
he began to look out the brushes and colours. “But surely this painting,”
I said, “must be among your earliest.” “I did it about twenty years ago.”
“Well then,” I objected, “surely it is impossible for you to recapture the
mood in which you painted it or indeed your whole outlook of those
days.” “You are really persuaded of that?” he grumbled, abandoning with
evident reluctance the notion of repainting.”

Sir John Rothenstein’s verdict on Winston Churchill’s work was that “he is
able to paint pictures of real merit which bear a direct and intimate relation to his outlook on life. In these pictures there comes bubbling irrepressibly up his sheer enjoyment of the simple beauties of nature.”
The highest peaks of his achievement, in Rothenstein’s opinion, are “The
Goldfish Pool at Chartwell (1948), The Loup River, Alpes Maritimes (1947), Chartwell under Snow (1947), and Cannes Harbour, Evening (1923).” These and twenty other paintings have been exhibited at the Royal Academy, as described in the book, “Winston Churchill: The Artist” by Sir John Rothenstein.

Although Winston Churchill’s work as a Party leader paved the way for his
return to No. 10 Downing Street, it was the least important and least distinguished of his activities during his six years in opposition. From a
political point of view, his most valuable contribution came in the old,
familiar fidd of foreign affairs. On home subjects he was the party
politician, but on world problems he never failed to fulfil his part as the
great world statesman.

As far as foreign policy was concerned there was no break or defection
in the course Churchill had pursued for the last forty years. He still believed it vitally necessary to build up a strong balance of power against any nation which threatened to dominate the European continent; but now no balance could be decisive without commitments from the United States. Winston’s foreign policy was dear-cut and simple; first, the fraternal association with America which he had preached to Roosevelt without success; and second, a Western Europe united against aggression to which America and Britain would pledge their mutual aid. This was exactly the same policy that Churchill had advocated against the German
threat in the thirties, but in those days most of the countries of Europe
preferred to act independently, and the United States insisted on remain-
ing aloof.

In view of the consistency of Winston Churchill’s thought, it seems surprising that his speech, delivered in Fulton, Missouri, on 5 March, 1946, should have caused such a sensation. But the war had ended only eight months previously and many Americans still clung to Roosevelt’s belief that there was a special affinity between the Russian and American people; and that goodwill and cooperation were bound to blossom with mutual trust. Churchill made it clear to his audience that he considered this a sentimental daydream and pointed harshly to the facts:
“From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic an iron curtain has descended across the Continent. Behind that line lie all the capitals of the ancient states of Central and Eastern Europe The Communist Parties, which were very small in all these Eastern States of Europe, have been raised to pre-
eminence and power far beyond their numbers and are seeking everywhere to obtain totalitarian control Police government is prevailing in nearly every case, and so far, except in Czechoslovakia, there is no true democracy.”

This speech was of historic importance. It marked the end of Roosevelt’s policy of blind trust towards the Soviet Union, and marked the beginning of Winston Churchill’s policy of peace through strength, based on the fraternal association of the English-speaking peoples.”

I will venture to be precise, he told his listeners: “Fraternal association requires not only the growing friendship and mutual understanding between our two vast but kindred systems of society, but the continuance of the intimate relationship between our military advisers, leading to common study of potential dangers, the similarity of weapons and manuals of instruction, and to the interchange of officers and cadets at technical colleges.”

Today, this close association is no longer a dream but the chief factor in maintaining the peace in Europe. The Anglo-American Transantlantic relationship is the cornerstone of NATO and even of the ASEAN alliance.

Winston Churchill’s second goal, a united Europe, was far less clearly defined in his mind than his relationship with America. What part was Britain to play? Was she to encourage continental Europe to form a federal bloc, but to stand aloof herself retaining a position as the third point of the triangle between United Europe and the United States? Or was she to consider herself not only part of Europe, but the leader and organizer of Europe, and, as such, to head a powerful union which could talk to the United States on equal terms with equal power behind it?

At first it is clear that Winston favoured this second course. The vision
of Europe as a single entity had been the dream of conquerors for centuries past; now with a leader of Winston’s stature its realization seemed
to move into the realms of possibility by goodwill and mutual desire
alone. There was such an upsurge of feeling for the idea that Churchill
had no difficulty in forming an all-party European Movement to promote
the aim of ultimate unification. In a speech at the Albert Hall in London on
14 May, 1947, he started the ball rolling but he was careful not to commit
himself to any definite action: “It is not for us at this stage to attempt to
define or prescribe the structure of constitutions. We ourselves are con-
tent, in the first instance, to present the idea of United Europe, in which
our country will play a decisive part, as a moral, cultural and spiritual
conception to which we can all rally without being disturbed by divergences about structure. It is for the responsible statesmen, who have the
conduct of affairs in their hands and the power of executive action, to
shape and fashion the structure. It is for us to lay the foundation, to create
the atmosphere and give the driving impulsion.”

The European Movement began to gather followers all over the Continent and almost exactly a year later, in May 1948, a momentous “Congress of Europe” representing a dozen nations assembled at The Hague. Churchill made a stirring speech calling on the Governments of Western Europe to authorize a European Assembly which would enable its voice “to make itself continuously heard and we trust with every growing acceptance through all the free countries of the Continent. And this time he went further toward the federal idea. “The Movement for European Unity must be a positive force, deriving its strength from our sense of common spiritual values. It is impossible to separate economics and
defence from the general political structure. Mutual aid in the economic
field and joint military defence must inevitably be accompanied step by
step with a parallel policy of closer political unity. It is said with truth that this involves some sacrifice or merger of national sovereignty.”

As a result of the Hague Conference, twelve Governments including the
Labour Government of Britain, authorized the setting up of the “Council of
Europe.” The first meeting of the historic assembly took place in Strasbourg in the summer of 1949. Those who travelled to attend this meeting, arrived to find the whole city festooned in an atmosphere of celebration.
The green and white flags of United Europe fluttered from all the buildings,
the restaurants were garlanded and festooned, and cameramen and reporters from all over the world arrived to record the proceedings. Winston Churchill was given a luxurious villa and provided with one of the best cooks in France. United Europe would be born with all the refinements that civilization could
offer.

But Winston Churchill’s speech, which was regarded as the highlight of the
conference, came as a startling douche of cold water. Once so warm and
enthusiastic about United Europe, he shocked and chilled the assembly by
his sudden indifference. He made it clear that he was not in favour of an
overall authority and talked in terms that were so vague as to be almost
meaningless. “I am not myself committed to a federal or any other particular solution at this stage. We must thoroughly explore all the various
possibilities, and a committee, working coolly and without haste, should,
in a few months, be able to show the practical steps which would be most
helpful to us. … To take a homely and familiar test, we may just as well
see what the girl looks like before we marry her.”

What happened to Churchill in the twelve months since the Hague Conference? Why had he changed his mind about the part Britain should play?

The most obvious answer was the fact that in Britain itself there was
practically no support for the federal idea. Although Winston had collected a handful of English intellectuals and politicians, most of the enthusiasm for United Europe came from the Continent and not from England.
Both the Labour Party and the Conservative Party were dead-set and seriously
against any commitment which might impair British sovereignty. And
since politics is the art of what is possible, and a General Election was only
a few months away, it is clear that Winston felt compelled to heed public
opinion.

Apart from this however, Churchill himself was cooling off on the idea of a supreme European political authority. The more he studied the implications of a
United Europe with Britain as a member state, the less he liked it. After all, Britain was the most heavily developed industrial power in Europe carrying a standard of living far higher than her other European neighbors. Eventual federation of European States, must mean a common currency and a common financial budget. Yet it was well known in England that Continentals, and especially French, Spanish, and the Italians, did not like to pay their taxes, and some of their civil services were notoriously corrupt. Therefore, could this mean that the British public would find itself financing its Continental neighbors? And because of the lower standard of living on the Continent; would foreign goods swamp the British markets and cause British unemployment to rise? And would it be wise to allow foreign legislatures, some of them riddled with Communism, Socialism, and Corruption, to control British coal and steel; on which the very survival of the nation depended?

The more Churchill examined the economic consequences of Union — the less he liked it; and the more he studied British reactions the less he was convinced that his proud and insular countrymen would ever give their sanction to such a course. One needs only to recall the national reaction in 1940, when the Continent was overrun and England stood alone, to realize how difficult such a step would have been. In those days English people received the news of the fall of France and the safe return of the British Army with open relief after the Dunkirk evacuations. “Now we’re together again” they sighed, “Now everything will be all right.”

Churchill’s Dunkirk deliverance speech is a telling example of that sentiment… One must hear that of one’s own sake and deliverance.
So here it goes: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N89Cpc4vl60

Yet at that day, the Federalists on the Continent were bitterly disappointed by Churchill’s change of heart, because during the war he had offered to the French leadership the possibility of a common citizenship with England, and had even talked the same language to the United States. And indeed, a great vision glowed in his mind which still burned brightly in the first years of the post-war era. He talked of a “transformation of the Western world” and referred to a “Federal Constitution for Europe” saying: “I hope this maybe eventually achieved.”

Now he had come round to the view of Mr Ernest Bevin, the Foreign Secretary, that the only possibility as far as Great Britain was concerned, was “inter-governmental co-operation.” But this was a crushing blow to the Continental Unionists, because it meant the end of any hope of a Parliament of all Europe. As Mr Schuman, the French Foreign Minister, announced in November of 1949, “Without Britain there can be no Europe.” He might also have added: “Without Churchill there can be no European Union” for it is clear that no other man save Winston Churchill, could have aroused the enthusiasm, or would have commanded the worldwide following that would have made the transformation of the mosaic of European states to a United States of Europe; possible.

Without Winston Churchill’s support the grand design of a “United Europe” faltered, and almost perished. But in its stead came the beginnings of a smaller yet more solid federation, between the first six of the Continental countries, and a closer understanding between all the nations of Western Europe emerged; in all matters economic, military, and ideological.

This was indeed far more, than anyone had ever hoped for before…

And as Winston might have said: “From a small acorn a great oak will be born.”

Another person might be able to say, that the whole dream has been fulfilled.

But even in today’s world — project Europe is far from complete, because the German desire for Central Teutonic Control has driven all others to despair and towards the Exit…

BREXIT was never as well understood, as when we contemplate Winston’s stinger about our German brothers and sisters: “The Huns are like their dobermans. They will either be at your feet, or at your throat. There is nothing in between.”

And that appears to be the prophetic element of his apprehensions about a United States of Europe.

Sadly there is no position in between… with the Germans.

But we need to keep on searching, for that dynamic equilibrium of balance, with equity, amongst all the nations of Continental Europe, even if it is a remote and unachievable ideal.

We must persist because this continued involvement in the search for a European Union, is what will keep the hope for Peace amongst the continentals; fully alive.

Cheers

To be continued:

Posted by: Dr Pano Kroko Churchill | September 17, 2017

What would Winston Churchill Do? (Chapter 47)

My grandfather Winston Churchill wrote everything there is to say about the Second World War, in his 6 volume History of the Second World War. This was his masterpiece, and was awarded the Nobel prize of Literature, largely for this Magnus Opus, and for his ebullient & stirring speeches.

 

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Therefore I am not even going to attempt to cover the whole of this Great War History,  but I will offer a tiny summation of the major strategic points that connect the post War and the post Liberation history, to our reality of today in an understandable way for the true student of History, of Leadership, of Statecraft, and of Political Science.

 

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Summary of Events of the Second World War II (1939–1945) in the European, in the Pacific, and in the Asian Theaters of War:

 

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The war in Europe actually begun when the British and the French allowed Germany to rearm and occupy the Ruhr industrial valley and to arm it’s defenses. They felt that a policy of appeasement will work, and this instead caused the German Fuhrer Adolf Hitler, to increase his appetite and swallow Austria and Czechoslovakia without raising the specter of war. War eventually was declared in September 1939, when Germany, having secured a non aggression pact with Stalin for splitting Poland in half, invaded and took over his half, and thus Britain and France responded by declaring war on Germany because they were guarantors of Polish integrity. But beyond that declaration, they took very little action over the following months. This gave Hitler the time to launch the next German military conquest by attacking Denmark and Norway, followed shortly by attacks on Belgium, the Netherlands, and France. All of these nations capitulated rapidly, and by now almost all of Continental Europe was conquered. Later in the summer of 1940, Germany launched a further attack on Britain, this time exclusively by air.

 

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This came to be called the Battle of Britain, and it was Germany’s first military failure of the Second World War, as the German air force, the Luftwaffe, was never able to overcome Britain’s Royal Air Force. As Hitler plotted his next steps, Italy, an ally of Germany, expanded the war even further by invading Greece and North Africa. The Greek campaign was a failure, and Germany was forced to come to Italy’s assistance in early 1941 causing it to delay it’s expedition towards the Russian steppes.  So later than originally planned in 1941, Germany began its most ambitious action yet, by invading the Soviet Union, although bitterly cold winter was going to set in soon. And although the Germans initially made swift progress and advanced deep into the Russian heartland, they were stopped short of Moscow.

 

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The German invasion of the USSR would prove to be the downfall of Germany’s war effort, because on their drive towards the oil rich regions of Caucasus and the Caspian sea they were again checked near Stalingrad. This caused German armies to falter and as soon as winter set in, they were surrounded and surrendered. Russia proved once more that the country was simply too big, it’s fighters inexhaustible, and the wintry conditions favored Russia’s forces, against those of any invader. And although Russia’s initial resistance was weak, the nation’s strength and determination, combined with its brutal winters, would eventually prove to be far more than whatever the German army could handle.

 

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The war in the Pacific began on December 7, 1941, when warplanes from Japan launched a surprise attack on the U.S. Navy base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. By this time, Japan had already been at war with China for several years and had seized the Chinese territories of Manchuria. After the Pearl Harbor attack, Japan began a massive campaign of expansion throughout the Southeast Asia–Pacific region. Although the Pearl Harbor attack provoked a declaration of war by the United States on Japan the very next day, it would be several months before U.S. forces would get seriously involved militarily. In late spring of 1942, the United States and Japan engaged in a series of naval battles, climaxing in the Battle of Midway on June 3–6, 1942, in which Japan suffered a catastrophic defeat.

 

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For the next year, the United States engaged Japan in a protracted struggle for the Solomon Islands, which lay near vital Allied shipping routes. Between August 1942 and February 1943, Allied forces carried out an invasion on the island of Guadalcanal—the beginning of a long series of Allied offensives that would eventually force the Japanese out of the Solomons and then pursue them from various other Pacific island chains that the Japanese had earlier seized. In the meantime, British and Indian forces were combating Japanese troops in Burma.

 

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In 1943, after the battles of Stalingrad and Kursk, Germany was forced into a full-scale retreat. During the course of 1944, the Germans were slowly but steadily forced completely out of Soviet territory, after which the Russians pursued them across eastern Europe and into Germany itself in 1945. In June 1944, British and American forces launched the D-Day invasion, landing in German-occupied France via the coast of Normandy. Soon the German army was forced into retreat from that side as well. Thus, by early 1945, Allied forces were closing in on Germany from both east and west. The Soviets were the first to reach the German capital of Berlin, and Germany surrendered in May 1945, shortly after the suicide of Adolf Hitler.

 

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Fighting continued throughout the Pacific in 1944 and early 1945, including major battles at Leyte, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa. By the late spring of 1945, most of Japan’s conquests had been liberated, and Allied forces were closing in on the Japanese home islands. As they neared Japan proper, the Allies began heavy bombing campaigns against major Japanese cities, including Tokyo. This process continued through the summer of 1945 until finally, in early August, the United States dropped two atomic bombs on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Stunned by the unexpected devastation, Japan surrendered a few days later.

 

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Earlier, in the European theater of war, it was obvious that by the Spring of 1945, the warring spirit was declining, the whole world was exhausted, the Huns were running out of fighting bodies, and thus gradually came the time for the Liberation of the European capitals, just around the time, the month of May rolled in.

 

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This is the subject of our diatribe, for we need to understand, that it is vitally important who your Liberator or your Savior might be.

 

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It is ultimately important, both for the type of government that you are going to get, and the type of life that you are going to live.

And perhaps more importantly, for whether you will live like a Free man or like a Slave of some obscure Socialist ideology masquerading as government by popular committee or otherwise known as Communism.

 

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Caption of the photograph above: The sign on the shop doors in Copenhagen says: “Closed on account of happiness.” Next to it, two Danish resistance fighters are guarding the shop while the owner is celebrating the liberation of Denmark on the 5th of May 1945. The man on the left is wearing a captured German helmet, “Stahlhelm” while the one on the right is holding a British “Sten” automatic gun.

 

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Below photograph is of the Danish women celebrating their liberation in the city of Copenhagen, while the men are all still fighting to rid the country of the German invaders.

 

 

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Early on the morning of May 7th of 1945, at 2:41 AM at General Eisenhower’s headquarters, in a small redbrick schoolhouse in Reims France, General Alfred Jodl the representative of the German High Command, and Grand Admiral Doenitz, the designated head of the German State, signed Nazi Germany’s unconditional surrender of all German land, sea, and air forces, in Europe, to the Allied forces thus ending World War II in Europe. According to the terms of the act of surrender that took effect the following day on May 8th at 11:01 PM, all German soldiers across Europe will have laid down their arms.

 

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News of the resurgence of Peace sparked tearful reunions, great liberations, and massive rejoicing throughout Europe, and the United States, as millions of people took to the streets, to hear form their leaders, and to celebrate the end of nearly six years of grueling warfare, privations, and bloody mayhem.

The signing of the Armistice that ended the Second World War took place in Reims, because Reims was an appropriately historic place to witness the end of war in Europe in 1945. For centuries, the city had served as the coronation site for French kings, beginning in the Middle Ages and continuing through the coronation of Charles X in 1825. During World War I, nearly 80 percent of Reims had been destroyed, while during the second conflict of World War Two, Allied war planes heavily bombed the Nazi-occupied city, causing it to lose again up to eighty percent of it’s building stock.

Yet it was here in Reims that for the last two years of the war, the Supreme Headquarters of the Allied Expeditionary Force were located in the red brick schoolhouse just northwest of the Reims train station, where Allied Commander General Eisenhower accepted the German leadership and it was here that the articles of the German surrender were signed on the cold & dark early morning’s third hour of May 7th 1945.

 

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Here above is the haughty German High Command representation, made up of General Stumpf, Marshall Keitel, and Admiral Friedeburg, while signing the German Instrument of Surrender at the Russian headquarters in Berlin on May 8th of 1945.

 

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A little more than a week earlier, as Soviet troops besieged Berlin, Adolf Hitler married his longtime mistress, Eva Braun, and the two of them committed suicide in a bunker beneath the German Chancellery. Hitler’s death left Germany under the leadership of Karl Dönitz, who opened negotiations for surrender in the hopes that the Western Allies would prove more benevolent conquerors than the Soviets.

 

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Unwilling to provoke Soviet leader Josef Stalin, however, Britain, France, and the United States, insisted Germany surrender to all the Allies simultaneously. As the surrender was being negotiated, Germany managed to transfer some 1.8 million troops, or 55 percent of the Army of the East, into the British and U.S. zones of control.

 

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Alfred Jodl, who was admiral Dönitz’s chief of staff, signed the unconditional surrender in the French city of Reims headquarters, of U.S. General Dwight D. Eisenhower, supreme commander of all Allied forces in Europe. Upon signing, Jodl said: “With this signature the German people and the German armed forces are, for better or worse, delivered into the victors’ hands.” Despite the efforts of German troops to escape to Czechoslovakia, Russian troops took some 2 million German soldiers prisoner in the days surrounding the surrender. For his part in the Nazi nasty business of the concentration camps, and of the human exterminations, Jodl would be found guilty of war crimes at the Nuremburg trials and would be hanged in October of 1946.

 

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As news of the official surrender spread on May 7th relieved and exhausted citizens poured into the streets of London to welcome the war’s end and the defeat of Nazi Germany. Tens of thousands crowded Central London, cheering and partying until midnight, when a thunderstorm ended the celebrations for the night. Though British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and King George VI wanted May 7 to be celebrated as V-E Day, they acquiesced to their American allies and declared an official celebration on May 8.

 

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Street parties took place across Britain, as neighbors shared food that was still being rationed, and crowds gathered in London’s Trafalgar Square to hear Churchill’s radio broadcast from 10 Downing Street piped through giant speakers. “We may allow ourselves a brief period of rejoicing,” Churchill said, “but let us not forget for a moment the toil and efforts that lie ahead. Japan with all her treachery and greed, remains unsubdued. We must now devote all our strength and resources to the completion of our task, both at home and abroad. Advance Britannia.”

 

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Churchill later appeared before cheering crowds on the balcony of Buckingham Palace with King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, along with the Princesses Elizabeth (the future Queen Elizabeth II) and Margaret, who had been allowed to wander incognito among the crowds to experience the celebrations for themselves. That night, Buckingham Palace was lit by floodlights for the first time since 1939, and a giant V of light was projected above St. Paul’s Cathedral, ending the darkness that had blanketed London, and the rest of Britain, for nearly six years.

 

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With the announcement of the surrender on May 7th, the city of Paris exploded into celebrations. Crowds of people dashed through the Arc de Triomphe waving the Allied flags, and British, American and French servicemen celebrated, along with the crowds of civilians throughout the night. Charles de Gaulle, who led the Free French Forces from Algiers during the Nazi occupation and returned to Paris after liberation in 1944, declared: “The war has been won. This is victory. It is the victory of the United Nations and that of France. Honor to our nation, which never faltered, even under terrible trials, nor gave in to them. Honor to the United Nations, which mingled their blood, their sorrows and their hopes with ours and who today are triumphant with us.”

On that day, the Soviet leader Joseph Stalin refused to accept the German surrender agreement concluded in Reims. He argued that the Soviet representative there, General Ivan Susloparov, had not been authorized to sign the agreement, given that it differed from an earlier one Stalin had approved. As a result of this confusion, fighting continued on the German-Soviet front for another day, with the Soviet Army losing 600 more soldiers in Silesia on May 8. Late that night, on the early morning of May 9th in the Soviet Union, the German general Dönitz, signed another surrender agreement in Soviet-occupied Berlin.

 

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Rather than V-E Day on May 7th, people in the Soviet Union celebrated “Victory Day” on May 9, as fireworks exploded over the Kremlin and celebrations broke out in Red Square. Some 25-30 million Soviets died during World War II, which they called the Great Patriotic War; more than two-thirds of those were civilians. Stalin issued a radio broadcast announcing the end: “The age-long struggle of the Slav nations…has ended in victory. Your courage has defeated the Nazis. The war is over.” Still, the Soviet leader himself seemed uninterested in celebrations: When his deputy Nikita Krushchev called to congratulate him, Stalin reportedly snapped “Why are you bothering me? I am working.”

On May 8th President Harry S. Truman’s 61st birthday, the flags in the United States were still at half-mast to mark the passing of Truman’s beloved predecessor, Franklin D. Roosevelt, a few weeks earlier. Thousands crowded into New York’s Times Square with news of the surrender, and other celebrations took place in cities across the nation, but in general the reaction to V-E Day was more muted than in Europe. Truman’s message to the American people was clear: “If I could give you a single watchword for the coming months, that word is work, work, and more work. We must work to finish the war. Our victory is only half over.”

 

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The German surrender of Europe shifted the focus of World War II to Washington, as the United States by now, was the major world power with the greatest participation by far, in the war against Japan. Though some in the capital celebrated V-E Day along with the rest of the nation, The New York Times reported that “Thousands of War and Navy employees in Washington, some uniformed but mainly civilians, greeted the V-E news as soberly as their chiefs gave it to them. There was thankfulness, but no cheering. Perhaps it was in recognition that this nation had only passed the halfway mark in its global war…”

 

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However, the recognition that May 8th 1945, was the official Victory in Europe Day, was celebrated heartily throughout the United States and the preparations were made to end the war with Japan decisively through the use of the new atomic nuclear weapon.

In most people’s minds though, finally the forces of darkness had been defeated, and the generalized Evil that had bedeviled our World, had been leashed back to it’s corner.

On this Spring day of 1945, both Great Britain and the United States, celebrated and rejoiced, along with all the nations of this Earth, and this was inaugurated inHistory, as Victory in Europe Day. Cities in all nations, as well as formerly occupied cities in Western Europe, put out flags and banners, rejoicing in the defeat of the Nazi war machine, as the carnage continued in the Pacific and in some pockets of war in Europe as well.

The eighth of May spelled the day when German troops throughout Europe finally laid down their arms: In Prague, Germans surrendered to their Soviet antagonists, after the latter had lost more than 8,000 soldiers, and the Germans considerably more; in Copenhagen and Oslo; at Karlshorst, near Berlin; in northern Latvia; on the Channel Island of Sark — the German surrender was realized in a final cease-fire. More surrender documents were signed in Berlin and in eastern Germany.

 

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The main concern of many German soldiers was to elude the grasp of Soviet forces, and keep from being taken prisoner. About One million German soldiers attempted a mass exodus to the West, when the fighting in Czechoslovakia ended, but were stopped by the Russians and taken captive. The Russians also took approximately 2 million other prisoners in the period just before, and quite a few more, after the German surrender. The Soviet communist sector in Europe, quickly became a vast concentration camp…

Meanwhile, more than 13,000 British POWs were released, and sent back to Great Britain. And many more millions of innocent Jewish and other nationality prisoners were released from the German concentration camps in the waning days of the war, and especially on the Victory in Europe day.

 

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Some pockets of German vs Soviet military confrontations, continued into the next day. And on these pitched battles, just on the day of May 9th, the Soviets would lose another 600 soldiers in Silesia, before the Germans finally heard the call to surrender. Consequently, for the Soviets, the Victory in Europe Day, was not celebrated until the ninth of May in Moscow, with a radio broadcast salute from Marshal Stalin heard throughout the World. He was always Spartan in his talks, but now he said this in essence: “The age-long struggle of the Slavic nations has ended in victory. Your courage has defeated the Nazis. The war is over.”

In London, Winston Churchill gave a jubilant address to the English people and indeed to the whole world, and it was broadcast via BBC throughout the Commonwealth, and the rest of the World, in it’s entirety. You too can hear it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rePb2NadxQw

 

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However, the war in the Pacific still raged on… Japan was defiant and had rejected all terms of surrender till then. Winston’s personal friend and brother in arms, Roosevelt had passed away a few days ago without siege the Victory day. Now his office was held by his Vice President Mr Truman who had replaced him until general elections were to be held.

And as Fates had decreed, Winston’s victory celebrations were also cut short, because his governing coalition partners upon seeing the British Victory — they demanded fresh elections in order to take advantage of the winds of change, the victorious marches, and the euphoric feeling of the population and asked for a new poll that would allow them to institute a Labour government… even before victory against Japan was to be achieved.

Strange how the fates work their mysterious ways, but the scheming intrigue and the political gamble of the Labour party payed off, and as it turns out, in the 11th hour of World War II, Winston Churchill was forced to resign as British prime minister following his Conservative party’s electoral defeat at the hands of the Labour Party. It was the first general election held in Britain in more than a decade. The same day, Clement Attlee, the Labour leader, was sworn in as the new British leader.

 

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This quick summation of the Prime Minister Winston Churchill life in Service and Leadership, was given to all the persons in the British Parliament in order to remind them of Churchill’s long efforts on behalf of Peace and Country and to dissuade them from abandoning the government coalition after the VE day of May 1945:

“”Winston Spencer Churchill, born at Blenheim Palace in 1874, joined the British Fourth Hussars upon his father’s death in 1895. During the next five years, he enjoyed an illustrious military career, serving in India, the Sudan, and South Africa, and distinguishing himself several times in battle. In 1899, he resigned his commission to concentrate on his literary and political career and in 1900 was elected to Parliament as a Conservative MP from Oldham. In 1904, he joined the Liberals, serving in a number of important posts before being appointed Britain’s First Lord of the Admiralty in 1911, where he worked to bring the British navy to a readiness for the war he foresaw.”

“In 1915, in the second year of World War I, Churchill was held responsible for the disastrous Dardanelles and Gallipoli campaigns, and he was excluded from the war coalition government. He resigned and volunteered to command an infantry battalion in France. However, in 1917, he returned to politics as a cabinet member in the Liberal government of Lloyd George. From 1919 to 1921, he was secretary of state for war and in 1924 returned to the Conservative Party, where two years later he played a leading role in the defeat of the General Strike of 1926. Out of office from 1929 to 1939, Churchill issued unheeded warnings of the threat of Nazi and Japanese aggression.”

 

 

“After the outbreak of World War II in Europe, Churchill was called back to his post as First Lord of the Admiralty and eight months later replaced the ineffectual Neville Chamberlain as prime minister of a new coalition government. In the first year of his administration, Britain stood alone against Nazi Germany, but Churchill promised his country and the world that the British people would “never surrender.” He rallied the British people to a resolute resistance and expertly orchestrated Franklin D. Roosevelt and Joseph Stalin into an alliance that eventually crushed the Axis.””

 

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Regardless of all of Winston’s popularity, and all of his electoral campaigning efforts — in July 1945, a few weeks before the defeat of Japan in World War II, his Conservative government suffered an electoral loss against Clement Attlee’s Labour Party, and Churchill resigned as prime minister.

It was not meant to be this way, however, while Churchill worked and toiled hard as the wartime Prime Minster and while he executed the massively important and difficult War effort in order to save the Nation, and while he was fighting on behalf of all the Allies of the United Nations and while trying to liberate Western Civilization — his coalition government partners, the Labour party adversarial colleagues, were undermining his authority at hime by scheming, planning and intriguing, to overthrow him. It was a plot worthy of Brutus. Clement Atlee whom Winston had included in his national unity coalition government, and his labour party colleagues, were all engaged in advanced electioneering, and secret campaigning,  in order to gather the vote in preparation for the snap election they were going to cause, when they were going to leave the coalition and thus cause the break up of the government.

The whole effort amounted to intrigue and treachery, but these are the breaks in Love, in War, and in Politics.

And although Winston Churchill’s popularity was riding high, and he was the Man of the century, and the most Important Man Alive, throughout the World — he lost the elections in Britain and became the leader of the opposition in Parliament, for the next five years.

 

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Yet in 1951 he fought the next elections bravely, and with a strong message he earned the popular mandate and was again elected Prime Minister. Two years later, he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II and awarded the Nobel Prize in literature for his six-volume historical study of World War II and for his political speeches.

In 1955, he retired as prime minister but remained in Parliament until 1964, the last year before his death.

 

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To be continued:

Posted by: Dr Pano Kroko Churchill | September 16, 2017

What would Winston Churchill Do? (Chapter 46)

Churchill, was under no illusions about Stalin’s real intentions, and therefore never thought that the Soviet Union with its communist dictatorship, and its system of absolute rule, the complete antithesis of political freedom, would be willing to sit back and watch, or even allow, Britain and the United States act unencumbered in further spreading Western democracy to Europe and the World, as promised and predicated under the terms of the Atlantic Charter that himself had conceived and signed with Roosevelt his American brother in arms.

Yet although Winston Churchill never believed that Marshal Stalin would allow the European democratization process, he hoped that if the British and American partnership was strong enough, the Soviets would be forced to acquiesce to it.

This was the whole basis of his post-war conception and he expressed this to all the intelligence cables that crossed the Atlantic and the Channel. An example of that policy initiative is a letter to Field Marshal Smuts on the 5th of September, 1943, when he wrote: “I think it inevitable that Russia will be the greatest land Power in the world after this war, which will have rid her of the two military Powers, Japan and Germany, who in our lifetime have inflicted upon her such heavy defeats. I hope however that the “fraternal association” of the British Commonwealth and the United States, together with sea and air power, may put us on good terms and in a friendly balance with Russia, at least for the period of reconstruction and rebuilding of all the states involved. Further than that I cannot see with mortal eyes, and I am not as yet fully informed about the celestial telescopes.”

Meanwhile he attempted to “snow” the Soviet leader with agreements and zones of influence fully knowing that possession of a country is nine tenths of the law, and if the force of his guns was good enough — he could save as man countries as he can command.

That is why he established the concept of instituting Democracy n all the liberated countries as soon as possible after the German occupiers were booted out of the countries of Europe.

And that is what he shared with Marshal Stalin in the Yalta conference… albeit in not so many words, and that is how he managed to establish the percentages of his spheres of influence, that were calculated in the back of the envelop of his last telegram that he happened to carry in his pocket.

Stalin agreed and affixed his mark on it too…

 

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And since Winston Churchill’s plans for the post-war world were based on the keystone of a strong Anglo-American alliance, it is not surprising that he should have expanded all of his energies towards establishing a firm and intimate relationship with President Roosevelt, and his successor President Truman.

But it would be wrong to give the impression that Winston was motivated chiefly by ideology, or even by self interest, because he was not. Indeed he cared far more for the Peoples of Europe as a mosaic of nations that need to pursue their own independent identities as national entities, and to achieve their own aspiration in Liberty of being and individual Freedom, as Christians who were endowed with Free Will from their Creator upon birth and baptismal enlightenment.

And for those reasons the Transatlantic relationship made sense. And of course, logically the AngloSaxon partnership seemed right, since before the war Winston had developed this same theme of an Anglo-American Alliance in his History of the English-Speaking Peoples. But leaving logic aside, he also had a profound, almost romantic, admiration for the United States, the birthplace of his Mother Jennie, and the birth country of his Grandfather Leonard Jerome, hailing straight down the biological line from a lieutenant of George Washington, and the country of Lincoln, the Great Emancipator whom Winston saw as his intellectual Mentor. This is the America that Winston Churchill always referenced as “the great Republic” on the other side of the Atlantic ocean.
As such he was always deeply stirred emotionally; by the vision of Britain, with her age old wisdom, and America, with her youthful vigor & power, both working in tandem, to endow the world with safety and peace, through Democracy and Liberty.

To that end, Churchill never failed to dramatize his origin, and since he was half-English and half-American by birth, he felt that he had been appointed by Destiny to bring the Anglo-American partnership alive. He was especially conscious of this, when he made his historic address to the Congress of the United States in December of 1941. He wrote in the book ‘Closing the Ring’ that: “the occasion was important, for what I was sure was the all-conquering alliance of the English-speaking peoples. I had never addressed a foreign Parliament before. Yet to me, who could trace unbroken male descent on my mother’s side through five generations from a lieutenant who served in George Washington’s army, it was possible to feel a blood-right to speak to the representatives of the great Republic in our common cause. It certainly was odd that it should all work out this way; and once again I had the feeling, for mentioning which I may be pardoned, of being used, however unworthy, in some anointed plan.

Add to this that Winston Churchill’s friendship and affection for Roosevelt were certainly not manufactured. He had a deep, even fierce, loyalty to the President, which sprang from Roosevelt’s courageous help to Britain, in her most desperate hour.

Churchill never forgot how in January 1941 Harry Hopkins had appeared unbidden in London with a personal message from his Chief. “The President is determined that we shall win the war together. Make no mistake about it. He has sent me here to tell you that at all costs and by all means he will carry you through, no matter what happens to him, there is nothing that he will not do so far as he has human power.”

This unwavering and unsolicited overture from FDR won Winston Churchill’s everlasting gratitude. And even many years later whenever he related this memorable incident — his eyes would fill with tears.

During the war, people around him remember Winston saying: “He is the greatest friend Britain has ever had.” This is what Winston declared with emotion. And from then on, he allowed no Englishman to forget it. No one, not even a member of Winston’s most intimate circle, or even his family, has ever been permitted to make a disparaging remark about the President of the United States in his presence; and this rule surely would still hold good today, if the old man Winnie — the father of his nation, and grandfather of this American Churchill, were still alive today.

But apart from Winston Churchill’s emotional indebtedness, to America for his lineage and for her generosity of Spirit and for her supplying the victuals, the materiel, and the vital supplies, to Britain during the first two years of the war, when the English people were fighting all alone against the German Nazi armies and their Axis fascist allied war machine — Winston was also charmed by Roosevelt’s relaxed, easy going, optimistic and friendly manner. Indeed Winston was impressed by FDR’s ingenuity in focusing on the positive, his capacity in moulding public opinion, and his adroitness at winning polls & elections. These talents were not unfamiliar to Winston, but they had never come easily to him. Still both men enjoyed the rough excitement of political life, the historical research, the deep thoughtful conversations about the Future, and both were always considerate of the domestic problems that the other, had to take into account, when they had to consider the impacts of Foreign Policy and War Planning, on the domestic front.

Their personal friendship began in 1939 when Churchill was First Lord of the Admiralty and Roosevelt, an ex-navy man, wrote him a sympathetic letter. This started a long and intimate correspondence, unprecedented between the heads of two great Powers, which continued unabated until Roosevelt’s death.

Since both men were capable of making up their minds, under their own council, and taking decisions on the spot, they soon fell into the habit of by-passing their ambassadors and communicating directly with each other — on all important matters. Sometimes when affairs were pressing they simply telegraphed each other, or got on the radio, or even rang each other up, on the telephone.

They also met on ten distinctly separate occasions during the war, and had the closest and longest collaboration with each other. They vacationed together, and they fought together, and indeed they had the best relationship either of them could have had, with another head of state. Their personal meetings and close-up discussions and relations, took place on an average with six-monthly intervals, and often times far more frequent.

Their first meeting was the point in History that gave birth to the Atlantic Charter, taking place on the destroyers off the coast of Newfoundland during the dark days of 1941. After that, Winston Churchill made four separate trips to visit Franklin Roosevelt in Washington DC, in order to further woo him into the Alliance, and once that was solidified — both Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill traveled twice to Quebec; once to Casablanca, once to Cairo, once to Teheran, and finally, both men met for the last time met in Yalta, for the last conference with Stalin, when Roosevelt was gravelly ill, and Churchill so tired and strained — that Stalin ruled the roost unopposed.

But it was in Washington that the Churchill-Roosevelt friendship flowered best. The US President Franklin Roosevelt welcomed Winston Churchill at the White House as a member of his family. He was given a room across from Harry Hopkins’ and the three invaded each other’s bedrooms as unselfconsciously as schoolmates. Roosevelt liked to go to bed early but when Churchill was there he was so fascinated by the conversation that he stayed up far later than usual.
Even so, Hopkins and Winston usually out stayed him, and carried their talk into the early hours of the morning. The three men always lunched together, and although dinner was usually a more social affair, including members of the family, or of the President’s inner circle — it still remained a small friendly group. Roosevelt liked to mix the cocktails and when he left the drawing-room Churchill always insisted on wheeling him to the lift.

Some idea of the informality of the White House is revealed in Harry Hopkins’ favourite story. He claims that one morning when the President was wheeled into Winston Churchill’s bedroom, the Prime Minister emerged from the bath stark naked. The President apologized and turned to go but Churchill bade him remain saying: “The Prime Minister of Great Britain, has nothing to hide from the President of the United States.”

Robert Sherwood once asked Winston if this story was true and he says that Winston Churchill replied that it was nonsense, and at any rate: “I never received the President without at least a bath towel wrapped around me.” And then Winston Churchill further smirked and said with mirth: “I could not possibly have made such a statement as that. The President himself would have been aware that it was not strictly true.”

At least as far as Churchill was concerned, no trace of jealousy ever marred his relationship with the American President. It is one of Winston’s characteristics that once he has formed a deep personal friendship he is completely faithful, never allowing selfish motives to influence him. He was loyal to Lloyd George when both were spoken of as potential Prime Ministers; now he was loyal to Roosevelt when both were world leaders. An interesting feature of his relationship with the President lay in the fact that whereas Winston was the head of a Government — Roosevelt was the head of a State.

A matter which indeed makes a great deal of difference and therefore Winston Churchill never lost sight of this fact, and yet instead of resenting it — Winston took great pleasure in showing Roosevelt a marked deference. Of course, his respectful behaviour undoubtedly did much to keep relations between the two men running smoothly.

And up until the end of 1943 Churchill was certainly the dominant figure
in the partnership. He not only had a far greater knowledge of military
matters than Roosevelt did, but until 1944 the British had more divisions in
contact with the enemy in both the European and Japanese theatres of
war, than the Americans. The only areas where the Americans could speak with a commanding voice were in the Pacific and Australasia. In these circumstances Churchill had the right to speak in a commanding voice, which he did not hesitate to do.

But all the time that the two men were concentrated on the military side of the war, Churchill never lost sight of his main objective: the bringing of Great Britain and the United States together in what he had termed to Field Marshal Smuts, was “a fraternal association.”

His ideas on this subject were far from orthodox, and when he visited Washington in 1943 he explained them to Roosevelt and then to the Vice-President of the United States Mr Wallace. He told Wallace that he: “Would like the citizens of Great Britain and the United States, without losing their present nationality, to be able to come and settle and trade with freedom and equal rights in the territories of the other. This might even be accommodated through the use of a common passport, or a special form of passport or visa, that might make each other part of their own kind of Commonwealth or partnership of the States… Winston theorized that there might even be some common form of citizenship, under which the citizens of the United States and of Great Britain and perhaps even of the British Commonwealth — might even enjoy some form of voting privileges after residential qualification and if they get naturalized as Citizens, they may become eligible for public office in the territories of the other, subject of course to the laws and the institutions there prevailing.”

Winston developed this same theme in a speech to Harvard University on the 6th of September, when he said: “This gift of a common tongue is a priceless inheritance, and it may well some day become the foundation of a common citizenship. I like to think of British and Americans moving freely over each other’s wide estates with hardly a sense of being foreigners to one another.”

President Roosevelt, however, did not share Winston Churchill’s conviction that the hope of the world lay in a fraternal association between the English speaking peoples. He respected British institutions, but like many other Americans he was suspicious of British Imperialism. These suspicions grew deeper as the war developed until they became almost an obsession with him. He saw the challenge to the Atlantic Charter coming not from totalitarian Russia but from the colonial possessions of his Allies. “The colonial system means war” he told his son, Elliott. “Exploit the resources of an India, a Burma, a Java; take all the wealth out of those countries, but never put anything back into them, things like education, decent standards of living, minimum health requirements all you’re doing is storing up the kind of trouble that leads to war.”

This observation was not only a ridiculous travesty of the British colonial system, but even its conclusions were false. The two world wars of this century and the present threat to peace, have not sprung from discontented colonies but from the armed might of dictators, anxious to spread their totalitarian rule. It seems astonishing that Roosevelt could be more concerned with British colonial rule, than by the extension of Soviet authority which carried with it, as a matter of course, severe and brutal “liquidations” and national subjugations. Yet apparently this was the case, for at every major discussion with Churchill it was not the problem of Russia but of Britain’s overseas possessions, that came up for discussion. More than once he urged England to give up Hong Kong as a gesture, and in the spring of 1942 he pressed Churchill to grant India her independence at once, suggesting in a paper which must rank as one of the most naive documents ever drafted by a head of state, that she model her provisional government along the lines of America’s original thirteen states.

Churchill stood his ground firmly. Glory in the British Empire was as much a part of him as his life’s blood. Far from excusing England’s overlordship, he saw her rule as a great benefaction; was she not spreading the English tongue and with it all her light and learning and civilized institutions to the farthest corners of the earth? Besides, he argued with Roosevelt, if Britain withdrew she would leave a gap which undoubtedly would tempt some less civilized Power to assume her place.

Churchill could not convince Roosevelt, and both men stubbornly held their ground. What Winston failed to grasp until the Teheran Conference, however, was the feet that ingrained American anti-colonialism was having a marked effect on Roosevelt’s attitude towards Russia. “Of one thing I am certain, Stalin is not an Imperialist” the President remarked to the Polish leader, Mikolajczyk. This belief, based on instinct rather than logic, drew him away from Britain and towards the Russian camp. He apparently viewed Stalin in almost exactly the same light that Chamberlain had viewed Hitler; if he could implant a feeling of trust in the dictator everything would turn out alright. “I have a hunch” he told William Bullitt, who had been the American Ambassador in Moscow, “that Stalin doesn’t want anything but security for his country, and I think that if I give him everything I possibly can, and ask nothing in return, noblesse oblige, he won’t try to annex anything and will work for a world of democracy and peace.” As soon as he heard this nonsense, Bullitt started writing his pivotal article: “How We Won the War and Lost the Peace” by William C. Bullitt.

One can only comment that a “hunch” was a strange basis for a nation’s foreign policy. Although it can be argued that up until 1939 Russia had shown no imperialistic tendencies as far as her armies were concerned, her rule was being spread by Communist Parties all over the world which were often financed and controlled from Moscow. Far from being a static faith, Communism was a militant crusade, openly in conflict with the institutions of Western democracy.

Roosevelt, however, was not the only American who had trust in Russia. Many leading officials, including Harry Hopkins and General Eisenhower, shared his beliefs. Eisenhower wrote that judging from the past relations of America and Russia there was no cause to regard the future with pessimism; and Harry Hopkins, six months after the Yalta Conference, wrote glowingly: “We know or believe that Russia’s interests, so far as we can anticipate them, do not afford an opportunity for a major difference with us in foreign affairs. We believe we are mutually dependent upon each other for economic reasons. We find the Russians as individuals easy to deal with. The Russians undoubtedly like the American people. They like the United States. They trust the United States more than they trust any other power in the world, because above all, they want to maintain friendly relations with us. They are a tenacious, determined people who think and act just like we do.”

The American attitude towards Russia can only be described as appallingly ingenuous. The tragedy lay in the fact that although Churchill and Roosevelt were in accord about a world of free, independent nations, the President’s failure to understand the nature of Soviet totalitarianism allowed Stalin to drive a wedge between the two democracies and walk off with the spoils. The turning point in the relations between Roosevelt and Churchill took place at Cairo and Teheran in December 1943.

The Teheran Conference was the first meeting of “The Big Three” and it was almost exclusively a military conference. The leaders decided on the program which was to prove the grand climax of the war. Britain and America would launch a cross-Channel invasion in May, about the same time they would use the Allied force in Italy to strike at Southern France, and Russia would co-ordinate a large-scale offensive on the Eastern front. The Big Three were in full accord on this strategy. Much nonsense has been written about Winston Churchill’s reluctance to strike across the Channel, but according to The White House Papers of Harry L. Hopkins, edited by Robert E. Sherwood, Winston Churchill, was the dynamic pivot of action, around whom all the others revolved

Indeed Winston believed that an invasion of France was right and inevitable, but his experience of the huge and useless bloodletting on the Western front in the first War cautioned him not to undertake it until the enemy had been sufficiently weakened by attacks in other theatres to ensure its success. At Tehran, however, Churchill was in agreement with Roosevelt and Stalin that the time to invade was in the spring. He also was in favour of the joint operation in Southern France, although as an alternative he would have preferred President Roosevelt’s proposal that the Allied Army in Italy advance through the Ljubljana Gap to Vienna. However, he had no fixed thoughts on this subject and when Stalin raised objections and plumped in favour of Marseilles; Churchill backed the project.

There was only one point on which he did not see eye to eye with his two colleagues. Churchill believed that one-tenth of the Allied strength should be used in a third operation in the Eastern Mediterranean. He argued that there was an air force massed for the defence of Egypt standing idle; also that there were two or three divisions in the Middle East which could not be used elsewhere because there was no available shipping to move them to the main theatre. Why not employ them? If, by a small effort, Rhodes could be captured, the whole Aegean would be dominated by the Allied Air Force and direct sea contact established with Turkey. This might bring Turkey into the war, which would open up the Black Sea, and with it, unlimited possibilities. Surely, he argued, such a huge prize, was worth a minor effort, which would not detract in any way from
the other major undertakings.

Roosevelt, however, was not only uninterested in the project but the fact that Winston pressed it so hard aroused his suspicions. Was Churchill seeking some gain for Britain in the Balkans? At the end of the first day in Tehran he remarked to his son: “Elliott, I see no reason for putting the lives of American soldiers in jeopardy in order to protect real or fancied British interests on the European continent. We are at war and our job is to win as far as possible, and without adventures.”

Other American leaders shared Roosevelt’s suspicions. Even General Eisenhower believed Winston had hidden motives for after the war he wrote: “I could not escape a feeling that Winston Churchill’s views were unconsciously coloured by two considerations that lay outside the scope of the immediate military problem. The first of them was his concern as a political leader for the future of the Balkans The other was an inner compulsion to vindicate his strategical concepts of World War I, in which he had been the principal exponent of the Gallipoli campaign.”

Churchill had never been a devious intriguer, or for that matter a secretive, or even a subtle man. He was so outspoken that he never left anyone in doubt as to what he thought, or what is it that he wanted.

Yet in his day, because people were fearful, and many misunderstood his vast & extraordinary intelligence, as being used in the dark arts of intrigue, scheming, and politicking — the inclination to attribute concealed motives to his Policies, to his Speeches, to his Memorandums, and to his Political Arguments, and his Tactics and his Military Strategies — had become so widespread, that many writers and historians have mistaken them for facts.

For example, Chester Wilmot in his brilliant and authoritative book ‘The Struggle for Europe’ asserts that: “During 1943 Winston Churchill became increasingly concerned about the necessity of restraining Stalin’s ambitions. . . . The Prime Minister sought to devise a plan of campaign which would not only be a military success, but would ensure that victory did not leave the democratic cause politically weaker in any sphere.”

Yet, there was no foundation for this statement, because the truth is that it was not until 1944, when the great European landing invasion across the channel, was only a matter of a few months — that Winston Churchill seriously concerned himself with the design of the post-war world, and with the plans for the European nation building anew.

Indeed, up until the time of the Teheran Conference, he had given surprisingly little thought to the blueprint of the post war World Order. And as we now know from his Memoirs, Winston Churchill had decided in his own mind, that the only hope for a secure world lay in an Anglo-American alliance, far closer than anything that has evolved so far. He also hoped for a Continental Common Market, and Community for Europe, with an Eastern facing defense shield — hoping that this combination would deal with the problems stemming from Russia when the time came.

Yet in all reality Winston Churchill had turned all his thoughts and energies on ending the war by securing a total Victory against Germany, Italy, and Japan, and against all their erstwhile allies across the globe, Axis of Evil allies, declared and undeclared.

Churchill himself makes it plain, in his fifth volume of memoirs, that at Teheran he was thinking in terms of military strategy only when he advanced his arguments about Turkey. He emphasizes that he was in complete agreement with the Cross-Channel invasion and the attack on the South of France; and that he merely wanted a third, and a very minor, operation in the Eastern Mediterranean at the same time in order to employ all available forces: “This was the triple theme which I pressed upon the President and Stalin on every occasion, not hesitating to repeat the arguments remorselessly. I could have gained Stalin, but the President was oppressed by the prejudices of his military advisers, and drifted to and fro in the argument, with the result that the whole of these subsidiary but gleaming opportunities were cast away. Our American friends were comforted in their obstinacy by the reflection that “at any rate we have stopped Churchill entangling us in the Balkans.” “No such idea had crossed my mind. I regard the failure to use otherwise unemployable forces to bring Turkey into the war and dominate the Aegean as an error of war direction which cannot be excused by the fact that in spite of it victory was won.”

However, it was not the military aspects of the Teheran Conference that upset Churchill. It was Roosevelt’s aloof, almost hostile attitude. At Cairo, before the two leaders proceeded to Teheran, Roosevelt lectured Winston sharply about his outlook towards colonialism. The Prime Minister remarked that he thought Chiang Kai-Shek had designs on Indo-China. The President replied: “Winston you have four hundred years of acquisitive instinct in your blood, and you just don’t understand how a country might not want to acquire land somewhere if they can get it. A new period has opened in the world and you will have to adjust yourself to it.”

 

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Churchill arrived in Cairo hoping to hold preliminary and private talks with Roosevelt about the forthcoming invasion. But the President insisted on Chiang Kai-Shek being present, and he also invited Russian observers (who declined the invitation) despite Winston’s protests. This gesture was undoubtedly made to show Churchill that Britain had no right to regard her relationship with the United States, as either favored or exclusive.

At Tehran the President continued the same tactics. He refused bluntly to meet Churchill alone on the grounds that “the Russians wouldn’t like it.” Yet at the same time he had several meetings with Stalin from which Winston was excluded. The latter was astonished and hurt by this behavior which was contrary to his own code of friendship and loyalty.

 

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But Roosevelt went even further.

When, after three days at Teheran, he felt he had not made as much progress with Stalin as he would have liked, he tried to ingratiate himself with the Russian dictator by making fun of Churchill: “I began almost as soon as we got into the conference room” he told Frances Perkins. “I said, lifting my hand to cover a whisper which of course had to be interpreted: “Winston is cranky this morning, he got up on the wrong side of the bed.” “A vague smile passed over Stalin’s eyes, and I decided I was on the right track.” “I began to tease Churchill about his Britishness, about John Bull, about his cigars, about his habits.” “It began to register with Stalin. Winston got red and scowled, and the more he did so, the more Stalin smiled. Finally Stalin broke out in a deep, hearty guffaw, and for the first time in three days I saw light. I kept it up until Stalin was laughing with me, and it was then that I called him “Uncle Joe.” “He would have thought me fresh the day before, but that day he laughed and came over and shook my hand.” John Gunther, the American journalist, asked someone who was there if the incident had really taken place. “Yes” replied the official, “and it wasn’t funny either.”

It was certainly not Winston Churchill’s idea of humour, nor, for that matter, of statesmanship. It turned The Big Three into The Eternal Triangle, with Roosevelt the female, almost feline, character, and Stalin and Churchill, both aggressively male, the respective villain and hero of the piece.

Churchill pondered the lessons of Tehran deeply. Roosevelt’s actions made it plain that he was not only unwilling to regard Britain as a favored partner, but that he was prepared to put as much trust and faith, and perhaps even more, in totalitarian Russia than in democratic Britain.

This came as a profound shock to Winston. His whole foreign policy was based on the concept of an English-speaking authority. If the foundations were faulty there was only one alternative: to act on his own and try to safeguard Britain against the consequences of a Soviet domination of Europe.

Five months later, in the spring of 1944, these new and pressing worries began to manifest themselves. On 4 May, he sent a minute to the Foreign Office: “A paper should be drafted for the Cabinet, and possibly for the Imperial Conference, setting forth shortly … the brute issues which are developing in Italy, in Roumania, in Bulgaria, in Yugoslavia, and above all in Greece. Broadly speaking, the issue is: “Are we going to acquiesce in the Communization of the Balkans and perhaps of Italy? I am of the opinion on the whole that we ought to come to a definite conclusion about it, and that if our conclusion is that we resist the Communist infusion and invasion, we should put it to them pretty plainly at the best moment that military events permit. We should of course have to consult the United States first.””

A month later, in June, family friend and journalist Virginia Cowles was invited to 10 Downing Street for lunch, and reports her experience thus: “It was the day after the great invasion had begun and the papers were filled with little else. Winston Churchill appeared in a blue siren suit and he seemed worried and preoccupied. He scarcely referred to the invasion, but in the middle of lunch launched forth into an angry discourse on foreign affairs, and he growled: “When this war is over, England will need every ally she can get to protect herself against Russia. I’m sick of these parlour pinks, always criticizing the internal regimes of countries. I don’t care a whit what people do inside their own countries so long as they don’t try to export their ideas, and as long as their relations with Britain are friendly. Spain is ready to make her peace with Britain and I am ready to accept it; the Italian Monarchy is friendly to Britain and I would like to see it preserved. The idea of running foreign affairs on personal prejudices is criminal folly.””

The Red Army had not, at this date, made any serious inroads into the Balkans, but Churchill knew that time was short because Stalin and the International Communist Association had already planned the usurpation of the Balkan governments utilizing the armed Communist partisans they controlled fully in Greece, Croatia, Bosnia, Slovenia, Serbia, Bulgaria, & Romania. If any part of Eastern Europe and the Balkans, was to be saved from Communist domination — he must act, and act quickly.

At the moment, he decided to act and without consulting his American Friend Roosevelt, he wrote a missive to Stalin suggesting that maybe Russia would find it profitable to grant Great Britain a free hand in Greece, and Yugoslavia, in return for the controlling interest in Bulgaria and Roumania. You can see his genius here — when he included Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia, and Slovenia, four distinct countries in his basket of Yugoslavia, in an attempt to save them all from the Soviet bear’s bloody claws and red teeth. But when the American Secretary of State, Cordell Hull, learned of his proposal to the Soviets — he angrily denounced it as an attempt to “carve up the Balkans” for the Brits and the Soviets.

Churchill, however, was undeterred and during his visit to Moscow in October 1944 worked out an agreement with actual percentages, shared as spheres of influence that both nations understood as their own respective spheres of interest. The State Department branded the agreement as “Churchiavellian” but Winston insisted that it was his only hope of preventing Stalin from gaining control of the whole area, and from killing the ancient birthplace of Democracy of Athens — Greece. He said that Greece needed to be preserved at any cost due to the lights and inspiration that she had given to the Western Christian Greco-Roman Civilization and that it continued to have that intellectual fountain of wisdom to this day. In addition the Greeks had fought bravely against the Fascists and the Nazis and they had secured the very first victory of the Second World War.

So he could never abandon them to the dismal fate, of becoming live bait for the Soviet Bear… This was the line, he was going to fight for.

 

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And fight he did, because as time slowed towards the end of the war — Churchill whose complex mind had never been idle — he now began to think of military strategy in terms of political aims, and how the Strategy would fit his post war designs. It was thus fast becoming apparent in July, just a month after the cross-Channel invasion had begun, that the Southern France operation was no longer strictly necessary. Originally the Allies had considered the port of Marseilles vitally important to handle the flood of troops and supplies scheduled for the main assault. But now the Allied invaders had captured and possessed ports in Brittany which, Winston argued, would do just as well. If instead of sending the Anglo-American Army from Italy to Marseilles he could persuade the Americans to advance towards Vienna, much of Central Europe might be saved from the Soviet influence.

Since Eisenhower wielded supreme authority it was on him that Churchill turned all his persuasive powers, resulting in what the General has described as “the longest-sustained argument I had with Prime Minister Churchill during the war. But Eisenhower was still suspicious. “I felt that the Prime Minister’s real concern” he wrote, “was possibly of a political rather than a military nature. He may have thought that a post-war situation which would see the Western Allies posted in great strength in the Balkans would be more effective in producing a stable post-hostilities world than if the Russian armies  should be the ones to occupy that region. I told him that if this were his reason for advocating the campaign into the Balkans he should go instantly to the President and lay  the facts on the table. But I did insist that as long as he argued the matter on military grounds alone I could not concede validity to his arguments.”

This time Eisenhower’s surmise was right, but his advice to Winston to approach the President was gratuitous. Winston had already argued out the matter with Roosevelt but the latter had insisted that: “In view of the Tehran agreement I could not agree without Stalin’s approval to any use of men or equipment elsewhere.”

This setback did not diminish Winston’s resolve. He was more determined than ever to play every card in his hand to protect British interests regardless of American opinion; and he did not have long to wait. Before the end of the year grave situations arose in Italy and Greece. Both these countries were battlefields; both had an Allied army which was predominantly British; and both recognized the necessity of preserving law and order. The Italian crisis was provoked by the resignation of the Bonomi Coalition Government.

Carlo Sforza, an anti-Fascist who had lived many years in the United States, flew to Rome and tried to establish himself as the leading Republican spokesman. He was violently opposed to the monarchy and it became apparent to Churchill that if post-war politics were allowed to flare up while the country was in a state of upheaval the large Communist Party already in existence might manage to install itself. Winston did not like or trust Sforza; he felt he was being foisted on Italy by an unthinking American public opinion, and he was determined not to allow the country to slip into extremism by mis-
management. He therefore made it clear that Britain would not look with any favour upon an Italian Government which included Sforza as Prime Minister or Foreign Secretary. This caused a storm of protest in the United States.

In a public statement on 5 December Stettinius, the American Secretary of State, rapped Churchill over the knuckles for his suspected interference in Italian affairs. Churchill sent a furious cable to Roosevelt and in the House of Commons on 8 December, 1944, said bitterly: “Poor old England.” Perhaps I ought to say, “Poor old Britain!” We have to assume the burden of the most thankless tasks, and in undertaking them to be scoffed at, criticized and opposed from every quarter; but at least we know where we are making for, know the end of the road, know what is our objective We have not attempted to put our veto on the appointment of Count Sforza. If tomorrow the Italians were to make him Prime Minister or Foreign Secretary, we have no power to Stop it, except with the agreement of the Allies. All that we should have to say about it is that we do not trust the man, we do not think he is a true and trustworthy man, nor do we put the slightest confidence in any Government of which he is a dominating member. I think we should have to put a great deal of responsibility for what might happen on those who called him to power.

Churchill won the battle, since Sforza failed to establish himself as a real leader, but the relations between London and Washington over the Rome episode, were distinctly cooled.

Then came the Greek troubles. Stalin wanted the country for himself, and he unleashed hundreds of thousands of armed communists to do just that. The Communists were the only well armed insurgent group of fighters in Greece at the time, and were directed to converge into the capital Athens, and into the major cities and spread abject terror in what was called the “Dekemvriana”  episodes, and thus seize the controls of power and turn the ancient country, into another Soviet satellite state. Yet, thankfully there were other claimants to the country’s controls of Power who were contesting the Communists, even though they were unable to check their advances, due to the vast power imbalances in terms of armed battalions and divisions, as well as in arms and firepower.

Yet for some time these three elements in Greece had been in some form of balance, as they struggled for power: On the ascendancy were the Royalist faction which centered around George II, the Greek King, and included the Greek army and some partisans who had fought against the Germans during the occupation with British help. Then in a peculiarly competitive yet somewhat allied position with them, was the anti-Communist faction, that was centered around Colonel Zervas a nationalist leader. And last, was the all powerful Communist military resistance force known as E.L.A.S. and E.A.M. that were led by a partisan leader who had bravely fought against the German occupiers, Aris Velouchiotis, and who at the moment occupied Athens and all the major cities and the countryside, but was hampered by the interminable committees of the communist political management system, that when coupled with the Greek spirit of multiplicity of opinions even within the mind of a single person — made his leadership untenable and ineffective. This last group were the real Greek partisans, that had been the most active in the fight against the German occupation forces and the Gestapo, but now they were usurped by the Communist Commissars, and were all busy killing off the liberals, the socialists or the less vitriolic communists while trying to grasp the control mechanisms of the State’s power of the Government by guerilla methods.

Naturally when they stormed the Parliament building, the British troops were called in to maintain some semblance of order and control in the center of Athens, and they fired at the crowd of demonstrators in a clear communist provocation and blood was shed.

That was the moment that the propaganda war was won, by the Communists… but Winston Churchill having seen all of the false flags, and the red herring incidents, of provocative communist actions before — recognized these events for what they were, and he did not even waver for a moment before sending in the British paratroopers and the marines.

Of course, the British and the American public did not know much about the communist partisans; except that they were violently anti-Nazi, and once again opinion flared up against the British forces. It rose so high that Admiral King, the United States Naval Chief of Staff, ordered Admiral Hewitt, the American Commander in the Mediterranean, not to allow any American L.S.T.S to carry supplies into Greece. Hopkins intervened and the order was countermanded, but not before Churchill had sent angry protests.

The Athens situation was hopeless with General Scoby and a few hundred men holding only a couple of squares and four city blocks in the center of the city whereas the partisans with many tens of thousands of fighters and support personnel held all the rest. With a few men versus 75,000 partisans amassing in Athens, Scoby realized his position was untenable and he radioed the command to evacuate Athens and Greece…

When Churchill heard of this new defeat — he became livid and immediately radioed and ordered Scobie to hold the center of Athens at all and any cost, because it was the classical leanings of Greek history, language, and culture that rekindled the heroic age of Greece and her warriors of ancient times, and Churchill was stirred to action like no other time, out of respect for the heroes of Thermopylae, Marathon, and Salamis, and as a stirring tribute to the birthplace of Democracy as the nation that even in current times had fought bravely and had garnered the first Allied Victory during the early day conflicts of the Second World War, when they beat back the invading Italians.

This was the great Greek Victory against the Italian fascists. The first ever victory of the Allies against the hordes of Mussolini and the AXIS powers, who had invaded Greece. This in turn caused Hitler to come rescue the Italian from being thrown into the sea, and thus he had to delay the start of his Russian campaign. All this because he had to come to Southern Europe, in order to defeat the Greeks, who were driving his ally Mussolini into the sea, and back into Italy. The historical influence of that pivotal delay was writ large in the mind of Winston Churchill in that it had ultimately caused the defeat of the German Armies in the Eastern front when they had to fight the best of Russian generals: ‘General Winter’ and they all froze to death on the outskirts of Moscow and outside Stalingrad. It was the Greek victory against the Italians that caused the Germans to pivot south and delay the Eastern campaign so that they had to fight the great Russian General ‘Winter’ and thus lose the war.

And as it all had started with the defiant and fiercely patriotic Greeks whom Winston Churchill had earlier described as Lions in his BBC broadcast of their early Victory saying that: “It is not the Greeks that fight like Heroes but rather that Heroes fight like the Greeks” — he could not forget them to their fate.

He would not resign the cradle of Democracy to the Communists, and he had communicated this to General Scobie, who rose to the height of the hour and to the changing circumstances. He assured the Prime Minister that he will hold to the last man and to the last drop of his blood.

Winston Churchill promised him imminent help. What the Prime Minister didn’t say to General Ronald Scobie tasked with holding Athens free from the Communists, is what he was planning to do. Like another Byron, he then took the unexpected action of flying into the first Anti-Communist fighting front of the war, inside Athens, all kitted-up in a fighting uniform, in order to stave off communist totalitarianism in Greece.

Indeed the Prime Minister Winston Churchill flew to Athens on Christmas Day. He brought some troops and supplies with him, and opened a corridor for Scobie towards the airport & the sea port of Faliron. Thus Winston Churchill strengthened the garrison of British troops in the center of Athens and and also increased the presence of Greek forces and thus succeeded in bringing hostilities to an end, by establishing a temporary political government as a Democratic regency under Archbishop Damaskinos and by obtaining from King George of Greece the assurance that he would not attempt to return to Greece “unless summoned by a free and fair expression of the national will that were to be held within a year’s time.”

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Temporarily, at least, the crisis in Greece subsided, and the Communist takeover was averted. Stalin was not best pleased. Nevertheless the atmosphere of the Yalta Conference, which was held a few weeks later and which proved to be the last meeting between Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin, was not as happy as it might have been, had Greece not been the cause of division amongst the three Great wartime leaders.

Greece was coveted by all, much like the young debutante at the ball, that everybody lusted after, and knives were drawn in conflict and manly competition vying for he favors. But with the communists it was rape and not conquest from free will, so Churchill put a stop to that rape once and for all.

Yet, Greece was not to be quiet for long, and a vicious Civil War soon ensued, but she firmly held onto the mantle of Democracy, and to her rightful place amongst the Free Countries and the Democratic nations of the World.

Indeed, if we look at the historical record it was only Churchill’s respect for the birthplace of Democracy — saved Greece from a dismal fate behind the Iron Curtain. But for a time it became the first battlefield of the Cold War in the two phases of the Civil War that was waged as a proxy war inside Greece, between the Allies and the Soviet Union, and it was considered a test of will between Josip Stalin and Winston Churchill. A serious test designed by Stalin in order to test the other man’s limits, appetites, and tolerances, for post war conflict after the ‘percentages agreement’ about the postwar influence of the erstwhile Allies on the small nations of Europe, as defined in the fourth Moscow conference of 1944….

This was a poisoned relationship from the beginning; and yet most of the troubles of the postwar world have been blamed on the Yalta conference alone.

But the truth is that this conference took very few new decisions, for the pattern of Europe had been moulded over the previous two years.
Only one Yalta decision can be severely criticized and that is the large concession which Roosevelt made to Stalin throughout the Far East in return for the dictator’s promise to enter the war against Japan. This concession made Stalin the virtual master of Manchuria and, in effect, the master of North China. Many members of the British delegation were strongly opposed to the plan, and Eden begged Churchill not to put his
signature to it. The Prime Minister replied that: “The whole position of the British Empire in the Far East was at stake and if he refused to sign he might find himself excluded from any further say in these affairs.”

As far as Europe was concerned, however, the Russians made no new gains on paper. The frontiers of Poland were thrashed out; German reparations were discussed; the design of the United Nations was sketched; the three-power occupation of Germany, which had been agreed upon in principle by the Foreign Ministers in October 1943, was extended to include France. The most important and hopeful event in the eyes of
Britain and America was the fact that the Soviet Union reiterated its promise to uphold the Atlantic Charter which was firmly pledged to the freedom and independence of the small states of Europe. If Russia meant what she said, peace was assured.

Should the democratic leaders have placed an implicit faith in Russia, or should they have attempted to safeguard their interests wherever they had a right to do so?

Roosevelt believed the first, and Churchill the second, which led to severe altercations between the two Gentlemen and their respective Governments in the months to follow.

Since the Russians had promised to allow free elections in Central and Eastern Europe, Roosevelt was confident that democracy would establish itself as soon as the Nazi grip was broken. But he felt strongly that the only way to keep Russia to her bargain was to accept her word as her bond. Any outward suspicion or ill-will on the part of the democracies, he believed, would bring down the structure in ruins. Consequently
American policy recognized only one objective: “To destroy the German Army. Once that was accomplished it was believed that Europe would right itself, of its own accord.”

Churchill was highly sceptical of this thinking. Although he agreed with the President that post-war policy must be based on the assumption that Russia would honour her pledges, he saw no reason why, at the same time, the Allies should not grasp the initiative when they could, and guard their interests against any possible contingency. After all, Stalin was still insisting that the Lublin Committee, which was a Moscow-controlled body, should become the rulers of Poland. And only a few weeks after Yalta he had summoned the King of Romania and ordered him to install a Communist Prime Minister.

Was this the furtherance of democracy?

What did the Russians mean by the word Democracy anyway?

Churchill felt strongly that the Allies should fashion their military strategy in accordance with certain obvious political aims. The Western Powers should liberate key cities and territories whenever the opportunity presented itself. This was important not only from the point of view of psychology and prestige but for hard-headed, practical reasons as well. Their advance would not be in contravention of any agreements they had made with the Russians; yet it would place them in a position to see that the pledges Stalin had given on free elections were really upheld.

Czechoslovakia became one of the major points of issue. In April, as the Allied Army moved towards its frontiers, the British Chiefs of Staff made it clear that they felt great advantage would be derived from liberating the Czech and the Slovak Peoples who were still suffering under cruel German occupation and were fighting street to street, in order to liberate themselves with primitive weapons and no ammunitions. Prague was a bloodbath, and the people sought Liberty and Democracy, yet on speaking about Prague’s plight, the General Marshall passed this information onto Eisenhower with the following heartless and politically naive comment: “Personally, and aside from all logistic, tactical, or strategic implications, I would be loath to hazard American lives for purely political purposes.”

Eisenhower agreed with Marshall; and since he did not feel that an advance into Czechoslovakia would have any bearing on his sole aim, the destruction of the enemy’s armed forces, he halted his troops on the other side of the German frontier. Although he received frantic appeals for help from Prague which was being subjected to a severe German attack he remained stationary; and when, on 4th of May, the Russians asked him formally not to move forward any further, he agreed. Three days later he received a wire from Churchill begging him to proceed to Prague, but, instead, he instructed the Czechs to refer their requests for aid to Moscow.

The following week Czechoslovakia was “liberated” by the Russians, and a Communist government was instituted swiftly thereafter. The once proud country made up of Freedom loving people, had now joined the Soviet block as another satellite of Stalin’s Russia.

Berlin raised an even more heated issue. General Montgomery became convinced in September 1944 that if the Allies made a ‘powerful and full-blooded thrust’ into Germany, they could capture the Ruhr and liberate the German capital. But although Berlin had been listed by SHAEF in a pre-D-Day plan as the Allies’ ultimate goal, in the months that followed Eisenhower had come to regard it as increasingly unimportant. From a military point of view he decided it was better to move forward more slowly on a broad front, rather than concentrate his forces in a single thrust.

Churchill felt passionately on the subject of the German capital. Berlin was not only a great prize but he believed it would give the Allies an invaluable bargaining point. Although they would be obliged to move back into the zones of occupation that had been agreed upon by the Russians, it would provide them with an opportunity, and their only
opportunity, to see that Stalin carried out his treaties as well. On the 3rd of April, five weeks before the war ended, he took up the matter with Roosevelt.

Churchill wrote to Roosevelt this: “If the Russians also take Berlin, will not their impression that they have been the overwhelming contributor to the common victory, be unduly printed in their minds, and may this not lead them into a mood which will raise grave and formidable difficulties in the future?”

But right then, President Roosevelt’s reply was curt.

He said that: “he regretted at the moment of a great victory, that we should become involved in such unfortunate reactions.”

A few days later, on 7 April, Eisenhower informed the Combined Chiefs of Staff: “I regard it as militarily unsound at this stage of the proceedings to make Berlin a major objective, particularly in view of the fact that it is only thirty-five miles from the Russian lines.”

“Why Eisenhower’s Forces Stopped at the Elbe” was written by Forrest Pogue, and is the main article on the subject that was printed in World Politics, of April 1952, and published by the Princeton University Press. The extract is from an official paper-74256, 28 April, 1945, Shaef Cable Log.

Churchill continued to urge his point of view with desperate insistence. When Truman succeeded Roosevelt a week later, he turned his fire on him. But the new President merely replied that “the tactical deployment of American troops is a military one.” And the American Army was adamant. General Omar Bradley sums up the situation in his book A Soldier’s Story, in this manner: “I could see no advantage accruing from the capture of Berlin that would offset the need for quick destruction of the German army on our front. As soldiers we looked naively on this British inclination, the desire to go to Berlin, as complicating the war with political foresight, and non-military objectives.”

Yet this American position was full of naivety, and consequently, we all lost this battle, because the Russians liberated Berlin, as well as Prague, and kept both to themselves for the next half century….

Today the results are apparent for all to see. Within three years, Czechoslovakia was a Communist country; the Russian sector of Germany was decapitated from the rest, despite Soviet assurances at Potsdam that trade would flow freely between the Eastern and Western zones; and the whole of Eastern and Central Europe was paralysed into subservience to Moscow. In many cases the Russians not only broke their treaties but
they did not even try to honour them.

What differences would it have made if Churchill had gained his way and Eisenhower had secured control of Germany? Remembering the rise of Left-wing opinion all over the world at the end of the war, could the Allies have dealt with Russia with a firm hand or would public pressure have been too strong against them? No one can answer these questions, and it may be argued that it was necessary for the democracies to learn
by bitter experience; otherwise the close entente which exists between the English-speaking world might not have come into being.

But whatever conclusions one draws it is difficult to see how the costly innocence and naivete of the American leaders, coupled with their failure to understand that all wars have political objectives, carry with them political responsibilities,  and ultimately determine the future of whole nations and Peoples — can escape severe condemnation.

The results of this American political “innocence and naivete” is evidenced by the final disposition of Europe and of Asia, in that when the second world war ended, and the borders were secured again, and partial animosities, local conflicts, and all the nasty aftermaths of the war in localized civil wars and fratricidal conflicts like Greece, China, Serbia, had subsided, and when finally all was said and done — it was Communism and not Democracy, that had been the ultimate victor over the largest part of the world.

 

To be continued:

Posted by: Dr Pano Kroko Churchill | September 16, 2017

What would Winston Churchill Do? (Chapter 45)

Naturally when the war had ended the Russian Bear glowered over half of Europe. Communism and Bolshevism seemed to be the ultimate winner of the Second World War.

Joseph Stalin had emerged with all the spoils. He had enlarged the Soviet boundaries by many hundreds of miles, and in some case thousands of miles; and he had substituted Communism for Democracy and Political Freedom in seven sovereign European states. Soviet Russia had extended her influence throughout the Far East, and Liberty was imprisoned behind the bayonets of the Russian army and the jails of Iron Feliks.

At that time it was not surprising that William Bullitt, a former American Ambassador to Moscow, wrote an article entitled: “How We Won the War and Lost the Peace” because no one could pretend that the post-war world was resembling anything close to what the democratic leaders of the West had envisaged or dreamed of.

When Winston Churchill and F.D. Roosevelt met at Newfoundland in 1941, four months before the Japanese attack drew the United States into the conflict, they had drawn up a remarkable document, the Atlantic Charter, setting forth the peace aims on which they both agreed.

The two Great Men had wished to see the Independence, Liberty, and Democracy of the European small nations firmly established. The rights of man upheld. The free and democratic system of government spread as far and wide as possible. And they had High Hopes and Aspirations for the Anglo-Saxon Christian to evolve into Peace for All Time. Or at least for some time.

So…

What happened to the vision?

Did the democratic leaders blunder?

Have they been played?

Where was it that they lost the Game?

Did they underestimate the ‘Gamesmanship’ or the ‘Brinkmanship’ of Joseph Stalin, the Great bear, and his willy bear-cubs, the Rossiya generals, and their war armies & general staff?

Did the Western Allies lacked the post-war Vision?

But for the British Statesman named Winston Churchill, the Big Question was always this: What responsibility does Winston Churchill bear for this unwanted outcome?

Indeed, it was a peculiar twist of fate that ordained Churchill to be the first, and so far the only, British Prime Minister to visit Joseph Stalin.

Yet, it was Winston Churchill who had wooed Stalin into his harem of friends and allies, after a year of fighting alone against the Nazi Fuhrer Adolf Hitler, and his evil Hun military hordes. no Englishman or American had fought against Bolshevism with greater passion. And it was this PM Winston Churchill who made fast friends with Stalin and his bears to check Hitler, and further it was Churchill who introduced Roosevelt to Stalin, and thus created the troika that came to rule the world after VE day.

And both men also remembered that in 1919 it was Winston Churchill, who was largely responsible for the Allied military interventions against the Red Army. And it was Churchill who in the nineteen-twenties preached the evils and dangers of the Marxist-Leninist creed, on a hundred platforms.

Yet it was also himself who in 1937 had declared: “I will not pretend that, if I had to choose between Communism and Nazism, I would choose Communism.”

Still according to his worldview, the dictatorship of the proletariat, with its repressive and terrible regimentation, its slaughter of the bourgeoisie, its atheism, its elimination of Liberty and all Human Rights along with all the refinements of life, outraged and repelled Winston Churchill’s sensibilities…

Yet when Nazi Germany attacked the Soviet Union, he did not hesitate to reach out his hand and offer Help and Friendship to Joseph Stalin, his erstwhile former enemy…

On the evening of 21 June, 1941, he was walking on the croquet lawn at Chequers with his secretary Mr Colville. He knew from intelligence reports that a German attack on Russia was only a matter of hours. He told Colville that if he believed he would rally the Right-wing forces in Britain he was mistaken, for England would fight on the side of the Soviet Union. Colville asked Churchill whether, in view of his position as an arch anti-Communist, this was not bowing down in the House of Rimmon?

Winston Churchill replied:

“Not at all.”

“I have only one purpose, the destruction of Hitler, and my life is much simplified thereby.”

“If Hitler invaded Hell, I would make at least a favourable reference to the Devil in the House of Commons.”

The next morning the news broke that Germany had opened her attack
on Russia and that same evening Winston publicly cast his lot with the
Soviets.

Winston Churchill told the British people in a BBC radio broadcast: “No one has been a more consistent opponent of Communism than I have been for the last twenty-five years.”

“I will unsay no word that I have spoken about it. But all this fades away before the spectacle which is now unfolding. The past with its crimes, its follies, and its tragedies, flashes away. I see the Russian soldiers standing on the threshold of their native land, guarding the fields which their fathers have tilled from time immemorial. Can you doubt what our policy will be?”

“We have but one aim and one single irrevocable purpose. We are resolved to destroy Hitler and every vestige of the Nazi regime.”

“From this nothing will turn us.”

“Nothing.”

“We will never parley, we will never negotiate with Hitler, or any of his gang.”

“We shall fight him by land, we shall fight him by sea, we shall fight him in the air, until, with God’s help, we have rid the earth of his shadow and liberated its peoples from his yoke.”

“Any man or state who fights on against Nazidom will lave our aid.”

“Any man or state who marches with Hitler is our foe.”

“That is our policy and that is our declaration.”

“It follows therefore that we shall give whatever help we can to Russia and the Russian people.”

This statement raised the curtain on the uneasy and temperamental partnership with the Soviet Union that dissolved so swiftly after the close of the war. Churchill wrote Stalin a letter and the Dictator replied thanking the Prime Minister for his support. The relationship between the two men was bound to be dramatic, for each had long recognized the other as a formidable and implacable opponent. For years they had studied each other’s moves with careful attention; they despised and feared each other’s system of government; they upheld philosophies diametrically opposed. They could clasp hands on only one issue: “Survival against Germany. Yet their personalities were not altogether unlike. Both were dominating, blunt, and practical, and neither left the other in any doubt as to his views. They enjoyed good food, good drink, and they both liked to sit up late talking. From the point of view of conviviality they had something in common.”

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As a matter of fact, Winston Churchill’s first meeting with Stalin took place in Moscow in August 1942, just fourteen months after the Soviet Union had been drawn into the war.

Winston was received with appropriate ceremony, and driven to a luxurious country house on the outskirts of the city, which was known as State Villa No. 7. In one of his first interviews with Stalin an amusing exchange took place which perhaps illustrates the difference of approach between the Eastern and Western mind. Winston was charmed to find, in the grounds of State Villa No. 7, a fountain and a tank full of goldfish. He assumed that Stalin had heard that goldfish were one of his hobbies and had ordered the tank to be especially installed. At one of his first interviews with the Russian dictator he told him how delighted he was with the fish, and thanked him for being so thoughtful Stalin looked slightly taken aback, for he probably did not even know the tank existed. But he instructed the interpreter to tell the Prime Minister that he was gratified he liked the fish and would he care to take them back to London with him?
This time it was Winston Churchill’s turn to be taken aback for he had no desire to carry a bowl of ordinary goldfish to England. He thanked the dictator but said he would have to refuse his offer as the fish would not travel well in a bomber. Stalin nodded and spoke to the interpreter who said: “Since the Prime Minister is unable to take the fish with him, would he care to have them for breakfast?”

Winston Churchill’s dealings with Stalin were always difficult, and often unpleasant. From the moment the German attack began, the British arranged to send the Russians millions of pounds’ worth of supplies, including rubber, oil, aluminium, doth, tanks, guns and planes. Some of the materials came from British factories, others from American firms earmarked for England under the Lend-Lease agreements. Shipping these supplies to Russia entailed a great sacrifice for Churchill, as they were desperately needed by the British themselves to equip their armies in the Middle East, and build up air supremacy over the Germans. Besides this, Britain had the difficult task of delivering the goods. The Royal Navy had to organize and operate convoys to Murmansk and Archangel, through the dangerous Arctic passage, a performance which continued throughout the war. Yet Britain received very litde thanks for her effort, for the Russian dictator wanted only one thing: A second front against Hitler in Europe, in order to take the pressure off the Russian army.

Stalin’s demand for a second front came the month after the Germans launched their attack on him. It was not only an impossible request but, considering the circumstances, one of the most brazen ever made. After all, it was Stalin, by his pact of friendship with the Nazis in 1939, who had given Hitler the signal to begin the war. He had helped the Germans to tear Poland to pieces, invaded Finland and occupied the Baltic States. Then he had sent Germany a flow of materials in order to expedite the attack on France. When the air assault on England began, Molotov had even gone so far as to meet von Ribbentrop in Berlin to discuss “dividing up” the British Empire. Now, in 1941, having been caught unawares by his treacherous ally, Stalin imperiously and unashamedly demanded that the British should reopen the second front which he himself had helped to
destroy, only twelve months previously.

Churchill explained to the Russian dictator that his demand was out of the question. An amphibious operation against strongly fortified positions demanded hundreds of landing craft and thousands of pounds of equipment which would take many months to accumulate. Nevertheless Stalin kept hammering this theme, and continued to hammer it, until the “invasion plans were completed two years later. At times the relations between Britain and Russia seemed near a breaking-point, for Stalin refused to see the operational difficulties involved. In September 1941 Mr Maisky, the Soviet Ambassador, called on Churchill emphasizing the extreme gravity of the situation, and when Winston explained as he had done so often before the impossibility of a second front at that time, he began to threaten him. “When I sensed an underlying air of menace in his appeal (writes Churchill), I was angered, and I said to the Ambassador, whom I had known for many years, remember that only four months ago we in this island did not know whether you were not coming in against us on the German side. Indeed, we thought it quite likely that you would. Even then we felt sure we should win in the end. We never thought our survival was dependent on your action either way. Whatever happens, and whatever you do, you of all people have no right to make reproaches to us. As I warmed to the topic the Ambassador exclaimed, “More calm, please, my dear Winston Churchill” but thereafter his tone perceptibly changed.”

Stalin’s demands were not only confined to military matters. From the very beginning he kept his political objectives well in view. Seven months after his country was invaded he formally asked Britain and the United States to recognize Russia’s 1940 frontiers; these, of course, included the great territorial gains he had seized, as Germany’s ally, in Poland, Finland and the Baltic States. It was remarkable that he could remain calculating enough to make these requests at a time when his armies were being hurled back, and the very existence of his country was at stake. His timing was shrewd for it must not be forgotten that for two years the Allies labored and fought the common enemy, under the spasmodic fear that Russia might sign a separate peace. This intriguing political and diplomatic subject was adequately expanded upon by Winston Churchill in his thorough book on the subject, aptly titled “The Grand Alliance.”

Churchill at first reacted strongly against Stalin’s demand — then two
months later, surprisingly enough, he acceded to it, and tried to persuade
Roosevelt to accept it. His argument was that the Russians had already
liquidated so many people in Poland and the Baltic States that there was very little left to protect. The President, however, was adamant, insisting that the
demands, were not in keeping with the Atlantic Charter. The reason Churchill gives in his book, “The Hinge of Fate” for his sudden volta-facie, in explaining the deviation from his beliefs, is somewhat convoluted if not outright unconvincing. He says he did not feel “the moral position could be physically maintained” and that “in a deadly struggle it is not right to assume more burdens than those who are fighting a great cause can maintain.” This attitude is not at all in keeping with Winston’s character and one can only regard his explanation as a poor excuse for one of the very few lapses of this type in his career, or his explanation is simply a cover up for his deeply diplomatic mind crafting away a deal to double-cross Stalin through this ploy of acquiescence to the Dictator’s demands for spoils of war. Indeed Winston was prescient even in this, before the war was over, it was Roosevelt, who was paving the way for the fulfillment of the Russia Leader’s political aims, and it was Churchill who curtailed those effectively, having earned the trust of Stalin and in this wise way — Winston managed to save a few small countries like Greece, Finland, Denmark, and Austria, from becoming a spot of lunch, for the Russian bear.

Yet even at the height of their military defeats, the attitude of the Soviet Union in its dealings with Great Britain and her government, was haughty and often insulting. Churchill writes that they “had the impression that they were conferring a great favour on us by fighting in their own country for their own lives. The more they fought the heavier our debt became.” British personnel stationed in Russia were invariably treated with cold hostility. Permits were withheld and information denied them, as though they were enemy aliens. Even the British sailors who ran the convoys to Murmansk and Archangel were so badly used that Churchill was forced to issue a series of vehement protests.

Stalin sometimes ignored Winston’s telegrams altogether, at other times delayed his replies for weeks at a time. Occasionally the tone of his message was friendly but more often it was laden with reproaches. Churchill declares that he bore them with a patient shrug for “sufferance is the badge of all who have to deal with the Kremlin.”

In The Grand Affiance, book, Winston Churchill, writes: “When the two leaders met face to face they did not get on badly. Although they disagreed on the issues involved they were fascinated by each other’s reactions. At their first meeting Stalin teased Churchill for having taken a leading part in the Allied military intervention in Russia at the end of the first war. He declared that when Lady Astor visited the Soviet Union she had told him that Churchill had misled Lloyd George and was therefore entirely to blame. Then she went on to assure Him that Churchill was finished. “I am not so sure” Stalin had replied. “If a great crisis comes the English people might turn to the old warhorse.” Winston laughed at this recital. “Have you forgiven me?” he asked. Stalin replied with a smile: “All that is in the past and the past
belongs to God.”

The next night Churchill got a little of his own back on Stalin. The
dictator invited him to dinner at his flat in the Kremlin. Only Molotov
and an interpreter were present. Stalin’s daughter waited on the table but
she did not sit down. The Marshal uncorked rows of bottles and the three
men sat talking from 8.30 until 2.30 in the morning. They carried on a
light-hearted conversation but every now and then the vein became more
serious. This time it was Winston Churchill’s turn to probe into the past, and he gives a fascinating account of it in his Second World War. “Tell me,” I asked, “have the stresses of this war been as bad to you personally as
carrying through the policy of the Collective Farms?” “Oh no,” said
Stalin, “the Collective Farm policy was a terrible struggle.” “I thought
you would have found it bad,” said I, “because you were not dealing with
a few score thousands of aristocrats or big landowners, but with millions
of small men.” “Ten millions,” he said, holding up his hands. “It was
fearful. Four years it lasted. It was absolutely necessary for Russia, if we
were to avoid periodic famines, to plough the land with tractors. We must
mechanize our agriculture. When we gave tractors to the peasants they
were all spoiled in a few months. Only Collective Farms with workshops
could handle tractors. We took the greatest trouble to explain it to the
peasants. It was no use arguing with them. After you have said all you can
to a peasant he says he must go home and consult his wife, and he must
consult his herder. After he has talked it over with them he always
answers that he does not want the Collective Farm and he would rather
do without the tractors.” “These were what you call Kulaks?” I asked
“Yes,” said Stalin. “It was all very bad and difficult but necessary.”

This appears to have been the most intimate conversation Churchill ever
had with Stalin.

Although the two men got on well personally, Churchill could never rid his mind of the terror that lay behind Stalin’s rule. When he discussed the Collective Farm policy he could not escape the vision of the three million Kulaks who had been cruelly exterminated in the enforcement of the system. He found it difficult to put out of his mind the killing and the suffering, the vast concentration camps, and the slave labour, on which Stalin’s absolute power rested.

These feelings were sharpened in the spring of 1943 when the Polish Government accused the Russians of the massacre of fourteen thousand officers who had been taken prisoner by the Soviets when the latter invaded Poland. Sikorski claimed that he had proof that their bodies lay in mass graves in the Katyn Woods. The Soviets did not deny that they were dead but claimed that the slaughter was done by the Germans when they overran the region. Churchill was sickened by the crime and after probing the evidence found it difficult to believe that the nasty deed had been perpetrated by anyone else but the Russians. When the war ended this evidence was strengthened still further by the fact that although many German war criminals were tried at Nuremberg, the Soviet Government did not attempt to clear its own name, by proving them guilty of the atrocity. Instead, they avoided all mention of the Katyn murders. This is the evidence as shown in the book The Hinge of Fate.

Winston Churchill’s abhorrence of the totalitarian regime’s disregard for human life evinced itself in a personal incident at Teheran. Stalin gave a dinner for
Churchill, Roosevelt, and four or five of their closest advisers. In the course of the evening the dictator declared that when the war was over the German General Staff must be liquidated. The whole force of Hitler’s armies, he claimed, depended on fifty thousand officers and technicians, and all these must be rounded up and shot. Churchill was repelled by the idea of such cold blooded murder and said: “The British Parliament and public will never tolerate mass executions. Even if in war passion they allowed them to begin, they would turn violently against those responsible after the first butchery had taken place. The Soviets must be under no delusion on this point.”

Stalin insisted on pursuing the subject, and repeated that fifty thousand must be shot. Churchill reddened with anger and declared that he would “rather be taken out in the garden here and now and be shot myself than sully my own and my country’s honour by such infamy.”

The other members at the table were obviously embarrassed at the turn the conversation had taken, and signalled to Winston that it was all a joke. Whereupon Elliot Roosevelt, the President’s son, who had joined the party
uninvited, rose from the end of the table and made a speech saying how
wholeheartedly he agreed with Stalin, and how sure he was that the United States Army would support it. This impertinent and fatuous intervention was more than Churchill could bear. He left the table and walked off into the other room. A few minutes later Stalin himself, grinning broadly, draped a hand on his back and explained it was all in fun. Churchill was not convinced then, nor was he at any time later, that Marshal Stalin was joking. Especially knowing the fate of the thousands of innocent Poles n the Katyn woods. This incident though is an important reminder, of Winston’s refusal to lend himself even to a jest, about killing innocents and involving moral principles. This is some indication of how wide was the chasm between him, the fatuous Americans, and the Russian master criminal of war.

Churchill was always conscious of this division.

He knew that when the war ended — Russia would be the dominant, dark, & crimson power, spilling blood all over again on the European Continent.

To be continued:

Posted by: Dr Pano Kroko Churchill | September 16, 2017

What would Winston Churchill Do? (Chapter 44)

Yet if we are to learn anything from the Leadership, the Statesmanship, and the Exercise of Power from Winston Churchill — we ought to look at the record and then take things in the form of historical sequence, as events dictate history, and great men lead it, and also write it, in both reality, and figure of speech.

For the Western Civilization, first came the struggle to survive, the darkest twelve months that Britain fought absolutely and unequivocally all alone, from the fall of France and the rest of Europe in June 1940, to the German attack on Russia in June 1941.

The highlights of this grim year, are still fresh in the minds of the people who were alive back then.

The horrible defeat and partition of France, & the formation of collaborationist Vichy Government of the half of France cooperating with Hitler.

The relentless Luftwaffe Air Attack on Britain that culminated with the Battle of Britain. The blaring nights of the awful blitz on London.

The vicious setbacks of the war in North Africa and the Sahel, called the Desert War.

The defeat of heroic Greece, and her enslavement in the hands of the Huns.

The Commando raids along the Norwegian and French coasts.

The fall and occupation of Norway by Germany’s storm troopers.

This setback was swiftly followed by the huge setbacks in the Balkans, in Asia, in Africa, and in the Middle East…

The year of 1940 was indeed a dark year of spectacular defeats, losses, and setbacks… Yet during this ‘Annus Horribilis’ the worst calamity of them all — was the failure of Morale and Conviction stemming from the “Loss of Heart” in all of our Allies, our Friends, and even our own Citizens.

Only the Greek people had given us an early Victory when they defeated the Italians early in the war, but this was not to be a lasting victory because the Germans attacked the Greek flank and uprooted the defenders of Liberty, launching their occupation powers and initiating a program of genocide by starvation against these valiant warrior people.

 

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During this desperate period Winston Churchill became the most inspiring figure in the Western world. He symbolized the fierce spirit of liberty, and clothed Britain’s determination to fight in words that no other Englishman could have summoned:

“The battle of Britain is about to begin.
Upon this battle depends the
survival of Christian civilization.
Upon it depends our own British life
and the long continuity of our
institutions, and our Empire.
The whole fury and might of the enemy
must very soon be turned on us.
Hitler knows that he will have to break
us in this Island, or lose the war.
If we can stand up to him
all Europe may be freed,
and the life of the world
may move forward into the
broad and sunlit uplands.
But if we fail,
then the whole world,
including the United States,
and all that we have known and
cared for
will sink into the abyss of a
new Dark Age
made more sinister and
perhaps more prolonged by
the lights of perverted
Science.
Let us therefore brace ourselves to
our duty, and so bear ourselves that
if the British Empire and
Commonwealth lasts for a
thousand years, men will still
say,
‘This was their finest hour’.

Indeed — this might also have been the finest hour of Winston’s career too.
Certainly it was by far his finest speech ever…

Yet WInston was always modest and in his own account of the war, he declares modestly that at that moment — he was merely interpreting the strong mood and emotion that gripped the country.

He cites as an example the fact that when the crazed vegetarian Fuhrer, Adolf Hitler, approached the British government and quite arrogantly made his “final peace offer” in the summer of 1940 — Winston Churchill’s government — the British Cabinet regarded this ‘German Overture’ as so supremely foolish, that not a single member even raised it for discussion.

Nevertheless Winston’s knowledge of military matters and his close concern with all operational undertakings animated the British effort with the necessary vigour and a boldness they had been lacking earlier. And his interpretation of the Country’s cause, not only thrilled millions of people all over the globe but raised British prestige to the
highest level in history.

The truth was that Winston had at last found his destiny. The world looked to him for a lead and all the pent-up energy of the immense machine that throbbed in his heart and mind was brought into play. He no longer knew the frustration of ideas that could not be brought alive, vitality that could not be spent, ingenuity that could not be tested. The
tremendous task that had fallen upon him equalled his stature as a man, and he grasped the supreme power of the State with eager hands.

The whole of 10 Downing Street throbbed with an energy it had not seen since the days of Lloyd George, and perhaps hoped not to see again. The routine of Government was turned topsy-turvy. Churchill stayed in bed half the morning dictating and stayed up half the night talking. Every afternoon, after lunch, he had a nap. Chiefs of Staff, Ministers, civil servants, had to adapt themselves to this routine as best they could. Most of them had to be at work at nine or ten in the morning; even so, woe betide them if they were not men enough to come when he sent for them after dinner, to stay up until the early hours of the morning.

I do not mean to suggest that Winston Churchill’s leadership was not of the most precise, orderly kind. On the contrary, he was a master organizer and at once set about shaping a small, efficient machine that could take decisions swiftly and work with the maximum effect. First he organized a War Cabinet comprised of only four members besides himself: two were
Labour leaders, Clement Attlee and Arthur Greenwood, and two were Conservatives, Mr Chamberlain and Lord Halifax. This War Cabinet met almost daily and took all the supreme decisions of the war. Besides this tiny, all-powerful, directing force there were sixty or seventy other Ministers of all Parties who formed the membership of the Coalition Government, but the latter were responsible only for their own departments; as Winston pointed out it was only the members of the War Cabinet “who had the right to have their heads cut off on Tower Hill if we did not win.”

Needless to say Churchill was the overriding figure in the War Cabinet. Never before in history has a Prime Minister exerted such wide powers; never before has a Prime Minister exercised so much control over the operational side of a conflict. He was not only the King’s First Minister but Leader of the House of Commons and, even more im-
portant, Minister of Defence as well. In this last capacity he initiated a new system which centred authority in his own hands. The Chiefs of Staff instead of reporting to their own Ministers, the men in charge of the War, Air and Admiralty departments, reported directly to him. He then asked the War Cabinet for permission to have the Joint Planning Committee, a body of professional staff officers of all three services, work under him as
Minister of Defence rather than under the Chiefs of Staff. Thus, by permission of the War Cabinet, he became virtually a dictator of the war machine and all efforts at the defense of England, and the prosecution of the war at all fronts.

He revelled in both the immense power and responsibility of his task,and arranged his day with careful thought. He woke up at eight, summoned his secretaries, read all the telegrams and reports that had come through the night, then from his bed dictated a flow of minutes and memoranda, a large part of which was taken to the Chiefs of Staff at their
morning meeting. Every afternoon he went to bed for an hour or longer, like a child, and slept soundly. This gave him the extra strength to remain at work until the early hours of the morning.

The two links between himself and the military machine, and himself and the political authority, were General Ismay and Sir Edward Bridges. These men interpreted his wishes, carried out his orders, and smoothed his path in. every direction. The huge mass of instructions from the Prime Minister which flowed through their hands were always in writing for Churchill was a firm believer in the written word. He had had enough
experience of Government to know how often verbal orders led to misunderstandings; besides, he had no wish to have his name used loosely.

Soon after he became Prime Minister he issued the following directive to Ismay and Bridges: “Let it be very clearly understood that all directives emanating from me are made in writing, and that I do not accept any responsibility for matters relating to national defence on which I am alleged to have given decisions unless they are recorded in writing.”

Altogether, Winston Churchill’s directives, memoranda, telegrams and minutes amounted throughout the war to nearly 1,000,000 words, enough to fill half a dozen good sized volumes, even though most of them were models of brevity and precision. A one-line minute which he penned to a high civil servant read as follows: “Pray remember that the British people is no longer able to tolerate such plush disorganization.”

No one can study Winston Churchill’s part in the war without being staggered by the scope of his interests and his colossal output. His contribution falls into distinct parts: first, his directives on military operations and second, his public leadership. In the first capacity one has only to study the minutes that are reproduced in his history to gather an idea of the enormous range he covered, and the powerful influence he had upon the course of the war. When Britain was alone, waiting for the full fury of the German attack to descend upon her, Churchill insisted that the nation should not merely sit back with brave endurance but should immediately take the initiative.

“The passive resistance war, (he wrote in a directive to General Ismay) in which we have acquitted ourselves so well, must come to an end. I look to the Joint Chiefs of the Staff to propose me measures for a vigorous, enterprising and ceaseless offensive against the whole German-occupied coastline. Tanks and A.F. V.s [Armoured Fighting Vehicles] must be made in flat-bottomed boats, out of which they can crawl ashore, do a deep raid inland, cutting a vital communication, and then back, leaving a trail of German corpses behind them.”

Amphibious warfare had always fascinated Churchill, no doubt as a result of the ill-starred Dardanelles venture which had been his particular brain child, and which, if it had been truly amphibious, probably would have resulted in the defeat of Germany in 1915. In July 1940 he set up Combined Operations under Admiral Sir Roger Keyes, which initiated the daring commando raids that put Britain on the offensive.

Time and again one finds him urging amphibious tactics. He repeatedly urged the
commanders of the desert war to mount a surprise landing from the sea but this advice was never heeded. And later on, when the attack on Italy was in preparation one finds him anxious to employ the sea-borne landings boldly. “Why crawl up the leg like a harvest bug from the ankle upwards? Let us rather strike at the knee.”

Winston Churchill’s flat-bottomed boats were invented, and not only played a major part in the commando raids, but became absolutely essential equipment for the final cross-Channel invasion of France. But undoubtedly his most important contribution was the idea of the great artificial harbors around which the D-day operation was built He had conceived this idea as far back as 1917 when he prepared a scheme for the capture of the two Frisian islands, Borkum and Sylt, which he submitted to Lloyd George.
In this paper he suggested making an artificial island in the shallow waters of Horn Reef: “A number of flat-bottomed barges or caissons, made not of steel, but of concrete, should be prepared. These structures would be adapted to the depths in which they were to be sunk, according to a general plan. They would float when empty of water, and thus could be towed across to the site of the artificial island. On arrival at the buoys marking the island sea-cocks would be opened, and they would settle down on the bottom. They could subsequently be gradually filled with sand, as opportunity served, by suction dredgers. By this means a torpedo, and weather-proof harbor, like an atoll, would be created in the open sea, with regular pens for the destroyers and submarines, and alighting platforms for aeroplane landings.”

Churchill fortunately did not publish this document when he came to write ‘The World Crisis’ and now he began toying with this particular brain-child again. Frances Perkins quotes President Roosevelt as saying: “You know, that was Winston Churchill’s idea. Just one of those brilliant ideas that he has. He has a hundred a day and about four of them are good. But Roosevelt apparently was unaware that Winston had been mulling over the project for many years, for he continued: “When he was up visiting me in Hyde Park he saw all those boats from the last war tied up in the Hudson River and in one of his bursts of imagination he said: “By George, we could take those ships and others like them that are good for nothing and sink them offshore to protect the landings.” I thought well of it myself and we talked about it all afternoon. The military and naval authorities were startled out of a year’s growth. But Winnie is right. Great fellow, that Churchill, if you can keep up with him.

Yet it was not only in the field of amphibious war that Churchill made his contribution felt throughout. He gave advice over the entire operational field. Scarcely an undertaking was formed; that he did not submit to the Chiefs of Staff detailed and technical papers advising on how the plan should be executed. This was almost without parallel; no British political leader, with the possible exception of Pitt the Elder, had ever exerted such a powerful influence on strategy and tactics; not even Roosevelt, who by rights was Commander-in-Chief of the American Army, attempted to assume any like responsibility. “During the war” (testified General Eisenhower) “Churchill maintained such close contact with all operations as to make him a virtual member of the British Chiefs of Staff; I cannot remember any major discussion with them in which he did not participate.”

Even Lloyd George’s ascendancy in the first World War never reached anywhere near the same scale. Lloyd George had been the inventor of the small, all-powerful War Cabinet which Winston copied. This Cabinet, like Churchill’s, had supreme control as long as it had the support of Parliament. It had the authority to dictate strategy and insist that generals carried out its policies. But in the first War this right was never exercised, for public opinion was strongly averse to political interference in military matters, the professional soldier was king.

The design of a battle was regarded as a matter for generals, and generals alone.

This had disastrous results.

Today very few experts would care to defend the strategy of the first War, with its terrible and unnecessary slaughter. Lloyd George tells how strongly he opposed the futile holocaust of Passchendaele. He protested repeatedly bolt orally and in writing, but he was not strong enough to carry the Cabinet in reversing the commanders on the spot. In his memoirs he gives a vivid discourse on this subject. He denounces the generals who sent their armies time and again to needless doom in scathing tones: ‘Such highly gifted men as the British Army possessed were consigned to the mud by orders of men superior in rank but inferior in capacity, who themselves kept at a safe distance from the slime which they had chosen as the terrain where their plans were to operate. Lloyd George makes the final summary: “Looking back on this devastating war and surveying the part played in it by statesmen and soldiers respectively in its direction, I have come definitely to the conclusion that the former showed too much caution in exerting their authority over the military leaders. They might have done so either by a direct and imperative order from the Government or by making representations followed, if those were not effective in answering that purpose, by a change in the military leadership.”

Churchill took these lessons to heart. He was determined to dominate the military machine from the start. As with Lloyd George, his power was dependent on the War Cabinet, and the War Cabinet on the House of Commons. But in 1940 he was the leader of a completely united nation…

The War Cabinet were inspired by him, and were content to take the burden of home affairs off his shoulders and let him direct the military effort. But it must be remembered that his authority depended on this body. If, for example, the Chiefs of Staff had resented his advice or interference, and had secured the backing of the War Cabinet, he would have been forced to give way. But the issue never arose. The War Cabinet gave him firm support throughout the struggle, and the only man who sat in it continuously from beginning to end, Clement Attlee, the leader of the Labour Party, never faltered in his loyalty. During the difficulties of January 1942 Churchill records that Atdee ‘sustained the Government case with vigour and even fierceness.” It is also worth emphasizing that no crisis ever took place between Churchill and his Chiefs of Staff; not one of them ever threatened to resign during the whole six years of conflict.

This is some proof that the Prime Minister with his wide knowledge of military history, and his detailed study of tactics, was enough of a professional soldier to give advice that was useful and often brilliant. ‘Discussion with him, writes Eisenhower, “even on purely professional grounds, was never profitless.”

Winston’s suggestions for the conduct of the war covered a vast sphere.
Sometimes he advised on the movement of ships; on coastal fortifications;
on the strength and position of Air Force squadrons; the deployment of
troops; equipment of all kinds; the relative merit of different weapons;
new inventions; scientific experiments; and hundreds of other subjects.
On several occasions he pressed the Chiefs of Staff to overrule com-
manders on the spot who did not agree with directives sent them from
London. Churchill directly influenced the decision not to evacuate Calais,
and refused to accept General Wave’s advice to make terms with the
Iraq Government over the Habbaniya incident. General Eisenhower was
fascinated at the control he exerted. When he spent a weekend at Ditch-
ley he saw for himself the extent of Winston Churchill’s influence. ‘Operational messages arrived every few hours from London headquarters, he wrote, ‘and Winston Churchill always participated with the British Chiefs in the formation and despatch of instructions, even those that were strictly military, sometimes only tactical, in character.

Winston Churchill’s authority was very remarkable since, as he himself pointed out to Roosevelt and Stalin, he was the only one of the three who could be dismissed instantly at any time. Stalin was not an elected representative; and Roosevelt was secure for his four-year term. Harry Hopkins delivered a speech at Teheran in which he said that he had made “a very long and thorough study of the British Constitution which is unwritten, and of the War Cabinet, whose authority and composition are not specifically defined.” As a result, he said: “I have learned that the provisions of the British Constitution and the powers of the War Cabinet are just whatever Winston Churchill wants them to be.” This was a tribute to Winston Churchill’s persuasiveness for the hard truth was that, in telling the other two leaders, Winston exercised his authority only by permission of the War Cabinet; and the War Cabinet was willing and able to grant this authority only so long as he commanded the confidence of Parliament.

Once or twice this confidence was in doubt. In the early months of 1942
Winston Churchill’s position was seriously undermined. The previous six months had been grim and anxious. Greece and Crete had been over-run; Yugoslavia was invaded; the British Army had suffered setbacks in North Africa; the British Navy had lost two battleships the Prince of Wales and the Repulse which were sunk by the Japanese at Singapore.

The press was openly hostile and for the first time since he had taken office the Prime Minister was under fire. In some quarters there was even talk of his
resignation, and the extreme Left exerted pressure to put Stafford Cripps
in his place. Winston faced the storm and on 29 January, 1942, demanded
a Vote of Confidence from the Commons. The result was surprising.
Only the Independent Labour Party, numbering three members, refused
to support him, and since two were tellers, only one vote was recorded
against him. Less than six months later his leadership was again challenged.
This time criticism was precipitated by the fall of Tobruk. A Conservative
put down a Motion of Censure against him, but once more he had a
sweeping victory. The vote was 475 to 25. Despite Hopkins’ compliment,
Churchill was always acutely conscious of the fact that his leadership was
dependent on Parliament.

However, it is not impossible to draw a parallel between Winston’s leadership and that of his ancestor the soldier Duke of Marlborough. Professor Trevelyan writes that Marlborough “acted as head of the State in war-time for all military and diplomatic affairs, but he left to his colleagues the management of Parliament.” Winston left to his colleagues the management of home affairs. They both concentrated on war, diplomacy and foreign relations.

It is important to remember that Marlborough was a Commander who assumed the role of statesman — while Churchill was a statesman who assumed the role
of Commander.

All this was behind the scenes. The public saw the Prime Minister as a
fighting man who expressed in stirring language the emotions they felt
but could not put into words. He lifted millions of men and women out
of their humdrum lives and inspired them with a sense of mission; he
emblazoned the British cause across the world as the defence of freedom
and justice. He represented in his own person the spirit of indomitable
England. When he accepted office in 1940 he told the House of Commons,
“I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat.” Whereupon, in a
characteristic manner, the nation drew a deep breath of relief and took
new heart.

His fierce and moving speeches, sometimes filled with passion, sometimes with humanity, made him the spokesman of all the democratic world. No one who was in the House of Commons on 4th of June, 1940, when France was being over-run, will forget the thrill of emotion that went through the assembly when he said in his strange rough and garbled almost French accented voice:
“We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and the oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing; strength in the air, we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields, and in the streets, we shall fight in the homes, we shall never surrender, and even if, which I do not for a moment believe, this island or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our Empire beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the British fleet, would carry on the struggle until, in God’s good time, the new world, with all its power and might,
steps forth to the rescue and the liberation of the old.”

No single man had worked harder to prevent the second World War than Winston, yet once the conflict had begun no leader enjoyed the excitement of the clash more than him. From his earliest youth his imagination had been stirred by the great battles that had decided the history of Europe, by the relentless struggle for power between men of different nations, and the clash between the different creeds. He had loved Marlborough, and he had loved the Crusades. He loved the stories of Camelot and he loved King Arthur and the knights of the round table. He loved Merlin and he loved Guinevere and Sir Lancelot too. Churchill was reared to be like them. A soldier for the Empire. A Leader and a fighter. An officer and a gentleman. And here was his own fight to win or lose and he was faced with the greatest battle where the stakes were the highest one could have wished for. Now, for the first time in his life he had the opportunity of employing all of his bountiful genius, his studied and practiced wisdom, and his boundless energy, by putting all of it in the good fight towards the cause of Liberty, Democracy, and Western Christian Civilization, in which he passionately believed. “In my long political experience I had held most of the great offices of State” he wrote, “but I readily admit that the post which had now fallen to me, the Premiership, was the one I liked best. Power, for the sake of lording it over fellow creatures or adding to personal pomp, is rightly judged base. But power in a national crisis, when a man believes he knows what orders should be given, is a blessing.”

He had always been a fearless man and derived excitement from physical danger. During the London blitz it was with the greatest difficulty that he was persuaded not to sleep at 10 Downing Street, which was a natural target for German bombers, but to move to the shelter in a Government building by Storey’s Gate, which came to be known as the Annexe. “Often when there was the drone of enemy planes overhead, when the guns were thundering and flashing and there was the steady crash of bombs exploding, he insisted on going up on the roof to see the sights. On one of these occasions an air raid warden approached him timidly and said: If if you’ll kindly excuse me, sir, would you mind moving?” “Why?” growled Winston. “Well, sir, you are sitting on the smoke vent, sir, and the building’s full of smoke.”

Throughout his life it had always been Winston’s nature to dramatize whatever part he was called upon to play and the war gave him a natural and an extensive scope. From childhood he believed he had been put on earth to perform a special service, and when the Premiership was offered to him at the very moment that German troops were streaming across France he was certain his mission was being realized as he later wrote in his book Their Finest Hour: “I felt as if I were walking with Destiny, and that all my past life had been but a preparation for this hour and for this trial.”

Conscious of his great position, Churchill was every inch a Prime Minister. A low-ceilinged room below the ground floor which, was once the servants’ hall, had been turned into a dining-room, and there were seldom more than seven or eight guests. Winston usually came into the room in a blue siren suit looking remarkably like a teddy bear with an air as autocratic as a monarch. He used to watch the guests struggling between surprise at his comic appearance and awe at his dignity. The success of the lunch depended entirely on what sort of mood he was in; sometimes he ate in such sullen silence your heart sank as you imagined that the war had taken some grave turn for the worse; at other times he was buoyantly talkative and held the table with a brilliant monologue.
But whatever the atmosphere, Winston Churchill was always unquestionably the Master. No one dared pursue a topic of conversation that did not meet with his approval; no one dared to ask any questions or take any liberties. Indeed, most guests would have found royalty easier to deal with…

Winston was aware of the fact that he was making history, and as a result he wrote his minutes and directives with care, so that they would bear the scrutiny of posterity. He saw the great battle Britain was fighting in its true historical perspective, and it is not at all surprising that on more than one occasion he compared his position with that of Marlborough.

For example, in the book, “Their Finest Hour” he comments on the close relationship he maintained with the King and Queen. Winston says that he valued as a signal honour the gracious intimacy with which I, as First Minister, was treated, for which I suppose there has been no precedent, since the days of Queen Anne and Marlborough, during his years of power.

But the feat that Winston executed his task with pride, and even relish, does not mean that he had a cold heart. On the contrary he was always deeply moved by suffering he saw with his own eyes. During the London blitz he often toured the Metropolis to inspect the damage, and on more than one occasion people saw him in tears. When he saw a small shop in ruins he was so upset, imagining the owner’s distress at losing not only a home but a livelihood, and perhaps his savings as well, that he resolved then and there that compensation for all damaged property must be paid by the State. Thus the policy of war damage came into being.

On another occasion General Eisenhower witnessed an example of Winston’s emotionalism. One day a British major-general happened to refer to soldiers, in the technical language of the British staff officer, as “bodies” writes the General. “The Prime Minister interrupted with an impassioned speech of condemnation he said it was inhuman to talk of soldiers in such cold-blooded fashion, and that it sounded as if they were merely freight or, worse, corpses. I must confess I always felt the same way about the expression, but on that occasion my sympathies were with the staff officer who, to his own obvious embarrassment, had innocently drawn on himself the displeasure of the Prime Minister.

Although Churchill carried the great burden of the war with zest, anyone who imagines that he never suffered from its weight is mistaken.
More than once it seemed almost crushing. In his war memoirs he tells how in June 1941 he went to his home at Chartwell, alone, to await the news of General Wavell’s final attempt to destroy Rommel’s army; and how when he learned that the attack had failed he wandered about the valley disconsolately for some hours.

On several occasions family members, friends, and intimates, also saw him deeply depressed. In the autumn of 1940, a close friend of my errant and lady smitten father Randolph, who would do anything for a lively skirt with a good pair of legs and boobs, who this time happened to be a wartime American journalist living n London, wrote, how she had motored to the official Prime Minister’s retreat in Chequers, for lunch and talks with Winston…

This lady was the wartime journalist Virginia Cowles who goes on to write:

“Mrs Churchill was away and only Winston Churchill’s daughter Mary and daughter- in-law Pamela were there. Just before lunch was announced one of Winston Churchill’s private secretaries came into the room and handed him a message from the Foreign Office. He read it standing before the mantelpiece in the drawing-room. Then, unexpectedly, he handed it to me. The message was a report picked up from the Berlin wireless stating that Petain had agreed to turn over to the Germans all aerodromes and ports in unoccupied France.”

“Winston Churchill right then was plunged into a state of gloom. He came into the dining room but ate very little and sat halfway through the meal with his elbows on the table holding his head in his hands. The secretary who had brought the news reminded him that it was only a report from Berlin and likely to be untrue, but the Prime Minister would not be consoled. “If it is true, it is a bitter blow” he said.”

“At last lunch mercifully ended and Churchill went out for a walk. I left about four o’clock and before that time, he came back into the drawing-room as vigorous and as lion-hearted as ever. He had received a message that the report was false.”

The journalist Virginia Cowles further writes: “A few months later I went again to Chequers, this time to be the godmother of Randolph Winston Churchill’s son, Winston junior. The christening took place in a small chapel about a mile from the house. Due to a breakdown in my car I did not arrive until the ceremony had begun, and found a place reserved for me between Winston Churchill and his son. I had always heard that the Prime Minister’s emotions were easily stirred and at times he could be as sentimental as a woman, and on this occasion I had proof of it, for he sat throughout the ceremony with tears streaming down his cheeks. He murmured: “Poor infant, to be born into such a world as this.”

After the christening we returned to Chequers for lunch. Only the family, Lord Rothermere, and the three godfathers, Lord Beaverbrook, Lord Brownlow and Brendan Bracken, were present Beaverbrook rose and proposed a toast to the baby, then turned to Churchill whose birthday it had been the day before, and proposed a toast to him. Beaverbrook was eloquent and reminded us that we had the honour to be in the presence of a man who would be remembered as long as the civilized world existed.

Once again I looked up to see Churchill weeping. When he was called
upon to reply he rose, and in a voice unsteady with emotion, said: ‘In these
days I often think of Our Lord.’ Then he sat down. I have never forgotten
those simple words and if he enjoyed waging the war let it be remembered that he understood the anguish of it as well.

But Churchill was enormously resilient. He never remained downcast for long. Indeed his moods could change so rapidly that frequently those who worked with him were uncertain how to handle him He often punctured his own indignation by a flashing witticism that completely altered the whole atmosphere. Once when he was fuming about his difficulties with General de Gaulle he said suddenly: “Of all the crosses I have to bear, the cross of Lorraine is the heaviest.”

On another occasion his cousin Clare Sheridan tells how she was working on a sculpture of him. She had been given permission to sit in his bedroom in the morning, and while he sat up in bed reading his reports and telegrams, to get on as best she could. She had just finished with the high forehead, and determined mouth, and was moulding the jutting chin…

Churchill who had been concentrating fiercely on his papers, suddenly jumped out of bed to take a closer look at what she had done.

His forbidding expression melted into a warm smile, as he said:

“Forget Mussolini, and remember that I am the servant of the House of Commons.”

To be continued:

Posted by: Dr Pano Kroko Churchill | September 16, 2017

What would Winston Churchill Do? (Chapter 43)

The morning that the Admiralty Board learned that Mr Chamberlain had asked
Winston Churchill to take over the Navy, they signalled to the Fleet: “Winnie’s back.”

It was a dramatic return.

Just twenty-five years previously Churchill had guided the Royal Navy through the opening months of the first World War.

Then, as now, he was the most dominating figure in the Government; then, as now, he was spoken of as a probable war Prime Minister. But then he had stumbled. Whereas this time, his step was firm and sure.

From the first day he was the true leader of Britain.

When Chamberlain offered his broadcast to the nation on the morning of the 3rd of September, 1939, he spoke as a broken-hearted man, saying: “Everything that I have worked for, everything that I have hoped for, everything that I have believed in during my public life has crashed into ruins.”

This was true enough, but it was scarcely the way to rouse the nation. Chamberlain could not rid himself of the past, and as a result he was unable to regard the war as anything but a calamity. Winston on the other hand accepted it as a challenge, and not only dismissed the past, but buried all recrimination with it.

A few months after the Second World War began, Randolph Churchill, participated in a lunch at Admiralty House. Conversation in the Churchill household was always political, and previously one could have been certain of a number of witty sallies at Mr Chamberlain’s expense, but on this occasion, however, the was one of Mr Winston Churchill’s own children who attempted a mild mannered yet hurtful joke, and was immediately astonished to see a scowl appear on his father’s face. Winton, with enormous solemnity he said to my dad Randolph: “If you are going to make offensive remarks about my Chief, you will have to leave the table. We are united in a great and common cause, and I am not prepared to tolerate such language about the Prime Minister.”

That was the public face of the best Statesman Great Britain had ever had…

The first seven months of the war provided a strange hiatus. It was the
long uneasy lull before the curtain lifted on the grand climax. The British
people had been warned of the strength and ferocity of the German Air Force and had braced themselves for a rain of bombs on their towns and cities. Instead there was silence in the West while Hitler concentrated his attack on Poland and divided the spoils with Stalin according to a prearranged plan. Next, Stalin devoured the Baltic States, and invaded Finland; after an inauspicious start the Russian Bear finally smashed the small Finnish army and in March 1940 an armistice was signed.

All this time Britain and France looked on helplessly. Today the world knows how badly prepared they were for the conflict. The German Air Force was twice the strength of Britain’s and the German Army was soon to demonstrate its might against the soldiers of France. The two democracies were eager to help Finland, and the British hurriedly began to train divisions for an ice-bound war. The troops were not ready in time; but even if they had been, there was not an earthly chance of persuading Norway and Sweden, who were desperately clinging to their neutrality, to allow a passage through to Finland.

As a result British soldiers began to sing about “hanging out the washing
on the Siegfried line” and Americans began to refer to “the phoney war.”
This last jibe was a miscalculation of the determination of England; nevertheless it touched a chord that was real. In the early days of the war both
Britain and France were wholly concentrated, on defensive warfare.
France had poured out her strength and money on the Maginot Line, and Britain had concentrated on fast fighters. When you asked military people how the war would be won they answered confidently that Germany would smash herself against the French fortifications and dissipate her air force against the English defences.

The democracies had no plan for assuming the offensive; besides this
there were strong subversive elements in the population, particularly in
France. The extreme Left had taken its signal from Moscow and denounced the war as a capitalist-imperialist project. The extreme Right, on the other hand, still hankered for an understanding with Germany. Poland was gone. How could Britain and France revive her, they argued?

Wasn’t it better to have a strong Germany in Central Europe as a bulwark against
Bolshevism, than to smash the only barrier and open the way for the
barbaric Slavs? Even in England one could hear this argument. In the
winter of 1939 I remember talking to an Englishman who later became one of Winston Churchill’s most energetic and loyal colleagues. “I would give
everything I possess, if I could put an end to this senseless war. I would sign a peace with Germany now and stop the conflict before the whole of Europe is brought to ruin.”

These were some of the sentiments of the phoney war. They were not widespread, but they existed. Winston lost no time in combating them no matter from what quarter they came. He referred to the “thoughtless dilettanti or purblind worldlings who sometimes ask us: “What is it that Britain and France are fighting for?”

To this I answer: “If we left off fighting you would soon find out.”

He referred to Hitler as “a haunted, morbid being, who, to their eternal shame, the German people in their bewilderment have worshipped as a god.” And he referred to the frightened neutral countries who were sitting on the fence, warning them that their plight was lamentable, “and it will become worse. They bow humbly and in fear to German threats of violence, comforting themselves meanwhile with the thought that the Allies will win. Each one of them hopes that if he feeds the crocodile enough, the crocodile will eat him last.”

At the same time that Winston was attacking the enemy, at the same time rousing the pacifists, and combating the defeatist elements on his own side, while trying to galvanize the neutrals into action — he was giving the people of Britain the firm clear leadership they wanted and liked.

“Now we have begun; now we are going on; now with the help of God, and with the conviction that we are the defenders of Civilization and Freedom, we are going on, and we are going on to the end.”

Hitler at once recognized his true enemy, and lost no time in singling
out Winston as the villain of the Peace. Early in October the German
leader broadcast to the world employing the tactics that up until now had
been so successful. Propaganda: “There was no need, for a war with the West. Poland was dead, it would never rise again. Why fight about it? I make
this declaration only because I very naturally desire to spare my people
suffering. But should the views of Churchill and his following prevail,
then this declaration will be my last. We should then fight. Let those
repulse my hand, who regard war, as the better solution.”

Winston gave him a plain answer in a broadcast on 12 November, 1939:
“You may take it absolutely for certain that either all that Britain and
France stand for in the modern world will go down, or that Hitler, the
Nazi regime, and the recurring German and Prussian menace to Europe will be broken and destroyed. This is the way the matter lies, and everybody had better make up their minds to that solid, sombre fact.”

Meanwhile Winston was not idle as First Lord of the Admiralty. The Royal Navy was the only strong force the British possessed and from the first day of the war the senior service was on the offensive. Winston worked an eighteen-hour day. Plans were drawn up for a blockade of Germany; convoy arrangements were made; minesweeping was organized; ships were requisitioned; new building began; and, above all, enemy raiders and submarines were hunted down. By the end of 1939 Winston announced that the British had sunk half Germany’s submarines. But he was wise enough to know that many great battles were coming. Germany’s production in all fields was enormous; the war was only in its infancy.

Chamberlain on the other hand did not appear to grasp the situation.
On 5 April, 1940, he made an astonishing statement to the Conservative
and Unionist Associations: “After seven months of war I felt ten times as
confident of victory as I did at the beginning. I felt that during the
seven months our relative position towards the enemy has become a great
deal stronger than it was.” He went on to elaborate the theme that the
breathing space Hitler had afforded the Allies had made the whole differ-
ence to the war; he could not seem to understand that during this period
Germany, too, had been building up. “Whatever may be the reason, whether it was that Hitler thought he might get away with what he had got without fighting for it, or whether it was that all the preparations were not sufficiently complete however, one thing is certain; he missed the bus.”

Three days later Hitler invaded Norway and Denmark.

The story of the Quisling ‘Fifth Column’ inside Norway, the landing of
the British troops and their dismal withdrawal, ending in a complete
German victory is well known. The House of Commons was angered by
the defeat and met on 7th and 8th of May to debate the events. The admiral of the Fleet Sir Roger Keyes declared that if his countrymen had been bold
enough to seize Trondheim, the key to central Norway, the German
invasion could have been frustrated. He charged that the Navy had been
let down by Whitehall and the Army.

It is ironic that this accusation played a large part in the fall of the
Government, because this one time Chamberlain was not to blame. Instead Churchill himself, the First Lord of the Admiralty, had not welcomed the idea of a frontal attack on Trondheim. The assault was to have been a combined naval, military and air operation, and Winston felt that the risks which the Home Fleet would have run were far too great. But when the plan was pressed forward strongly by all the Chiefs of Staff and the Secretary of State for War, he acquiesced.
Arrangements went ahead but at the last moment the Chief of Staff developed cold feet and said that on reconsidering the situation they believed that the frontal attack was too perilous.
Instead, they recommended a pincer movement on Trondheim from North and South. Although Winston had never been enthusiastic about the first operation and people even whispered that “the iron of the Dardanelles had entered his soul” and he had no longer the courage to strike boldly, he was indignant at such a late change of plan. Nevertheless, he again acquiesced. Chamberlain was also disappointed but in face of the opposition of both the Chiefs of Staff and the Vice-Chiefs of Staff he felt he could not interfere.

These were the facts and yet the blame for not attacking Trondheim
settled on Chamberlain. So Hitler had missed the bus? Speaker after
speaker flung the Prime Minister’s unhappy remark in his face. Winston
tried to defend him, as he was bound to do, but told the House of Commons plainly that the defeat was not merely due to mistaken strategy, but
to the failure of the Government to maintain air parity with the Germans.

The House, however, was not in a mood for excuses. Although Members of Parliament had no one to blame but themselves for the state of British arms and equipment, they insisted on action and successful action at that. It may strike the onlooker as unreasonable, but democracies function that way. All their wrath turned on Chamberlain for his bad advice and guidance. Mr Leo Amery, a staunch Conservative, attacked the Prime Minister and his colleagues in an impassioned speech ending with Oliver Cromwell’s stinging words to the Rump of the Long Parliament:
“You have sat here too long for any good you have been doing. Depart,
I say, and let us be done with you! In the name of God, Go.”

A vote of censure was put down against the Government, and when Winston defended Chamberlain, Lloyd George rose and advised him “not to allow himself to be converted into an air raid shelter, in order to keep the splinters from hitting his colleagues.” Mr Chamberlain called on his friends to save him from defeat, and Lloyd George pointed out with deadly effect that it was not a question of who were the Prime Minister’s friends: “It is a far bigger issue. The Prime Minister must remember that he has met this formidable foe of ours in peace and war. He has always been worsted. He is not in a position to put it on the ground of friendship. He has appealed for sacrifice. The nation is prepared for every sacrifice so long as it has leadership. I say solemnly that the Prime Minister should give an example of sacrifice, because there is nothing which can contribute more to victory in this war, than that he should sacrifice the seals of office.”

The Members went through the lobby and although there was normally a Conservative majority of nearly two hundred and fifty, Chamberlain won by only eighty-one votes. He realized that his Government no longer commanded the confidence of the House, and when he put out feelers to the Liberal and Labour followers for a coalition he was told that neither party would serve under him.

He then offered the King his resignation.

When Winston Churchill first heard the news of the German invasion of Norway he too, made a statement just as wide of the mark as Chamberlain’s. He spoke joyously of ‘the strategic blunder into which our mortal enemy has been provoked. Fortunately this observation was overlooked.

The 10th of May, was a momentous day. When the morning news broke, it appeared that the attack on the West had begun, and that German troops were streaming across Holland.

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That night the King sent for Winston Churchill and asked him to form a Government. ‘As I went to bed at about 3 a.m..’ he has recorded, ‘I was conscious of a profound sense of relief. “At last I had the authority to give directions over the whole scene.” Even though the situation was grave Winston Churchill’s spirits were far from low.

Just a month in his Premiership, he delivered the most stirring Oratory of his career on June 18th 1940, in a speech that galvanized the nation, strengthened the backbone of our defenders, and populace, and drove them to an unequivocal stand with a strong fighting spirit:

“The House will have read the historic
declaration in which at the desire
of many Frenchmen,
and of our own hearts,
we have proclaimed our willingness
to conclude at the darkest
hour in French history,
a Union of common
citizenship in their struggle.
However matters may go in France,
or with the French Govt.
we in this island and in the
British Empire,
will never lose our sense of
comradeship with the French people.
If we are now called upon to endure
what they have suffered,
we shall emulate their courage,
and if final victory rewards our toils,
they shall share the gain,
aye, and freedom shall be
restored to all.
We abate nothing of our just demands.
Czechs, Poles, Norwegians, Dutch, and
Belgians, who have joined their
causes with our own.
All shall be restored.
What General Weygand calls ‘the battle
of France’ is over.
The battle of Britain is about to begin.
Upon this battle depends the
survival of Christian civilization.
Upon it depends our own British life
and the long continuity of our
institutions, and our Empire.
The whole fury and might of the enemy
must very soon be turned on us.
Hitler knows that he will have to break
us in this Island, or lose the war.
If we can stand up to him
all Europe may be freed,
and the life of the world
may move forward into the
broad and sunlit uplands.
But if we fail,
then the whole world,
including the United States,
and all that we have known and
cared for
will sink into the abyss of a
new Dark Age
made more sinister and
perhaps more prolonged by
the lights of perverted
Science.
Let us therefore brace ourselves to
our duty, and so bear ourselves that
if the British Empire and
Commonwealth lasts for a
thousand years, men will still
say,
‘This was their finest hour.’”

One can hear, the cheers and the shouts emanating from the Members of the Parliament rousing the backbenchers and the thunderous applause from the galleries up above…

Imagine listening to this rousing speech inside the ancient Halls of Westminster in the House of Commons in the English Parliament.

And then imagine if you were hearing this from the BBC radio anywhere in England or in the Commonwealth.

Lastly, try to imagine that you were a patriot listening to Winston’s speech from a shortwave clandestine radio, at personal risk of Life & Liberty, in one of the occupied capital cities laying within one of the national lands of Europe already suffering the loss of light & hope, under the terrible deprivations of human rights and freedom, in their dark hour of occupation by the German jackbooted thugs.

Imagine…

Now go and listen to this whole magnificent and long speech yourself here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jB5wZtV1MWM

 

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And as one listens to the speech as enunciated from Winston’s lips — then one takes away the strong sense of Resolve and that stirring of Emotion that Winston wanted to intimate to all of his people so they can rise up to the occasion and fight for Liberty as the circumstances demanded of them…

And this He did.

His splendid and brilliant oratory succeeded for his purposes.

And he offers hope every time that he spoke as he did here about the future, and about deliverance that will allows us to Never Surrender.

And here is the Famous Speech after the Dunkirk evacuations and retreat of the British Expeditionary force, back to England.

Winston Churchill: We Shall Never Surrender: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a3qSDaC2IgM

People listened to him from all over the war, and found out that the “Message” they were all waiting to hear. Finally someone was at the Helm of the Free World, who could provide Powerful Leadership. His words were like electric current running through the hearts of the people. But this revived the hearts and now people all across the World were finally energized.

The game was up, and the people enlisted in droves to fight the enemy. Soldiers from all over the world volunteered to come to the aid of the country. And green fresh faced young men from all the colonies and even from every one of the States of the United States of America, volunteered to fight the enemy of the World.

Now, far too many books have been written about Winston Churchill and the second World War, chief of which are the six detailed volumes that Winston Churchill himself has written. In summation it is good to remember that the story of the British war effort falls into two distinct parts.

The first part of the Second World War, is of course the Great Struggle of England and the English people fighting alone, on all fronts — and hoping to survive all alone.

And that they did by the Grace of God.

Yet in human terms, this only happened because Winston Churchill, stood up courageously and unafraid, and said that “we are going to fight” and never ever surrender. And he said that at a time when all others in Leadership, in the Military command, and in Society, and even the Crown — wanted to come to terms with the all powerful German Fuhrer.

Yet thankfully, the only mad contrarian person in Britain at the time, the person that could LEAD THE PEOPLE, was summoned to become the Prime Minister, and he saw the saving his country was HIS DUTY, in front of heaven and earth. Winston recognized in broad terms that he is the Savior of his people, and that if he were to fold — all will be lost.

So he suited himself up — full of fighting spirit — and stood at the helm of the ship of state, like another Nelson, or a modern day Themistocles, commanding the seas, the skies, and the winds, to his indomitable will.

Winston’s fighting and winning attitude, is what ordained to England the “divine gift of time” and the “backbone” that we sorely needed in order to repel an invasion, and fight the battle of Britain in the skies above, while busily rebuilding our armed forces.

This, at the same time that we were fighting alone on all fronts — for the first two years of the War. And we had to survive through the horrible lack of materiel because after the first year of our fighting — we also had to prop up Russia with help, because this was our charge, and we desperately needed to support that second front. The second front is what eventually brought us the Victory we sought, through the amazing resilience of the Russian and the English people.

The “second front” is also what describes the second part of the second world war, because this is the story of the difficult and demanding alliance with Russia, that Winston Churchill single handedly crafted, and the massive aid we gave, in an effort to save Russia, her leader, and his army, from complete annihilation at the the hands of the German Fuhrer Hitler’s tender mercies…

And the third part of the War starts when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor and thus ended the neutrality of the United States more than two years into the War that brought about the capture of half of the Pacific, and fully half of all Asia and China, by Japan, the fascist power that was part of the Axis Powers that were aligned to Germany’s dark and evil ideas of the nervous and unstable vegetarian Fuhrer, one Adolf Hitler.

Yet this fourth phase of the second World War heralded the American involvement in the war which in turn led to the fourth part of the History of the War, that eventually through tortuous and narrow yet consistent battle victories, and quite a few defeats, turned the tides around and thus led us to securing the victory and designing the peace, so that we don’t all have to speak German today.

“Ich Liebe es.”

To be continued:

Posted by: Dr Pano Kroko Churchill | September 16, 2017

What would Winston Churchill Do? (Chapter 42)

At this moment, the Empire was facing headwinds, and waves, that might split it apart.

Hitler is the most powerful person on the planet.

The Nazis are attacking their targets now outside of Germany.

Europe is going up in flames.

Evil seems to control the day, the year, the century.

And it was then that Winston Churchill found out that he was not to be included, in Stanley Baldwin’s new Government.

He was not even invited to advise on any of his big subjects.

Seems also that the India issue was close to imploding…

And most famously, although all of his timely warnings about Germany were being fulfilled; and the Government had received a mandate to rearm — nobody was taking the looming war or Winston’s advise about how to deflect it, seriously.

Indeed although it was widely forecast in the press, that Churchill would soon be asked to take over the Admiralty, and he could confidently expected the offer to be made any time — still he didn’t believe all these silly rumors.

Still for Winston the clarion call had aroused in him first and foremost the deep sense of duty to fight and lead his people to safety: “The growing German menace made me anxious to lay my hands upon our military machine. I could now feel very keenly what was coming. Distracted France and timid peace-loving Britain would soon be confronted with the challenge of the European Dictators. I was in sympathy with the changing temper of the Labour Party. Here was the chance of a true National Government. It was understood that the Admiralty would be vacant, and I wished very much to go there, should the Conservatives be returned to power.”

But this was not going to pass, because as soon as the election results became known; Baldwin announced through the Conservative Central Office that Winston Churchill would not going to be asked to join the Government.

Now Winston believed that his exclusion was a sop to the pacifist element in the House, but remembering that Baldwin had complained in the late twenties that Churchill flooded the Government with memoranda and advice and that “a Cabinet meeting when Winston was present did not have the opportunity of considering its proper agenda” it seems more likely that he was merely adhering to his resolve never again to have him as a colleague.

However, the Prime Minister was one of the shrewdest Party managers in the history of Conservatism and it stands to reason that he would have put his reservations aside if Winston had commanded any serious political or even popular following amidst the voters of the country. And at this point, we must admit sadly, that Winston did not.

Because back in 1935 Churchill had practically no support either in Parliament or amongst the people. It was a curious situation, since the public freely acknowledged his great gifts, they admired his courage, they read his books, they were impressed by his superb oratory, and yet they would not follow him to the voting station. Maybe because they believed him to be emotionally detached, and politically unsafe like a weathervane that changed too much based on the weather and could jump from one party to another at moment’s notice. Maybe because they had watched his career and listened to his wonderful eloquence for thirty-five years and had thus formed the opinion that his thirst for adventure always led him in search of heroic parts, or maybe because he left the impression that he overly dramatized himself, and the stage on which he performed.

Indeed, it appeared that in his hands, all incidents swelled into large events, and engulfed the whole world. And that is what one understood; if one had the temerity to follow his sturdy, yet easily combustible logic. And that they liked aplenty…

But they also remembered the young Minister who had sent field guns to Sidney Street; and the Home Secretary who had dispatched troops all over Britain in the railway strike of 1911 without waiting for the local authorities to ask for them; same as the First Lord of the Admiralty who had asked to take command of the army defending Antwerp; and the Minister for “War who had secured Allied intervention in the Russian revolution; or the Minister for Colonial Affairs who drafted the Chanak communique… and other Winston debacles, ‘ad infinitum.’

They remembered his frequent warnings that the Labour Party would destroy the constitution of the country, and that self-rule for India would mark the downfall of the British Empire.

Yes, he had exaggerated situations before. And now he was crying “Woolf” in exaggerated tones, and screaming to all the sundry, the Germans are coming.

Is he to be believed?

And if they choose to believe him — how could they know that he was right this time?

But personal misgiving was not the only reason for Winston’s failure to command a following. The public felt that he was offering them little hope of a better world. They had no faith in power politics. The idea of a Grand Alliance, based on the balance of power, had been tried often before and had often failed. On looking back it is clear that the only hope of arousing the people of Britain and France lay in the League of Nations.

Here was a great new concept; here was a concert of nations joined together in a common desire to establish for the first time a reign of international law; in the hope that they will be able to substitute the principles of diplomacy and of negotiation versus the acts of war.

The detractors of the League of Nations argued that it had been hopelessly crippled, soon after birth, by the withdrawal of the United States. Nevertheless, the fact remains that throughout the twenties and most of the thirties Britain and France together, if they had had the will, could have enforced the League’s authority.

But could they have commanded public support?

During the twenties the vast number of people who supported the League regarded it merely as a “moral force.” The Disarmament Conferences were held under its aegis and helped to swell the impression that it was an instrument of pacifism rather than an authority for the maintenance of order.

In the early thirties this conception gradually began to change.

Europe was growing increasingly frightened of Germany and by the middle of 1934 disarmament was abandoned. Many people said this spelled the death of the League of Nations because it had failed to deal either with the Chaco clashes in 1928, or with the Manchurian incident in 1931, or with the German rearmament at present time. So now that rearmament was seriously beginning anew, the last vestiges of its peaceful purpose seemed to have been stripped from it.

Winston Churchill was the only Leader that fought against this feeling of despair and told the House as early as 1932 that he deprecated “the kind of thought that, unless the League can force a general disarmament, and unless it can compel powerful nations in remote regions to comply with its decisions, it is dead and we must do away with it.”

Nevertheless it is a curious fact that even Winston Churchill did not understand the potential power of the League as a weapon for rallying public opinion. In the summer of 1935 it became apparent that Mussolini had designs on Abyssinia. The situation could scarcely have been more awkward. Italy was an ally of Britain and France and the three nations had pledged themselves to stand together against further aggression. On the other hand Abyssinia was a member of the League of Nations. If she was attacked what was the duty of Britain and France?

Winston’s attitude on this question was understandable.

All alone among the leading British statesmen he realized the full gravity of the German menace, and the increasingly desperate case for Liberty and Democracy, across the globe.

Yet in his desperate and lonely efforts to build up a strong balance of power he had no wish to see Italy estranged from France and Britain. In the fresh of July, 1935, he expressed his uneasiness to Parliament and cautioned the Government to move slowly: “We seemed to have allowed the impression to be created that we were ourselves coining forward as a sort of bellwether or fugleman to lead opinion in Europe against Italy’s Abyssinian designs.”

“It was even suggested that we would act individually and independently. I am glad to hear from the Foreign Secretary that there is no foundation for that. We must do our duty, but we must do it with other nations only in accordance with the obligations which others recognize as well. We are not strong enough to be the lawgiver and the spokesman of the world. We will do our part, but we cannot be asked to do more than our part in these matters.”

“As we stand today there is no doubt that a cloud has come over the old
friendship between Great Britain and Italy, a cloud which, it seems to me,
may very easily not pass away, although undoubtedly it is everyone’s
desire that it should. It is an old friendship, and we must not forget, what
is a little-known fact, that at the time Italy entered into the Triple Alliance
in the last century she stipulated particularly that in no circumstances
would the obligations under the Alliance bring her into armed conflict
with Great Britain.”

A month later he was invited to the Foreign Office and asked how far
he was prepared to go against Italian aggression in Abyssinia. He replied
that he thought the Foreign Secretary was justified in going as far with the
League of Nations against Italy as he could carry France.’But that he ought
not to put any pressure upon France because of her military convention
with Italy and her German preoccupations.’ This, of course, was tanta-
mount to doing nothing for as Churchill himself admitted: “In the circum-
stances I did not expect France would go very far.”

Winston’s point of view was understandable, nevertheless it was a serious mistake. Here was the man who had been asking his countrymen to take the lead against the treaty-breaking of Germany, now advising them to hang back over the flagrant aggression of Italy, knowing full well that unless Britain took the lead the act would be condoned. His attitude opened him to a charge of cynicism and expediency and revealed a complete misunderstanding of the drastic change that was taking place in British public opinion. There had been some indication of this evolution earlier in the year when the League of Nations Union sent out a questionnaire under the heading of “The Peace Ballot” the two most important
questions were these: ‘Do you consider that if a nation insists on attack-
ing another, the other nations should combine to compel it to stop by:
(a) economic and non-military measures? (b) if necessary military measures?’ Eleven million people answered (a) in the affirmative and nearly eight million answered (b) in the affirmative.

Stanley Baldwin was conscious of which way the wind was blowing and he fought the election of October 1935 on a promise to uphold the League of Nations. This same month another significant event occurred.

The Labour Party dismissed its pacifist leader George Lansbury, mainly
due to the influence of Ernest Bevin who told a large audience that he
was “tired of having George Lansbury’s conscience carted about from conference to conference” and put in his stead Major Clement Attlee, a Socialist who had been an infantry officer in the late war.

The British Government went ahead and rallied the support of fifty nations in the laying down of economic sanctions against Italy. Once the step had been taken, once Italy had been estranged, Winston gave the League his unqualified support. In a strong and eloquent speech in the House he professed his hope that sanctions would prove a decisive stumbling block to Mussolini’s conquest, and declared with emotion that the League of Nations had ‘passed from shadow into substance, from theory into practice, from rhetoric into reality.’ He announced courageously that if he were asked how far he would go in support of the League Covenant he would go “the whole way with the whole lot.”

But disillusion was soon to set in for Winston Churchill, for the British
people, and for all the whole of the Free world. Prime Minister Baldwin’s sanctions were only sham sanctions. He was determined to prevent war at all costs although we know today that if the Royal Navy had taken action, the matter would have been settled in a very few weeks. Yet, the Prime Minister was not prepared to impose the only sanction that really mattered, that of the oil sanctions. Furthermore, once the gesture had been made against Italy, he did not rule out the idea of a settlement. So no incentive was given for Italy or Germany to shift their position. Somehow, in January the British and French Foreign Secretaries met by accident at Geneva and concocted a plan, known as the Hoare-Laval proposals, which gave Italy a fifth of Abyssinia in return for calling off the war.

This cynical compromise profoundly shocked the British people and rocked the Government to its foundations. Stanley Baldwin was forced to withdraw the proposals and apologize to the House. Sir Samuel Hoare was forced to resign and Anthony Eden took his place. The sham sanctions continued against the fascists, and regardless os all that, Italy went ahead and completed her conquest of Ethiopia, and Abyssinia.

It was a dismal story.

Winston Churchill was traveling in Spain, and North Africa, during the Hoare-Laval crisis. If he had been in England he might have been able to exert enough pressure to force Baldwin to take him into the Cabinet, or at least to accept his positions, because the latter’s prestige had sunk to its lowest level ever. However, he profited from the lesson. He perceived that a new force had come into being in England. He understood the deep urge of the people for a righteous stand against oppression, and he saw that it was only by championing the League of Nations that he could finally rally the masses to his cause: “The cause of maintaining a balance of power on the side of Britain” or towards the right path as Winston saw it.

Two months later, in March 1936, he told this to the Conservative Parliament Committee on Foreign Affairs: “You must not underrate the force which these ideals of the League of Nations, exert upon the modern democracy. One does not know how these seeds are planted by the winds of the centuries in the hearts of the working people. They are there, and just as strong as their love of liberty. We should not neglect them, because they are the essence of the genius of this island. Therefore, we believe that in the fostering and fortifying of the League of Nations will be found the best means of defending our island security, as well as maintaining grand universal causes with which we have very often found our own interests in natural accord. He then outlined his three, simple contentions: “First, that we must oppose the would-be dominator or potential aggressor. Second, that Germany under its present Nazi regime and its prodigious armaments, so swiftly developing, fills unmistakably that part. Third, that the League of Nations rallies many countries, and unites our people here at home in the most effective way to control the would-be aggressor.”

 

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The old cry “Disarmament and the League” was dead, and in its place Winston tried to substitute the slogan “Arms and the Covenant.” Throughout 1936 he commanded a growing following. Labour and Liberal leaders who, only a few years before, had regarded him as an archenemy, were now marching behind his banner. Sir Walter Citrine, the great Trade Union figure and one of the leaders of the General Strike, occasionally sat on his platform. But although Churchill had the moral backing of the Labour Party he failed to win the practical support that was so vital to his cause. The Socialists voted repeatedly in favour of the League of Nations but at the same time they refused to back any increase in armaments. This fantastically muddled policy was put forward on the grounds that Labour did not trust the Tories to use weapons in defence of the League.

Winston was also supported by a number of Conservative MPs but they were only a small splinter group, for the bulk of the Parliamentary Conservative Party was staunchly behind their leader, Stanley Baldwin.

And Baldwin was still determined not to take any risk, no matter how minute, which might lead to war. In March 1936 Hitler electrified Europe by marching into the Rhineland, in direct contravention of all the treaties.

France was paralysed with fear, and refused to move, unless Britain moved with her. But Baldwin still would not commit himself and urged the French to take the matter to the League. As we know today, if the French Army had advanced they would have forced Germany to move back with scarcely a shot fired. Hitler had occupied the Rhineland against the advice of his military experts with only a handful of troops. It was a gigantic bluff. He was gambling on the inertia of the democracies and if his gamble had not succeeded it is more than likely his whole regime would have crumbled. Thus one more chance to avert war was lost.

While France stood back trembling and undecided Winston tried to galvanize the world through collective action. “If the League of Nations were able to enforce its decree upon one of the most powerful countries in the world found to be an aggressor.’ he told the House of Commons on the 13th of March, “then the authority of the League would be set upon so majestic a pedestal that it must henceforth be the accepted sovereign authority by which all the quarrels of the people can be determined and controlled. Thus we might upon this occasion reach by one single bound the realization of our most cherished dreams.”

The people of Great Britain were ready to make a stand but they were not given the chance to do so. The country’s rulers were not prepared to risk anything, no matter how large the gain. Prominent men and leading newspapers began to play the crisis down. After all, at the same time that Hitler had invaded the Rhineland he had offered the democracies a non-aggression pact. The Times and the Daily Herald both expressed their faith in his offer. Such leading statesmen as Lloyd George and Lord Lothian said, respectively, that they “hoped we should keep our heads” and that “after all, they are only going into their own back garden.” Winston pointed out that if Germany fortified the Rhineland, which she was bound to do, it would “enable German troops to be economized on that line, and will enable the main forces to swing round through Belgium and Holland.”

This is indeed what exactly happened later, but at that time, in Britain those in responsible positions of power within the government and in the military — were not prepared to even listen.

 

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Winston continued to hammer home his theme throughout the years and his following continued to grow. He castigated Baldwin for not fulfilling his promise that British air power would not be “inferior to any country within striking distance of our shores” and turned the full force of his vehement and polished rhetoric upon him.

“The Government simply cannot make up their minds, or they cannot get the Prime Minister to make up his mind. So they go on in strange paradox, decided only to be undecided, resolved to be irresolute, adamant for drift, solid for fluidity, all-powerful to be impotent. So we go on preparing more months and years precious, perhaps vital, to the greatness of Britain for the locusts to eat.”

Stanley Baldwin’s stock once again was declining; Winston’s stock once again rising. Once again he might have regained high office, but for the strange intervention of fate. An event occurred which tipped the scales heavily the other way.

This was the Abdication Crisis.

Everyone knows the deftness and skill with which Stanley Baldwin handled the Abdication Crisis. As Philip Guedalla put it “the King was handled with a firmer touch than the King’s enemies.” He gave the Sovereign two clear choices: he could either renounce Mrs Simpson and keep the throne, or wed Mrs Simpson and abdicate. There was to be no “morganatic marriage.” The Prime Minister was treading on firm ground for public opinion was strongly behind him. He knew the British people would never accept a thrice married woman as their Queen.

It was expected of Winston to take the King’s side and plead the side of the
King’s cause, whereas in reality he counseled the German leaning fascist and misguided King, to swiftly abdicate. He could not possibly have hoped to gain from it: indeed he had everything to lose. But he had a romantic nature and a sympathy with the monarch’s wish to marry for love, but he couldn’t stand his Nazist leanings. Moreover although he had a deep sense of loyalty, and he had known Edward VIII, since his childhood, and as Home Secretary had read out the proclamation creating him as Prince of Wales — he responded honestly when the King sent for him on his own initiative, to ask for advice and help. As Lord Birkenhead had once pointed out: “Winston never failed a friend, no matter how embarrassing the obligation appeared at the time. He felt it his duty to serve the King until the end.”

Winston actually drew his sword and attacked Baldwin, for trying to rush the issue, and pleaded with the House of Commons for delay. Public sentiment was
so strong, however, that a storm of wrath broke on his head. He was
accused of lacking all principal and trying to make political capital of the
matter. He was accused of trying to form a King’s party and wreck the
constitution. He was accused of his usual bad judgment. The tragedy was
that the following he had gathered, so important for the life of Europe,
began to melt away, while Stanley Baldwin, a discredited Prime Minister,
was once again installed high in public favour. ‘There were several
moments when I seemed to be entirely alone against a wrathful House of
Commons. I am not, when in action, unduly affected by hostile currents of
feeling; but it was on more than one occasion almost physically impos-
sible to make myself heard. All the forces I had gathered together on
“Arms and the Covenant”, of which I conceived myself to be the main-
spring, were estranged or dissolved, and I was myself so smitten in public
opinion that it was the almost universal view that my political life was at
last ended.’ [1 Hansard: 12 November, 1936]

The history of the thirties makes tragic reading. If even a small part of
Winston Churchill’s advice had been heeded the second great world
catastrophe would never have taken place. He will be remembered in
history as a man of war, but no statesman has ever tried more valiantly to
save.the peace. ‘My mind was obsessed by the impression of the terrific
Germany I had seen and felt in action during the years of 1914 to 1918
suddenly becoming again possessed of all her martial power.’ he wrote,
‘while the Allies, who had so narrowly survived, gaped idle and be-
wildered.’ Under Stanley Baldwin the Allies continued to gape; under
Neville Chamberlain they moved forward but on the wrong road.

The vacillation of the French and British and the blindness of the
Americans during the late thirties almost passes comprehension. Nearly
every foreign correspondent in Europe was aware of the derision in which
the dictators held the democracies, and the determination of the dictators
to strike while the going was good. There is a mass of journalistic warn-
ings on the subject. In 1937 Winston had a long conversation with the
German Ambassador in London, Herr von Ribbentrop. The latter told
him that Germany must have a free hand in Eastern Europe, and Winston
replied that he was sure that the British Government would not agree to it.
‘In that case,’ said von Ribbentrop, ‘war is inevitable. There is no way out.
The Fuhrer is resolved. Nothing will stop him and nothing will stop us.
This conversation was not unique. In Germany similar sentiments were
expressed freely to anyone who would listen. Indeed it would be difficult
to find another period in history where the aggressive designs of a nation
were so unconcealed.

 

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It is therefore even more remarkable that of all the statesmen in the
Western world Winston Churchill alone perceived the danger from the
start and consistently pointed out the only course to follow. He never, for
one moment, took his eyes off the balance of power, and every action he
urged was to strengthen the balance in favour of Britain and France.
During the first half of the thirties he begged the democracies to build up
their strength. ‘If you wish to bring about a war, you bring about such an
equipoise that both sides think they have a chance of winning. If you
want to stop a war, you gather such an aggregation offeree on the side of
peace that the aggressor, whoever he may be, will not dare to challenge.’
This advice was not followed. During the second half of the thirties he
begged the democracies to combine to uphold law and order. ‘Why not
make a stand while there is still a good company of united, very powerful
countries that share our dangers and our aspirations? Why should we delay
until we are confronted with a general landslide of those small countries
passing over, because they have no other choice, to the overwhelming
power of the Nazi regime?’

But even more remarkable than his prescience was his unflagging
courage. His boldness illuminates the darkness of the thirties and saves it
from the scathing judgment of posterity. When in 1937, despite all his
warnings and prophecies, he was shunned by his Party and ignored by
Parliament, a lesser man might have turned from the House of Commons
in despair and occupied himself with his own affairs. But Winston never
faltered. Whether the tide was with him or not he sailed on. He was
derided by his enemies, patronized by his friends, and mocked by the
press, yet he continued to work feverishly to stave off the approaching
calamity.

Although Stanley Baldwin excluded Churchill from office, he offered
him a sop. In 1935 he invited him to sit on the newly constituted Com-
mittee of Air Defence Research. A man of smaller stature might have
refused the offer, arguing that if his Party did not think highly enough of
him to employ him in a Ministerial capacity they would have to do with-
out his services in minor spheres. But Winston was determined to serve,
no matter how humble the capacity. He asked that Professor Lindemann
should be placed on the Technical Sub-Committee so that they might
work together. For the next five years he mastered every aspect of
scientific air defence. He heard Professor Tizard make his report on radiowave location, which resulted in the setting up of an experimental
organization. In 1939 when the Air Committee held its final meeting
twenty radar stations were in operation between Portsmouth and Scapa
Flow and it was possible to detect aircraft from fifty to one hundred and
twenty miles away flying above ten thousand feet. Winston was also given
free access to the Admiralty and made it his business to acquaint himself
with every detail of the new building programme, and the latest develop-
ments in guns, armour and explosives. Thus when he became Prime
Minister he had more knowledge of the technicalities of sea and air
defence than any other statesman called to lead a nation in war.

Winston’s persistent and lonely efforts to save his country from war for
nearly ten years, unsupported by any single political party in the House of
Commons, are without parallel in English history. Many politicians have
opposed the Government but they have usually had the backing of a Party. Winston stood alone. In 1920 an anonymous writer in the Daily News had written prophetically:
“Politics for Winston Churchill, if they are to fulfil his promise, must be a religion. They must have nothing to do with Winston Churchill. They must have everything to do with the salvation of mankind.”

Winston had found his cause; and no one would argue today that it was not concerned with the salvation of mankind.

The year 1937 was one of the most painful of Winston Churchill’s life. His influence had fallen to zero, partly because of his attitude over the Abdication Crisis, partly because Hitler and Mussolini remained quiet and people began to feel that perhaps there would not be a war after all. Winston Churchill’s stock remained at low ebb throughout the early months of 1938, and it was at this period that a journalist first met him. His son, Randolph, took her to Chartwell House one day for lunch, when Winston Churchill was down by the pond, in a torn coat and a battered hat, prodding the water with a stick, looking for his pet goldfish which seemed to have disappeared. He was in an expansive mood and at lunch the conversation centered, as it usually did, on politics. He expressed his fear that England would refuse to show her hand until it was not only too late to avoid war, but too late to hope to even win a war.

As he talked one could not help being struck by the restless energy and the deep frustration of the man. In spite of his writing, his weekly contributions to
the press, his long and masterly speeches in the Commons, one was aware that only a quarter of his resources were being used, and you felt that he was like a mighty torrent trying to burst its dams.

The sense of frustration was not difficult to understand.

Shortly after this luncheon, people heard him speak in the House of Commons, on the 24th of March, 1938, two weeks after the German invasion of Austria. As they looked down from the gallery on the sea of black coats and white faces, Winston seemed only one man of many; but when he spoke his words rang through the House with terrible finality. He stood addressing the Speaker, his shoulders hunched, his head thrust forward, his hands in his waistcoat pockets, and he just started:
“For five years I have talked to this House on these matters not with very great success. I have watched this famous island descending incontinently, fecklessly, the stairway which leads to a dark gulf. It is a fine broad stairway at the beginning, but after a bit the carpet ends. A little farther on there are only flagstones, and a little farther on still these break beneath your feet. Look back over the last five years. It is true that great mistakes were made in the years immediately after the war. But at Locarno we laid the foundations from which a great forward movement could have been made. Look back upon the last five years since, that is to say, Germany began to rearm in earnest and openly to seek revenge. If we study the history of Rome and Carthage we can understand what happened and why. It is not difficult to form an intelligent view about the
three Punic Wars; but if mortal catastrophe should overtake the British Nation and the British Empire, historians a thousand years hence will still be baffled by the mystery of our affairs. They will never understand how it was that a victorious nation, with everything in hand, suffered themselves to be brought low, and to cast away all that they had gained by measureless sacrifice and absolute victory gone with the wind.”

“Now the victors are vanquished, and those who threw down their arms in the field and sued for an armistice are striding on to world mastery. That is the position that is the terrible transformation that has taken place bit by bit. I rejoice to hear from the Prime Minister that a further supreme effort is to be made to place us in a position of security.”

“Now is the time at last to rouse the nation. Perhaps it is the last time it can
be roused with a chance of preventing war, or with a chance of coming
through to victory should our efforts to prevent war fail. We should lay
aside every hindrance and endeavour by uniting the whole force and spirit
of our people to raise again a great British nation standing up before all
the world; for such a nation, rising in its ancient vigour, can even at this
hour save civilization.”

When Winston Churchill sat down there was a deep silence for a moment, and then the show was over… The House broke into a hubbub of noise. Members rattled their papers and shuffled their way to the lobby. A prominent Conservative leader talking to a friend, was asked what he thought of the speech he replied lightly: “Oh, the usual Churchillian filibuster; he likes to rattle the long curved saber, and he does it jolly well, but you always have to take it with a grain of salt.” This was the general attitude of the House of Commons in those days. Many years later Churchill wrote: “I had to be very careful not to lose my poise in the great discussions and debates which crowded upon us. I had to control my feelings and appear serene, indifferent, detached. In view of the circumstances, this was no small feat in itself.”

Unlike Stanley Baldwin, Neville Chamberlain had a positive policy. This policy was completely contrary to Winston’s belief in the balance of power, and to the age-old formula which Britain had always followed in refusing to allow any single Power to dominate the Continent of Europe. Chamberlain believed that Britain and Germany could come to a peaceful understanding about spheres of interest. In short, Chamberlain thought along the lines of the simplistic philosophy that tottered around the day: “Let Germany extend her influence on the Continent, let Britain look to her Navy and her Empire.”

Chamberlain had not been in office long before he set about putting these ill-fated theories into practice. He forgave the Nazi invasion of Austria and journeyed to Italy to try and establish friendly relations with Mussolini. This brought about the resignation of Anthony Eden, whose heart was in the right place, but who had never had the moral strength to dissociate himself from Baldwin’s vacillating and fascism appeasing policies, that had allowed Hitler to occupy a score of countries unopposed.

Then came Munich.

Chamberlain flew to Germany three times, and returned home with the famous agreement which gave Czechoslovakia’s Sudetenland to the Germans. When Chamberlain waved that piece of toilet paper to the people upon his arrival back in London, Winston cried foul and attacked the Appeasers of the German Tyrant saying first that this agreement was worth it’s weight as toilet paper and then he spoke more circumspectly and respectfully in the Hose of Commons by saying this: “One pound was demanded at the pistol point. When it was given, two pounds were demanded at the pistol point. Finally the Dictator consented to take all the rest of the gold, in promise of goodwill for the future.”

But Chamberlain enunciated his belief that it was “peace with honor” and what is more “peace in our time” and the whole world acclaimed him as a saviour. Never before, had Chamberlain, been so popular. But this alternative dream made up of fake news, was not to last for very long. Only six months after Munich, and after a solemn declaration from Hitler that he had no “evil intentions towards Czechoslovakia” the German army moved into Prague. At last the scales fell away from the blind eyes of the British leader; and the British public, and at last they all saw what Germany meant as regular business. From that moment on, the policy of appeasement was over, and England and France quickly signed a guarantee for Poland’s defense and territorial integrity.

“By this time, though — the German military, navy, and air force, had every form of military superiority against all the rest of the major powers. The British could never catch up.” This is the story Winston played up on “The Gathering Storm.”

At this point Winston Churchill regarded war as inevitable. There was only one faint hope left, and that was an alliance with Russia. Although Winston had been the Soviet Union’s most hostile critic during the twenties, he welcomed Russia’s entry into the League of Nations in 1934, for he saw it as added reinforcement to the balance of power. A few months before the Munich Agreement he spoke out plainly, describing her as: “a country whose form of government I detest, but how improvidently foolish we should be when dangers are so great, to put needless barriers in the way of the general associations of the great Russian mass with resistance to an act of Nazi aggression.”

After Munich he spoke again, begging Chamberlain to accept the Soviet offer of a Triple Alliance which would bind Great Britain, France and Russia in a guarantee for the safety of the states in Central and Eastern Europe.

But Poland feared Russia as much as Germany, and asked for help from England. But Mr Chamberlain hesitated and didn’t want to offend his new friend the Socialist Mr Hitler, and thus the alliance with Poland was never established. Instead, in the summer of 1939 Hitler outsmarted the old willy Albion, and made a nifty deal with Stalin to carve up neutral Poland n two, amongst themselves.

The secret deal held, and Hitler unsuspecting Poland and annihilated it, same as Stalin did on his half of the Polish corpse of a country.

The systematic murder of all the Polish leadership and intelligentsia numbering in the hundreds of thousands of people — burst upon the world as the Soviet-German Pact.

The English lion slept fitfully…

Germany’s hands were now free for other business.

In September the second World War began.

 

To be continued:

Posted by: Dr Pano Kroko Churchill | September 16, 2017

What would Winston Churchill Do? (Chapter 41)

Winston Churchill, ever since he was a little child, had always believed in his own special Destiny to achieve great things. And he was indeed grateful for that chance to participate in Life’s great sacred rights.

In his faith it was said that he was living faithfully, always seeking to be in a state of Grace, and it was his bible reading each and every night, that helped him do that easily. Jesus the Jewish revolutionary Rabbi, was his savior, but also the bedrock of his courage, and the secret inspiration for his life’s exploits…

Because he somehow felt certain, that he had been placed upon God’s green Earth, in order to carry out some serious and critical purpose for the maintenance of humanity and for Western Christian Civilization. That is the extraordinary part of his belief that sprang from his Christian faith, and also from the special awareness of the Kingly blood that flowed in his veins, and the Marlborough lineage, but also his own throbbing ambition coupled with the famed Churchill energy, and the supreme confidence in his innate leadership skills, and executive abilities.

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And for all that, is why people saw him as fearless, courageous, and righteous. Because all three things were second nature for him, he didn’t give it a second thought as the regular Winston was acting out and living truly the way that felt natural to him. And today, we are all recipients of this extraordinary nature, that brought him forward to fight and win the battle for the Christian Western Civilization, and that is why this American Churchill writes this book. Not as a memory, but as a “Memento Mori” from someone who lived life as a guided mission for an understanding heart, and nothing more.

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Winston’s belief in his infallibility, also stemmed from his Invictus nature, amply justified because, as a young soldier, he had narrowly escaped death multiple times as all those around him were felled. Indeed, he never dwelt on these experiences, except when he recalled them for friends speaking of these exploits with fascination and awe, and always explaining them this way: “These hazards swoop on me out of a cloudless sky, and that I have hitherto come unscathed through them, while it fills my heart with thankfulness to God for His mercies, it also makes me wonder, why I must be so often thrust to the brink and then withdrawn.”

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Long after he had written these lines, he had many other close escapes from destruction, from intentional assassination attempts from the enemies of his country and cause, or from plain acts of war when he served in the battle field — something that he dod all his Life in one form or another, for Winston was a fighter above all else. As an example we might recall that as a child he fell in a comma after a serious fall over a bridge, and he was not expected to survive, and yet he came out of it alive and well, after three days. And also when he was a tiny tot, he fell in deep icy water in the Blenheim’s frozen pond, during a sustained Oxfordshire snowstorm. He fell, while he was playing at ice-skating, and the thin ice broke, and little Winston fell through. He was somehow saved from drowning in the frozen pond, but the details are murky. He was saved in the Afghanistan campaign of Malakand by grace, when he was surrounded by the famously blood thirsty murderous Pashtuns, who had just slain his commanding officer and he had taken control. Yet without any bullets left in his pistol — he somehow survived, escaped, and also saved his fellow soldiers from that ambush. Another time, he was clearly saved by divine will, during the Cavalry charge at Odurman in Sudan, when his brother soldiers on both right and left of him were cut down. And he was also rather providentially saved, in the nick of time, when during the first World War inside the Somme trench warfare at ‘Plugstreet’ his ‘dugout’ was blown up by a German shell, scoring a direct hit on Winston’s clothes and kit — barely a minute after he had left it. Or as he was saved, due to providence again, when his aeroplane crashed, and he managed to crawl out from the ruin, and walked away with minor scratches. Or when he had a collision with a New York taxi that run him over, while he was looking the wrong way as he was trying to cross the 5th Avenue to find his friend Baruch’s building, and he survived after the requisite hospital stay and the convalescence period, that did him a world of good.

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Later he survived a dozen assassination attempts by the Nazis to dispatch him and another dozen by the Communists. And famously enough, he also survived a joint assassination attempt that was carried against him by a joint effort between the retreating German Nazis and the advancing Soviet Communists that tried to blow up the Hotel “Grand Bretagne” he was staying in newly liberated Athens Greece, where he was negotiating a Peace Accord for this small country’s return to democracy after the Nazi occupation, famine, and privations by both Nazis and Communists splitting the country in a vicious Un-Civil War. He survived that too… after the tons of German dynamite were discovered minutes before their detonation was effected.

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Apparently, all of these near misses, the rewarding risks, his recurrent escapes, and the life saving mishaps, simply confirmed his faith, and further fostered his courage, now that he knew his life was being guarded from above. Surely the reason was that some great labor was expected of him. He assumed that was something that he needed to perform in his public role.

Yet in 1931 that specific role was hard to see.

As it turns out, at this time most pundits, politicians, and journalistic observers, regarded his career as totally finished. They all pointed to his independent and reckless nature that had led him into fierce disagreements with his last remaining colleagues, from both major parties. As a matter of fact, he had quarrelled with all three parties and their leaders so vehemently that he was now, the most hated man in the English parliament.

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The Conservatives had reluctantly forgiven him once, and now that their misgivings had been realized anew, they were not likely to forgive him again. The liberal Party was dead. And the Labour Party was beyond the pale, and still smarting after going for Winston’s hide in earnest.

So what was a man to do? Where was the famous Winston resilience? Where is the next lily pad for this little frog to jump to? Where is the future for this glow-worm?

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These questions must have bedeviled Churchill as he prayed at night for guidance, when he consulted his Bible and pondered the special passages that he marked with scraps of colored paper. Yet it is curious that in 1931, at the very moment when his path was blocked, and his political career had apparently ended in a quagmire, from which there seemed to be no rescue — his fortunes were, in fact at least moving on the upward swing, which was to carry him to world fame. Except himself, didn’t know that, nor did anyone else could have foreseen. The change was not discernible to the public eye, or even to that of the trained observers, because the initial turn of events did not stem from his efforts as a statesman, but from his other activities as a painter, a writer, and an overall creative yet scientifically accurate and imaginative author.

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Because aside form painting his large canvases, back in 1931, he had began writing the life of the first Duke of Marlborough, General John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough, 1st Prince of Mindelheim, 1st Count of the English Realm, John Churchill, the son of Sir Winston Churchill (1620–1688) member of the English Parliament House of Commons, a gentleman from Glanvilles Wootton in Dorset, and his wife Elizabeth Drake. For Winston this work was save for the Soul, because the carefully focused and sustained mental effort, and the thoughtful inspiration which he poured into this literary masterpiece, with its stories of tyranny’s domination and the honorable battle that brought about the ultimate salvation — was so strangely and strikingly intertwined and parallel to the unknown story that lay ahead and that was soon to unfold in all it’s majestic glory. In mu mind, it was indeed, this magnificent work of understanding the pure battle between Good and Evil, that informed and prepared Winston for the leadership of Britain in the second World War, and for the eventual liberation of Humanity for the forces of darkness and malice.

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Indeed he drew great stores of divine inspiration, and mental comfort from this monumental and heroic work of historical significance, but most importantly he learned lessons in strategy and diplomacy form his long dead yet brilliant ancestor. Lessons that he put to use immediately in the fight to save his people when all other leaders had given up the battle as lost and wanted to sue for terms under Hitler. Yet Winston would choose to stand up like another John Churchill, and ride “buck naked” all alone, towards salvation, knowing fully well, that in the end, he will be rewarded through Grace’s steady hand…

Talking about divine interference, and intervention, is easy when you see that ever since Winston was a child he had read and devoured everything he could lay his hands on about his great ancestor, John Churchill. Here was a tale that contained every element of drama; the story of the unknown youth who rose from obscurity to become one of the greatest generals of all time and who saved his country and half Europe from the tyranny of Louis XIV; the handsome youth who fascinated the King’s mistress; the penniless youth who became the richest man in Europe; the sought-after youth who loved his wife passionately for fifty years; the ambitious youth who not only won every battle he ever fought but by his brilliant diplomacy virtually became the political master of England. There was nothing missing.

Love, danger, intrigue, bloody battles & all out war, revolution, and counterrevolution — all threaded their way through this astonishing life.

It is small wonder that Winston was tempted to write the thrilling record. There were masses of papers at Blenheim Palace filed away in cardboard cabinets and carefully docketed, containing valuable information that had never been published. Yet there was something that had always stopped him from writing the story. Marlborough’s name had come down through history not only as a hero but also as a terrific villain. He obviously had rendered great services to England but his deeds were darkened by accusations of corruption, and unforgivable treachery.

Marlborough had risen to power through the favour of James the Second. But when he saw that James was determined to turn England into a Catholic country and make himself an absolute monarch, Churchill deserted him, and was instrumental in placing William of Orange on the throne. James fled to France. Six years later, when William organized an attack against the French Fleet at Brest, Marlborough, it is alleged, wrote a letter to James, known as the Cabaret Bay Letter, in order that the French might be informed of the impending operation. Some historians attributed this act to Marlborough’s desire to re-establish himself with the Jacobites in case James one day was restored to the English throne. Others claim that Marlborough’s wish was to see the English commander fail so that he himself might receive promotion. Whatever the motive an act of this nature was vile and unforgivable. Winston till that time had refused to write about John Churchill’s life.

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However, one day he visited his father’s old friend, Lord Rosebery, who urged him to take up the task, and here is the account he gives of the conversation. “Surely,” said Rosebery: “you must write Duke John, because he was a tremendous fellow.” I said that I had from my childhood read everything I came across about him, but that Macaulay’s story of the betrayal of the expedition against Brest was an obstacle I could not face. The aged and crippled statesman arose from the luncheon table, and, with great difficulty but sure knowledge, made his way along the passage of the Durdans to the exact nook in his capacious working library where “Pagefs Examen” reposed. “There,” he said, taking down this unknown, out-of-print masterpiece, “is the answer to Macaulay.”

“Pagefs Examen” proved conclusively that Marlborough’s letter betraying the Brest Expedition was written only after he knew that it had been betrayed already, and could do no harm. Winston’s strict code of military honor was still not appeased; nevertheless, it gave him the heart to start the book. But as his research proceeded he discovered that the letter Marlborough was accused of having written did not, in fact, exist. Only an alleged copy of the letter had been preserved. Winston was able to prove to the satisfaction of most historians that this copy was a forgery.

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Soon Winston was more engrossed in his book “Life of Marlborough” than in anything he had ever written before. He had always had strong sentimental attachments to Blenheim, the massive Palace that had been built for John Churchill, the Duke of Marlborough, in recognition of his services, for not only had Winston been born there, but he had also proposed to his wife there. Once he remarked to a friend: “At Blenheim I took two very important decisions. To be born and to marry. I am happily content with the decisions I took on both occasions.”

Now he flung himself into the task of clearing his ancestor’s name with passionate concern. He singled out Lord Macaulay, the great historian, as the villain of the piece. Macaulay was only one of many historians who had painted John Winston Churchill’s character in black lines, but whereas the others were no longer widely read, Macaulay’s wonderful sense of drama and lucid, flowing prose still commanded a large segment of the public’s perception and belief.

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Besides, Winston felt a sense of personal grievance against Macaulay. As a
boy he had been under the spell of the master; he had read and re-read his
History of England, his essays, and had even learned by heart a great portion of The Lays of Ancient Rome. Macaulay had taught him more about style and construction than anyone else and now to come to the conclusion that the historian had deliberately sacrificed the truth, at the expense of a Churchill, to make his story more dramatic, roused Winston to real anger.

Throughout the first two volumes of ‘Marlborough’ Winston conducts a duel with Macaulay in the wings. He flings up the historian’s remarks and attempts to show that his interpretation was wholly false. “Unhappily, Macaulay had written, ‘the splendid qualities of John Churchill were mingled with alloy of the most sordid kind. Some propensities which in youth are singularly ungraceful, began very early to show themselves in him. He was thrifty in his very vices, and levied ample contributions on ladies enriched by the spoils of more liberal lovers. He was, during a short time, the object of the violent but fickle fondness of the Duchess of Cleveland. Barbara Palmer, 1st Duchess of Cleveland lived from the 27th of November 1640 – to the 9th of October 1709, and she was also known by her marital title as Countess of Castlemaine. She was the quintessential English Royal Mistress, Barbara was the most notorious of the many mistresses of King Charles II of England, with whom she had five children, all of whom were eventually acknowledged and subsequently ennobled. Her influence was so great that she has been referred to as “The Uncrowned Queen” by her contemporaries.
Barbara was the subject of many portraits, in particular by court painter Sir Peter Lely. Her extravagance, foul temper and promiscuity provoked diarist John Evelyn into describing her as the “curse of the nation” whereas Samuel Pepys often noted seeing her, admiringly.

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But with this lovely lady, our Hero’s hero, John Churchill, the Duke of Marlborough, was almost caught “in flagrante delicto” because on one occasion he was in ‘ardour amour’ entwined with the Royal Concubine in her great bedchamber, and was startled by the sudden arrival of the King.
It was then that John Churchill showed his instinctive Gallantry to protect a “Damsel in distress” as he forced himself to leap out of the window of her second story bedroom, buck naked, as King Charles walked through her boudoir to her bedroom. John Churchill managed to survive the naked high jump, with his manhood untrampled, and still nude got on a horse and rode off, and thus made good his escape. This appears to be a daring escape in a similar way that his great great grandson many years later, made his own escape from the Boers by jumping down from the roof of his internment camp toilets — albeit with his clothes still on.

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This was to be a source of merriment for the drinks session because many times over the years Winston used to recount this story as he joked privately in a rather coarse tone, amongst male friends in the club or at the tea room, when full of guffaws, would start by saying: “That this story he was going to share was politically incorrect for his age and time, let alone for his gentlemanly sensibilities, and yet there’s got to be something with the Churchills jumping the ladies, and jumping from the ladies.”

Often times, he intimated that it was his special trait to be able to survive both feats: “Jumping into the fire and jumping out of the fire.”

“Still the story ended well for our gallant Lover, John Churchill, who was destined to become the Duke of Marlborough, because the grateful Royal Concubine rewarded his hazardous feat of gallantry, his secrecy, and without a doubt his “stud” services, with a present of 5,000 Sterlings. Rewarded with this vast sum, the prudent young hero instantly went and bought himself an annuity of 500 a year, that was secured well on landed property.
And John Churchill invested wisely and thus was rich before long. Already his private drawers contained heaps of broad gold and silver pieces, which, fifty years later, when he was a Duke, a Prince of the Empire, and the richest subject in Europe — remained untouched.” This is how Winston presented his predecessor, in his book ‘The History of Marlborough’ by Winston S. Churchill…

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But history was not so kind to him as his lovers were, and it was here that the historian Macaulay returned to attack John Churchill harping on this theme again and again by writing that: “He subsisted upon the infamous wages bestowed upon him by the Duchess of Cleveland. He was insatiable of riches. He was one of the few who have in the bloom of youth loved lucre, more than wine, or women, and who have, at the height of greatness, loved lucre, more than power, or fame. All the precious gifts which nature had lavished upon him he valued chiefly for what they would fetch. At twenty he made money of his beauty and his vigour; at sixty he made money of his genius and his glory.”

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So many years later, when Winston tackled these imputations against John Winston Churchill’s character — he held a strong card in his hand: “The fact that Churchill had married a penniless girl.” “He was handsome and sought after. He could have won a great heiress; indeed, his family had their eye on one and urged him to consider improving his fortunes by doing so. Instead he married the hot-tempered, fascinating Sarah Jennings who had neither money nor property; and their marriage became one of the great love stories of the age.”

Winston did not only tilt his lance at the historical Macaulay, but he delivered a formidable frontal attack against Macaulay’s literary descendant, Professor Trevelyan, whose faithful, fair, and deeply informed writings are establishing a new view of these times and the men who made them, has offered the best defence in his power for the historical malversations of his great great uncle.
Winston Churchill says in effect that Macaulay, with his sense of the dramatic, vilified Marlborough’s early life in order by contrast to make the glories of his great period stand out more vividly. He had completed the black background, but died before he could paint upon it “the scarlet coat and flashing eye of the victor of Blenheim.”

“We need not reject this apologia nor the confession which it implies. But what a way to write history. On this showing the best that can be provided Lord Macaulay stands convicted of deliberately falsifying facts and making the most revolting accusations upon evidence which he knew, and in other connections even admitted, was worthless, for the purpose of bringing more startling contrasts and colour into his imaginative picture and of making the crowds gape at it.”

“Macaulay’s life-work lay in the region of words, and few have been finer word spinners. Marlborough’s life is only known by his deeds. The comparison is unequal, because words are easy and many, while great deeds are difficult and rare. But there is no treachery or misconduct of which Macaulay’s malice has accused Marlborough in the field of action which is not equalled, were it true, by his own behaviour in this domain of history and letters over which he has sought to reign. It is beyond our hopes to overtake Lord Macaulay. The grandeur and sweep of his storytelling style carries him swiftly along, and with every generation he enters new fields. We can only hope that Truth will follow swiftly enough to fasten the label “liar” to his genteel coat-tails as seen in the History of England, written by noted historian Lord Macaulay.”

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The attack on Macaulay drew a letter of protest from Professor Trevelyan which was published in The Times Literary Supplement on 19th of October, 1933. An extract reads as follows: “I have stated elsewhere that I think Macaulay was wrong in his reading of Marlborough. Indeed, I think it is the worst thing in his History, and I have no wonder that Winston Churchill’s family piety has aroused him to take revenge. All the same, he has no right to call Macaulay a “liar.” A “liar” is not a man who misreads another man’s character, however badly, or who sometimes accepts inadequate evidence; if that were so, almost all historians would be “liars”. A “liar” is a man who makes a statement that he knows to be false. Now, the facts that Macaulay states, barring the Cabaret letter, are not very different from Winston Churchill’s facts.

“Winston Churchill admits that he took for patron the man who kept his sister; that he himself took money from his own mistress, and invested it well; that he deserted James while high in his military service; that he afterwards corresponded with the Jacobites. I agree with Winston Churchill that his desertion of James was in the circumstances commendable, and the other three actions by the standards of the times not unpardonable. But there is a surface case against Marlborough, and many people in his own day thought ill of him. A historian who, before the days of our modern research, was deceived by these phenomena into thinking Marlborough a bad man was not necessarily dishonest.”

Winston’s attack on Macaulay was only one small aspect of his biography. It constituted the stepping stones by which he led Marlborough to the summit from which, he believed, posterity should view him. But the importance of the work lies not only in his central figure but in the skill with which he brings alive all the leading characters of the time. Sarah Jennings, Godolphin, Prince Eugene, Queen Anne, Bolingbroke, and many others walk confidently through his pages and their complicated relations with one another, developed with a true touch of genius, reveal a century of tumultuous history which slowly unrolls before the reader’s fascinated gaze. As a history it is as dramatic as Lord Macaulay’s own, written in the same grandly flowing prose.

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As a literary work it is on the same colossal scale as Tolstoy’s War and Peace and handled with such technical brilliance that one can admire it as an artistic achievement even though the characters are limited to a framework of fact.

Yet what makes the Life of Marlborough truly distinctive is the feeling that no professional historian could have written it. The story of Marlborough is the story of a struggle for power. Sometimes the struggle was in ruling circles in England, sometimes on the battlefields, sometimes at a foreign court, but throughout the book it is a strong and constant clash.

This subject, the essence of history, had always interested Winston more than any other. He had spent many months of his life studying its causes and effects and he had witnessed it at first-hand in the years preceding the Great War and in the war itself. Besides, his long experience in Parliament had given him special knowledge of the rivalries and emotions, of the jostling for position behind the scenes, and he drew upon his rich knowledge in interpreting the characters and the actions of a bygone day. His chapter on the Camaret Bay Letter is a masterpiece of evidence and argument that could only have been written by a man who understood every current of political life.

Altogether, the biography was deeply satisfying. It gave Winston the opportunity to vindicate his ancestor and also the opportunity to study the art of war, an art which had always thrilled and fascinated him. He could write proudly of Marlborough that “he never fought a battle that he did not win, nor besieged a fortress that he did not take.” But even more important than the battles was the glorious cause for which they were fought: the freedom of England and the independence of Europe. Here was a theme to which he responded with all the fire of his innermost being, when writing that: “Europe drew swords in a quarrel which, with one uneasy interlude, was to last for a quarter of a century. Since the duel between Rome and Carthage, there had been no such world war. It involved all the civilized peoples; it extended to every part of the accessible globe; it settled for some time or permanently the real relative wealth and power, and the frontiers of every important European state.”

It is significant to note that Winston Churchill wrote these words in the preface to his first volume, which was published in 1933, the year that Hitler came to power in Germany, and after Winston’s private fact finding tour across Germany, where he discovered the perils of National Socialism, and Hitlerism, in situ.

During the early thirties Marlborough became Winston’s chief preoccupation. Although a National Government which was overwhelmingly Conservative in composition had replaced the Labour Government, in 1931, he was not disappointed in being excluded from its counsels. He had not expected office. Indeed, he had announced publicly that he would not accept a position in a government that pursued a policy over India of which he disapproved, when the controversy was at its height. He took a lively interest in the parliamentary debates, but free of the responsibility of a Ministry he spent long weekends and most of his parliamentary recesses at Chartwell, where he did his work.

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Writing was not the painstaking labour to Winston that it is to most people. When he was a young man of thirty he once addressed the Authors’ Club in London and told his audience that: “No one could set himself to the writing of a page of English composition without feeling a real pleasure in the medium in which he worked, the flexibility and the profoundness of his noble mother tongue. The man who could not say what he had to say in good English, could not have very much to say that was worth listening to at all.”

Winston had the ability to marshal his thoughts rapidly and words came easily. He liked being involved in a major work. He explained further by saying: “Writing a long and substantial book, is like having a friend and companion at your side, to whom you can always turn for comfort and amusement, and whose society becomes more attractive as a new and widening field of interest is lighted in the mind.”

He set about the task of collecting material with characteristic precision.
He employed several scholars to comb the archives and sort through documents at Blenheim, in London and Paris. He also engaged the services of naval and military experts to help him reconstruct the famous campaigns. In the meantime he did an enormous amount of research himself, for he was never prepared to accept the findings of any of his assistants without subjecting them to a searching examination which often developed into a heated, if somewhat one-sided, argument. Besides that, he visited every battlefield on which Marlborough fought, and spent hours studying the composition of the armies until he knew the strategy and tactics as well as Marlborough himself.

He also made one of these expeditions abroad in the summer of 1932, accompanied by his family and Professor Lindemann. They travelled slowly along the line of Marlborough’s celebrated march in 1705 from the Netherlands to the Danube. They spent a day on the battlefield of Blenheim, then drove to Munich where they stayed a week. All these recollections and the linkages from the battle of Blenheim to the losing battles of the Second World War, are detailed in his book, The Gathering Storm.

Winston soon discovered that the Germans were concerned with only one topic and that was the Hitler Movement which was gaining thousands of new recruits every day. He asked many questions about it, and was interested when a lively, talkative young man, who spoke perfect English, came up to him at the Regina Hotel and introduced himself as Herr Hanfstaengl, and talked enthusiastically about the Fuhrer. Winston invited him to dinner, and the young man amused the company quite a lot, during that evening, by playing the piano and urging everyone to sing the old familiar songs. In the course of the dinner celebrations in Munich, Winston learned that Herr Hanfstaengl, was on intimate terms with Herr Hitler, the Fuhrer, and often entertained him in a similar manner.

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Astonishingly, during the course of the evening, Herr Hanfstaengl, also suggested that Winston Churchill should meet the Fuhrer who, he said, came to this very hotel every day at five. In order to mask his intelligence gathering intention of this journey, Churchill masked his true purpose by writing that: “I had no national prejudices against Hitler at this time. I knew little of his doctrine or record and nothing of his character. I admire men who stand up for their country in defeat, even though I am on the other side. He had a perfect right to be a patriotic German. I had always wanted England, Germany and France to be friends. However, in the course of conversation with Herr Hanfstaengl, I happened to say: “Why is your chief so violent about the Jews? I can quite understand being angry with Jews who have done wrong, or are against the country, and I understand resisting them if they try to monopolize power in any walk of life; but what is the sense of being against a man simply because of his birth origin?”

“How can any man help how he is born?”

“He must have repeated this to Hitler, because about noon the next day he came round with a rather serious air, and said that the appointment he had made for me to meet Hitler could not take place, as the Fuhrer would not be coming to the hotel that afternoon. This was the last I saw of “Putzi” for such was his pet name although we stayed several more days at the hotel.”

“And thus Hitler lost his only chance of meeting me. Later on, when he was all-powerful, I was to receive several invitations from him. But by that time a lot had happened, and I excused myself.”

It was at this point that the struggle for Europe in Marlborough’s time began to identify itself in Winston’s mind with the new struggle that seemed to be emerging in his own day. He returned to Britain with deep apprehensions. The resurgence of a martial spirit which Winston Churchill had witnessed in Germany, offered a sharp and disturbing contrast to the pacifist mood that gripped England. This is what Winston described brilliantly in his book about that period, the Gathering Storm…

Factually in 1932 Britain was still in the throes of an economic depression largely caused by the American crash of 1929. The unemployment figures touched
the three million mark and were the worst in the nation’s history. This, people said, was the price of the war. First came the slaughter and the suffering, then came the dislocation, the strikes, the poverty and the hardship. Whatever happened, there must never be another war. And since the pacifists seemed to have the only solution for making war impossible, the English public became overwhelmingly in favour of disarmament. This fitted in nicely with the Government’s financial predicament; the Exchequer was strained to its utmost limits, and Baldwin was only too glad to back a policy which had almost become a necessity.

Disarmament as a deterrent to war was a sound proposition if all nations agreed to play the same game, but disarmament by some and rearmament by others was bound to fail. Winston’s intensive study of the struggle for power had not convinced him that human nature had altered much. He could understand the feeling of revulsion of the victors against war that had caused so much dislocation to their agreeable way of life. He could also understand the feelings of the vanquished, smarting under the humiliation of defeat, and determined to redress their grievances.

Churchill believed that Germany’s grievances should be removed, but he did not think it wise to make concessions through weakness. In Germany he had heard whispers of “British decadence” and had not failed to notice how much bolder the German demands were becoming as German strength increased. Shortly after Winston returned from Munich in the summer of 1932, Germany flatly demanded the right to rearm. The Times of London, regarded the proposition favourably and spoke of “the timely redress of inequality” but Winston warned members of the House of Commons not to delude themselves, by alerting them to the facts saying:
“Do not let His Majesty’s Government believe, that all that Germany is asking for is equal status. That is not what Germany is seeking. All these bands of sturdy Teutonic youths, through the streets and roads of Germany, with the light of desire in their eyes to suffer for the Fatherland, are not looking for status. They are looking for weapons, and, when they have the weapons, believe me they will then ask for the return of their lost territories and lost colonies, and when the demand is made, it cannot fail to shake and possibly shatter to their foundations every one of the countries I have mentioned. The removal of the just grievances of the vanquished ought to precede the disarmament of the victors. To bring about anything like equality of armaments between the vanquished and the victor nations, if it were in our power to do so, which it happily is not, while those grievances remain un-redressed, would be almost to appoint the day for another European war to fix it as though it were a prize fight. It would be far safer to re-open questions like those of the Danzig Corridor and Transylvania, with all their delicacy and difficulty, in cold blood and in a calm atmosphere and while the victor nations still have ample superiority, than to wait and drift on, inch by inch and stage by stage, until once again vast combinations, equally matched, confront each other face to face.”

Two months after Winston’s speech, in January 1933, Hitler came to power. But the British Government took notice neither of Churchill nor Hitler. In March “The MacDonald Plan” was put forward urging further disarmament upon the French. Winston attacked it with all his force: “Thank God for the French Army” he declared to the disgust of a large section of the House. “When we read about Germany, when we watch with surprise and distress the tumultuous insurgence of ferocity and war spirit, the pitiless ill-treatment of minorities, the denial of the normal protections of a civilized society to large numbers of individuals solely on the ground of race when we see that occurring in one of the most gifted, learned, scientific and formidable nations in the world, one cannot help
feeling glad that the fierce passions that are raging in Germany have not found, as yet, any other oudet but upon Germans. At a moment like this, to ask France to halve her army while Germany doubles hers, to ask France to halve her air force while the German air force remains whatever it is, is a proposal likely to be considered by the French Government, at present, as unseasonable.”

The French Government agreed with Winston Churchill, and refused to reduce the size of their army. Instead they offered to destroy a large part of their heavy artillery. Hitler’s answer to this concession, which he regarded as purely insufficient, was not only to quit the Disarmament Conference, but to leave the League of Nations as well. This, said the pacifists, was the logical consequence of France’s refusal to co-operate. The strength of this view was revealed a fortnight later when a by-election was fought at East Fulham. A safe Conservative seat was lost to a pacifist by a ten thousand majority.

Winston watched these manifestations uneasily. He had no faith in disarmament. He believed that the only way to prevent war was through strength. He recognized the new Germany of Hitler as a potential aggressor and he knew that Britain’s duty must be to oppose the unlawful expansion of her power. He had a firm belief in the simple, old-fashioned formula which Britain had always followed, based on the maintenance of the Balance of Power. In writing his life of Marlborough he had reflected deeply on this principle, and reaffirmed his faith in it. In a speech to the Conservative Members Committee on Foreign Affairs in March 1936 he
outlined his conception clearly and simply; and since this conception has
always determined his attitude, and still determines it Today, it is perhaps
worthwhile to print in part what he said:

“For four hundred years the foreign policy of England has been to oppose the strongest, most aggressive, most dominating Power on the Continent, and particularly to prevent the Low Countries falling into the hands of such a Power. Viewed in the light of history, these four centuries of consistent purpose amid so many changes of names and facts, of circumstances and conditions, must rank as one of the most remarkable episodes which the records of any race, nation, state, or people can show. Moreover, on all occasions England took the more difficult course. Faced by Philip II of Spain, against Louis XIV under William in and Marlborough, against Napoleon, against William of Germany, it would have been easy and must have been very tempting to join with the stronger and share the fruits of his conquest. However, we always took the harder course, joined with the less strong Powers, made a combination among them, and thus defeated and frustrated the Continental military tyrant whoever he was, whatever nation he led. Thus we preserved the liberties of Europe, protected the growth of its vivacious and varied society, and emerged after
four terrible centuries with an ever-growing fame and widening Empire, and with the Low Countries safely protected in their independence. Here is the wonderful unconscious tradition of British foreign policy. All our thoughts rest in that tradition Today. I know of nothing which has occurred to alter or weaken the justice, wisdom, valour, and prudence upon which our ancestors acted.”

Winston was convinced that the next war would be largely decided in the air, and uppermost in his mind was the thought of the swiftly growing German air force that could cause the utmost destruction — as he prophetically stated. Indeed at this time, the chief disadvantage of being out of office, and far out of the cabinet, was the fact that Winston had no official information to support his contentions.

However, he was determined not to allow this difficulty to dip his wings, and at once set about creating an intelligence service of his own. He began to build up contacts both abroad and at home. He had close friends and colleagues, at all the Intelligence services, and also at naval Intelligence, and also at Whitehall, and the War Office, and also inside the Foreign Office who now all became frequent visitors to the Chartwell house, for working lunches, or for dinner conversation followed by late night study, or for walks & talks in the Kent valley. He also renewed acquaintanceships in Ministerial circles in France, and cultivated the German exiles, and thus began to establish new lines of communication with dissidents and with the friends of Bonhoffer and the von der Schulenburg family, in Berlin and throughout Germany. He gladly received any newspaper correspondent who he thought could tell him anything, and opened the doors of his house to all the Germans who disliked the Hitler socialist totalitarian regime, as much as he did.

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In those days, Chartwell House, became a smaller version of the Foreign Office of its own, with its constant stream of visitors supplying information, working out statistics, doing research, and analyzing current events, through searching arguments and careful discussions. On an average day, you could see Churchill conversing with simple Jewish or political refugees from Nazi Germany, ex-Parliamentarians, and as time went on, escapees, and ex-political leaders from Austria and Czechoslovakia — all made their way to Winston’s Kentish home. But probably the most important member of this “inner circle” of Winston’s information and intelligence networks, was Frederick Lindemann, the Professor of Experimental Philosophy at Oxford, who had accompanied him abroad on his summer trip to Munich and Germany to observe and study the German Socialist movement and it’s leader Hitler and his cohorts. Indeed Lindemann spent countless weekends at Chartwell House, in compiling statistics and advising Churchill on the latest technical and scientific developments which covered many fields, including radar, military airplanes, and self powered projected missiles. The two men often sat up discussing these subjects until two or three o’clock in the morning wee hours.

Winston’s intelligence service was so thorough and well informed, that soon they were supplying him with very valuable information, which made his speeches to the House of Commons, singular and rather important events. He stressed the point that although Germany had been forbidden a military air force under the Versailles Treaty he learned that her large civil aviation force and her national glider dubs had been organized and designed so that they could be expanded instantaneously for war. He warned the House that Britain was only the fifth air power in Europe while the Germans, “those very gifted people, with their science and with their factories, with what they call their “Air Sport”, are capable of developing with great rapidity a most powerful air force for all purposes, offensive and defensive, within a very short period of time.”

Eight months later Winston had precise information on which to base his arguments. He immediately told the House of Commons this: “First, I assert that Germany already, at this moment, has a MILITARY AIR FORCE, that is to say, military airplane squadrons, with the necessary ground services, and the necessary reserves of trained personnel and material, which only awaits an order to assemble in full open combination; and that this illegal air force is rapidly approaching equality with our own.”
“Second, by this time next year, if Germany executes her existing programme without acceleration, and if we execute our existing programme on the basis which now lies before us without slowing down, and carry out the increases announced to Parliament in July last, the German military air force will this time next year be in fact at least as strong as our own, and it may be even stronger.”
“Third, on the same basis that is to say, both sides continuing with their
existing programmes as at present arranged by the end of 1936, that is, one year farther on, and two years from now the German military air force will be nearly fifty per cent stronger, and in 1937 nearly double. All this is on the assumption, as I say, that there is no acceleration on the part of Germany, and no slowing-down on our part.”

The House was startled by this information, but Mr Baldwin allayed its fears by categorically denying Winston’s figures saying: “It is not the case that Germany is rapidly approaching equality with us. Germany’s real strength is not fifty per cent of our strength in Europe. As for the position this time next year, we estimate that we shall have a margin in Europe alone, of nearly fifty per cent.”

However, it soon became apparent that Winston Churchill’s private intelligence was far better than the official channels, on which the Government relied. In March 1935 the German Chancellor stated openly that the German Air Force had achieved parity with the British. And in May of the same year Stanley Baldwin was forced to make an astonishing retraction to the House: “Where I was wrong was in my estimate of the future. There I was completely wrong. We were completely misled on that subject.”

“I will repeat here that there is no occasion, in my view, in what we are
doing, for panic.’ ‘But I will say this deliberately, with all the knowledge I
have of the situation, that I would not remain for one moment in any
Government which took less determined steps than we are taking today.
I think it is only due to say that there has been a great deal of criticism,
both in the press and verbally, about the Air Ministry as though they were
responsible for possibly an inadequate programme, for not having gone
ahead faster, and for many other things. I only want to repeat that what-
ever responsibility there may be and we are perfectly ready to meet
criticisms that responsibility is not that of any single Minister; it is the
responsibility of the Government as a whole, and we are all responsible,
and we are all to blame.”

Strangely enough, “Mr Baldwin’s Confession” as Winston soon dubbed it, did not have an adverse effect on his popularity. If anything, his popularity slightly increased, for the British public was deeply impressed by his honesty.

They liked a man who could admit he was wrong.

Winston had the dazzle and the eloquence, but Stanley Baldwin was the man you could rely upon.

At the General Election a few months later they showed their confidence by returning him with a handsome majority.

 

To be continued:

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