This programme was produced by the BBC World Service to commemorate the centenary of Churchill's birth. Interviews from a variety of sources reveal Churchill's complex and fascinating nature. Contributors include Anthony Eden, Lord Boothby, Lady Astor and the painter Paul Maze, Churchill's friend, who describes him as a 'true artist'.
"It is difficult to remove a bad General at the height of a campaign: it is atrocious to remove a good General."
--Winston S. Churchill, 1942
What can we learn by comparing President Obama's dismissal of General McChrystal to Churchill's dismissals of Generals Wavell and Auchinleck, two distinguished commanders in World War II? I hope it will not be another reminder of how standards of conduct have deteriorated.
Differences first. Churchill's generals were removed for not sufficiently opposing Irwin Rommel's Afrika Korps. McChrystal was not underperforming, and his situation bears more resemblance to that of General Douglas MacArthur, the Korean commander relieved in 1951 by President Truman for insubordination.
Young Winston Churchill – A True Friend of our People
Comment of the Chuchill Centre: Finest Hour is publishing tributes to the late Winston Churchill, grandson of Sir Winston, in our summer 2010 issue. We missed this interesting op-ed in the Jerusalem Post. By ZALMI UNSDORFER
With the passing of the great wartime leader's grandson, both Israel and the Jewish people lost an outspoken supporter.
JERUSALEM, 06 April 2010 (The Jerusalem Post) - With the death last month of Winston Churchill, grandson of the great wartime leader, both Israel and the Jewish people lost a good friend and an outspoken supporter.
I was privileged to meet him in a business capacity, and remember very clearly the afternoon he welcomed me into his London home. "I am just taking leave of the children for Christmas," he said, beckoning me into the sitting room. "If you wouldn't mind waiting a few moments."
The memory is so very clear because there on the wall, from floor to high ceiling, was this stunning life-sized oil painting of his grandfather.
CAMBRIDGE, England, 17 June 2010 (New York Times) - Historians have called it one of the greatest speeches ever delivered in English, and surely one of the greatest ever delivered by an Englishman, at a moment of national peril unparalleled in modern times.
Seventy years ago, on June 18, 1940, Winston Churchill, barely six weeks in office as Britain's prime minister and confronted with the threat of invasion from Nazi-occupied France, rose in the House of Commons and, in 36 minutes of soaring oratory, sought to rally his countrymen with what has gone down in history as his "finest hour" speech.
The speech - ending with the words "Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that if the British empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, ‘This was their finest hour' " - has resonated ever since. On both sides of the Atlantic and beyond, it has been hailed as the moment when Britain found the resolve to fight on after the fall of France, and ultimately, in alliance with American and Russian military might, to vanquish the German armies that had overrun most of Europe.
Churchill Name for Military Base Opposed, 100 Years On
Comment of the Churchill Centre: This article starts quoting the long-ago-exploded myth that Churchill sent the army against striking miners at Tonypandy in 1910, but goes on to vindicate him of the charge, and is quite accurate with the actual facts. You will also find comments regarding Tonypandy here in Finest Hour 35. LLANMAES, 12 June 2010 (BBC) - A decision to name part of a military base in the Vale of Glamorgan after Winston Churchill has been criticised by a community council.
Llanmaes council say it is wrong to name the St Athan site in honour of the wartime prime minister because he sent troops to intervene in a south Wales miners' dispute in 1910.
The strike led to violent outbreaks known as the Tonypandy riots.
The Ministry of Defence (MoD) plans to name St Athan's West Camp Churchill Lines.
The West Camp will be a separate base for the 1st Battalion, the Parachute Regiment, outside the area occupied by the huge Defence Technical College development planned for the rest of the site.
Simon Wiesenthal Center Premiers Winston Churchill: Walking With Destiny at U.S. Embassy London
On May 10, 2010 the U.S. Embassy London held the European premier of Winston Churchill: Walking With Destiny. Funding for the film was provided by the Simon Wiesenthal Center and the U.S. Department of State's Office of Holocaust Issues. Ambassador and Mrs. Susman hosted the event alongside the Founder and Dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, Rabbi Marvin Hier. The night celebrated the 70th anniversary of Winston Churchill accepting the role of Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.
HIGHWORTH, 26 May 2010 (Swindon Advertiser) - LYING just outside of Highworth, this palatial mansion kept one of the country's most closely-guarded secrets during World War Two.
Thousands of men were trained at Coleshill House during the 1940s to form the backbone of a British resistance movement in the event that Hitler's Nazis had successfully invaded the UK.
Now, thanks to a Heritage Lottery Fund grant of nearly £28,000, more people will have the chance to learn about the Auxiliary Unit, whose headquarters were at Coleshill House, which was destroyed in a fire shortly after the war.
The National Trust now manages and cares for the grounds where the Auxiliers received guerrilla training in survival skills, weaponry and sabotage techniques.
Comment by the Churchill Centre: This long article is right on the facts concerning Churcill and the causes of his electoral defeat in 1945; whether you buy the author's 2010 is of course up to you.
By Andrew B. Wilson
May 2010 (The American Spectator) - Talk about a swift reversal in fortune. Consider how quickly British Prime Minister Winston Churchill went from winning a war to losing the peace. On V-E Day -- May 8, 1945, the day after the surrender of Nazi Germany -- Churchill stood on a balcony overlooking London's Parliament Square and addressed a great, cheer
ing sea of humanity. When he told the people, "This is your victory," they roared back: "No, it's yours!" A little less than two months later, the British people went to the polls...and voted him out of office.
Just like that, the British prime minister went from basking in the glow of public adulation to staring at election results that showed an overwhelming lack of support for his continued leadership.
Comment by the Churchill Centre: Recently on BBC Radio 4, antiquarian book dealer Rick Gekoski told the story of the Sutherland portrait of Churchill, commissioned as a triubte on WSC's 80th birthday in 1954. Gekoski said it was destroyed after WSC death by his wife because she hated it so much. Photographs taken before its demise show the Prime Minister hunched with age and dark in mood. A detailed study by the artist for the destroyed painting still hangs in the National Portrait Gallery.
Gekoski asked if the rights of an owner override those of the public, and if the Churchills had the moral right to destroy it. What were Sutherland's personal feelings toward Churchill? It looks like the sort of painting you'd do of someone you didn't like very well.
Churchill's Deadly Decision: Destroying the French Fleet
Comment from the Churchill Centre: While there are several rather inflammatory lines in this presentation, it does present Churchill's dilemma in this heart-wrenching decision to attack his former French allies, certainly not one that he took lightly. At the end there is speculation that Admiral Darlan would have scuttled the French fleet before allowing it to get into the German hands (as he told Churchill he would do)−but experience with French governments during the previous two months did not encourage Churchill to accept everything on face value. The contributions Churchill Centre advisers Martin Gilbert and Warren Kimball are particularly useful to this discussion.
Steve Forbes to Sell $1.5 Million Winston Churchill Memorabilia
By Scott Reyburn
LONDON, May 4 (Bloomberg) -- Steve Forbes, chief executive of Forbes Inc., is selling his collection of items associated with former British leader Winston Churchill at auctions in London and New York.
The Churchill memorabilia will be offered by Forbes, 62, in three parts at Christie's International. The first sale, expected to raise 1 million pounds ($1.5 million), will be held in the U.K. capital on June 2, the London-based auction house said today in an e-mailed statement.
"My father liked to observe that nothing is forever, including collections," said Forbes in the foreword to the auction catalog. "Since my immediate family doesn't share this passion of mine, it seemed fitting and proper to let others have the opportunity and thrill of putting their own collections together, an activity that I enjoyed for some three decades."
Among the 150 lots of letters, books and photographs on offer in the June sale will be the wartime Prime Minister's engagement diary, detailing Churchill's appointments from September 1939 to June 1945. The document, kept by private secretaries, notes the start of the Battle of Britain and meetings with President Roosevelt, Charles de Gaulle and Stalin. It is expected to fetch as much as 120,000 pounds.
Irish Documentary asks if Brendan Bracken was Churchill’s Son
Comment by the Churchill Centre: The idea that Churchill's longtime disciple and wartime Minister of Information was Churchill's illegitimate son made for amusing chit-chat in London clubs during the 1920s and 1930s, but Churchill never took it seriously. When his wife brought the rumor to his attention, WSC remarked with a grin: "I've looked up the matter, but the dates don't coincide." This film correctly dismisses the charges. New Irish Documentary Investigates ‘Churchill's Secret Son..?'
Independent production company Marbella Productions are currently finishing work on ‘Brendan Bracken - Churchill's Secret Son..?' The history documentary co-produced by RTÉ examines the life of Irish man Brendan Bracken, Winston Churchill's right hand man and explores the possibility of a biological connection between the two men.
IFTN spoke with producer Adrian Bracken about making his production debut at 60, casting the young Winston Churchill and his own possible links to the documentary's subject matter.
Due to be broadcast on RTÉ One in November 2010, the 60 minute HD documentary, ‘Brendan Bracken - Churchill's Secret Son..?' is currently in post production at Marbella Productions in Spain. Produced and presented by Adrian Bracken (actor, In Sickness and in Health, Tom's Midnight Garden), the documentary is a personal journey to uncover the story of a man who went to great lengths to hide his tracks, including having all of his personal papers incinerated when he died.
As one of the most written about figures in history, it remains as a testament to his legacy that there is still so much to say about Winston Churchill.
Max Hastings' Finest Years seeks to paint a picture of Churchill than many of us won't recognise, exploring the highs and lows of his premiership - and the qualities which made him both a flawed and great leader.
Describing Churchill as the ‘greatest actor on the world stage' - Max explains that he believes that had he not been for Churchill, the allied forces would not have been victorious in WWII.
Rock band "States of Emotion," the sons of sunny Essex.
A SINGLE called Fight Them On The Beaches sampling extracts of Sir Winston Churchill's legendary call to arms - it sounds the sort of thing that gives Iron Maiden a bad name in certain PC circles.
But in fact it was the download calling card of States Of Emotion, an Essex quartet who count the likes of U2, Coldplay, Kasabian and The Verve among their anthemic-rock inspirations.
And reaction to that radio exposure, coupled with some glowing reviews of last year's festival appearances at Glastonbury, The Great Escape and Offset, has catapulted them into the ‘ones to watch' list for this summer.