Finest Hour 117

REMEMBER WINSTON CHURCHILL

Finest Hour 117, Winter 2002-03

Page 47


Will future generations remember?
Will the ideas you cherish now be sustained then?
Will someone articulate your principles?
Who will guide your grandchildren, and your country? There is an answer.

And now is the time!
In 2003—at last—The Churchill Centre establishes its permanent office in Washington, D.C., with a salaried executive director, who will integrate everything we do in the most logical place to do it: the nation’s capital. Now we have a vital permanent infrastructure, heretofore maintained by devoted but widely-spread volunteers.

Four people in particular—about whom you will hear shortly—have made much of this possible.
Will you give us the tools, so that we can finish the job?
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Question Time – PRIME MINISTER’S QUESTIONS

Finest Hour 117, Winter 2002-03

Page 46

Edited and annotated by Paul H. Courtenay


Question Time is that period in the Parliamentary week where Members are allowed to ask the Prime Minister any question, governed only by decorum and the judgment of the Speaker as to whether they are genuinely asking questions or (commonly) giving a speech. Churchill was a master of Question Time, as Mr. Courtenay demonstrates.

Fish and Chips

Mr. Hector Hughes (Lab.), 17 June 1954: “Will the Prime Minister reconsider his refusal to separate the Ministry of Agriculture from the Ministry of Fisheries?” WSC: “It would not, I feel, be a good arrangement to have a separate Department for every industry of national importance…. after all, there are many ancient links between fish and chips.”

China Card

On 30 September 1942 a Member asked whether, in view of the visit to China of a Parliamentary deputation, both Houses of Parliament should pass a resolution of sympathy and goodwill to China. WSC: “The suggestion was carefully considered. It was felt, however, that as the Lord Chancellor and the Speaker had been asked to select the personnel of the delegation it would be appropriate if the delegation were supplied with a joint letter signed by the Lord Chancellor and the Speaker….I think we should not in any way depart from precedent in entrusting our representations in these matters to the highest authorities….”
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“KEEPING THE MEMORY GREEN AND THE RECORD ACCURATE” – LEADING CHURCHILL MYTHS – (6) “Lord Randolph Churchill Died of Syphilis”

Finest Hour 117, Winter 2002-03

Page 44

By JOHN H. MATHER, M.D.


The death of Lord Randolph Churchill at age 45 cast a pall over his early fame, and the notion that the cause was syphilis is one of the most enduring myths of the Churchill saga. In fact, his main symptoms are more consistent with a less titillating but far more logical diagnosis. It is not possible to say with certainty what killed Lord Randolph; but it is no longer possible to say he died of syphilis.

Even as a young man, his health had been unreliable. He was a heavy smoker and a hard worker, with a frenetic energy that led to exhaustion, followed by periods of fatigue and melancholia. He fell seriously ill with exhaustion in 1890; the following year he experienced an episode of severe confusion, which suggests acute high blood pressure. In mid-1893 the family physician, Dr. Robson Roose, told a distraught Jennie that a heart condition had been cured. But around this time, Randolph began to have speaking difficulties, associated with hearing and balance problems.

Over the next two years until his death in 1895, he complained of dizziness, palpitations, and intermittent numbness in his hands and feet. He died in a coma, with pneumonia and, probably, kidney failure. Many of his biographers, including his son (in conversation, not in print), attributed his deterioration and death to syphilis.
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Arts – Churchilliana: Sarah Churchill’s “Visual Philosophy of Sir Winston Churchill”

Finest Hour 117, Winter 2002-03

Page 40

FROM THE JAFFA COLLECTION AT HILLSDALE COLLEGE

Occasionally you see these fine intaglio prints: but have you ever seen them all?


In the 1970s, Sarah Churchill published commercially a series of intaglio drawings by Curtis Hooper entitled, “A Visual Philosophy of Sir Winston Churchill.” Except for one based on a sketch of her father by Sarah, each was composed from famous photographs, selected by Sarah to portray the great impulses of her father’s life. The publisher was Graphic House in New Jersey, USA, and the venture was apparently successful. Artist Hooper went so far as to claim that Graphic House insured his hands for $1 million during the project.

Each print was assigned a particular Churchill quotation and was signed by Sarah in pencil. They came in two sizes: normal page size and a larger format (22 1/2 x 34 1/2″). Each large format print was a limited edition of 400, numbered as well as signed, with a debossed Churchill coat of arms and the assigned quotation.

Few if any full collections exist. We have heard estimates of over twenty prints and we know of two that are not shown here: the aforementioned Sarah sketch and a print based on a photo of WSC painting in France in 1939 (see FH 109, page 49). The Jaffa Collection is one of the most complete collections known, including many we had never laid eyes on before. As we placed them in position for this article, we were struck by the sensitivity of Sarah Churchill in choosing themes and imagery so appropriate to her father, from his early interests in war and air, through his famous friendships, his finest hour, and his declining years amidst the new threats of the nuclear age.
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Individuals Do Make a Difference

Finest Hour 117, Winter 2002-03

Page 38

By David Freeman

Churchill’s Military Histories: A Rhetorical Study by Algius Valiunas, Rowman and Littlefield, 196 pp. $35, member price $28
Churchill’s Cold War: The Politics of Personal Diplomacy, by Klaus Larres, Yale University Press, 592 pp. $40, member price $30


Winston Churchill was a believer in the “Great Man” theory of history: that individuals make a difference. The proof was his performances in World War II and its Cold War aftermath, which are treated here in two heavily academic works.

Given Algis Valiunas’s title, Churchill’s Military Histories: A Rhetorical Study, it is best to explain that this book is not an evaluation of Churchill’s qualities as a military historian. In the 19th century its title might have been A Study of the Written Rhetoric of Sir Winston Churchill as Exhibited in His Military Histories. But one fact the author neglects to mention is that most of Churchill’s books were military histories. Thus Valiunas takes his place alongside Manfred Weidhorn as an evaluator of Churchill the writer.
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Riddles, Mysteries, Enigmas – Churchill by the Potful

Finest Hour 117, Winter 2002-03

Page 37

By Laurence Geller

The Book of Churchilliana, by Douglas Hall. New Cavendish Books, 196 pp. $45, member price $34


Douglas Hall’s unabashed passion for Churchill shines through every page of this colorful coffee table book, which takes on an ever growing and multi-faceted topic. “Churchilliana,” says the author, is a word coined to describe “a collection of places and objects relating to Winston Churchill.” With this description and the grandeur of the title, he sets himself a monumental task. The title alone will temptingly lure the avid or casual collector of Churchill memorabilia to open its pages hungrily, in eager anticipation of finding the definitive authority.

Indeed this book offers the most comprehensive guide yet to Churchill collectibles which, to quote the author, “range from the sublime to the ridiculous and embrace a glorious assortment of the good, bad and the ugly.” Although well organized in general, it is sometimes hard for the reader to find the narrative which accompanies the excellent myriad photos. While some descriptions are thorough, others are sparse. For example, a page and a half is devoted to WSC’s books, and there is no entry at all for books about him: a difficult subject to treat when whole books have been devoted to it. There is something on medals, but nothing on Churchill’s medals, which many collect.

The decision to include notes on price and value of “ephemera” like the toby jugs, printed items, and commemorative souvenirs which most interest collectors is, as the author says, a difficult one: Prices change, and vary from place to place; yet an ever-increasing audience of collectors needs points of reference. But relatively few of the collectibles shown in the nearly two hundred pages have information to help value a collection, to know what to pay, or where to go for honest advice.
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Books, Arts & Curiosities – War and Shame

Finest Hour 117, Winter 2002-03

Page 36

By Richard M. Langworth

Winston’s War, by Michael Dobbs. HarperCollins, 488 pp. £17.95, member price $28


On April 2nd, 1938, facing a mountain of debt, Churchill placed his beloved country home on the market. A few days later he withdrew it. Brendan Bracken, Churchill’s political disciple, had saved Chartwell by convincing financier Sir Henry Strakosch to manage Churchill’s investments, being responsible for all debts and losses. Strakosch acted to spare Churchill financial distractions during his campaign for British preparedness and a firm line toward Hitler.

For purposes of this novel you are required to believe that the Strakosch rescue never occurred—that Churchill’s finances were still precarious when Neville Chamberlain went to Munich in October 1938; and that Churchill was incensed by Munich because his investments, made in anticipation of war, might not now pay off.

You must further accept that Brendan Bracken, far from safeguarding Churchill’s finances, committed an indiscretion that tipped off Hitler to Britain’s Norwegian assault in April 1940; and that knowing he was responsible caused Bracken to retire into obscurity after the war. Finally you must believe that two civil servants, Sir Horace Wilson and Sir Joseph Ball, were, respectively, Chamberlain’s eminence grise and political assassin, the first dictating the PM’s every move between Munich and the invasion of Poland, the latter going after Chamberlain’s enemies with the tactics of a Mafia chieftain.
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Books, Arts & Curiosities – Don’t Forget Roosevelt

Finest Hour 117, Winter 2002-03

Page 35

By Conrad Black

Churchill: Visionary. Statesman. Historian, by John Lukacs. Yale University Press, 224 pp. $21.95, member price $16


John Lukacs, an original and lively historian, provides some new insights on a heavily travelled subject in this small volume, which he calls an essay. It is a catchment for varied perspectives on Winston Churchill, as visionary, historian, and historical subject. Unfortunately, the author tries to exalt Churchill by denigrating Franklin Roosevelt and Dwight Eisenhower, and trots out what is broadly known as the Yalta Myth.

John Lukacs knows perfectly well that the British voted with the Russians against the Americans to demarcate the borders of the occupation zones in Germany at the European Advisory Commission in 1943. Roosevelt wanted to leave these unspecified because he believed that the Western Allies would advance (as they did) a good deal more quickly against the Germans than the Russians would. Here, Roosevelt was the visionary.

Roosevelt had to cajole Stalin into helping him convince Churchill to agree to a cross-Channel invasion in 1944. Churchill and Alanbrooke thought Stalin was motivated in his support of Roosevelt by a conviction that it would be a fiasco. They were probably mistaken about Stalin but they were far from visionary about Normandy.
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Riddles, Mysteries, Enigmas

Finest Hour 117, Winter 2002-03

Page 34


Q: I have a photo of Churchill bowling at the Roxy Bowling Centre in New York. Any ideas? —Gia Winchester (designrowin@aol.com)

A: Neither we nor the Churchill Archives Centre is certain. It is likely postwar, possibly 1946, but we have no real clue. Can any reader assist?

Q: The return to the gold standard in 1925 is now considered a mistake. But as Churchill said in his 1925 Budget Speech, the U.S., Germany, and many other countries were returning to the gold standard. If Britain had not, wouldn’t that have been a mistake too? Was it a case of short-term pain vs. long-term pain? — Evan Quenon (who also submitted the next two questions).

A: Returning to gold was considered a mistake by trendy economists including their patron, John Maynard Keynes (The Economic Consequences of Mr. Churchill, 1925) but not all economists—Milton Friedman is a notable holdout. FH 115/Summer 2002 (p. 46) contains a chart of dollar-pound values since 1874; it shows that the pound had dipped to $3.66 by 1920 after Britain left the gold standard, but had recovered nearly its Victorian value by 1930, after Churchill put it back on gold. The problem , Friedman and others argued, was that the return to gold was incomplete: Britain failed to make commensurate adjustments in domestic wage, tax and price policy to accommodate the stronger pound’s negative impact on exports…and those failures led to the General Strike and other calamities.
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THE ROAD TO MOROCCO

Finest Hour 117, Winter 2002-03

Page 32

BY HILL RIDDLE

Retracing Churchill’s Footsteps with his Daughter and Granddaughter


Ever since reading Mary Soames’s Winston Churchill: His Life as a Painter, I wanted to see the “Paris of the Sahara” which her father thought “the loveliest place in the world.” Nestled against the precipitous Atlas Mountains, Marrakesh sounded unique and exotic. After reading “I Was Astonished by Morocco,” by Celia Sandys (FH 113) I telephoned her to say I needed a working holiday in Marrakesh, just like her grandfather, and could she show me the way. It is always a working holiday when you follow the footsteps of Winston Churchill.

Celia capably organized a trip which started at Hotel La Mamounia, where Churchill stayed. It was a happy reunion for Churchillian adventurers. Some of us—Fred Sheehan, Ruth Lavine, Jenny and Richard Strieff and this writer—had traveled with Celia and Mary Soames to trace Churchill’s escape route from the Boers on its 100th anniversary in 1999; we were joined at Marrakesh by a score of new Churchillian adventurers.

At Djemma El Fna, the town square, the senses are excited by fragrances, sights, and sounds. It was late in the afternoon when the town folk gathered to socialize, eat, trade and entertain. Snake charmers were showing off their dancing snakes, and some of us posed for photos with monkeys on our shoulders. Our local guide, Absalam, led us through the square and into the shopping area. It was a labyrinth of narrow and crowded streets. In a Berber carpet souk we enjoyed a lecture on Berber carpets and sipped mint tea, amidst a plethora of carpet and interesting decorative objects. The merchants were very aggressive and Craig Horn succumbed to a nice carpet.
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“Churchill and the Intelligence World” – 19th International Churchill Conference, Leesburg, Virginia, 19-22 September 2002

Finest Hour 117, Winter 2002-03

Page 26

BY NIGEL KNOCKER, CONFERENCE CHAIRMAN


The 19th International Churchill Conference was held in the magnificent Lansdowne Resort, in Leesburg, Virginia, on September 19th through 22nd. Over 220 people attended and sixty-one students joined the conference for the last day.

The theme “Churchill and Intelligence,” as Lady Soames said in her letter of welcome, was “a truly fascinating one, and concerns a whole dimension in the panorama of Winston Churchill’s life which has been open to research only relatively recently, for obvious reasons.”

The scene was set by the film, “The Man Who Never Was” amusingly introduced by Max Arthur. Two presentations were given by Sir Martin Gilbert, who covered Churchill’s interest and fascination with intelligence both up to and after 1940. David Stafford and Warren Kimball talked about Roosevelt and Churchill, and were ably supported by Ruth Ive who had been a censor on the transatlantic radio link from 1942 to 1945. Rita Kramer told of the work of the Special Operations Executive, Max Arthur of the role of the SAS and Commandos.

The book discussion was based on the first of Churchill’s war volumes, The Gathering Storm, with James Muller, Richard Langworth, David Stafford and Warren Kimball. The final formal presentation was on “Churchill and the Cold War,” expertly handled by David Jablonsky, David Stafford and John Ramsden. Two interesting visits were made to the new International Spy Museum in Washington and to the Presidential yacht Sequoia.
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FRABJOUS DAYS: CHARTWELL MEMORIES

Finest Hour 117, Winter 2002-03

Page 19

By GRACE HAMBLIN OBE

FIFTH INTERNATIONAL CHURCHILL CONFERENCE THE ADOLPHUS, DALLAS, 30 OCTOBER 1987


Mr. Chairman, Your Excellency, Mrs. Reves, Ladies and Gentlemen. I must first thank my hosts for the wonderful arrangements they’ve made for me, all the comfort and pleasure they’re giving me, and for having me here. And I must thank you all for your generous hospitality and the way in which you greet me. You make me feel as if you’re all my friends and you bring a very warm corner into my heart.

I’ve been told that long ago in the House of Commons, a Member made a terribly long and tedious speech, to which Sir Winston, then Mr. Churchill, was to reply. When he finally rose he said, “I’m so glad the Rt Hon Member for So-and-So has spoken for so long; he badly needs the practice.”

I’ve great sympathy with that Member. This is my very first major speech, and I’m sure it will he my last as I’m edging on to 80. I’m not likely to continue this sort of life. But I’m very much in sympathy with him because I found that it’s very, very easy to ramble on and on, as it were, to tell everything. But to make a short speech concerning what you, yourself find terribly interesting and in which you are very much involved is the most difficult thing on earth. So I decided that I would confine myself to answering the two questions which are put to me most frequently: First, how ever did you become involved with the Great Man? Second, What was he like to work for?
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AS OTHERS SAW HIM – ENGLÄNDER

Finest Hour 117, Winter 2002-03

Page 30

By Rudolf Kircher

“An Abundantly Full Life”: Churchill Through German Eyes Part II: His Book, The World Crisis


In his book on the war, Churchill’s German Admiralty counterpart von Tirpitz says “Those who suggest that Germany’s naval policy was responsible for the war cannot even appeal to the enemy as a witness.” He goes so far as to suggest that the seventeen years of naval construction actually improved the prospects of an acceptable peace with England.

“Is it possible to be further from the truth than this?” is Winston Churchill’s reply. “With every rivet that von Tirpitz drove into his ships of war, he united British opinion throughout wide circles of the most powerful people in every walk of life and in every part of the Empire. The hammers that clanged at Kiel and Wilhelmshaven were forging the coalition of nations by which Germany was to be resisted and finally overthrown.”

Nothing did more to confirm Englishmen in the belief that Germany would use her power to tyrannise over others than the repeated attempts made to persuade England to adopt a neutral attitude in case of a German conflict with France. All the English books on the war, particularly those written by Grey and Churchill, make this indisputably clear. “I would have given up the whole Navy Bill for the sake of a really sound treaty of neutrality,” von Tirpitz says in his account of Read More >

REMEMBERING GRACE HAMBLIN 1908-2002

Finest Hour 117, Winter 2002-03

Page 18

By Richard M. Langworth

“Among innumerable false, unmoved,
Unshaken, unseduced, unterrified;
Her loyalty she kept, her love, her zeal.”


Beloved by all Churchills, and the organizations that bear the name, Churchill Centre honorary member Grace Hamblin died at her home in Westerham, Kent on the morning of Tuesday, 15th October, aged 93. Aware she was ailing, I had just sent her some little thing in the post; Carole Kenwright of Chartwell said it arrived in time, and she was able to read from it to Miss Hamblin for a few minutes.

Grace Hamblin was the longest serving and most loyally devoted of Winston Churchill’s inner circle, arriving at Chartwell in 1932 as an assistant to then-principal private secretary Violet Pearman. She spent virtually her entire career as private secretary, first to Winston and from 1939 to Clementine Churchill. In 1966 she became the first Administrator of Chartwell, serving through 1973. In 1974 she was secretary to the Churchill Centenary Exhibition at Somerset House in London.
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Datelines – RELIVING THE YEARS OF WINSTON CHURCHILL

Finest Hour 117, Winter 2002-03

Page 17

By Gary Garrison


CAMBRIDGE, JULY— The Churchill Years came alive for two exhilarating weeks at Downing College, Cambridge, one of five summer course programs including studies of the Elizabethan Age, Oscar Wilde, British Castles and Cathedrals and British Gardens.

The Churchill course director was Eric Grove, a leading British naval historian who is senior lecturer, Department of Politics and Asian Studies, and deputy director, Centre for Security Studies, at the University of Hull. Through a series of lectures, video clips, discussion and occasional debate, Dr. Grove placed us at Churchill’s side over the entire course of his epic life and stirring times.

Classes consisted of nineteen 90minute lectures and several field trips, the most memorable of which was a private visit to the Churchill Archives Centre at Churchill College. Here we viewed original documents, minutes, papers, and photographs from different periods in Churchill’s life. Almost equal in importance was the Houses of Parliament, arranged by a Cambridge MP: a two-hour journey including both the Lords and Commons. It is difficult to describe one’s feelings standing where Winston Churchill once stood as Prime Minister. Other field trips included Chartwell, the Cabinet War Rooms, and Duxford Imperial War Museum. They were great fun, each supporting the lectures and class discussions.
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The International Churchill Society (ICS), founded in 1968 shortly after Churchill death, is the world’s preeminent member organisation dedicated to preserving the historic legacy of Sir Winston Churchill.

At a time when leadership is challenged at every turn, that legacy looms larger and remains more relevant than ever.