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Finest Hour 162
In This Issue:
- Arts: A Provenance-Rich Churchill Painting
- Churchill Proceedings - “Fearful Colonials” or Smart Ones? - Canada Between the British and American Empires
- The Churchill Centre Twenty Years On
- Books, Arts & Curiosities - Real Reason for Dieppe?
- Books, Arts & Curiosities - The Debate in the Air
- Books, Arts & Curiosities - Another “Operation Hope Not”
- Books, Arts & Curiosities - Churchill’s South Africa
- Books, Arts & Curiosities - Matters of Interpretation
- Books, Arts & Curiosities - Medical History of the Supreme Survivor
- Inside the Journals
- History Detectives - When Churchill Kissed the Blarney Stone
- Action This Day - Spring 1889, 1914, 1939, 1964
- “In Harmonious Relation with the Great Verities”
- “Making the Impossible Possible”
- Wit and Wisdom - TRUE MEN—AND WOMEN
- The Rt Hon Nicholas Soames MP
- “It Was a Great Hour to Live” - Churchill Returns to the Capitol: The Inside Story
- “This Guide Is Called Honour” - WINSTON S. CHURCHILL ON MUNICH IN 1948
- Munich Timeline
- Regime Change, 1938: Did Chamberlain “Miss the Bus”?
- “NOT SINCE THE LOSS OF THE AMERICAN COLONIES...”
- Munich and Its Alternative: The Case for Resistance
- Munich in Retrospect: Was It Better to Fight in 1938?
- Riddles, Mysteries, Enigmas
- As Others Saw Him - In the Wake of Munich
- Nuremberg? Forget It
- Memorials - Piazzale Winston Churchill
- Datelines - Official Biography Reaches Volume 25 - Hillsdale College Press Publishes Testing Times, 1942
- Around & About
- Despatch Box
Finest Hour 162, Spring 2014Page 39
HRH THE PRINCE OF WALES
AS NOTED BY ALLEN PACKWOOD WITH THE APPROVAL OF CLARENCE HOUSE
His Royal Highness began by declaring “how deeply touched, honoured, and, at this point, humbled” he felt by the Award, and by describing the Oscar Nemon bust with which he had been presented as, “without doubt one of the best sixty-fifth birthday presents I could have been given.”
“The extraordinary thing about getting older,” he continued, “is that suddenly you are presented with a chance to reminisce. Most of our lives when younger consist of sitting listening to older people.” As an historian he had been particularly fascinated in hearing them and asking questions.
His fond memories of Sir Winston go back to seeing him when Churchill had come to visit The Queen at Clarence House “when I was very small….I remember him vividly in the hall, with a large cigar, when he was putting on his coat and hat to go out.” He also remembered Churchill at Balmoral in the early Fifties. The tradition then was for the netting of very small trout, each year in August in Loch Muick, and everyone would take part. Sir Winston was sitting on a boulder with Lady Churchill; he picked up an enormous log and declared that he was “waiting for the Loch Muick monster”! A cine film taken by HM The Queen had reminded him of this, and of how annoying he must have been to Sir Winston at the age of five.
Finest Hour 162, Spring 2014
By Lee Pollock
Mr. Pollock is TCC Executive Director.
PHOTOS BY SCAVONE PHOTOGRAPHY
“AS LONG AS WE HAVE FAITH IN OUR CAUSE AND AN UNCONQUERABLE WILL-POWER, SALVATION WILL NOT BE DENIED US. IN THE WORDS OF THE PSALMIST, ‘HE SHALL NOT BE AFRAID OF EVIL TIDINGS; HIS HEART IS FIXED, TRUSTING IN THE LORD’....STILL I AVOW MY HOPE AND FAITH, SURE AND INVIOLATE, THAT IN THE DAYS TO COME THE BRITISH AND AMERICAN PEOPLES WILL FOR THEIR OWN SAFETY AND FOR THE GOOD OF ALL WALK TOGETHER SIDE BY SIDE IN MAJESTY, IN JUSTICE AND IN PEACE.”
—WSC, U.S. CAPITOL, 26 DECEMBER 1941
December 2011 marked the 70th anniversary of Churchill’s first speech to Congress, only three weeks after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Churchill had come to Washington to coordinate with President Roosevelt the now-combined war effort. At a joint session of Congress, December 26th, he received a rousing welcome, winning over even former critics with his roar of defiance at the enemy, driving them to their feet when he exclaimed, “What kind of a people do they think we are?”
Finest Hour 162, Spring 2014Page 38
By Sir John Major
REMARKS DURING PRESENTATION OF THE SIR WINSTON CHURCHILL AWARD BY THE CHURCHILL CENTRE (UK), IN RECOGNITION OF OUTSTANDING CONTRIBUTIONS TO BRITISH PUBLIC LIFE, LONDON, 19 NOVEMBER 2013.
The Sir Winston Churchill Award is a tough measure. Sir Winston is probably—some would say certainly— the greatest Englishman in our long history. Great not just because of his achievements, but because of his capacity to hold his course when, as almost a lone voice, he was criticised, only to be proved right in the end.
Our recipient tonight has, over the years, faced his own criticism, his own setbacks, yet held firm to his own beliefs. That is the first of many reasons he is worthy of this award.
Let me touch on some of the qualities that make me say that. First, I think that he and Sir Winston are driven by the same sense of obligation and public duty. Churchill served in Parliament for over sixty years, and held most of the principal Offices of State. His record may never be equalled.
Finest Hour 162, Spring 2014Page 19
Winston S. Churchill to Paul Reynaud
French Minister of Finance, later Prime Minister
(Churchill papers: 2/332)
Published by Sir Martin Gilbert in 1982, this poignant letter reveals WSC’s depth of despair.
10 October 1938
I feel deeply concerned about the position of France, and about our own course. I cannot see what foreign policy is now open to the French Republic. No minor State will risk its future upon the guarantee of France. I am indulging in no pretensions upon our own account. You have been infected by our weakness, without being fortified by our strength.
Finest Hour 162, Spring 2014Page 30
For some years it seemed that the question whether Britain and France were wise or foolish in the Munich episode would become a matter of long historical controversy. However, the revelations which have been made from German sources and particularly at the Nuremberg Trials, have rendered this unlikely. (218)
The Soviet Proffer
[In March 1938 the Russians] wished to discuss, if only in outline, ways and means of implementing the Franco-Soviet pact within the frame of League action in the event of a major threat to peace by Germany. This met with little warmth in Paris and London. The French Government was distracted by other preoccupations. There were serious strikes in the aircraft factories. Franco’s armies were driving deep into the territory of Communist Spain. Chamberlain was both sceptical and depressed. He profoundly disagreed with my interpretation of the dangers ahead and the means of combating them. I had been urging the prospects of a Franco-British-Russian alliance as the only hope of checking the Nazi onrush....the Prime Minister expressed his mood in a letter to his sister on March 20: “The plan of the ‘Grand Alliance,’ as Winston calls it, had occurred to me long before he mentioned it....You have only to look at the map to see that nothing that France or we could do could possibly save Czechoslovakia.”...Here was at any rate a decision. It was taken on wrong arguments.
Finest Hour 162, Spring 2014Page 40
By Michael McMenamin
125 YEARS AGO
Spring 1889 • Age 14
“I like to have you all to myself”
J.E.C. Welldon, Winston’s Harrow head master, wrote to Lord ---Randolph in April to advise that he would be taking Winston into his own house during the next term “He has some great gifts, and is, I think, making progress in his work.” Welldon encouraged Lord and Lady Randolph to visit the school in May or June: “You would have, if nothing else, at least the opportunity of seeing what Winston’s school life is like.”
Winston continued constantly and fruitlessly to importune his parents to visit. In June he wrote to his mother: “Do do come down tomorrow. I would be disappointed if you did not come. I am looking forward to tomorrow tremendously.”
Finest Hour 162, Spring 2014Page 7
Politico says: “Senator Ted Cruz is, to paraphrase Winston Churchill’s quip about Secretary of State John Foster Dulles, a bull who carries a china shop with him.” Cruz instituted a 21-hour-long speech in an attempt to stop the Affordable Care Act, a kamikaze remindful of Churchill’s vain attempt to salvage Edward VIII in 1936. Both acts deserved top marks for fortitude and zero for strategy, but Churchill was more decorous. Cruz compared Senator Harry Reid to the Hitler appeasers, while Reid pleasantly referred to Cruz as a terrorist. Cruz’s grass roots cheered, continued Politico: “They are desperate for gumption and imagination and, above all, fight.” Fight is fine, but Churchill retained his sense of humor and collegiality.
The San Francisco 49ers played a U.S. football game on 27 October in Wembley Stadium, London, where coach Jim Harbaugh said he used Churchill’s words to inspire his team. This is a team tradition: former Niners athletic coach Johnny Parker spoke about inspiring football players with Churchill at our 1995 Boston conference. Churchill is “my favorite figure of all time,” Harbaugh said. “As the decades go on, the world appreciates his leadership, his character, the titanium in his spine, the iron will of Winston Churchill.” The Niners beat Jacksonville 28-0. —Charles Montgomery on Churchillchat.
Finest Hour 162, Spring 2014Page 64
By Richard C. Marsh
“The Cathedral, Hackwood Park,” 1930s, from the Estate of Mrs. T.S. Eliot
Widely admired for its brilliant use of light and color, “The Cathedral, Hackwood Park,” was sold as lot #379 at a Christie’s London auction on November 20th, 2013. The seller was the Estate of Valerie Eliot, widow of T.S. Eliot. The selling price including buyer’s premium was £362,500 ($584,350).
The provenance is impressive, extending beyond T.S. Eliot. Churchill painted this arboreal scene at Hackwood House, Hampshire, the home of his friend Lord Camrose after 1935. The house was earlier leased by Lord Curzon. Camrose, owner of The Daily Telegraph and a good friend of the Churchills, led the postwar drive to raise the money to purchase and endow Chartwell, so the Churchills could live out their lives there, whence it passed to the National Trust. “The Cathedral, Hackwood Park” was a gift from Churchill to Camrose, and remained in that family until sold by the estate of the Second Viscount Camrose at Christie’s in June 1999. Valerie Eliot, the purchaser, spent £41,100 including buyer’s premium, equivalent to $68,340 at the time.
Finest Hour 162, Spring 2014Page 15
Compiled By Editors
What to Do?, 5 October
LONDON—A meeting at Brendan Bracken's house to decide what we are going to do. Are we to vote against the government or are we to abstain? We agree that the effect of our action would depend upon its joint character. It would be a pity if some of us voted against, and some abstained. It would be far more effective (since there is little hope of many voting against), if we all abstained. Winston says he refuses to abstain, since that would mean that he half agreed with Government policy. We decide that we must all do what we think best. [Thirty abstained, including WSC.]
—HAROLD NICOLSON, MP (DIARY)
Winston Not, 5 October
LONDON—The reconstruction of the Government is urgent. I do not believe that there is any basis of a working agreement between Winston and ourselves. But as to Anthony [Eden], I would get him back if and when you can. —Samuel Hoare, Home Secretary
Weaker Brethren, 9 October
LONDON— I had to fight all the time against the defection of weaker brethren and Winston was carrying on a regular campaign against me…. I tried occasionally to take an antidote to the poison gas by reading a few of the countless letters and telegrams which continued to pour in expressing in most moving accents the writers’ heartfelt relief and gratitude. All the world seemed to be full of my praises except the House of Commons....
—Neville Chamberlain, Prime Minister
Ought to Be interned, 11 October
NEW DELHI—Why, when there is a crisis, does Mr. Winston Churchill go to 10 Downing Street? Is he invited? I have got the greatest possible admiration for Mr. Churchill's Parliamentary powers, and his artistic powers, but I have always felt that in a crisis he is one of the first people who ought to be interned.
—Lord Zetland, Secretary of State for India
Beautiful Speech, 23 October
NEW DELHI—What a beautiful speech that was of Winston’s....Lady Astor's interpellations singularly inept! It must surely be true that those countries will, one after another, be drawn into this vast system of power politics....[Many] dread the power of Nazi Germany and of our becoming dependent upon their good will and pleasure. I can “arise again and take our stand for freedom as in the olden time.” Grand words...coming as they do from Winston—I never shall understand why we can't have him in the Government.
—P.J. Grigg, Chairman, Inland revenue
The Last Seven Years, 26 October
TIDWORTH, WILTS.— The Government are blaming their failure to rearm in public on the Labour Party and in private on Lord Baldwin.…Neither are blameless, Baldwin more probably more culpable than any other individual BUT the big 4 [Chamberlain, Hoare, Halifax, Simon] have all held high office in British Cabinet for at least a year longer than Hitler has been Chancellor. Three of them date back to '31 and Halifax to '32....From every point of view I'm sure it is advisable to shift criticism from the events of September to those of the last 7 years.
—Randolph Churchill, Army Officer
Idiocy and Stupidity, 6 November
WEIMAR— Mr. Churchill has declared openly that in his opinion the present regime in Germany should be abolished in cooperation with internal German forces who would put themselves gratefully at his disposal for the purpose. If Mr. Churchill had less to do with emigres, that is to say exiled foreign paid traitors, and more to do with Germans, then he would see the whole idiocy and stupidity of what he says. I can only assure this gentleman that there is in Germany no such power as could set itself against the present regime.
—Adolf Hitler, Chancellor and Führer
Churchill replied: “I am surprised that the head of a great State should set himself to attack British Members of Parliament, who hold no official position, and who are not even the leaders of parties…. Since he has been good enough to give me his advice I venture to return the compliment. Herr Hitler also showed himself unduly sensitive about suggestions that there may be other opinions in Germany besides his own. It would be indeed astonishing if among eighty millions of people so varying in origin, creed, interest and condition, there should be only one pattern of thought. It would not be natural. It is incredible. That he has the power, and alas the will, to suppress all inconvenient opinions is no doubt true. It would be much wiser to relax a little, and not try to frighten people out of their wits for expressing honest doubts and divergences.
Warmongers, 13 November
LONDON— There is a deliberate German campaign to represent Anthony Eden, Winston, etc as warmongers so as to debar their return to power, as it is felt in Germany that they are the only people who understand the danger and would be able to rouse this country to take appropriate action.
—Oliver Harvey, Diplomat
From: Sir Martin Gilbert, The Churchill Documents, vol. 13 (Hillsdale College Press).
Finest Hour 162, Spring 2014Page 49
By David Freeman
Operation Unthinkable: The Third World War. British Plans to Attack the Soviet Empire 1945, by Jonathan Walker. History Press, 192 pages, $27.95, Kindle edition $13.99, member price $22.35.
As the Second World War in Europe wound down in the spring of 1945, Prime -Minister Churchill became deeply concerned by reports he received about the disappearance of Polish leaders and members of the Polish resistance under Soviet occupation. Grimly aware that defending Polish independence had been Britain's stated purpose for declaring war in 1939, Churchill commissioned the Chiefs of Staff in April 1945 to draw up a most desperate scheme. The Chiefs of Staff duly commissioned a detailed plan from the Joint Planning Staff (JPS), which reported in May. Since no successful test of an atomic weapon had yet taken place, the operation outlined a large-scale conventional war that would attempt to secure a Polish nation free from Soviet control.
Although once a close-guarded secret, Britain’s plans for a possible war with the Soviet Union, “Operation Unthinkable,” were long ago declassified. Jonathan Walker, though, is the first historian to give the subject a thorough going over, relating as he does the origins, details of and ultimate fate of the plan.