Winston Churchill was well represented at the 2017 National History Day finals in Washington, D. C. last month in the form of a paper by Dante DiMartino-Hart, who just completed the 8th grade at Mystic Middle School in Connecticut. Dante’s paper, entitled “Winston Churchill Taking a Stand Against Nazi Germany,” won the junior paper division at the state level earning him a trip to present his research in the nation’s capital as well as visit the National Churchill Library and Center.
The theme for this year’s National History Day competition was “Taking a Stand in History.” Dante could not have made a better choice than to examine Winston Churchill’s actions in 1940 when the British Empire and Commonwealth stood alone against Nazi Germany.
“I first started to get interested in history when I was in the second grade,” Dante, a 13-year-old, said. “My dad has a degree in history, and my mom is a historian—she’s the director of the Smith-Harris House in East Lyme.”
“There were some ‘blood, toil, tears, and sweat’ that went into the paper,” Dante’s mother Joanie told the Churchill Bulletin. “I like to joke that Winston would come to dinner on Sundays—we would brainstorm possible sources, where he could look, and—being historians ourselves—asked him repeatedly ‘How can you prove it? Where can a source be found to support the claim? Where else can we help you look?’ all while we ate!”
As part of his research, Dante consulted the websites of both the International Churchill Society and the National Churchill Museum in Fulton, Missouri. He also did a telephone interview with the museum’s director Timothy Riley.
After attending the National History Day finals, Dante visited the National Churchill Library and Center, where he was given a guided tour by Executive Director Michael F. Bishop and allowed to examine up close Churchill’s wartime appointments diary and other primary documents (see above). As they were leaving, Dante told his mother, “That was incredible!”
While Dante’s paper did not win at the national level, the International Churchill Society is impressed with it enough to post it HERE on our website.
Dante is now looking forward to attending the 2017 International Churchill Conference in New York City this October.