Finest Hour 101

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Wit& Wisdom

Finest Hour 101, Winter 1998-99

Page 51


MDs in the audience may like to tell us whether this note from the American doctor who treated Churchill after his New York City car accident in the winter of 1931-32 is unique in its prescription. (Courtesy Warren Kimball, from the Churchill Archives).

January 26, 1932
This is to certify that the post-accident convalescence of the Hon. Winston S. Churchill necessitates the use of alcoholic spirits especially at meal times. The quantity is naturally indefinite but the minimum requirements would be 250 cubic centimeters.
A/Otto C. Pickhardt, M.D.

I seem to recall a 1929 account of Churchill’s encounter with another American doctor on his lecture tour, who told him he would have to stop smoking cigars to maintain his voice. Indicating a glass containing his usual weak highball, Churchill asked, “What about that?” “That,” said Pickhardt, “must be left to your conscience.” WSC replied, “I think you and I shall get along fine.”
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Finest Hour 101, Winter 1998-99

Page 50

By Curt Zoller (

Test your knowledge! Most questions can be answered in back issues of Finest Hour or other Churchill Center publications, but it’s not really cricket to check. 24 questions appear each issue, answers in the following issue. Questions are in six categories: Contemporaries (C), Literary (L), Miscellaneous (M), Personal (P), Statesmanship (S) and War (W).

913. How many Prime Ministers did John Colville serve? (C)

914. Frederick Woods wrote about “Churchill’s Method of Writing.” Where can you find this piece? (L)

915. How did Churchill compare the American Constitution with the British Socialist Parry? (M)

916. When did Churchill buy Chartwell? (P)

917. At the Casablanca Conference with Churchill and FDR, what key issue was presented by a slip of the tongue? (S)

918. In WSC’s comment on the Polish Fighter Squadron, how many Frenchmen was one Pole worth? (W)
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ABOUT BOOKS – Apposite Aphorisms: The Seven Ages of Man

Finest Hour 101, Winter 1998-99

Page 49

By Douglas J. Hall

In a recent BBC poll for Britons of the Millennium, Shakespeare and Churchill finished first and second (see Datelines, page 6). Darrell Holley wrote in Churchill’s Literary Allusions (New York: McFarland & Company 1987), “There is no English author whom Churchill alludes to as often as to William Shakespeare. Both by formal quotations, some quite lengthy, and by well-known phrases almost hidden in his text, Churchill makes allusion to many of Shakespeare’s plays….[He] uses the lines of Shakespeare in various capacities: as illustrations in his history of England, as embellishments in his other historical works, and as support in speeches to Parliament. In various ways he borrows the artist’s words to ornament his own ideas.”

The Seven Ages of Man from As You Like It are probably among the most quoted lines written by William Shakespeare. They were written between 1596 and 1600 and I thought it might be amusing to compare them with a selection of apposite aphorisms, maxims and opinions taken from the 20th century speeches and writings of Winston Spencer Churchill.

My choices may, of course, not entirely be “as you like it.” If not, why not take time to put together a selection of your own choosing?
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ABOUT BOOKS – Touch of the Other

Finest Hour 101, Winter 1998-99

Page 46

By Christopher Ford

Imagine: The Club, exclusive, immemorial, resonant with the noises of gentlemen dining. Imagine, though, two splendid braggadocios, quite thinly disguised under the pseudonyms of Churchill and F. E. Smith. Our heroes suspect the pitter-patter of black balls. So what do they do? They start The Other Club. Here, too, gentlemen may dine, insulated from hoi polloi; and, if the members seem to be mainly of a political or military vocation, then where else would you look for gentlemen except landed on the grouse-moor?

This, then, is the backcloth, nay, the stage itself, for Sir Colin Coote’s latest literary adventure. And with such gusto does he ring up the curtain: “Nineteen Hundred and Eleven! What a year in which to be born! The Edwardian era, so like the Second Empire in France, was lying in the ashtray of history, like the last cigar puffed on his deathbed by its founder…”

Sir Colin was ever a fantasist, except perhaps in his days as managing editor of the Daily Telegraph. He personally wrote a book called Sir Winston Churchill: A Self-Portrait“; and he is a sort of Coalition Liberal. But now, at last, Sir Colin has found a subject worthy of a former Times leader-writer. How like matadors do his characters bestride their political ring. Modestly he keeps on denying that his Other Club is merely a group of Churchillian sycophants; but the great man, together with that Smith among Smiths, are here as Oliver Twist and the Artful Dodger.
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ABOUT BOOKS – “Neither Fulsome Nor Fulminating”: Colin Coote’s The Other Club

Finest Hour 101, Winter 1998-99

Page 46

The Other Club, by Sir Colin Coote. London: Sidgwick & Jackson Ltd., 1971, hardbound, 156 pages, illustrated with cartoons. Frequency: rare. Current range on the secondhand market $50-100/£30-60.

Difficult to find, but always worth the search, is Colin Coote’s jolly history of the dining club founded by Winston Churchill and F. E. Smith in 1911 (and still going strong). Sir Colin knew Sir Winston for over forty years and compiled some of the earliest books of Churchill quotes.

The death of the last of its two “pious founders” caused some to believe The Other Club might pass out of existence, but Members decided otherwise. Coote was assigned to write the Club’s history “because I was the second senior Member and practically the whole membership wanted the Club to continue. Lord Longford, an Irish Earl, was a Member and also chairman of Sidgwick & Jackson, who were the original publishers of certain famous authors such as Rupert Brooke, who was the son of my contemporary Housemaster at Rugby School. Lord Longford willingly agreed to publish my account, which the Club had commissioned, and having been a frank friend of Sir Winston from my ‘teens upwards, I tried to produce something neither fulsome nor fulminating. The book never aimed at a vast circulation, though it achieved a modest success among the Club’s Members and friends.”

Sir Colin’s remarks come from correspondence, laid into Finest Hour‘s copy of The Other Club, with former editor Dalton Newfield, who was trying to obtain enough copies to satisfy demand (a problem we still have). “I can well understand that it was not intended for vast circulation,” Newfield wrote Sir Colin. “My desire for twenty-four copies was based on the idea that if it is difficult to find now it would be more so in future. Of course I also have your Maxims and Reflections, Sir Winston Churchill: A Self-Portrait, Wit and Wisdom and A Churchill Reader, and even though there is overlapping, I feel that each is a valued part of my collection. How fortunate you were to have known him so well.”

Christopher Ford’s review in The Guardian of 13 November 1971 nicely illuminates this literary gem.

Churchill in Stamps: The World’s Tributes

Finest Hour 101, Winter 1998-99

Page 44


Catalogue numbers are Scott {#) or Stanley Gibbons (sg). A slash mark (/) indicates a set with a common design from which any value is usable. Carus and Minkus catalogue numbers are sometimes used, and are identified by name.

We are nearing the end of our philatelic biography, which began its serialization back in Finest Hour 43 in 1984. Although there are a few pages of appendices that may be of interest, one or two more installments will see us at the end. “Churchill in Stamps” will be retained as a philatelic column.

271. The funeral cortege is depicted on a common design for three Maldive Islands stamps: #201/3/5 (sg 204/6/8). The Lyingin-State, previously illustrated by other stamps, is here represented by Antigua #351 (sg 410), which also carries the Churchill Coat of Arms. Aden-Kathiri Seiyun overprinted eight stamps for “World Peace” in 1967, including four for Churchill; two values, overprinted in red WORLD PEACE I WINSTON CHURCHILL, Minkus 102/108 (sg 100/106), are used here.

272. A set of Ajman “famous people” stamps which includes Churchill also happen to include King Baudouin of the Belgians and Charles de Gaulle of France, who attended the Churchill funeral; they are shown here in a page on the Congregation at St. Paul’s Cathedral. King Baudouin is depicted leading a group of Royals (Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands, Grand Duke Jean of Luxembourg and King Constantine of Greece) on a Churchill set issued by Ras al Khaima, Minkus 17A/20A, Carus 29/32.
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Finest Hour 101, Winter 1998-99

Page 43

Price, Thomas: “Popular Perceptions of an Ally: the Special Relationship in the British Spy Novel,” Journal of Popular Culture 1994, (28) 2: 49-66.

Historians of the English-speaking world during the first half of the twentieth century will continue to run into Churchill because he had a greater opportunity than any other person to do both good and bad things. Because Churchill injected his personality into almost everything he did, said and wrote, he has invited the praise and blame of historians in the 1990s, as he did with his contemporaries.

Churchill’s call for a “special relationship” between Britain and America after Germany was defeated was motivated by a desire for a closer, more intense connection in order to counter the Soviet threat. On the level of grand politics, that relationship culminated in the Thatcher-Reagan partnership which expanded beyond merely an anti-communist barricade to an ideological economic challenge to the entire socialist world. The Churchill-Roosevelt and Thatcher-Reagan special relationships were at the grand politics level, but leaders need followers just as followers need leaders. Public opinion in Britain and America generally supported their leaders because public perceptions—its images and stereotypes, “pictures in our mind” as Walter Lippmann said—were created that supported the special relationship concept. These pictures can be categorized as four disparate images of allies: Perfidious Albion, Crusader, Corporate Takeover and Corporate Merger.
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Finest Hour 101, Winter 1998-99

Page 42

By John G. Plumpton

One of the missions ofYmest Hour is to bring its readers the best and latest in Churchill scholarship. This is usually done through feature articles and book reviews. Some scholarship is first published in scholarly and even popular journals, and to cover that area John Plumpton renews his former column of article abstracts, Inside The Journals, last seen in Finest Hour 84. Most often we will feature material directly about Churchill but we will also consider Churchill-related topics or themes in the broadest sense of the meaning of that term. We will include book reviews of Churchill and Churchill-related books if they say something new or significant about the topic.

Adelson, Roger and Sikorsky, Jonathan: “Churchill in the 1990s,” The Historian, 1995 (58) 1: 119-23.

The Historian considered the state of Churchill scholarship in the 1990s by looking at recent books by two historians who represent opposite schools of historiography: Martin Gilbert’s Churchill: A Life and In Search of Churchill, and John Charmley’s Churchill, The End of Glory and Churchill’s Grand Alliance: The Anglo-American Special Relationship, 1940-1957.

Winston Churchill, who has long stirred controversy on both sides of the Atlantic, was the subject of most of an issue of the Historian in Summer 1958. The then-editor wrote that “Churchill virtually invented the tank, laid the foundations for the Union of South Africa, the Irish Free State, and the Zionist home of Israel, out-drank the Russians, out-talked President Roosevelt, out-guessed Corporal Hitler, and indubitably saved the free world from destruction in 1940.” A less heroic view of Sir Winston was presented in the articles that focused on him as historian, politician, reformer and strategist.
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CHURCHILL ONLINE – Recent Discussions on Listserv “Winston”

Finest Hour 101, Winter 1998-99

Page 40


Subscribe free to our discussion forum. Send the e-mail message SUBSCRIBE WINSTON to—you’ll receive a confirmation and will then be able to send and receive comments on all aspects of Churchill by our online community by e-mailing In case of problems contact our List Manager, Jonah Triebwasser:


Aim your browser at the www address and the Churchill Home Page will appear. Click on any of the icons to connect to the latest information on the Churchill Center and Churchill Societies. The Finest Hour icon produces the earliest publication of the next issue. If you experience any difficulty please email webmaster John Plumpton:


Why Churchillians tend to believe that Winston Churchill would have opposed the development of separate Scottish and Welsh Parliaments, which they see as spelling the beginning of the end of the United Kingdom. “Listserv Winston” enraged in some of this banter in December. Professor Paul Addison of the University of Edinburgh and Allen Packwood of the Churchill Archives Centre put the List straight on this matter, proving once again that what is widely believed of Churchill is not always what Churchill believed…
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Books, Arts & Curiosities – How the Telegraph Put One Across Hitler

Finest Hour 101, Winter 1998-99

Page 39

By Michael Smith

Mr. Smith’s new book, Station X: The Codebreakers of Bletchley Park (Channel 4 Books) is available for £14.99 post free in UK, from Telegraph Books Direct, 24 Seward St, London EC1V 3GB, tel. (0541) 557222 quoting ref PA557.

The ability to solve The Daily Telegraph crossword in under 12 minutes was used as a recruitment test for wartime code-breakers. Good chess players and those skilled at crossword puzzles were viewed as having the potential to turn their abilities to cracking codes. The Daily Telegraph was asked to organise a crossword competition to help identify potential recruits. After the competition, each of the participants was contacted and asked to undertake “a particular type of work as a contribution to the war effort.” Those who agreed found themselves sent to the Government Code and Cypher School at Bletchley Park, the home of Britain’s wartime code-breakers.

Bletchley Park had employed several hundred eccentric academics to break the Nazi Enigma codes early in the war, but by the end of 1941 it was desperately trying to expand its operations. The need for fighting men was so great that no one in Whitehall was prepared to release people to work at an obscure Foreign Office department that could not tell anyone what it was doing. Four of the senior code-breakers, Alan Turing, Gordon Welchman, Stuart Milner-Barry and Hugh Alexander, wrote to Winston Churchill, who was obsessed with the code-breakers and had recently visited them, describing them as “the geese that laid the golden eggs but never cackled.”
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Books, Arts & Curiosities – Opium for the People

Finest Hour 101, Winter 1998-99

Page 37

By Ron Helgemo

Betrayal at Pearl Harbor: A Television Documentary aired on the History Channel (USA), December 7th

On the anniversary of Pearl Harbor, the History Channel, whose programs vary between solid history and opium for the people, ran a BBC-produced documentary claiming that President Roosevelt knew all about the surprise attack and allowed it to happen to get the United States into the war. The program, as Arthur Balfour might have said, contained much that is trite and much that it true, but what was true was trite, and what was not trite was not true.

That “Betrayal at Pearl Harbor” should not be taken seriously is manifestly evident. Examples of why it shouldn’t begin with its interview of Robert Ogg, which approaches dishonesty. The producers fail to inform the audience that Mr. Ogg is the infamous “Seaman Z” immortalized by John Toland, an early conspiracy theorist who wrote that Pearl Harbor was plotted by Franklin Roosevelt.

“Seaman Z,” whose story has had a nasty habit of changing over the years, claimed he heard “queer signals” which could have been the missing Japanese aircraft carriers. But he could only have been hearing the carriers if the carriers were broadcasting.

The Japanese themselves claim their fleet (Kido Butai) never sent a single message. They say they dismantled the telegraph sending devices so a message could not be sent. After the war, the Strategic Bombing Survey found the Japanese military’s own after-action report, which credits the success of the attack to the fact that secrecy was maintained.

Among the reasons why secrecy was maintained, radio silence comes first. How could it be, for example, that Seaman Z in San Francisco picked up signals from the Japanese fleet but Hawaii, much closer and lying between California and the fleet, never heard it?

The producers of “Betrayal” also interviewed Eric Nave, a British cryptologist who worked on the Japanese JN-25 naval code. Nave, with the late James Rusbridger, wrote Betrayal at Pearl Harbor, a book claiming Churchill hid what he knew about the attack from Roosevelt. The producers might have mentioned that Nave left Singapore in February 1940, had no further involvement with JN-25, and could not have known of the Japanese change to the JN-25B code in December 1940—and the resulting lack of anyone’s ability to read the code after that date. There are a couple of scenes with Pacific Fleet cryptologist Joe Rochefort, the hero of Midway, who is said to have read JN-25B intercepts. But they fail to mention Rochefort’s claims that he was reading only five to twenty percent of any message in JN-25B prior to Midway and could not have been reading more before then.

The “Winds Code,” which is supposed to have been an attack signal disguised in a Japanese weather report, surfaces again in the History Channel presentation. I have yet to hear an explanation of how the “Winds Code” told anybody anything about Pearl Harbor. Once again Ralph Briggs is dragged out as evidence that the Americans intercepted this message. How Briggs, in Cheltenham, Maryland, heard the coded weather report and no one else did has never been explained; it was supposed to be, after all, a regular mid-day, Japanese time, CB radio broadcast. Nor does the History Channel explain either why the Japanese sent it, since the failure in communications that would have necessitated the “Winds Code” did not occur.

Tucked into the “Betrayal” piece is Mr. Joe Lieb’s claim that Secretary of State Hull told him of the coming attack and named Pearl Harbor as the target. The trouble here is that Mr. Lieb and Mr. Hull were the only ones present at their alleged conversation, and Mr. Lieb did not see fit to tell anyone of this conversation until after Mr. Hull died. Thus there is no way independently to verify his claim.

An even more preposterous notion presented by the film is that General Marshall (he of course was also in on the plot) went horseback riding on a Sunday morning in order to be “unavailable” for questioners concerned about Japan’s next move, thus assuring the success of the Japanese air raid. Really! “Betrayal at Pearl Harbor’s” case against General Marshall hinges on this, and the fact that he sent an alert warning to Pearl Harbor without sufficient priority. Surely it is easier to consider the latter act one of bureaucratic incompetence rather than a purposeful plot to delay an attack warning? If Pearl was being set up, why send a warning at all? To cover himself? But the warning was kept secret for fifty years!

Geostrategy and codebreaking take up a great deal of the film, which uses them to document accusations of prior knowledge of the coming attack by American authorities. The producers begin by alleging that the United States knew the Japanese attack force was in the Kurile Islands. If it did, then the U. S. had to expect an attack either in Alaska, Hawaii, the west coast or Panama. Of these possible targets, the film says, the only one that made any sense was Hawaii.

But the documentary oversimplifies: having its fleet in the Kuriles did not reduce Japan’s choices of where to attack. Admiral Yamamoto needed to bring the fleet together for an attack in the most secure place possible, regardless of direction. The “southern strategy,” which eventually won out, required the Japanese Navy to neutralize the Philippines (then a U. S. territory), which crossed its sea lanes. This required Yamamoto to go after the U. S. Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor. That the Japanese had trouble making up their minds (Japanese Army-Navy politics was at work here too) served them, in the sense that it helped disguise their eventual choice. The “northern strategy” (attacking Alaska) was also seen as a distinct possibility to Westerners. As late as 15 October 1941 Roosevelt wrote Churchill, “I think they [the Japanese] are headed north.” (See Kimball’s Churchill and Roosevelt: The Complete Correspondence.)

Clearly the Japanese had a variety of strategic choices in the months prior to Pearl Harbor. The key to their Greater East Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere was China, and that was their major concern throughout. Indeed, while the West may have focused primarily on the Japanese during the Pacific war, the Japanese continued to focus more on China. Even at the war’s end the Japanese had 1.9 million men and nearly 10,000 aircraft there. It made little sense to Japan to defeat the U. S. if that meant giving up China.

“Betrayal at Pearl Harbor” is very wise after the fact. The imminence of war, it tells us, should have been clear to American planners. Japan’s JN-25B code had been broken. The orders to sail the Japanese Fleet from the Kuriles to a rendezvous point in mid-Pacific were transmitted. The Dutch claimed to have intercepted them, so presumably the British and the Americans should have been able to do the same.

Certainly the imminence of war in the Pacific was obvious to any reasonably intelligent person at the time, but the Pacific did not get the attention it deserved. To understand why, we must put ourselves in the shoes of leaders at that time—not laboratory analysts of the present. And at that time, the British were up to their eyeballs with Germans and the Americans were fighting an undeclared war with the German Navy in the North Atlantic. Hindsight, of course, is always 20-20. But on whatever the British and Americans “should have been able to do,” let me quote a direct source. Duane Whitlock, unlike Mr. Nave, was there, on Corregidor, working on the Japanese codes. “I can attest from first-hand experience that as of 1 December 1941 the recovery of JN-25B had not progressed to the point that it was productive of any appreciable intelligence,” stated Whitlock—”not even enough to be pieced together by traffic analysis….It simply was not within the realm of our combined cryptologic capability to produce a usable decrypt at that particular juncture.”

In the early 1990s the U. S. Navy transferred all its cryptologic archives from Crane, Indiana to the National Archives in Washington. This includes 26,581 JN-25 intercepts from 1 September to 7 December. All of these are available for public review.

Frederick Parker, who studied 2,413 of these intercepts, argues in the film that had they been read at the time, they would have provided clear evidence of the impending attack on Pearl Harbor. Rusbridger and Nave, in their book, claim they were read, but offer no evidence.

Well, here is the evidence: The 2,413 pre-Pearl Harbor intercepts had been decrypted by Navy cryptologists after the war while they were waiting to be mustered out of the service. While Parker makes a strong circumstantial case that the attack would have been discovered had these messages been read, cryptologists at that time would not have been looking just at the 2,413 intercepts; they would have been looking at all 26,581. Would they have been able to discern the relevant information from all that noise?

I could go on: the “bomb plot,” the Popov questionnaire, Hull’s “ultimatum” to Japan, etc., all old news, misleadingly presented. Readers may recall that Nave and Rusbridger tried to turn all this around a few years back (just in time to cash in on the 50th anniversary of Pearl Harbor, actually) by claiming it wasn’t Roosevelt after all, it was Winston Churchill who hid the knowledge of the attack in order to draw the United States into the war. As Professor Kimball wrote: “It seems to me that to brand WSC and/or FDR as conspirators requires that they be seen as evil geniuses. But for them to allow the U.S. Fleet to be clobbered means they were stupid. That doesn’t compute.”

Allow me to vent for a moment. The reason why this kind of garbage passes for history is that standards for evidence have virtually disappeared. Not all evidence is equal and there is an obligation to weigh evidence against some reasonable standard. The standard is not exactly rocket science; remnant evidence is better than tradition-creating evidence; corroborated testimony is better than uncorroborated testimony; forensic evidence is better than hearsay. Our inability to be skeptical, to think critically, to ask questions, to compare and contrast, leads to the perpetuation of one urban legend after another, be it Churchill and Coventry, Churchill and the Lusitania, Churchill (or Roosevelt) and Pearl Harbor, etc., etc., etc. Hard thinking, critical analysis, and skepticism are the only ways to challenge this rubbish. I sometimes despair. Vent off.

Mr. Helgemo is President of the Washington Society for Churchill, a CC Affiliate.

Books, Arts & Curiosities – Special Relationship Plus

Finest Hour 101, Winter 1998-99

Page 36

By Richard M. Langworth

Over Here, by Raymond Seitz. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, hardbound, 376 pages, regular price £20/$35, CC/ICS member price $24. Also available in paperback

Winston Churchill was always careful never to criticize America publicly. When reporters asked if he had any complaints, he would often reply, “toilet paper too thin, newspapers too fat.”

Privately Churchill was less reticent, although he always maintained a decent respect for the two kindred countries which in the end both claimed him as a citizen. In 1945 he said he had heard a British peer state that Great Britain would have to become the forty-ninth State of the American Union, while an American congressman was saying that America should not be asked to reenter the British Empire. “It seems to me,” he remarked, “that the path of wisdom lies somewhere between these two scarecrow extremes.”

Churchill went on to recite his familiar prescription of “a fraternal relationship between the two great Englishspeaking organizations.” He worked hard to establish that relationship, succeeding only partially. But it is probably reasonable to conclude that Churchill was right when he said that if Britain and America are together, they are usually in the right, and if they are divided, one of them is almost always wrong!
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Books, Arts & Curiosities – Exploring the “Churchill Myth”

Finest Hour 101, Winter 1998-99

Page 36

By Michael Richards

Churchill Proceedings 1994-1995, edited by Richard M. Langworth. Published by The Churchill Center, Washington, D.C. 144 pages, softbound, illustrated, $10 postpaid from Churchill Stores, PO Box 96, Contoocook NH 03229 USA

Winston Churchill, leading Time magazine’s poll for “Person of the Century,” is the most revised and reinterpreted figure in 20th Century history. The “Churchill myth”—which Sir Winston forthrightly promoted through his books and speeches as “my case”—has lately been broadly challenged, especially since the release of once-secret wartime documents in Britain, America, Russia and Germany.

During 1994-95, Churchill was accused of wishing to sterilize mental incompetents, backing appeasement in the 1930s, promoting the use of poison gas in World War II, destroying the Empire, engineering the Pearl Harbor attack and the 1929 Wall Street crash, spying on the Soviet Union, and harboring “a lifelong antipathy toward coloured people.”

As Churchill once said in another context, “there is surely some happy ground between these scarecrow extremes.” And there is no need for irresponsible critics, when we have so many responsible ones—over thirty of whom contribute to Churchill Proceedings 1994-1995, published by The Churchill Center in Washington.

The book comprises speeches or papers at 1994-95 Churchill Center events by speakers including William F. Buckley, Jr.; Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr.; William Manchester; William Rusher; Roy Jenkins; a dozen scholars; and college students who delivered papers at Churchill Center conferences or seminars.

A non-profit educational organization, The Churchill Center is not averse to negative viewpoints. “On balance, naturally, our view of Churchill is positive,” says the editor, “but we try not to paper over Churchill’s faults. His best friend, Lord Birkenhead, once remarked, ‘When Winston is right he is superb. When he’s wrong, well, oh my God…'”

Among the debates in this volume is one between Larry Arnn of the Claremont Institute and Professor Warren Kimball of Rutgers. “Churchill was a British statesman whose goal was to advance the interests of Great Britain,” says Kimball. “Churchill was a British statesman whose goal was to advance liberty,” replies Arnn, who goes on to contrast British “interests” with those of the Soviet Union. Similar diversity is offered (between Kimball and Buckley) over Churchill’s professed trust of Stalin, and (between Arnn and Lord Jellicoe) over the value of Churchill’s Arctic convoys to Russia. Lord Jenkins, a onetime Labour foe, says there is no need to whitewash Churchill’s record: let it stand.

There are pieces here that reach back—David Stafford on Churchill and Secret Intelligence; Lord Jellicoe’s marvelous retrospective on Churchill and Jellicoe’s father, who commanded Britain’s Grand Fleet in World War I and about whom Churchill said, “He was the only man who could lose the war in an afternoon.” There are pieces that look forward—Arthur Schlesinger on how Churchill will survive revisionist history; Coach Johnny Parker on how he uses Churchill to inspire nothing less than the New England Patriots football team. There are intimate views of young Winston, by his granddaughter Celia Sandys; and the old, by his daughter Lady Soames. All in all, it’s a fine mix. Sir Winston, who was always in the thick of debate, would be delighted with it.

Action This Day – Autumn 1898-99, 1923-24, 1948-49, 1973-74

Finest Hour 101, Winter 1998-99

Page 34

By Michael McMenamin

One hundred years ago:

Winter 1898-99 • Age 24

Polo and The River War

Early in December 1898, Churchill returned to India to play in the annual Inter-Regimental Polo Tournament. On board ship, he worked on his manuscript for The River War, writing his mother on 11 December: “I have however made good progress with the book. Three vy long chapters are now almost entirely completed. The chapter describing the fall of Khartoum Gordon’s death etc is I think quite the most lofty passage I have ever written.” He offered as an example one sentence about the Mahdi who had been orphaned as a child (Martin Gilbert suggests that this may have been based on Churchill’s own experience with his father): “Solitary trees, if they grow at all, grow strong: and a boy deprived of a father’s care often develops, if he escape the perils of youth, an independence and a vigour of thought which may restore in after life the heavy loss of early days.”

Churchill had strong feelings about Kitchener and his destruction of the Mahdi’s Tomb, writing in The River War. “By Sir H. Kitchener’s orders, the Tomb has been profaned and razed to the ground. The corpse of the Mahdi was dug up. The head was separated from the body, and, to quote the official explanation, ‘preserved for future disposal’….If the people of the Sudan cared no more for the Mahdi, then it was an act of vandalism and folly to destroy the only fine building which might attract the traveller and interest the historian.”
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Thanks! – To all who aided The Churchill Center in 1998

Finest Hour 101, Winter 1998-99

Page 32

So many members have helped us in so many ways during 1998 that we would like to acknowledge them here, all in one place, many repeatedly. Nothing would exist without you. Every person who spends the money of this organization promises to use it to best advantage in “keeping the memory green and the record accurate.” We care about one thing: that Winston Churchill’s wit and wisdom, his intense optimism, his continued relevance and sound philosophy, be impressed as strongly upon the 21st Century as it has been in this.


are the one thing every member must pay once a year. The basic subscription rate of $35 ($20 for students or libraries) has been unchanged since 1994, which is a miracle. Not only is today’s $35 worth less than in 1994; but we have been expanding publications, our website, and our various services and activities furiously. Not only is the $35 you paid in 1994 worth only $28.50 today; it’s buying roughly twice the product. In effect you’re getting what cost $35 in 1994 for only $14.25!

That’s only part of the story. One-third of our members renew at levels higher than $35—and they account for two-thirds of our subscription income. These memberships are Contributing ($75), Sustaining ($125), Supporting ($250), Benefactor ($500) and Fellow ($ 1000). Every amount over the basic $35 (less the value of small tokens of thanks we send the larger donors) is tax-deductible by U. S. citizens. Many of these folks renew at their chosen level year after year, regardless of what they contribute to our other appeals. We’re not going to list all of you here because there are over 500. You know who you are from the thank-yous we send you. We just want you to know how deeply we appreciate your steady generosity.
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Join NowPlease join with us to help preserve the memory of Winston Churchill and continue to explore how his life, experiences and leadership are ever-more relevant in today’s chaotic world. BENEFITS >BECOME A MEMBER >

The International Churchill Society (ICS), founded in 1968 shortly after Churchill's 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.