World Leaders

Churchill, Roosevelt & Company Studies in Character and Statecraft

Finest Hour 176, Spring 2017

Page 39

New Release by Lewis E. Lehrman

The Wall Street Journal Featured Review
By Arthur Herman, Pulitzer Prize nominee for “Gandhi and Churchill”

“Lewis Lehrman’s “Churchill, Roosevelt & Company” offers a detailed look at the special relationship, especially during World War II, when Anglo-American cooperation achieved its most impressive results and faced its most formidable challenges. The book is packed with fascinating detail and illuminates not only the past but the challenges of the present day. The subtitle is “Studies in Character and Statecraft”: Mr. Lehrman makes it clear that, in geopolitics, the two go together.”


Synthesizing an impressive variety of sources from memoirs and letters to histories and biographies, Lewis Lehrman explains how the Anglo-American alliance worked–and occasionally did not work–by presenting portraits and case studies of the men who worked the back channels and back rooms, the secretaries and under secretaries, ambassadors and ministers, responsible for carrying out Roosevelt’s and Churchill’s agendas while also pursuing their own and thwarting others’. Scrupulous in its research and fair in its judgments, Lehrman’s book reveals the personal diplomacy at the core of the Anglo-American alliance.

Read More >

Lincoln and Churchill: Commanders in Chief

Finest Hour 176, Spring 2017

Page 36

By Lewis E. Lehrman


In peace and in war, Abraham Lincoln became a master of his craft by intense study. Military historian T. Harry Williams argued that President Lincoln was “a great natural strategist, a better one than any of his generals.” But the commander-in-chief had also studied the works of great military strategists in books drawn from the Library of Congress. As President during the Civil War, Lincoln found himself in uncharted territory—legally and militarily. He needed to feel and study his way into both spheres.1 General Grant wrote in his memoirs of Lincoln: “All he wanted, or had ever wanted was someone who would take the responsibility and act, and call on him for all the assistance necessary, pledging himself to use all the power of the government in rendering such assistance.”2

The presidency of Abraham Lincoln began and ended in a civil war of national survival. The first prime ministership of Winston S. Churchill began and ended in a global war of national survival. Churchill had inherited his war. Lincoln’s war had not yet begun when he took office. Many generals in America and Britain scoffed at the military strategy and tactics of Lincoln and Churchill. Both proved essentially sound in their strategy of deploying an anaconda-like armed embrace of the enemy to squeeze the life from it. Subordinates would chafe at their suggestions.

Developing a Strategy

T he reality of the Civil War presented itself as largely an ad hoc affair—necessarily with ad hoc strategy and tactics. Corelli Barnett wrote of Lincoln: “Unlike Churchill in 1940, he had no previous experience as a member of a wartime administration. Unlike Churchill again, he had never taken a deep interest in military and naval history.”3 Yet during the first year of the war, Lincoln developed his own strategy for a coordinated series of actions in both the eastern and western United States, which he defined in a letter to General Don Carlos Buell: “I state my general idea of this war to be that we have the greater numbers, and the enemy has the greater facility of concentrating forces upon points of collision; that we must fail, unless we can find some way of making our advantage an over-match for his; and that this can only be done by menacing him with superior forces at different points, at the same time; so that we can safely attack, one, or both, if he makes no change; and if he weakens one to strengthen the other, forbear to attack the strengthened one, but seize, and hold the weakened one, gaining so much.”4

Read More >

“A Vulgar Yankee Impresario” – Churchill, Major Pond, and the Lecture Tour of 1900–1901

Finest Hour 174, Autumn 2016 Page 10 By Bradley Tolppanen Bradley Tolppanen is the author of Churchill in North America 1929 (2014). After disembarking at New York on 8 December 1900 after a six-day voyage from Liverpool, Winston Churchill was met by Major J. B. Pond, America’s leading lecture agent. He had come to North […]

Churchill’s Empire DNA – Empire Man to Reluctant Commonwealth Man: A Canadian Perspective

Finest Hour 174, Autumn 2016 Page 06 By Terry Reardon Terry Reardon is the author of Winston Churchill and Mackenzie King: So Similar and So Different (2012). The Victorian era was the zenith of the British Empire. It was then the superpower of the world holding sway over 300 million people, one-quarter of the world’s […]

LETTERS – Finest Hour 173

Finest Hour 174, Autumn 2016 Page 05 Email: info@winstonchurchill.org Tweet: @ChurchillCentre Churchill in Iceland REYKJAVIK—The President of Iceland was delighted to receive representatives of the Churchill Club of Iceland and be presented with copies of Finest Hour containing Magnús Erlendsson’s article about Churchill’s visit to our country. —Árni Sigurðsson Churchill in Stratford HITCHIN, HERTFORDSHIRE— With […]

Books, Arts, & Curiosities – Stalin’s Man in London

Finest Hour 173, Summer 2016 Page 40 Gabriel Gorodetsky, ed., The Maisky Diaries, Red Ambassador to the Court of St. James’s 1932–1943, Yale University Press, 2015, 632 pages, $40. ISBN 978–0300180671 Review by D. Craig Horn D. Craig Horn is a former Russian linguist for the United States Air Force currently serving in the North […]

Churchill & France

Finest Hour 173, Summer 2016 Page 10 By Antoine Capet Antoine Capet is Professor Emeritus of British Studies at the University of Rouen. Strangely enough, we have a book on Churchill and Finland,1 but none on Churchill & France— only a number of articles and book chapters. Is it because of the sheer size of […]

Churchill: A Study in Oratory

Seven Lessons in Speechmaking From One of the Greatest Orators of All Time

By Thomas Montalbo, DTM
Finest Hour 69

He wasn’t a natural orator, not at all. His voice was raspy. A stammer and a lisp often marred many of his speeches. Nor was his appearance attractive. A snub nose and a jutting lower lip made him look like a bulldog. Short and fat, he was also stoop-shouldered.

Yet this man—Sir Winston Churchill—became probably the greatest orator of our time and won the Nobel Prize for his writings and “brilliant oratory.” How did he do it? And what lessons can all Toastmasters learn from him to help them make better speeches?

In school, Winston Churchill was a backward student. But he wasn’t stupid. He later explained, “Where my reason, imagination or interest were not engaged, I would not or I could not learn.” But the English language fascinated him. He was the best in his class.

Macaulay and Gibbon, two of England’s most famous historians, dazzled him with their styles of writing. The impact these authors made on his mind stayed with him for life, as his speeches show. Because their styles were markedly different and yet both charmed him, he believed this showed, as he put it, “What a fine language English is. . .”

His English teacher once said, “I do not believe that I have ever seen in a boy of 14 such a veneration for the English language.” Churchill called the English sentence “a noble thing” and said, “The only thing I would whip boys for is not knowing English. I would whip them hard for that.” Lord Moran, his physician and intimate friend, wrote:

Read More >

“Squalid Nuisance”? Nye Bevan’s Finest Hour

Finest Hour 172, Spring 2016

Page 20

By John Campbell


Nye Bevan and his wife Jenny Lee in Corwen 15368872658The conventional narrative of the Second World War tends to assume that from the moment he succeeded Chamberlain in May 1940 and rallied the nation with his heroic defiance when Britain stood alone against the Nazi threat, through to the eventual victory of the Allies five years later, Churchill’s ascendancy within Britain was unquestioned.

It is true that he never faced a serious parliamentary challenge nor, even in the darkest days of 1941–42, any plausible rival who might have displaced him, as Lloyd George supplanted Asquith in the middle of the First War. Nevertheless there was a good deal more grumbling, and more unrest in many parts of the country, than is generally remembered in the warm myth of national unity. During the period of electoral truce between the major parties the coalition government lost ten by-elections to a variety of mainly left-leaning Independents: a little-noticed undercurrent of dissent that accurately presaged Labour’s landslide victory in 1945, which so shocked observers who assumed that the electorate would naturally, as in 1918, register its gratitude to the great war leader.

If there was one man who not only anticipated this historic upset but, by his persistent criticism of Churchill’s leadership, contributed to it more than any other, it was the left-wing Labour MP Aneurin “Nye” Bevan. These days Bevan is remembered primarily as the architect of the National Health Service and, on the left, as the socialist hero to whose mantle Labour leaders still lay claim, even when they have long rejected socialism as Bevan understood it.
Read More >

Books, Arts & Curiosities – Hollow Book

Finest Hour 171, Winter 2016

Page 44

Review by Nigel Hamilton

Michael Arnold, Hollow Heroes: An Unvarnished Look at the Wartime Careers of Churchill, Montgomery, and Mountbatten, Casemate, 2015, 304 pages, $34.95.
ISBN 978-1612002736


Wartime Careers of ChurchillThere are as many biographies as there are biographers: some serious, some not. Plus others that purport to be serious, but are not. Into which category does Michael Arnold’s Hollow Heroes fall?

A former insurance salesman, Mr. Arnold has a passion for polemic. His first book, The Bodyline Hypocrisy, was a book of conversations (with Harold Larwood) about the great cricket conundrum: should bowlers be allowed to bowl straight at the batsman to intimidate him, as in the famous 1932–33 Ashes tour between England and Australia?

After this, Mr. Arnold plunged into another form of polemic: military history. His work when published was titled Sacrifice of Singapore: Churchill’s Biggest Blunder. According to the publisher’s blurb: “when, inevitably, Singapore fell to the Japanese in February 1942, Churchill attempted to deflect criticism by accusing the defenders there of spineless capitulation. Recently released information from the Office of Naval Intelligence in Washington reveals that United States President Franklin Roosevelt not only knew of the impending attack on Pearl Harbour but actually instigated it. Although Roosevelt promised a shield of B-17 aircraft for Singapore from Manila, General Douglas MacArthur in the Philippines had been told to do nothing until after the Japanese attacks there and at Pearl Harbor so that the United States could claim an unprovoked assault that would allow them to declare war on Japan.”
Read More >

Books, Arts & Curiosities – Trio of Titans

Finest Hour 171, Winter 2016

Page 40

Review by Richard Toye

Steve Cliffe, Churchill, Kitchener, and Lloyd George: First World Warlords, Fonthill, 2014, 160 pages, £14.99.
ISBN 978-1781552728


First World WarlordsOf the three “First World Warlords” who are the subject of this enjoyable volume, it is Horatio Kitchener who presents the greatest enigma. Churchill was an extremely prolific writer and speaker. Although he was not always straightforward, he frequently wore his heart on his sleeve; he sometimes attempted to be devious but he was not very good at it, so it was generally fairly clear to other people what he was up to. Lloyd George was—in his prime—a much more effective manipulator and, unenthusiastic about letter writing, left a much less extensive paper trail for historians to follow. Nevertheless, the records of three key diarists (Lord Riddell, Frances Stevenson, and A. J. Sylvester) allow a great deal of insight into his views and actions.

Kitchener, by contrast, was closed-off and inscrutable. He had insight and talent—if not quite as much as was popularly attributed to him—but was a difficult colleague, particularly after he joined the cabinet at the outbreak of war in 1914. He was one of the first to predict that the conflict would be long and drawn-out and would require an enormous number of Read More >

Triumphant Return: Churchill’s 1946 Visit to Cuba

Finest Hour 171, Winter 2016

Page 26

By Hal Klepak


In the winter of 1945–46, the first after the war, Winston Churchill was still an exhausted man. Having just celebrated his seventy-first birthday in November, and with his Lake Como rest holiday in August already a mere memory, Churchill found his doctor less than sympathetic with the level of his activity as Leader of the Opposition, not to mention his devotion to his writing.

Medical pressure and his own desire to travel for pleasure after so much wartime movement for necessity made Churchill decide to take two months off from his always ferocious schedule to rest and recuperate. Even though he knew that there would be considerable speculation over such a lengthy period away from the House of Commons, and that some would see it as a prelude to his retirement from political life after his stunning electoral defeat of July 1945, there was little choice but to take a rest, and a lengthy one after his doctor insisted.

After so many wartime winters in England, Churchill wanted to take his break somewhere in the sun where he could paint and relax. The perfect solution arose when a Canadian friend invited Churchill to use his winter home near Miami. Read More >

Books, Arts & Curiosities – Strategic Thinking

Finest Hour 170, Fall 2015

Page 47

Review by J. Peter Rich and Steve Carey

Mark Herman, Churchill: Big Three Struggle for Peace, GMT Games, 2015, $70. ASIN: B013SCRACW


Big Three Struggle for PeaceThree personalities dominated the allied conferences of the Second World War, whether or not they were all present in person: British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, US President Franklin Roosevelt, and Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin. Now the ten major conferences are the subject of a new board game, appropriately named Churchill: Big Three Struggle for Peace, a 2015 release from GMT Games, one of the leading producers in the genre of table-top, conflict simulations.

Though technically classified as a “war game,” Churchill is more of a political design of simultaneous cooperation and competition where each of the three sides (the US, the UK, and the USSR) strives to advance its own national agenda. Long-time conflict simulation designer Mark Herman has injected a series of innovative concepts into the game that compel players to think and act in a manner similar to their historical counterparts.

This is not a family board game along the lines of Monopoly or Risk, nor is it nearly as easy to learn and as quick to play as chess. A session requires a minimum commitment of three hours for the tournament game (the last five conferences) and may take the majority of a day for all ten conferences. But the game is never boring because, unlike other multiplayer games, players are constantly involved, with almost no “down time.”
Read More >

Books, Arts & Curiosities – New Mee Same as the Old Mee

Finest Hour 170, Fall 2015

Page 41

Review by Mark Klobas

Charles L. Mee, Jr., The Deal: Churchill, Truman, and Stalin Remake the World, New World City, 2014, 348 pages, $2.99 on Kindle. ASIN B00HO6ZEHC


Stalin TrumanIn 1975 Charles L. Mee published Meeting at Potsdam. His account of the July 1945 summit between the victorious “Big Three” Allied leaders became a standard popular history of the subject, one frequently reprinted for new audiences. Last year, on the eve of the seventieth anniversary of the conference, a book by Mee on the same subject but with a different title was released by Kindle. Has Mee revisited his work?

The answer is no. Mee’s The Deal is simply Meeting at Potsdam in a new format. Apart from the title, everything in the original text has been imported intact into the electronic version, with no effort to correct, modify, or update Mee’s original work. The only difference in the new format is the addition of Wikipedia links embedded within the text, which provide a useful way for readers to learn more about the principals and some of the other subjects that the author mentions in the text. Yet this alone is poor compensation for the deficiencies it contains. For all of the strengths that The Deal inherits from Mee’s original book, it is now burdened with an even greater share of weaknesses.
Read More >

Books, Arts & Curiosities – The Men Who Went into the Cold

Finest Hour 170, Fall 2015

Page 40

Review by Alonzo Hamby

Richard Crowder, Aftermath: The Makers of the Postwar World, London and New York: I. B.Tarus, 2015, xii + 308 pages, $35. IBSN 978-1784531027


Postwar WorldMost histories of the early Cold War, especially those written by Americans, give center stage to US statesmen, notably Harry Truman, Dean Acheson, and George Marshall. Richard Crowder, a youngish British diplomat educated at Oxford and Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, focuses his engagingly readable account on the other side of the Atlantic. His narrative provides equal time to such British figures as Clement Attlee, Ernest Bevin, and Duff Cooper. It also gives more attention to continental European leaders than they customarily receive.

It is significant that a Labour government led Britain into the Cold War with remarkably little internal dissent. Bevin, a former trade union leader with a rudimentary formal education was at first glance an unlikely foreign secretary. He is perhaps too easily caricatured. The author quotes him as telling the eminent career diplomat Gladwyn Jebb, “Must be kinda queer for a chap like you to see a chap like me sitting in a chair like this….Ain’t never ’appened before in ’istory” (120). At times Bevin could be too rough and blunt for his own good— as when, in an incident Mr. Cooper passes over, he accused American leaders of supporting mass Jewish immigration to Palestine because “they did not want too many of them in New York” (quoted in Robert J. Donovan, Conflict and Crisis, 317).
Read More >

Join Now

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 >

WinstonChurchill.org

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.