The winter was mainly spent at Chartwell, but WSC did visit a French’ chateau as guest of the Duke of Westminster in January. With a “remarkable capacity for switching his mind at will from one capacity to another,” as Henry Pelling wrote, Churchill was simultaneously speaking, writing, and fighting major political battles on the issues of India and vigilance against a militant Germany.
Among numerous newspaper articles was a 12-part series in The News of the World entitled “The World’s Great Stories” retold by WSC (Woods C208). Churchill also wrote the Foreword to an upcoming biography of his late friend, Lord Birkenhead (Woods C213). He continued to work on Marlborough, frequently communicating with others about the work, primarily aides Fieling and Ashley and historian G. M. Trevelyan. Col. Pakenham helped with the military and technical aspects of Marlborough’s campaigns. Edward (Eddie) Marsh assisted in all of Churchill’s writings. Normally, Marsh performed the role of proofreader, but in The World’s Great Stories he prepared a precis of each plot as foundation for Churchill’s retelling.
Churchill believed that the real threat to England was not Japan (whose withdrawal from the League of Nations he stopped short of condemning) or Italy (he praised the “Roman genius” of Mussolini). It was instead “the tumultuous insurgence of atrocity and war spirit in Germany,” because if Hitler were to turn on England, only a strong air defense would protect the island. On the very day the German Reichstag gave Hitler full dictatorial powers, Ramsay MacDonald described the Government’s disarmament plans to the House. Few MPs or newspapers supported Churchill’s concerns.