Misquotes: “At your throat or your feet”

by Richard Langworth on 21 May 2015

"Woodcarvings: A Streuthsayer or Prophet of Doom," Punch, 12Sep34.

“Wood­carv­ings: A Streuth­sayer or Prophet of Doom,” Punch, 12Sep34.

The Huff­in­g­ton Post reports that the National Memo’s Joe Cona­son crit­i­cized Joe Scarborough’s ambiva­lent atti­tude toward the Clin­tons by mis­quot­ing Churchill: “It’s what he said about the Hun, which is, ‘They’re either at your feet or at your throat.'”

“You just used a Win­ston Churchill quote to com­pare me to a Nazi because you don’t like the facts,” Scar­bor­ough replied.

“No, I didn’t com­pare you to a Nazi,” said Cona­son. “He wasn’t talk­ing about the Nazis, he was talk­ing about World War I. [The Huns] were not Nazis.”

What joy­ful com­bi­na­tion of red her­rings this is…

Scar­bor­ough and Cona­son were both wrong. It was dur­ing World War II, not World War I (Churchill’s speech to Con­gress, 19 May 1943). but Churchill was quot­ing some­one else—regarding the Ger­man Army, not the Nazis:

The proud Ger­man Army has once again proved the truth of the say­ing, “The Hun is always either at your throat or your feet….”

A great line, but no cigar for either pun­dit. Ref.: Churchill in His Own Words, 62.

Share this post...Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on LinkedInPin on PinterestEmail this to someone


Churchillnomics: The “Stricken Field”

May 18, 2015

Young Win­ston Churchill’s sec­ond speech in Par­lia­ment was a bravura per­for­mance tak­ing up his father’s theme for econ­omy in the bud­get. In Churchill in His Own Words (p 45) I date this quo­ta­tion 12 May 1901 and cite Churchill’s Mr. Brodrick’s Army, his 1903 vol­ume of speeches (fac­sim­ile edi­tion, Sacra­mento: Churchilliana Com­pany, 1977), 16: Wise words, Sir, […]

Read the full article →

Driving in Britain Then & Now

May 15, 2015

A friend headed for Eng­land who heard about their speed cam­eras asks how many he’ll encounter. Answer: a lot. Even out in the coun­try, they snap away at you. Hav­ing logged about 80,000 road miles in the UK since 1974, I’ve noticed this and other changes that turned dri­ving from a joy to drudgery. Of course a lot has […]

Read the full article →

“Rats in a Hole”: Churchill’s Apology

May 12, 2015

Imag­ine if the Pres­i­dent of the United States declared, “We will dig out ter­ror­ists ‘like rats in a hole.” Many would applaud and think maybe they had mis­judged him. Or would they? A col­league sends an exchange in the House of Com­mons on 7 March 1916. “Colonel Churchill,” recently returned from the Front but still a Mem­ber of Par­lia­ment, was speaking […]

Read the full article →

Churchill and “The Prof”

May 4, 2015

In review­ing the 1940-45 vis­i­tors books at Che­quers, I was struck by how often Pro­fes­sor Fred­er­ick Lin­de­mann was there—far more than any­one except Churchill fam­ily and staff, more than Bracken and Beaver­brook, let alone the Chiefs of Staff. Lin­de­mann prac­ti­cally lived there and was present when­ever Churchill was. What do you make of him and what’s best […]

Read the full article →