Month: January 2009

“Fleming Twice Saved Churchill’s Life”

“Fleming Twice Saved Churchill’s Life”

Is it true that Lord Ran­dolph Churchill edu­cat­ed Alexan­der Flem­ing, the dis­cov­er­er of peni­cillin, as a result of Flem­ing (or his father) res­cu­ing Churchill from drown­ing in a swamp when young Win­ston was a youth—and that Fleming’s dis­cov­ery, peni­cillin, saved Churchill’s life years lat­er in 1943? A friend of mine has sent me this email regard­ing it and I want­ed to ver­i­fy . —L.M.

I receive this ques­tion reg­u­lar­ly, but the sto­ry is untrue. Nei­ther Flem­ing nor his father were with Churchill at the times sug­gest­ed. Offi­cial biog­ra­ph­er Mar­tin Gilbert inves­ti­gat­ed, and found that the dates did not coin­cide.…

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Fateful Choices: Japan, Germany, USA

Fateful Choices: Japan, Germany, USA

Updat­ed 20 Jan­u­ary 2015.

A recent arti­cle sug­gests that Japan’s deci­sion to sur­ren­der in 1945 was by no means unan­i­mous. A few years ago, Ian Ker­shaw said the same thing about Japan’s deci­sion to go to war in the first place….

“What a sto­ry! Think of all these people—decent, edu­cat­ed, the sto­ry of the past laid out before them—What to avoid—what to do etc.—patriotic, loy­al, clean—trying their utmost—What a ghast­ly mud­dle they made of it! Unteach­able from infan­cy to tomb—There is the first and main char­ac­ter­is­tic of mankind.”

—Churchill to Lord Beaver­brook, 21 May 1928.…

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