Month: March 2009

“No one left…without feeling a braver man.”

“No one left…without feeling a braver man.”

I’m search­ing for  a quote about William Pitt, used also about Churchill in 1940: some­thing like, “No one left his pres­ence who did not feel braver,” but more elo­quent.     —M.M., Indi­ana

Sir John Martin\’s mem­oirs (not diary). Fore­ground L-R: Jock Colville, Churchill, John Mar­tin.

The quote about Pitt is from the 30 May 1940 diary of John Mar­tin, one of Churchill’s pri­vate sec­re­taries, first pub­lished in Mar­tin Gilbert’s Offi­cial Biog­ra­phy, Win­ston S. Churchill, vol. VI, Finest Hour 1939-1941 (Lon­don: Heine­mann, 1983), 435-36:

Dur­ing May 30 [1940] Desmond Mor­ton sent Churchill a sev­en page note by the Aus­tralian High Com­mis­sion­er in Lon­don, Stan­ley Bruce, argu­ing, in one of its para­graphs, in favour of an inter­na­tion­al con­fer­ence “to for­mu­late a peace set­tle­ment.” Churchill struck out this para­graph, and wrote in the mar­gin: “No.” Cross­ing out Bruce’s final point, that “the fur­ther shed­ding of blood and the con­tin­u­ance of hideous suf­fer­ing is unnec­es­sary” and that the bel­liger­ents should “cease the strug­gle,” Churchill wrote: “Rot,” and went on to note, for Mor­ton: “The end is rot­ten.” That night one of Churchill’s pri­vate sec­re­taries, John Mar­tin, wrote home: “The PM’s con­fi­dence and ener­gy are amaz­ing.…

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Pat Buchanan and the Art of the Selective Quote

Pat Buchanan and the Art of the Selective Quote

A friend asks if there has been a sol­id refu­ta­tion of Pat Buchanan’s book. I’m sure there has been, but could you give me the cita­tion? —W.M.

On pub­li­ca­tion of Pat’s book in 2008 I wrote an edi­to­r­i­al, which I reprise below.

Churchill, Hitler and the Unnec­es­sary War: How Britain Lost Its Empire and the West Lost the World, by Patrick J. Buchanan. New York, Crown, 518 pp., $29.95.

A prob­lem illus­trat­ed by Pat Buchanan’s book is the ram­pant use of selec­tive quotes. No ani­mus toward the author: I have respect for Pat Buchanan and even vot­ed for him in the 1992 New Hamp­shire Pri­ma­ry.…

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“If you will not fight…when you can easily win…”

“If you will not fight…when you can easily win…”

I remem­ber a quip: “When will we fight. When we have no hope.” Can you help me iden­ti­fy the source?

Those words do not track among Churchill’s 15 mil­lion  pub­lished words.. You may be think­ing of:

…if you will not fight for the right when you can eas­i­ly win with­out blood­shed; if you will not fight when your vic­to­ry will be sure and not too cost­ly; you may come to the moment when you will have to fight with all the odds against you and only a pre­car­i­ous chance of sur­vival. There may even be a worse case.…

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