Year: 2012

Did Churchill Ever Admire Hitler? 3/3

Did Churchill Ever Admire Hitler? 3/3

Part 3: Pleas­ing No One …con­tin­ued from Part 2

Churchill was cor­rect when he said his writ­ings about Hitler sat­is­fied nei­ther Hitler’s defend­ers nor Hitler’s crit­ics. One of the for­mer was Lord Lon­don­der­ry, a pro-Hitler peer who com­plained that Churchill’s Evening Stan­dard piece would pre­vent a decent under­stand­ing with Ger­many. On 23 Octo­ber 1937, Churchill replied to Lord Lon­don­der­ry (Gilbert, Churchill: A Life, 581):

You can­not expect Eng­lish peo­ple to be attract­ed by the bru­tal intol­er­ances of Nazidom, though these may fade with time. On the oth­er hand, we all wish to live on friend­ly terms with Ger­many.…

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Did Churchill Ever Admire Hitler? 2/3

Did Churchill Ever Admire Hitler? 2/3

Part 2: “Friend­ship with Ger­many” ,,,con­tin­ued from Part 1

Churchill’s crit­ics some­times quote sen­tences which they think came from his orig­i­nal Hitler arti­cle or Great Con­tem­po­raries, among which this is the most common:

One may dis­like Hitler’s sys­tem and yet admire his patri­ot­ic achieve­ment. If our coun­try were defeat­ed, I hope we should find a cham­pi­on as indomitable to restore our courage and lead us back to our place among the nations.

In fact this pas­sage is from Churchill’s arti­cle in the Evening Stan­dard, 17 Sep­tem­ber 1937: “Friend­ship with Ger­many” (Cohen C548), sub­se­quent­ly reprint­ed in Churchill’s book of for­eign affairs essays, Step by Step (Lon­don: Thorn­ton But­ter­worth, 1939, Cohen A111).…

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Did Churchill Ever Admire Hitler? 1/3

Did Churchill Ever Admire Hitler? 1/3

Part 1: “Gov­ern­ment by Dictators”

The Hitler chap­ter in Churchill’s book Great Con­tem­po­raries, like the rest of the vol­ume, was derived from a pre­vi­ous arti­cle. In this case the orig­i­nal was “The Truth about Hitler,” in The Strand Mag­a­zine of Novem­ber 1935 (Cohen C481). Ronald Cohen notes in his Bib­li­og­ra­phy that Strand edi­tor Reeves Shaw, who paid WSC £250 for the arti­cle, want­ed Churchill to make it “as out­spo­ken as you pos­si­bly can…absolutely frank in your judg­ment of [Hitler’s] meth­ods.” It was.

Two years lat­er, when Churchill was prepar­ing his Hitler essay for Great Con­tem­po­raries, he char­ac­ter­is­ti­cal­ly sub­mit­ted it to the For­eign Office, which asked that he tone it down.…

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“Remember the past”: Santayana, but never Churchill

“Remember the past”: Santayana, but never Churchill

I am a librar­i­an and I have a patron who inquired about famous quote by George San­tayana (in The Life of Rea­son, 1905): “Those who can­not remem­ber the past are con­demned to repeat it.” We know the quote was orig­i­nal­ly Santayana’s, but our patron would like to know when Mr. Churchill first used it. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, my col­league and I have not been able to locate the the time or con­text of quote as it relates to Mr. Churchill. —D.J., New York

I searched Churchill’s 15 mil­lion pub­lished words (books, arti­cles, speech­es, pri­vate papers) but could find no occur­rence of Santayana’s remark.…

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Churchill & the Bombing of Coventry

Churchill & the Bombing of Coventry

The Wei­der His­to­ry Group replied to a query. “Did Churchill allow Coven­try to be burned to pro­tect his secret intel­li­gence?” Their answer was some­what equivocal:

There cer­tain­ly have been a vari­ety of dif­fer­ent accounts, even sup­pos­ed­ly by eye­wit­ness­es, that con­tra­dict each oth­er as to how much Win­ston Churchill had learned from the Boni­face (lat­er Ultra) decoders as to the main tar­get for the Ger­man “Moon­light Sonata” air raid on the Mid­lands in Novem­ber 1940, and when did he ascer­tain it. Whether he mis­took it for a feint, with Lon­don the actu­al tar­get, of whether he knew of Coven­try and left it to its fate rather than com­pro­mise Britain’s abil­i­ty to crack the Ger­man Enig­ma codes seems to depend on one’s feel­ings toward Churchill.……

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Baseball: The Amazin’ Nats

Baseball: The Amazin’ Nats

In 2012’s great­est base­ball suc­cess sto­ry, the Wash­ing­ton Nation­als went 60-40 on July 28th, hav­ing won more games as they won all year in 2008 and 2009. In the Nation­al League they’re first in pitch­ing, tied for sec­ond in field­ing, and sev­enth in hit­ting, although in the last month their bat­ters have been on fire.

Tied with the Yan­kees for the best record in base­ball, the prece­dents fall week­ly. 2012 is sup­plant­i­ng 2005 as the best year since base­ball returned to Wash­ing­ton. The Nats are now about five games bet­ter than they were at this time in 2005, when they dove from first to last place in the sec­ond half.…

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Straitjacketing Churchill (and the Truth)

Straitjacketing Churchill (and the Truth)

LONDON, JULY 19TH— In what were described as “guer­ril­la raids,” BBC Chan­nel 4 “strait­jack­et­ed” the stat­ues of four wide­ly admired Britons: Churchill and Flo­rence Nightin­gale in Lon­don, Charles Dar­win in Shrews­bury and Samuel John­son in Lichfield.

Each fig­ure was “restrained” in a bespoke strait-jack­et which had the men­tal ill­ness they are reput­ed to have had stamped across it. Churchill’s was labeled DEPRESSION.

The strait­jack­et­ing was car­ried out to pro­mote Chan­nel 4’s sea­son of prime-time pro­gram­ming chal­leng­ing men­tal health stig­ma and dis­crim­i­na­tion, “4 Goes Mad,” which start­ed on Mon­day 23 July. The stunt was also cap­tured as part of a short film aired on Chan­nel 4’s “Ran­dom Acts.”…

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Churchill’s “V-Sign” and the Peace Symbol

Churchill’s “V-Sign” and the Peace Symbol

I was want­i­ng to find out about the two-fin­ger ges­ture in the pic­ture. It appears to be either the ear­li­est peace sym­bol, and/or rab­bit ears? The “crow foot” peace sym­bol pre­dates Churchill’s V-sign by four or five cen­turies. Its cur­rent form was pop­u­lar­ized by Picas­so in the World Peace Con­fer­ences of the 1950s, when it was alleged to rep­re­sent the Chris­t­ian cross upside down and bro­ken, the sym­bol of a Com­mu­nist peace. Wikipedia has an inter­est­ing dis­cus­sion.

I’m not sure where Churchill picked up his two-fin­ger V-sign (palm fac­ing out), but he cer­tain­ly pop­u­lar­ized it dur­ing World War II. …

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Churchill’s “Infallibility”: Myth on Myth

Churchill’s “Infallibility”: Myth on Myth

Mr. Daniel Knowles (“Time to scotch the myth of Win­ston Churchill’s infal­li­bil­i­ty,” (orig­i­nal­ly blogged on the Dai­ly Tele­graph but since pulled from all the web­sites where it appeared), wrote that the “nation­al myth” of World War II and Churchill “is being used in an argu­ment about the future of the House of Lords.”

Mr. Knowles quot­ed Lib­er­al Par­ty leader Nick Clegg, who cit­ed Churchill’s 1910 hope that the Lords “would be fair to all par­ties.” Sir Winston’s grand­son, Sir Nicholas Soames MP, replied that Churchill “dropped those views and had great rev­er­ence and respect for the insti­tu­tion of the House of Lords.”…

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Churchill’s Brandy? Not Really….

Churchill’s Brandy? Not Really….

Brandy Ban­ter: The Evening Stan­dard described ArArAt Armen­ian brandy, once reserved for Com­mu­nist par­ty elite. It was “the brandy that Stal­in served Churchill” accord­ing to con­sumer busi­ness edi­tor Jonathan Prynn:

The prime min­is­ter enjoyed ArArAt brandy when it was served by Stal­in at the Yal­ta con­fer­ence in Feb­ru­ary 1945. After the Sec­ond World War, the Sovi­et leader arranged for Churchill to be sent 400 bot­tles every year.

This seems high­ly doubt­ful. There is no record in the Churchill Archives Cen­tre of even a bot­tle of brandy being sent to Churchill—although he did com­pli­ment Stal­in on an Armen­ian brandy served at Yal­ta.…

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