Month: December 2016

“The Crown”: A Not So Crowning Achievement

“The Crown”: A Not So Crowning Achievement

The Crown, 2016. Pro­duced for Net­flix by Left Bank Pic­tures, cre­at­ed and writ­ten by Peter Mor­gan. Ten episodes released 4 Novem­ber 2016. A sec­ond sea­son is com­mis­sioned.  =  N.B. Since writ­ing this, more false trails emerged. Con­sult­ing 1952 doc­u­ments at the Hills­dale Col­lege Churchill Project and Churchill Archives Cen­tre, we found no evi­dence for the film’s impli­ca­tion that the Duke of Wind­sor bar­gained with Churchill to per­suade the Roy­al cou­ple to move from Clarence House to the Palace, in exchange for restora­tion of his allowance. Nor is there any­thing to sug­gest Churchill post­poned the Coro­na­tion 18 months for his own polit­i­cal pur­pos­es. …

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Pearl Harbor +75: All in the Same Boat. Still.

Pearl Harbor +75: All in the Same Boat. Still.

A slight­ly extend­ed ver­sion of my piece on Pearl Har­bor: “How, 75 years ago today, we were saved,” in The Amer­i­can Spec­ta­tor, 7 Decem­ber 2016….

Sev­en­ty-five years ago today, Win­ston Churchill was pon­der­ing sur­vival. Hitler gripped Europe from France to deep inside Rus­sia. Nazi U-boats were stran­gling British ship­ping; Rommel’s Afri­ka Korps was advanc­ing on Suez. Britain’s only ally beside the Empire/Commonwealth, the Red Army, was fight­ing before Moscow. Amer­i­ca remained supportive…and aloof.

Eigh­teen months ear­li­er he had become prime min­is­ter. No one else had want­ed the task. “God alone knows how great it is,” he mut­tered, his eyes fill­ing.…

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Fitzroy Maclean: Wit & Wisdom

Fitzroy Maclean: Wit & Wisdom

Sir Fitzroy Maclean was a swash­buck­ling adven­tur­er, sol­dier, writer and politi­cian. In World War II he was Churchill’s rep­re­sen­ta­tive to Tito, who led Yugoslav Par­ti­sans against the Ger­mans. One of my great priv­i­leges was know­ing him and Lady Veron­i­ca, and hear­ing their cap­ti­vat­ing rec­ol­lec­tions.

Proof­ing gal­leys for Win­ston S. Churchill: Doc­u­ment Vol­ume 20, May-Decem­ber 1944, the Hills­dale Col­lege Churchill Project comes across many gems. Not least of these was Maclean’s account of Churchill’s first meet­ing with Tito—and a minor adven­ture in Bay of Naples in August 1944.

Maclean on Tito:

I found him to be a tough, alert man of about fifty, at the head of a far more for­mi­da­ble resis­tance move­ment than any­one out­side Yugoslavia could pos­si­bly have imag­ined….…

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