Month: December 2016

75 Years On: New Year 1942

75 Years On: New Year 1942

Here’s to a year of toil—a year of strug­gle and per­il, and a long step for­ward towards vic­to­ry. May we all come through safe and with hon­our!”

Munro in the Civ­il & Mil­i­tary Gazette, Lahore, 1 Jan­u­ary 1942.

Some­where east of Ottawa, a spe­cial train bore the Prime Min­is­ter of Great Britain toward Wash­ing­ton, after he had addressed Canada’s Par­lia­ment. In Ottawa he had spo­ken of the French in 1940:

When I warned them that Britain would fight on alone, what­ev­er they did, their gen­er­als told their prime min­is­ter and his divid­ed cab­i­net, “In three weeks Eng­land will have her neck wrung like a chick­en.” Some chick­en!…

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“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.  ____________________________________

No soon­er had I admired the fair, most­ly bal­anced and accu­rate PBS docu­d­ra­ma Churchill’s Secret (on the Prime Minister’s June 1953 stroke) than I was grum­bling through Netflix’s The Crown, which is, sad­ly, as often mis­lead­ing as Churchill’s Secret was hon­est.…

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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….

“All in the same boat.” New Bond Street, Lon­don. (Sculp­ture by Lawrence Holofcener)

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.…

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