Month: June 2017

Churchill Myth and Reality: Antwerp. Shocking Folly?

Churchill Myth and Reality: Antwerp. Shocking Folly?

Churchill’s role in the defense of Antwerp, in Octo­ber 1914, has been called one of his “char­ac­ter­is­ti­cal­ly pirat­i­cal” adven­tures. An emi­nent his­to­ri­an described it as “a shock­ing fol­ly by a min­is­ter who abused his pow­ers and betrayed his respon­si­bil­i­ties. It is aston­ish­ing that [his] cab­i­net col­leagues so read­i­ly for­gave him for a lapse of judg­ment that would have destroyed most men’s careers.”1

 As the Ger­mans closed in around Antwerp, Max Hast­ings writes, Churchill “assem­bled a hotch­potch of Roy­al Marines and sur­plus naval per­son­nel… his own pri­vate army.” Then he “aban­doned his post at the Admi­ral­ty.”…

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Help Hillsdale Educate on Behalf of Liberty

Help Hillsdale Educate on Behalf of Liberty

Hillsdale College Asks Your Help… In response to grow­ing demand, Hills­dale Col­lege is mak­ing an archive of our pop­u­lar free online cours­es. It’s our hope that any cit­i­zen who wish­es to learn can take advan­tage of the teach­ing that takes place on Hillsdale’s cam­pus every day. .

These free online cours­es cov­er top­ics such as Win­ston Churchill, the Con­sti­tu­tion, Amer­i­can his­to­ry, free mar­ket eco­nom­ics, and more. Well over a mil­lion peo­ple have already tak­en at least one course.

Why do we make our online cours­es avail­able at no charge? Because edu­ca­tion on behalf of lib­er­ty is our mis­sion.…

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Announcing “Winston Churchill, Myth and Reality”

Announcing “Winston Churchill, Myth and Reality”

Churchill was not infallible, and it diminishes him to treat him as superhuman. On some topics in my book, accomplished scholars have catalogued Churchill’s failings. I take note of them, along with certain less-well-known exculpatory facts. None detract from his greatness. Churchill published 20 million words and left an archive of a million documents: easy pickings for anyone determined to expose his alleged faults by selective editing. Yet that same archive offers the complete context. You have only to do your homework. I have done it. There is no missing context.

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Churchill and his Taxes: “Genius has many outlets”

Churchill and his Taxes: “Genius has many outlets”

Taxes and the Man

On the mat­ter of Churchill’s tax­es, a friend quotes a very good his­to­ri­an we both respect: “His rela­tion­ship with the tax­man was scan­dalous. As Chan­cel­lor of the Exche­quer, Churchill exploit­ed tax loop­holes and he retired as an author on more than one occa­sion to avoid pay­ing tax.”

My friend writes: “Sure­ly what Churchill did was just on the bor­der­line of tax-opti­miza­tion? It would only be scan­dalous if it was tax eva­sion. But it was in fact legal.”

I am not an expert on Churchill’s tax­es. I accept that he took what­ev­er mea­sures that were open and legal to min­i­mize the bite.…

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Churchill on the Optimist and the Pessimist

Churchill on the Optimist and the Pessimist

Opti­mist and Pes­simist: Fif­teen min­utes of fame! David Davis MP, Sec­re­tary of State for Brex­it, boots one in his recent speech and I’m final­ly in The Guardian. Prob­a­bly the first and last time, giv­en my opinions. **

Ques­tion: Refer­ring to your posts of quotations Churchill nev­er said, do you know who actu­al­ly did say “A pes­simist sees the dif­fi­culty in every oppor­tu­nity; an opti­mist sees the oppor­tu­nity in every dif­fi­cul­ty”? I find no attri­bu­tion oth­er than to Churchill.

Pessimist: Not Churchill’s Quip

Answer: Sor­ry. I can’t track it; nor can my col­league Ralph Keyes, edi­tor of The Quote Ver­i­fi­er.…

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Why the Turks Like Churchill

Why the Turks Like Churchill

How great was Atatürk? The ques­tion came up exam­in­ing Turk­ish atti­tudes to Churchill, which one might expect would be hos­tile. In 1914, Churchill’s Admi­ral­ty denied Turkey two bat­tle­ships being built in Britain as World War I erupt­ed. In 1915, Churchill pushed hard (though did not con­ceive of) the attacks on the Dar­d­anelles and Gal­lipoli. (See also “com­ments” on this post from thought­ful Turks.)

Atatürk

One his­to­ri­an spec­u­lat­ed that Churchill mir­rored the courage and resource­ful­ness of  Mustafa Kemal (Atatürk). Anoth­er said there “might be a lin­ger­ing impres­sion that Churchill had helped save Turkey from the red men­ace by his resis­tance to Russ­ian demands on the Dar­d­anelles Straits—of course it was Har­ry Tru­man who did the heavy lift­ing there [through the Tru­man Doc­trine]”

The Turks have abun­dant rea­sons to feel pos­i­tive toward Churchill, aside from his per­son­al courage, and his post-1945 resis­tance to Sovi­et designs on the Dar­d­anelles (when he was out of office and pow­er­less).…

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Churchill as Anti-Semite: Rubbish

Churchill as Anti-Semite: Rubbish

A life­long sup­port­er of Zion­ism and the Jews, Win­ston Churchill is some­times labeled an anti-Semi­te. The prof­fered evi­dence, an alleged arti­cle of his, has made the oblig­a­tory rounds of the Internet.

A 1937 arti­cle draft in the Churchill Archives sup­pos­ed­ly proves that Churchill’s off-expressed sym­pa­thy for the Jews was hypocrisy. Churchill was, if this arti­cle is to be believed, a clos­et anti-Semite.

Origins of a slur

The alle­ga­tions began with a 2007 arti­cle in Britain’s The Inde­pen­dent: “Uncov­ered: Churchill’s Warn­ings About the ‘Hebrew Blood­suck­ers.’”

The 1937 draft, “How the Jews Can Com­bat Per­se­cu­tion,” had “appar­ent­ly lain unno­ticed in the Churchill Archives at Cam­bridge since the ear­ly months of the Sec­ond World War,” stat­ed The Inde­pen­dent:

Churchill crit­i­cised the “aloof­ness” of Jew­ish peo­ple from wider soci­ety and urged them to make the effort to inte­grate themselves….Churchill…

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Brian Cox as Churchill: An Interview on Charlie Rose

Brian Cox as Churchill: An Interview on Charlie Rose

It is depressing and disheartening for anyone who knows the barest facts to hear history told by actors, with reality turned on its head under guise of entertainment. Invented dialogue and scenarios are of course necessary for dramatic effect.

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“Utmost Fish”: A Churchill Story that is No Old Cod

“Utmost Fish”: A Churchill Story that is No Old Cod

Q: What can you tell me about Churchill’s order for “Utmost Fish” in 1939. What did this have to do with his role as First Lord of the Admi­ral­ty?” —L.S, Spokane, Wash.

A: It had noth­ing to do with his role. It was char­ac­ter­is­tic of his atten­tion to detail, and will­ing­ness to stray out­side his limits.

“Utmost Fish”

Hills­dale College’s “The Churchill Doc­u­ments,” Vol. 14, for Sep­tem­ber 1939-May 1940, car­ries a rec­ol­lec­tion by Sir Geof­frey Shake­speare. Shake­speare (1893-1980) was a Lib­er­al MP, 1923-45. He served Churchill as Par­lia­men­tary Under-Sec­re­tary of State for Domin­ion Affairs from 1940 to 1942.…

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Kaiser Capers: Memories of Howard A. “Dutch” Darrin, Part 3

Kaiser Capers: Memories of Howard A. “Dutch” Darrin, Part 3

Dutch was a man of striking contrasts—funny and serious, reckless and capable, diplomatic and headstrong, inspired, complex, vastly talented. If there was one quality which set him off from others in his trade, it was his characteristic way of standing back and looking at himself as he hoped history would. "How will I look if I do this?" he seemed to ask himself. 

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