There was a time, in a long-ago and innocent age, when national leaders would walk about unaccompanied by security. Sometimes, they would even walk alone.
Four such episodes came to mind last week which exemplify this vanished era. Questions arrived from colleagues about Churchill: his encounters with Canadian soldiers and his North Carolina connections. Then The New York Times published a retrospective on Woodrow Wilson, during the 1918 Paris Peace Conference. This was remindful of a fourth episode, involving Harry Truman. The sadness is that none of these could have happened in, the last fifty years. Maybe longer.
Walk in Paris: Woodrow Wilson, 1918
The Municipal Council of Paris gave President Wilson the keys to the City, but they neglected to present him with what is far more essential, a good map book, with which to find his way about the city’s intricate streets.…
Q: “Who made the crack that Churchill had a hundred ideas a day but only four of them were good?” —Bruce Saxton, Trenton, N.J.
A: There are several candidates and variations. Taking them as a group, Churchill had from six to 100 ideas daily, of which between one and six were good. In order of the most likely. But it could be one of those all-purpose cracks applied to many people.
Roosevelt: fifty to 100 ideas, three or four good.
Perspective of History: Address to the Churchill Society of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, on Sir Winston’s 144th birthday, 30 November 2018 (Part 3). We were kindly hosted at Earnscliffe by the British High Commissioner, Susan le Jeune d’Allegeershecque.
Perspective, 144 Years On
Concluded from Part 2…. “The great movements that underlie history—the development of science, industry, culture, social and political structures—are powerful, almost determinant,” wrote Charles Krauthammer.
Yet every once in a while, a single person arises without whom everything would be different. In recent times, only Churchill carries that absolutely required criterion: indispensability… Take away Churchill in 1940 [and] Hitler would have achieved what no other tyrant, not even Napoleon, had ever achieved: mastery of Europe.…