Month: May 2020

80 Years On: Winston Churchill Prime Minister, 10 May 1940

80 Years On: Winston Churchill Prime Minister, 10 May 1940

The 10th of May…

In the splin­ter­ing crash of this vast bat­tle the qui­et con­ver­sa­tions we had had in Down­ing Street fad­ed or fell back in one’s mind. How­ev­er, I remem­ber being told that Mr. Cham­ber­lain had gone, or was going, to see the King, and this was nat­u­ral­ly to be expect­ed. Present­ly a mes­sage arrived sum­mon­ing me to the Palace at six o’clock. It only takes two min­utes to dri­ve there from the Admi­ral­ty along the Mall. Although I sup­pose the evening news­pa­pers must have been full of the ter­rif­ic news from the Con­ti­nent, noth­ing had been men­tioned about the Cab­i­net cri­sis.…

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Alistair Cooke: An Introduction and an Appreciation

Alistair Cooke: An Introduction and an Appreciation

My pre­vi­ous note was about Alis­tair Cooke on Churchill in 1930s. I now reprise my intro­duc­tion to his speech, and a per­son­al epi­logue. Sir Alistair’s speech, at the Mount Wash­ing­ton Hotel, Bret­ton Woods, 27 August 1988, is avail­able by email. RML

Sir Alistair Cooke KBE

When, in what we must regard as a stroke of bril­liance, we thought to invite Sir Alis­tair Cooke to talk about Win­ston Churchill, we wrote him with trep­i­da­tion. We were told he had a rep­u­ta­tion for being very hard to get. To our delight, he defied the odds. “This is the time of year when I turn down every­thing,” he wrote.…

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Alistair Cooke: Why didn’t They Listen to Churchill?

Alistair Cooke: Why didn’t They Listen to Churchill?

Alis­tair Cooke addressed this ques­tion over thir­ty years ago. I’ve quot­ed his words repeat­ed­ly over the years. A recent com­ment (reprised below), encour­aged this revi­sion from 2011. Mr. Cooke’s full speech is avail­able by email. RML

Back in the 1930’s, who all denounced and crit­i­cized Churchill for his beliefs in the rad­i­cal Nazi Ger­many? Who specif­i­cal­ly mocked him? Obvi­ous­ly Churchill was right about Hitler and his plans but who in the polit­i­cal, intel­lec­tu­al, or enter­tain­ment are­nas vil­i­fied him? —A.H.

The answer to your ques­tion, I think, is “just about every­body,” from the Roy­al Fam­i­ly to ordi­nary cit­i­zens, most of the media, his own par­ty, the Labour and Lib­er­al par­ties, and cer­tain­ly most intel­lec­tu­als and enter­tain­ment per­son­al­i­ties.…

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