Churchill was criticized for his extremely respectful letter to the Japanese Ambassador to Britain in December 1941, when informing him that their countries were at war. Churchill’s response to critics was, “After all, when you have to kill a man it costs nothing to be polite.” Was Shigemitsu acually killed? —W.H., New York
A: No, he lived on
Churchill was writing in the abstract, so did not actually propose to slay the Ambassador. Mamoru Shigemitsu was Japanese ambassador to the Soviet Union 1936–38 and to Britain 1938–41. Following Japan’s attacks of December 1941 he received unhampered passage home.…
Excerpted from “What Good’s a Monarchy? Churchill’s Case for an Anachronism,” for the Hillsdale College Churchill Project. For the original text including endnotes please click here.
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“It is wise in human affairs, and in the government of men, to separate pomp from power.” —Winston S. Churchill1
In an age of lampooning anything which smacks of tradition, the question arises: what good is monarchy?…
A correspondent to the Financial Times slipped a red herring into our store of Churchill quotations, and thanks to the newspaper for publishing my correction.
In a letter to the FT, Mary Ellen Synon defended Irish Taoiseach Eamon de Valera’s expression of condolences at the German Embassy upon the death of Adolf Hitler. Ms. Synon suggested that this was just an ordinary diplomatic gesture—a formality. After all, didn’t Churchill offer condolences or a homily following the death of Stalin?
Churchill was outraged by de Valera’s action, but was not guilty of the same lack of propriety (or hypocrisy).…