Year: 2022

Algernon West and Churchill’s Disdain for “Superfluous Millions”

Algernon West and Churchill’s Disdain for “Superfluous Millions”

The reader now has the context, and may decide whether Churchill's remark was an expression of imperialist racism, or the fashionable Darwin-Reade philosophy prevalent at that time. In the words of Mark Twain and several showmen before him: "You pays your money and you takes your choice."

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Mary Soames Centenary 1922-2022: A Remembrance by a Friend

Mary Soames Centenary 1922-2022: A Remembrance by a Friend

Mary Soames taught us all the most important rules any Churchill scholar must follow: never to proclaim what her father would do today; and strive to “keep the memory green and the record accurate.” She also taught us magnanimity—that what really matters is friendship, and trust. She was our guiding light—the person we sought to please with word committed to print on behalf of her great father.

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Valedictory: Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

Valedictory: Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

It fell to Winston Churchill to define “this fair and youthful figure…heir to all our traditions and glories... Gazing at her photo “in a white dress and with long white gloves, displaying that enchanting smile which lights up her face as if a blind had suddenly been raised,” he mused: “Lovely, inspiring. All the film people in the world, if they had scoured the globe, could not have found anyone so suited to the part.” Admiration grew to attachment, attachment to adoration. Every week during their meetings her private secretary reported “gales of laughter” coming from the audience room: “Winston generally came out wiping his eyes.”

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Churchill Quoting Others: “Command the Moment to Remain”

Churchill Quoting Others: “Command the Moment to Remain”

"Mealtimes sometimes prolonged themselves into three-hour sessions, often to my mother's despair. And so eventually she would make to move. And I so well remember my father looking at her down the table, lovingly and ruefully, and saying, 'Oh, Clemmie, don't go. It is so nice. Let us command the moment to remain.' Of course, one never can. But today I've tried to command some precious moments that I remember to remain." —Mary Soames

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Churchill and the Great London Smog, 1952

Churchill and the Great London Smog, 1952

Churchill took no part in subsequent debates over air pollution. Remarkably, the subject didn’t even come up during the December smog. Not until 12 February 1953 did Marcus Lipton MP raise the issue. The Churchill government assured him that “intensive inquiry” would occur. The Clean Air Act of 1956 eventually followed.

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Churchill, Orwell and “1984”

Churchill, Orwell and “1984”

Orwell on Churchill: "It is rumoured that after promising to fight in the streets he turned from the microphone and said: 'We'll throw bottles at the bastards; it's about all we've got left!' One may assume that this story is untrue, but at the time it was felt that it ought to be true. It was a fitting tribute from ordinary people to the tough and humorous old man whom they would not accept as a peacetime leader [in 1945] but whom in the moment of disaster they felt to be representative of themselves."

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Netflix on Operation Mincemeat: Did They Get It Right?

Netflix on Operation Mincemeat: Did They Get It Right?

Churchill believed Mincemeat had deceived Hitler, but he was always a fan of intelligence operations. Gilbert, Macintyre and Netflix say it did, and some German troops were sent to Greece. But German minefields and port defenses in Greece did not need resources from Sicily. Some motor torpedo boats were transferred, but they did not significantly weaken Sicily’s defenses.

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“Leaders: Churchill,” with Robert Hardy (1986)

“Leaders: Churchill,” with Robert Hardy (1986)

With all its flaws and inaccuracies, the performance brings out Churchill's greatest characteristic. That was his essential humanity, which made him so different from other leaders past and present. James Humes noted another quality. "Churchill told his audiences what he wanted them to hear." And Sir John Gielgud closes with words to remember. "Churchill was as ordinary as any of us—and as extraordinary as any of us can hope to be."

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“Why Hasn’t Gandhi Died Yet?” Another Churchill Non-quotation

“Why Hasn’t Gandhi Died Yet?” Another Churchill Non-quotation

Wavell did write this, but it was not a quote—and fairly peevish itself. Why don’t the critics publish what Churchill actually said? Here it is: "Surely Mr. Gandhi has made a most remarkable recovery, as he is already able to take an active part in politics. How does this square with the medical reports upon which his release on grounds of ill-health was agreed to by us? In one of these we were told that he would not be able to take any part in politics again."

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Great Churchillians: Antoine Capet

Great Churchillians: Antoine Capet

Antoine Capet brought his quality of cheery pedantry to every subject under the sun, and we will vastly miss his skillful advice, always delivered in the politest terms without the slightest hint of rebuke. Combined with his comprehensive knowledge of the Churchill saga, those are rare qualities. We miss him already, for he has left an unfillable hole among the friends who loved him.

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