Category: FAQs

Roosevelt and Churchill: Don Quixote and Sancho Panza?

Roosevelt and Churchill: Don Quixote and Sancho Panza?

A col­league asks whether Win­ston and Clemen­tine Churchill’s pri­vate name for  Pres­i­dent Roo­sevelt was “Don Quixote.” Also, who com­pared Roo­sevelt and Churchill to Don Quixote and San­cho Pan­za? This offers an inter­est­ing troll through the sources.

So far as I can learn, the Quixote – Pan­za anal­o­gy for Roo­sevelt and Churchill (also FDR and his devot­ed advis­er Har­ry Hop­kins) occurred only dur­ing the 1943 Casablan­ca Con­fer­ence (SYMBOL). Roo­sevelt pro­posed those code names, and I rather think Churchill had dif­fer­ent image of them than FDR. (Oxford Eng­lish Dic­tio­nary: “Quixote: Enthu­si­as­tic vision­ary, pur­suer of lofty but imprac­ti­ca­ble ideals.”) Of course we can’t be sure.…

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Churchill, Arthur Harris and Decisions to Bomb Germany

Churchill, Arthur Harris and Decisions to Bomb Germany

Did Win­ston Churchill influ­ence the deci­sion to bomb Ger­man cities so bad­ly at end of World War II? What role did he have in appoint­ing Sir Arthur “Bomber” Har­ris to lead Bomber Com­mand? Did he give a secret order to “bomb the hell out of them”? Did he exhib­it this atti­tude in his speech­es? (Updat­ed and repost­ed, 31 May 2018.)

“Bomb the hell out of them”

Gen­er­al Har­ris was a mil­i­tary appoint­ment, though sup­port­ed by Churchill.  For many months after Rus­sia was attacked, bomb­ing was the only “sec­ond front” Britain could offer. The Allies were los­ing every­where and Stal­in was clam­or­ing for the Anglo-Amer­i­cans to attack.…

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On Time: Winston Churchill’s Pocket Watch and Wristwatch

On Time: Winston Churchill’s Pocket Watch and Wristwatch

A wrist­watch that the Com­mune de Vaud gave ​Churchill on ​11 Sep­tem­ber 1946 was sold recent­ly by Sotheby’s. Did he wear wrist­watch­es? One almost always sees him with a pock­et watch. —S.R., New Hamp­shire

​From the 1890s until the end of his life Churchill car­ried his father’s pock­et watch, nick­named “The ​Turnip.” He did how­ev­er some­times wear a wrist­watch, as the above pho­to shows. N.B.: This is a revised, extend­ed ver­sion of a 2009 post, which I have left up for the com­ments by read­ers: click here.

Wristwatches

William Man­ches­ter wrote that the wrist­watch was a ​”​prod­uct of trench war​fare.​”​ Evi­dent­ly Churchill thought so.…

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