Category: FAQs

Did Churchill Conduct Business in Bed? (Or: “Toby’s Roost”)

Did Churchill Conduct Business in Bed? (Or: “Toby’s Roost”)

“Busi­ness in Bed” is excerpt­ed from the Hills­dale Col­lege Churchill Project. For the orig­i­nal text includ­ing end­notes, please click here. Sub­scrip­tions to this site are free. You will receive reg­u­lar notices of new posts as pub­lished. Just fill out SUBSCRIBE AND FOLLOW (at right). Your email address will remain a rid­dle wrapped in a mys­tery inside an enigma.

Q: Did Churchill conduct business in bed?

“I am a crim­i­nol­o­gist cur­rent­ly research­ing my next book and I need to know some­thing about Churchill brief­ing col­leagues from his bed. Is this true?  Did Churchill work from his bed?…

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Winston Churchill, Eugenics and the “Feeble-Minded” (1)

Winston Churchill, Eugenics and the “Feeble-Minded” (1)

I pub­lished in 2010 an account of Churchill’s youth­ful (cir­ca 1910-12) fling with Eugen­ics, a pseu­do-sci­ence pop­u­lar at the turn of the cen­tu­ry. Eugen­ics favored ster­il­iz­ing or con­fin­ing the “fee­ble-mind­ed” to “main­tain the race.”

This drew an irate let­ter from a read­er who said he will nev­er think the same of Churchill, know­ing that he could have sup­port­ed such hor­ren­dous ideas:

No tru­ly edu­cat­ed intel­li­gent per­son, even in those ear­ly years, can have bought into Eugen­ics. Churchill’s was not just a fling of youth or imma­tu­ri­ty but the decid­ed opin­ion of a near­ly mid­dle-aged man. His sup­port of Eugen­ics could only lead to the extrem­i­ties prac­ticed to by the Nazis.…

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Mamoru Shigemitsu: “When you have to kill a man…”

Mamoru Shigemitsu: “When you have to kill a man…”

Q: Ambassador Shigemitsu

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.…

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