Category: Research Topics

Remembering Eddie Murray, Churchill’s Bodyguard 1950-65

Remembering Eddie Murray, Churchill’s Bodyguard 1950-65

"Murray's devotion to Churchill was genuine, and I have no doubt that if danger had threatened he would have stood before him. He certainly made the great man’s life easier ahe Boss, I think, had a real affection for him. It was Churchill’s inevitable reaction to stand up for any member of his entourage who was under attack. As Lady Churchill once said (looking at me rather pointedly): 'Winston is always ready to be accompanied by those with considerable imperfections.'" —Anthony Montague Browne

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Gallipoli Peninsula 1915: Failure is an Orphan

Gallipoli Peninsula 1915: Failure is an Orphan

From May to November 1915, Churchill held a meaningless sinecure, his only task the appointment of rural judges. “Like a sea-beast fished up from the depths, or a diver too suddenly hoisted,” he wrote, “my veins threatened to burst from the fall in pressure. I had great anxiety and no means of relieving it; I had vehement convictions and small power to give effect to them.… I was forced to remain a spectator of the tragedy, placed cruelly in a front seat.”

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Dardanelles Straits 1915: Success Has a Thousand Fathers

Dardanelles Straits 1915: Success Has a Thousand Fathers

It is widely believed that Churchill proposed the expedition to the Dardanelles Straits to bypass the static slaughter in Europe’s trenches. While this is true in the abstract, the plan was not his original vision, nor was it hatched overnight. Churchill and others first contemplated assaulting Germany and Austria-Hungary from the south. Churchill also proposed attacking Germany from the north, even as the Dardanelles operation was being approved by the War Cabinet.

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Marlborough Drift: The Dallying Duke

Marlborough Drift: The Dallying Duke

John Churchill (not yet a Duke) "was hidden in the cupboard of Barbara Palmer (not yet a Duchess). After having prowled about the chamber the King, much upset, asked for sweets and liqueurs. His mistress declared that the key of the cupboard was lost. The King replied that he would break down the door.On this she opened the door, and fell on her knees on one side while Churchill, discovered, knelt on the other...."

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Churchill, Terrorism of Any Stripe, and Bombing Auschwitz

Churchill, Terrorism of Any Stripe, and Bombing Auschwitz

"There is no doubt that this is probably the greatest and most horrible crime ever committed in the whole history of the world, and it has been done by scientific machinery by nominally civilised men in the name of a great State and one of the leading races of Europe.... Declarations should be made in public, so that everyone connected with it will be hunted down and put to death." —WSC, 1945

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Churchill’s Hitler Essays: He Knew the Führer from the Start

Churchill’s Hitler Essays: He Knew the Führer from the Start

"The astounding thing is that the great German people, educated, scientific, philosophical, romantic, the people of the Christmas tree, the people of Goethe and Schiller, of Bach and Beethoven, Heine, Leibnitz, Kant and a hundred other great names, have not only not resented this horrible blood-bath, but have endorsed it and acclaimed its author with the honours not only of a sovereign but almost of a god.... Can we really believe that a hierarchy and society built upon such deeds can be entrusted with the possession of the most prodigious military machinery yet planned among men?" —WSC, 1937

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Did Eisenhower Offer to Quit Over WW2 Bombing Policy?

Did Eisenhower Offer to Quit Over WW2 Bombing Policy?

As supporters of Israel argue over the civilian casualties in Gaza, this history lesson is relevant. It seems that civilian casualties only occur to leaders of civilized governments. Hitler, Stalin, Saddam Hussein, and certainly Hamas never worried about them. In 1944, the arguments, heart searchings and constant changes of targets continued almost up to D-Day. In 1945, the battle of Manila resulted in 250,000 civilian casualties including 100,000 deaths. When told that statistic recently, Prime Minister Netanyahu was astonished. "100,000...well, we have incurred considerably fewer."

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No, Churchill Didn’t Sink the Lusitania, Either

No, Churchill Didn’t Sink the Lusitania, Either

The scholar Harry V. Jaffa placed most of the blame on human error: “Not only was Lusitania's steam reduced; her crew was also. The best men had been taken by the Royal Navy; lifeboat drills were listless…. The davits by which they had to be lowered were virtually unworkable from the moment the ship began to list. But the greatest of all the failures was the captain’s, since he navigated almost exactly as he would have done in peacetime.” Captain Turner had slowed down after striking the Irish coast, in order to arrive with the tide at Merseyside. 

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Churchill and the Rhineland: “Terrible Circumstances”

Churchill and the Rhineland: “Terrible Circumstances”

Churchill would have backed French reoccupation of the Rhineland, but he soon gathered that the League of Nations was toothless. Churchill’s theme did not dramatically change in 1936; it merely evolved. As early as 1933 he had declared:  "Whatever way we turn there is risk. But the least risk and the greatest help will be found in re-creating the Concert of Europe." The failure of a concerted response over the Rhineland was to be repeated. Each time western statesmen hoped the latest Hitler inroad would be his last.

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Generals Wavell and Auchinleck, and the Lost Art of Going Quietly

Generals Wavell and Auchinleck, and the Lost Art of Going Quietly

Leaving quietly was what you did in those bygone days. Lord Halifax in 1940 proposed negotiations with Hitler; rejected by the War Cabinet, he did not offer interviews to air his grievances. Nor would such an act of public disloyalty have occurred to him. George Marshall, a great man, had many disagreements with his civilian chiefs. Offered a million dollars for his memoirs, he declined, saying, “I have already been adequately compensated for my services.”

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