Questions? Comments? Ask away:
Good question because this is tricky. The quotation’s only appearance in print is in exchanges during Churchill’s speech, “United Nations Policy in the Far East,” House of Commons, 1 July 1952, in Winston S. Churchill, Stemming the Tide: Speeches 1951 and 1952 (London: Cassell, 1953), pages 301-16. The quote (page 312) is among Churchill’s replies to interruptions which began quite early (page 305) in his speech. Churchill was replying to a censure motion brought against his government by the Labour opposition for its conduct of the Korean War. Vituperative exchanges occupied most of the remainder of the speech which doesn’t end until page 316. I have sent you the complete transcript by email.
Churchill argued that conduct of the war was largely in the hands of the USA which was bearing the brunt of casualties, and that if Labour wanted to censure anybody, it should probably be the US government. The argument was over whether or not statements of US Secretary of State Dean Acheson should be admitted into debate.
Only part of Churchill’s speech (entitled “The Korean War”) appears in the Complete Speeches (which alas are not complete). It occupies only four pages (8388-8391, Volume 8). It leaves off where Churchill says the censure motion really should be against the USA. Editor Robert Rhodes James adds in brackets: “At this point there was a lengthy and heated discussion as to whether Mr. Acheson’s speech could be debated.]
Although Sir Robert told me he compiled the Complete Speeches from Hansard, the full speech with exchanges and interruptions is reported in Hansard Online. So the omission is only in the Complete Speeches. I am grateful to you for bringing this omission to my attention.
Sir, Where is the primary source for Churchill’s quote on prisoners of war? (I’d like to read the greater context of the speech.) I’ve tried researching transcripts for the House of Commons on 1 July 1952 but cannot find this listed. Quote on your site: “What is a prisoner of war? He is a man who has tried to kill you and, having failed to kill you, asks you not to kill him.” Thank you for your assistance.
That is perfectly accurate as you quote it, but as I wrote, AZ Quotes supplies an contrived final sentence: “Not enough people see it as a healthy horse, pulling a sturdy wagon.” That mangles what Churchill actually said.
Thank you for your work. May I notify you of a slight different version in your great list of “AZ Quotes: A Cornucopia of Things Churchill Never Said” for number 32 (Socialism). “Among our Socialist opponents there is great confusion. Some of them regard private enterprise as a predatory tiger to be shot. Others look on it as a cow they can milk. Only a handful see it for what it really is—the strong and willing horse that pulls the whole cart along.” Source: Woodford, Essex, 29 Sep 59
Thank-you for raising this important point. I believe you are right. (1) The quotation through “specially-related ally and friend…” is as stated from the National Archives. It is also in the upcoming Churchill Documents Vol. 23 (1951-65), and in John Charmley, Churchill’s Grand Alliance (London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1995, 250). (2) The quotation “…it is only when…” etc. follows the previous quote in Charmley, in ellipses: “…It was ‘only when plans for uniting Europe’ etc.) Charmley provides a separate footnote: “DBPO 2/1, no. 409, AE to Strasbourg, 6 December 1951, 29 November 1951.” Thus the author was Eden, and the quote is either correctly attributed to Eden or dropped from my four posts where it appeared: https://richardlangworth.com/optimist-pessimists https://richardlangworth.com/europe-churchill-zurich-70-years https://richardlangworth.com/brexit-rule-britannia https://richardlangworth.com/eu
I am happy to quote Churchill’s words on 29 November 1951, which you suggest I should have included:
On the economic side, I welcome the Schuman Coal and Steel Plan as a step in the reconciliation of France and Germany, and as probably rendering another Franco-German war physically impossible. I never contemplated Britain joining in this plan on the same terms as Continental partners. We should, however, have joined in all the discussions, and had we done so not only a better plan would probably have emerged, but our own interests would have been watched at every stage. Our attitude….etc.
Obviously Churchill was always mindful that Britain’s interests required the UK to be involved in discussions about a united Europe. I don’t see that anything above significantly alters his view. Of course, that was in the 1950s. No one can say what his view would be today, and improper use should not be made of him in support of either side of today’s argument. See “EU and Churchill’s views.”
I have a question relating to your book “Winston Churchill, Myth and Reality” and I notice it is also mentioned on this site. You include a quote as follows: “Our attitude towards further economic developments on the Schuman lines resembles that which we adopt about the European Army. We help, we dedicate, we play a part, but we are not merged with and do not forfeit our insular or commonwealth character. Our first object is the unity and consolidation of the British Commonwealth….Our second, “the fraternal association” of the English-speaking world; and third, United Europe, to which we are a separate closely- and specially-related ally and friend….it is only when plans for uniting Europe take a federal form that we ourselves cannot take part, because we cannot subordinate ourselves or the control of British policy to federal authorities.”
You attribute this to Winston Churchill but when I checked the national archives for this (see page 188 of this: http://filestore.nationalarchives.gov.uk/pdfs/large/cab-129-48.pdf) only the first part of this paragraph is there and the second part, it seems, is not from this document. Upon a bit more research I have also found this last part attributed to Anthony Eden, the then Foreign Secretary.Please can you confirm the source of this quote and where the confusion comes from?
Also, in the context of your page regarding whether Churchill would be pro-EU or not, the bit immediately before your quote is also insightful, where he explains that we should be more involved in the discussions within a united Europe so we can better protect our interests. It seems a shame you truncated this part and yet seem to have added a contrary bit on.
Good question, which I relayed to David Lough, author of No More Champagne, an excellent book on the Churchill finances. Mr. Lough replies: “Chartwell or the Literary trust (both names for the same Trust) bought Stour for him and gave him regular gifts (as it did also to the other children, to be fair). Clementine Churchill was the main mover in pushing her co-trustees to buy him a place away from Chartwell. It had been originally intended that he would inherit the Chartwell Farmhouse and some land, but she thought he would prove an impossible neighbour for the National Trust!” Of course, in those days, costs and overhead were a lot lower in Suffolk than today, when it is valuable real estate. Even so, Sir Martin Gilbert told me, Randolph was frequently chased by creditors: the butcher, the baker, etc….
Thank you for your series on Randolph Churchill. The photograph from Part 2 showing the back of Stour is the first that I have seen. My question is: how did Randolph afford to live, in the grand style, at Stour? I know he was an accomplished journalist and writer, but nowhere near the level of demand of his father, nor I am sure in the same pay scale.
Kind words are always welcome years after the fact. Thanks!
Greetings…this is not current for you, by any means, but I recently purchased Studebaker: 1946-66, The Classic Postwar Years and devoured the book! A wonderfully concise and yet complete recap of the end of Studebaker. Thank you for writing such a wonderful book.
I am a disaffected Moneyball pioneer who loves cars and has an (unhealthy) obsession with defunct American makes.
Roland, I didn’t have this edition and asked bibliographer Ron Cohen to check his Churchill collection. Ron writes: “The answer is that the text the Folio Society used is that of the 1949 Cassel “new, revised edition,” and that is clear by just looking at the title page verso.” So the Folio edition, while it contains revisions through 1949, is not the final edited version, which appeared in 1951 with the Reprint Society edition, and the 1956 Chartwell edition.
I have been trying to find out which edition which the Folio Society used for their edition of The Second World War but I have not been able to find out any information at this time. I do collect some of their books and I like the look of this set but would hope it is based on the Chartwell Edition.
Replying to Paul McShea below…
The “dropped by Churchill” theory was advanced by William Manchester, who never established it in detail. In retrospect I think it is somewhat over-drawn. In 1952, Hillsdale’s The Churchill Documents Vol. 23 records Morton writing Churchill: “…there is no single occasion on which you could have done other than you did. Your critics after the event – and they are but few – are pitifully unaware of the limitations placed sometimes upon your better judgement by persons and events beyond your control.” In 1956 after receiving Volume 1 of Churchill’s History of the English-Speaking Peoples Morton wrote: “May you live boldly and rejoice in seeing the remaining volumes given to the world – and long after that too.”
Yet by the 1960s he was speaking of WSC in vituperative terms to R.W. Thompson, author of The Yankee Marlborough, who ultimately revealed his source in his excellent sequel, Churchill and Morton. That would be the place to look for more details on Morton’s change of heart.
Churchill’s critics often say he had no time for anyone who was of no use to him, which is belied time and again by his kindnesses to so many such folk. (My annotation quotes Kirkus Reviews in this respect, though I liked The Yankee Marlborough more than Kirkus did.)
Churchill always Morton for risking his career to keep him informed on Hitler’s rearmament in the 1930s. He sent Morton each volume of his war memoirs and his History, though Morton had no involvement in the latter. I suspect that Morton somewhat resented being “on the outside” after the war. Or he may have simply fancied himself a worthy critic, and Thompson a willing ear. He was certainly not the first. Or the last.
Regarding Hillsdale’s annotated bibliography, “Books about Winston S. Churchill.” in referencing R.W. Thompson’s “The Yankee Marlborough” (1963), you say it is “A critique perhaps overly based on recollections of Churchill’s rueful ex-friend Desmond Morton, who was dropped by WSC and never got over it.” Is there an authoritative explanation of why WSC parted ways with Morton?
Contact me by email to email@example.com
Researching Antisemitism, I came across a white supremacist / antisemitic site in which they published Churchill’s “Zionism vs. Bolshevism” article. An image of the front page of a British newspaper with the article on the front page was included. I want to compare that article with one from a REAL source. Regards
I’m sure your data is correct. Dutch might have established some lines for his friend, and that was often enough for him to claim authorship.
I have spent this year writing for a book in Swedish about André Citroën, and I am curious about your statement that Howard A “Dutch” Darrin built a prototype of Citroën Traction Avant in 1932. As you can understand, I would like to know everything about the prototypes that was made before Flaminio Bertoni made his style suggestion (there were several running prototypes before André Citroën and his wife decided in favour of Bertoni’s proposals in 1933, after rejecting proposals by the design manager himself, and one from Louis Citroën, a relative of André Citroën).
I hope to hear from you soon if you have time, and many thanks in advance!
Tervitused, mu sõber, palju aastaid tagasi!
Good to hear from you, Margus. I was unable to email to the email address you sent. I am interested in your project. What languages of publication? I can send you a .jpg photo, 300 dpi, which I hope will suffice. But I need an email address that works. Yours will not accept mail.
I am still writing about cars, albeit as a sideline, with all my Churchill work at Hillsdale College. Graham Robson and I have just republished a fine new edition of Triumph Cars, revised and updated with many new photos, which we first published in 1977. A summary of my activities, and list of books are on this website under “about” and “books.”
Did you know that after my 1992 visit, I returned with three colleagues in 1995, to bicycle the coast of Latvia, 660km, from the Lithuanian border to Estonia? Accounts are available of this memorable trip. It was the coldest May locals had experienced in years–President Ulmanis proclaimed he heroes of the Republic…..
I gather you are still in Eesti and hope you are prospering. How is the country doing? I hear it’s the most prosperous of the three Baltic states. Hope so. I well remember our visit to your beautiful bungalow. I think I was with my friend, Celwyn Ball Alas he has left us:
How can I contact you, old friend? Need your photo for a forthcoming book about AUTO CULTURE AND ITS SERVANTS. Many have been already collected: Graham Gauld, Nick Georgano, Wade Hoyt, Ferdinand Hediger, Mike Lamm and so on.
Good question. On the Nobel Prize, the late John Ramsden writes in his Man of the Century, 129:
There was a good deal of consolation to be found in beating off the claims of Ernest Hemingway, who was also nominated for the Literature Prize in 1953. Hemingway, being as bad a loser as Churchill himself could sometimes be, commented on the 1953 award that Churchill was ‘the greatest master of the spoken word’, which was not what the Nobel Prize for Literature was supposed to be for, though Churchill’s war speeches were indeed included in the citation praising his literary efforts. This was of course to miss the point, for since he read his speeches and dictated his books, the two were essentially the same thing.
Churchill’s writings are laden with praise of many writers. The Hillsdale Churchill project has posted an essay on Churchill and Twain, and will shortly post one on Churchill and Kipling. See Darrell Holley’s outstanding work, Churchill’s Literary Allusions, which offers scores of examples of Churchill drawing on writers from the Classics to the Edwardians, many of whom he extravagantly praised. His beautiful tribute to Rupert Brooke can be found in The Churchill DocumentsVolume 6 (Hillsdale College Press).
I can find nothing of Churchill’s specifically about Hemingway, though he certainly appreciated Hemingway’s war novels. The scholar Manfred Weidhorn offers an interesting comparison of the two as novelists in his classic work on Churchill’s writings, Sword and Pen:
[Churchill’s Savrola] appeared in the age of James and Conrad and indeed shares some of its subject matter with the soon to be written Nostromo, but it is not even remotely comparable in quality. A parallel suggests itself also with a novel that would appear three decades later, Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms, for here also a man in love turns away from a nation falling apart, from a cause losing its meaning, from a word like “honor” which sounds hollow. Churchill, unlike Hemingway, avoids the existentialist depths and tacks on a happy ending; his stilted Victorian emotionalism is wholly unlike the American’s impassive but moving style. Whereas Hemingway’s book, moreover, makes use of personal experience and reflects his values, Churchill’s does neither, and that perhaps explains the lameness of the product. He never said farewell to politics and seems not to have placed the love of a woman above it at any time, at least not in any dramatic, overt way.
I have not read many references where Winston Churchill commented on other writers in his lifetime. I am curious if he ever commented on the writings or the person of Ernest Hemingway. Since they won the Nobel Prize for Literature one year apart from each other, it would seem that they must have been aware of each others oeuvre.
There is not. It was a verbal fusillade. The generally agreed best version of it is in Ben Pimlott, ed., The Second World War Diary of Hugh Dalton (Labour MP, then Minister of Economic Warfare in Churchill’s coalition government). Pimlott writes in an editorial note: “Although there is an entry for virtually every day for much of the period of the Coalition, Dalton did not compose his diary daily. His usual practice was to dictate a week’s material at a single sitting.” From internal evidence, his entry for 28 May was written at least two days later. It is reproduced by Martin Gilbert in The Churchill Documents, Vol. 15 Never Surrender May-December 1940 (Hillsdale College Press, 2011), 182-84:
28 May 1940 In the afternoon all ministers are asked to meet the PM. He is quite magnificent. The man, and the only man we have, for this hour. He gives a full, frank and completely calm account of events in France. When the Germans broke through on the Meuse, French morale for the moment collapsed. Therefore, he flew to France and saw Reynaud and Gamelin. The latter said, ‘We have been defeated by German superiority in numbers, in material and in methods.’ Churchill said, ‘What then are you going to do?’ Gamelin merely shrugged his shoulders. Churchill said, ‘Will you please leave the room’, and then, alone with Reynaud, they went into everything, including the High Command.
The French, before this war, had given up all ideas of the offensive. They were hypnotised by the Maginot Line. General Billotte commanding the forces north of the Somme, including our own, had given no important or significant order for four days! Since then he had been killed in a motor accident and succeeded by Blanchard. The French had failed to make a push northwards from the Somme. They had had too few Divisions between the sea and Amiens and their communications had been badly bombed. Therefore, though we had done our best from the north, it had been impossible to close the gap, and we were in grave danger of being surrounded. Now, therefore, it was necessary to fight our way through to the Channel Ports and get away all we could….
Only Dunkirk was left to us. Calais had been defended by a British force which had refused to surrender, and it was said that there were no survivors. We could only use the beaches east and west of Dunkirk in addition to the port itself. Dunkirk was under a great pall of black smoke, to which our ships were adding artificial smoke so as to screen our embarkations from the air. The Air Force were maintaining the most powerful possible fighter patrols over this scene, and the Germans were suffering immense losses in the air, as on the ground, in their attempts to interfere with the embarkation. The superiority of our fighters was once again being manifested, and on two occasions great flights of German bombers had turned away and declined battle when they saw our fighter patrols.
The PM went on to say that our clawing-down rate was gradually rising, taking an average of one day with another, to 3:1, to 4:1, and lately to 5:1. It was clear that we had killed off most of the best Nazi pilots, unless, which seemed unlikely, they had been holding some of their best in reserve. ‘They’re cold meat,’ our airmen say. He was determined to prepare public opinion for bad tidings, and it would of course be said, and with some truth, that what was now happening in Northern France would be the greatest British military defeat for many centuries.
We must now be prepared for the sudden turning of the war against this island, and prepared also for other events of great gravity in Europe. No countenance should be given publicly to the view that France might soon collapse, but we must not allow ourselves to be taken by surprise by any events. It might indeed be said that it would be easier to defend this island alone than to defend this island plus France, and if it was seen throughout the world that it was the former, there would be an immense wave of feeling, not least in the USA which, having done nothing much to help us so far, might even enter the war. But all this was speculative. Attempts to invade us would no doubt be made, but they would be beset with immense difficulty. We should mine all round our coast; our Navy was immensely strong; our air defences were much more easily organised from this island than across the Channel; our supplies of food, oil, etc., were ample; we had good troops in this island, others were on the way by sea, both British army units coming from remote garrisons and excellent Dominion troops, and, as to aircraft, we were now more than making good our current losses, and the Germans were not.
It was idle to think that, if we tried to make peace now, we should get better terms from Germany than if we went on and fought it out. The Germans would demand our fleet—that would be called “disarmament”—our naval bases, and much else. We should become a slave state, though a British Government which would be Hitler’s puppet would be set up—”under Mosley (1) or some such person.” And where should we be at the end of all that? On the other side, we had immense reserves and advantages. Therefore, he said, “We shall go on and we shall fight it out, here or elsewhere, and if at last the long story is to end, it were better it should end, not through surrender, but only when we are rolling senseless on the ground.” (2)
There was a murmur of approval round the table, in which I think Amery, Lord Lloyd and I were loudest. Not much more was said. No one expressed even the faintest flicker of dissent. Herbert Morrison asked about evacuation of the Government, and hoped that it would not be hurried. The PM said Certainly not, he was all against evacuation unless things really became utterly impossible in London, “but mere bombing will not make us go.”
(1) Oswald Ernald Mosley, 1896-1980. Educated at Sandhurst. On active service, 1917-18. A Conservative MP, 1918-22, he sat as an Independent, 1922-24 and as a Labour member 1924 and 1926-31. Succeeded his father as 6th Baronet, 1928. Labour Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, 1929-30. Founded the British Union of Fascists, 1932. Imprisoned, 1940-45. He published his autobiography, My Life, in 1968. Mosley was married to Clementine Churchill’s cousin Diana Mitford.
(2) Dalton later set down another version of Churchill’s words in the margin of this diary entry: “If this long island story of ours is to end at last, let it end only when each one of us lies choking in his own blood upon the ground.”
Is there a full text of Churchill’s speech to the outer cabinet on 28 May 1940?
A reader asks: “No mention of the scotch and soda for breakfast, two bottles of champagne, and four cigars every day?”
All those are wrong. He did not drink scotch and soda (see below). His champagne was an Imperial Pint, like a half bottle today, consumed over the course of a two-hour dinner. More like eight cigars, but more of them were chewed on than smoked. My 2003 article contained more, which I didn’t include in my reply below, so here it is:
Churchill would occasionally wash down breakfast with a glass of white wine. His “highball,” which his daughter has demonstrated, was a tumbler with the bottom covered in scotch and then filled with water and nursed for hours. He picked up this habit in India and Africa where he had to add whisky to make the water potable. “By diligent application I learned to like it.” It was more like mouthwash than a highball, and he would nurse it for long periods. Sounds pretty dreadful to me, but since he always had a glass near at hand, people assumed he drank constantly. He did not disabuse them of this notion. Where he did consume vast quantities of alcohol was at extended lunches and dinners–and perhaps this was how he got away with such consumption. William Manchester correctly said Churchill “always had some alcohol in his bloodstream.” But nobody, family or staff, saw him the worse for drink, except once at Teheran, when he tottered unsteadily after a lengthy series of vodka toasts with the Russians.
Paul, you have a good memory. I reported on my attempt to mimic his day (which didn’t last a year, or a month, or even a fortnight, or I would have been divorced) in 2003:
Churchill’s typical day was: wake at 8 and often spend the morning in bed, dictating letters and reading the papers (he took them all, including the Daily Worker), tossing the sheets on either side of the bed as he got through them, much to the ire of his valet, Frank Sawyers. A reporter, Percy Reid, who hung around when WSC was in residence, knew when he wasn’t there because the Westerham news-monger still had the Daily Worker. He ordered only one copy because Churchill was the only customer.
By noon he’d had a bath and would go down to lunch, where he might hold forth for a couple of hours—if the company was congenial. He would then stroll around Chartwell, visiting his goldfish, black swans, and perhaps the farm animals. After tea, he’d take a one-hour nap in pajamas and eyeshade. He would wake refreshed, bathe again, dress for dinner, which could last hours, followed by a film. Then he’d say, “Right, let’s get to work,” and dictate books, articles or speeches until as late as 3 a.m. Thus he got by on five or six hours’ sleep and made 1 1/2 days out of one.
I tried this and found that it works fine—provided you have four secretaries, a butler, valet and a cook—or one person to serve in all of these functions. My wife was not amused and the experiment did not last two days.
I remember reading an article a number of years ago where the author stated that he had tried to live Churchill’s lifestyle for a year and it nearly bankrupted him. Was that your comment, and if so, could you give us a few tidbits of the experience?
Thank you. I enjoyed Scott’s book now and my review is now posted herein. Search winstonchurchill.hillsdale.edu for “bibliography” and you’ll find a list of books about Churchill with brief reviews back to 1905. Other recent books are reviewed in depth in the Hillsdale “Books” section. Please subscribe to both sites as I often post only extracts of my Hillsdale articles here. It is our objective ultimately to list every serious Churchill title. The V-12 Century is certainly a great car.
I have just been introduced to your website and am looking forward to many hours of browsing. I wondered if you have had the good fortune to read Churchill At The Gallop by Brough Scott as I can find no reference on the website. It is a perspective on WSC through his association with the horse by one of our foremost horse racing journalists. Incidentally I am also a motor car enthusiast currently driving a Toyota Century. Designed to celebrate Mr Toyota’s 100th birthday in 1967 it has a handbuilt V12 engine and was in production with only minor cosmetic changes from 1967 until 2017. A new body shape was introduced last year.
Your questions are good ones and I will post a fuller reply on my website, but I will try for the nonce to provide a brief answer. I am glad you have my book because it answers your first question on the same page:
He did write something similar in 1897, when he was twenty-three: a note pasted into his copy of the 1874 Annual Register, where he was reviewing political issues to decide which side he would take…. [His] opposition was “on the grounds that it is contrary to natural law and the practice of civilized states[;] that no necessity is shown[;] that only the most undesirable class of women are eager for the right[;] that those women who discharge their duty to the state viz marrying and giving birth to children are adequately represented by their husbands[;] that those who are unmarried can only claim a vote on the ground of property, which claim on democratic principles is inadmissible…” (WSC, “Comments on  Annual Register, 1897,” in The Churchill Documents, vol. 2, Young Soldier 1896-1901, Hillsdale, Mich.: Hillsdale College Press, 2006, 765.)
I go on to say that Churchill’s views on suffrage in 1897 were not only those of most British people, but most British women, including his mother. When the suffrage movement gathered steam, and encouraged by his wife Clementine, he changed his view. There is a vast subtext to this, which I will expand upon later. But as an MP, he never wavered from his view that sex discrimination was wrong.
Concerning Churchill’s letter to Asquith on 21 November 1911: An extract from this letter is in both the Official Biography (Vol. 2, 405) and The Churchill Documents Vol. V (Originally Companion Volume II part 3), page 1475. But the words you quote from that source are not there. I am comparing the extract line by line in search of our “smoking gun.” Fictitious quotes twisted or made up to suit people’s preconceived prejudices are, of course, not unique to Churchill.
To your second question: The Churchill Archives—one million documents, virtually every one he produced—fail to provide any instructions about handling suffragists dated 16 or 18 November 1910. They do however contain his 22 November letter to Sir Edward Henry, Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police. Directly addressing “Black Friday,” it refers to no earlier instructions. It clearly sets out Churchill’s views on police handling of demonstrators:
Dear Sir E. Henry, I am hearing from every quarter that my strongly expressed wishes conveyed to you on Wednesday evening and repeated on Friday morning that the suffragettes were not to be allowed to exhaust themselves but were to be arrested forthwith upon any defiance of the law, were not observed by the police on Friday last, with the result that very regrettable scenes occurred. It was my desire to avoid this even at some risk; to arrest large numbers and then subsequently to prosecute only where serious grounds were shown and I am sorry that, no doubt through a misunderstanding, another course has been adopted. In future I must ask for a strict adherence to the policy outlined herein. Yours very sincerely, WSC
These false allegations have been around for over a century, and are with us yet. In “Post-Truth” History on the Hillsdale Churchill website, historian Andrew Roberts writes:
At the Jaipur Literary Festival, I was on a panel discussion entitled “Churchill: Hero or Villain?,” where a biographer told a large crowd that Churchill…had “given instructions for police that they can batter the women and assault the women and sexually assault them as well.” He allegedly told policemen to “put their hands up their thighs, they can grope them and press their breasts.” “Can I just point out that that is completely untrue?” I intervened. “He at no stage ever okayed the sexual assault of any woman ever. It would be monstrous were it to be true, but there’s no evidence for it.” To which she replied: “It’s your word against mine.” Welcome to post-truth history…. Anyone who knows anything about Churchill knows how gallant he was towards women, even towards suffragists who disrupted his political meetings. It is unthinkable that he would have let it be known that such disgusting behaviour would be tolerated officially or unofficially. It is fortunate for the historian who made this allegation from the stage of the Jaipur Literary Festival that the dead cannot sue for libel, as if they could she would be bankrupted.
I am a History student at the University of Westminster in London and for my dissertation, I am writing about the relationship between Home Secretary Churchill, the Metropolitan Police, and their treatment of Suffragettes during the London demonstrations of 18-23 November 1910—particularly on Black Friday on the 18th. There are two areas where I hope you may be able to assist me.
The first question relates to an alleged quote by Churchill relating to his conservative views on women generally and women’s suffrage in particluar: “The women’s suffrage movement is only the small edge of the wedge, if we allow women to vote it will mean the loss of social structure and the rise of every liberal cause under the sun. Women are well represented by their fathers, brothers and husbands.”
In your book Winston Churchill, Myth and Reality you maintain on page 25 that Churchill never said these words in or out of the House of Commons, yet another source I have found suggests that Churchill did say these words in a letter to Asquith on 21 December 1911. It is intriguing as why such words should be invented if never said, so would you be able to shed light on why you dismissed the quoted statement.
For my second question, I am searching for the instructions apparently issued by Churchill to the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police as per Churchill’s letter dated 22 November 1910 which refers to instructions issued by Churchill on the 16th and 18th as to how the suffragette demonstrators were to be handled. In your researches on Churchill, have you come across these instructions?
Vince, thanks for the kind words. I’m sure the Avanti story’s been covered since the 1970s. For Studebaker 1946-1966: The Classic Postwar Years, check Bookfinder.com, which shows used copies as low as $28. Click here for the link.
I grew up in South Bend next door to the Altmans. I have memories of being a young kid and seeing several Avantis in their driveway. I thought one day I would own one, but it never happened. Is there a way for me to buy your Studebaker book for less than a hundred dollars? Is there an Avanti story to tell from 1970 on that hasn’t been told?
I graduated from Hillsdale many years ago. I’m glad to see them take advantage of your wisdom and talent.
All three movies are being over-dramatic. He never paraded around naked in front of secretaries or anyone else (including Roosevelt, whose encounter with Churchill, fresh from his bath, was inadvertent). He did dictate occasionally from his bath, shielded by the door. One one or two occasions he might have appeared indecorous, out of preoccupation with whatever he was doing. In no way did any of this constitute “harassment.” He simply wasn’t made that way.
I came upon your blog searching on “Winston Churchill naked.” According to at least 3 movies, he would dictate to his female secretaries sitting just outside while he was in the bath. One of the movies has him walking past her naked. I’m writing a book on sexual harassment and talking about “traditions” of harassment. Is it true that he did this? Thank you.
They were supplied by his late grandson; sorry, I don’t have the originals. You might try Chartwell where I think they may be on loan.
Was that the book proofed by Paul Courtenay? Yes. Please send to me c/o Hillsdale College Churchill Project, 33 East College Street Hillsdale MI 49242 USA. Thanks.
I hope you are well.
I wonder if you would be interested to receive a copy of ‘Churchill’s Confidant’, an upcoming book that describes the remarkable story of Winston Churchill’s relationship with Jan Smuts. It is a book that I hope you would enjoy as it covers an area of Churchill’s life that, to my mind, has been inadequately documented over the years.
Please do let me know if you’d like me to send a copy.
With very best wishes,
Hello Richard You have some very nice pictures of Mr. Churchill’s pocket watch in the article about it. I am in the process of writing a book about men’s jewelry and would like to use them. Are they yours or can you help me with a source? BR. Oliver
Thanks so much for the kind words, always hard to come by. Delighted to advise that the Frenchman was “about” right. From Sir Robert Rhodes James, ed., Winston S. Churchill: His Complete Speeches 1897-1963 (New York: Bowker, 1974, 8 vols.) I 316-17. A heckler had suggested that Churchill, having just changed his party, might change it again….
ADMINISTRATIVE HOME RULE FOR IRELAND 16 June 1904, Public Hall, Cheetham Hill, Manchester
“We are gathered here and I stand here with Liberal support as the Free Trade candidate for North-west Manchester because a distinguished politician has changed his mind. Many people change their minds in politics. Some people change their minds to avoid changing their party. (Laughter) Some people change their party to avoid changing their mind. (Renewed laughter)”
The “distinguished politician” was Joseph Chamberlain, who had deserted Free Trade for “Empire Free Trade” (protective tariffs on goods from outside the British Empire).
The date is confusing, since Churchill did not actually stand for North-west Manchester until 1906. It was in his sights, however, because he knew he would not be renominated as Conservative Member for Oldham. Two weeks earlier (31 May) he had crossed the floor of the House of Commons, deserting the Conservatives for the Liberals. (Incidentally, when the election did come, he won NW Manchester handily, 5639 to 4398; but they threw him out in April 1908. The following month he got back in for Dundee, which he represented as a Liberal until 1922.)
I would like to congratulate you for your dedicated efforts to separate truth from falsehood regarding the life of a historical figure of such importance. I stumbled on your work while making online research regarding Churchill’s position on the European construction, although I haven’t read yet your Winston Churchill, Myth and Reality. I’m looking forward to do so.
In a recent political argument between two politicians in France, Churchill was quoted as saying: “Some men change their party for the sake of their principles ; others their principles for the sake of their party”, did he ever utter these words and if so in what context and when?
We refer to model year, although some changes that became official for, say, 1940, might have been running changes made during the 1939 model run.
I have a question that I hope you can answer. I’m writing a book on the 1939 strike at Chrysler. In your co-authored book on the company, you discuss the models by year. Is that the chronological year or the model year, as they used the term it then? For example, when you discuss the engineering changes for 1940 (99), does that refer to production that began in August, 1939 or in August, 1940?
Thanks for the kind words. I’ll make your question into a post and run the illustration: watch the website. The drawing is by Frank Spring’s styling staff at Hudson, but only an alternative proposal for the basic “Step-Down” Hudson. My guess of the artist is Art Kibiger, but there’s more to the story. Alas the only prototype drawings I could find are in the book. Hudson had the habit of destroying prototype images, and these came from the designers I interviewed.
Recently I picked up your book Hudson 1946-1957: The Classic Postwar Years and found it an excellent read. On page 38 is a terrific sketch of a car that should have been built, rather than the designs that management chose. My question is who drew that sketch? It seems a bit unclear, and are there more drawings like that in existence. It would make a terrific guide for a project car.
I am an artist of fine art lithographs and etchings, and am the unnamed, unrecognized artist who worked directly with Sarah Churchill and Curtis Hooper on the entire “Churchill series.” Sarah and I selected every quote that was blind embossed on every ORIGINAL print. I created the printed copy of every quote that was then made into a plate and used to blind-emboss adjacent to Curtis Hooper’s image of Sir Winston and above the blind embossing created by Sarah. Curtis was allowed to sign on the lithograph plate, which was then printed on each print with his original drawing. Sarah hand signed her signature in pencil on every ORIGINAL. My signature was understandably not allowed, but I appreciated the privilege of being a part of what was a large project.
One can only review these with special permission of the Prime Minister of the day. Suggest you make a request of your Member of Parliament.
In a 4 May 2015 post, A.R. of London states “I reviewed the 1940-45 visitors books at Chequers”. My mother was at Chequers in March 1943 and I want to get a copy of the page that she signed on March 15 (maybe 14), between Anthony Eden and the King of Greece, but I don’t know whom to ask. How can I review these visitors books?
Bonzer work, mate! “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” OMG, that’s a misquote too!
I contacted The Sydney Morning Herald/The Age about the misattribution at http://www.theage.com.au/comment/parliamentarians-fail-basic-english-proficiency-test-20170623-gwxfpd.html. To their credit, the article was (silently) corrected a few hours ago. So, that’s one less specimen of “Churchillian Drift” to be found in the wild !
Thanks. A fresh example of “Churchillian Drift.” See: https://richardlangworth.com/drift
You commented to The Sydney Morning Herald/The Age that Churchill never said the words they ascribed to him: http://www.theage.com.au/comment/parliamentarians-fail-basic-english-proficiency-test-20170623-gwxfpd.html
“Winston Churchill is reported to have described Australian English as ‘the most brutal maltreatment which has ever been inflicted upon the mother tongue of the great English-speaking nations.'”
You are of course completely correct. It’s by New York-born philologist *William* Churchill (1859-1920), in his 1911 book Beach-la-Mar, the Jargon or Trade Speech of the Western Pacific, p. 14. The book can be found online at babel.hathitrust.org.
One could say something sarcastic like, “Journalists fail basic fact-checking test”, but in grudging fairness to the author it’s misattributed all over the internet.
If you refer to the montage of illustrations it was designed by arrist Charlotte Thibault (Google her), and incorporates a painting by Charlotte of Churchill and Eisenhower visiting the Gettysburg battlefield.
Hello, I am an follower of most things Churchillian, in particular fresh images, since I am a quite prolific ‘Churchill’ artist. The caricature which illustrates your ‘blog’ I find very interesting and would like to know who the artist was.Thanks for the very enjoyable content.
I have written nothing for The Federalist so I am not sure what piece of mine you refer to. I did read the 1994 article, “How Churchill, Rhodes and Smuts caused black South Africans to lose their rights.” I find it generally accurate, but not dispositive.
It is true that Britain dropped its opposition to making South Africa “white man’s country” by passing the Union of South Africa Act 1910. Churchill supported that Act because he saw it as the one way to ease lingering tensions with the Boers. Churchill justified his support of the Act by saying explicitly that it was the best possible, and he did not like it.
Churchill was a political man. He needed, and thought he needed, the votes of a majority. If he lived in an age of prejudice (and every age is that) then of course he would be careful how he offended those prejudices. See “Churchill and Racism It is quite true that Smuts believed in the “white man’s country” and in segregation in his earlier years. But the article doesn’t mention that when the pro-Apartheid National Party won the 1948 election, they defeated Smuts, who had run in support of the Fagin Commission, which recommended relaxing segregation.
Both Churchill and Smuts early expressed very liberal attitudes toward races their respective societies generally considered inferior. In 1900, young Winston argued with his Boer captors that blacks were entitled to the same rights as any others in the British Empire. In 1939, Smuts wrote an essay for a commemorative book on Gandhi’s 70th birthday. Although Churchill and Smuts were Gandhi adversaries at times, they had a mutual respect and even admiration for each other. See “Welcome, Mr. Gandhi.”
I have read your article about busting four myths about Winston Churchill from The Federalist. There is this one article I have that I like you to read and I’d like to hear your feedback. Click here.
Kieron, sorry, I have no knowledge. Try the book Master Motor Builders by Robert Neal, which is the last word on the subject including Packard’s involvement with the Rolls-Royce Merlin in WW2.
Hi Richard. Jonathan Stein thought of you when i posed this question to him. I’m an expat Brit at Hagerty in the US and read an intriguing sidebar in an old RR article recently from about 10 or 20 years ago……it implied a connection with the end of the Packard days and the development of the 6.75 RR engine around the same time. Do you know if that is just rumour or did in fact some technology or tooling or brainpower make its way from Packard to Crewe in the late 50s? Many thanks, Kieron.
Hey Russ-I sold my new ’69 in ’71. It was a constant pain with the federal air pump and I had no room or money to keep it as a souvenir. It has since been painted and hot-rodded. But it’s still going!
I sold my last Corvair recently, ’twas a bittersweet moment.
Still have a bunch of NOS and used parts, thank goodness for eBay.
What’s your current Corvair status?
My comments to Mr. Reid were private. I know he considered them all, but he was the author. WSC was certainly an “optimistic agnostic” himself, but he respected all religions (including Islam, despite frequently being quoted out of context on it). He knew the King James Bible better than some theologians. His many references to “Christian civilization” make his view of it self-evident. Of course everyone has their own opinions of Churchill’s views. There are a lot to consider.
THE LAST LION — PREAMBLE As a past member of the Churchill Society (Reves Chapter) and avid reader of nearly all of his books I have long awaited completion of this trology. Having jsut completed the Preamble I wonder what you thought regarding the author’s rather strong suppositions and conclusions they drew regarding WSC’s views on Christianity (not churchgoing or clergy, the proof is in the pudding there). I felt there were two era’s in these quotes (supported by footnotes dating content) — youth vs. the wisdom of age — and they were not discussed. There seemed to be many preconceived suppositions that felt more like the author’s views were superimposed over WSC’s. There were definate conflicts — but quotes on Heaven alwsy seemed to be cites as cynicism. Seems to me WSC could be more like Thomas Jefferson and his conflicting views. I simply did not see the conclusion that he was an Agnostic supported.
We have corresponded in the past – I believe you are from the Harrisburg, PA area. I live Mechanicsburg. I am glad to hear that Vol III of the “Last Lion” series is coming soon. I am excited to read it.
David A. Larson, Sr. CDR, USN, Retiered
You might be interested in this (undated) magazine, Tailor and Cutter, featuring Churchill and Eden on the cover: http://www.permanentstyle.co.uk/
The blogger comments (favorably) on Churchill’s clothing and specifically his bow tie!
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Thanks for the kind words. Churchill was human and made mistakes, but tackling illegitimate criticism has been a fun hobby. Browse “Reviews” on this site, and take a look at Leading Churchill Myths, which I’ve written or compiled to cover the most popular canards. On recent nonsense-books, see also “The Fine Art of Selective Quoting.”
I congratulate you on your website. Had I more time I’d launch a site whose aim would be to take on current denigrators of Churchill. You are obviously a busy man, but yet manage to keep your site updated and full of interest – which reveals you to be of a class of efficiency and effectiveness far exceeding mine.
I wonder if you’ve had any thoughts on devoting any part of your site to to the group of prominent people who seem to have taken a violent dislike to Churchill – David Irving and Christopher Hitchens among them. Of the two I’ve named, the former suffers, I think, from a meta-patriotic impulse towards Germany; the latter, though possessing, undeniably, a sound intellect, suffers I think from a pronounced inferiority complex vis-a-vis Churchill. Both of them have – where Churchill is concerned – a pseudoscholarship that is sticks out like a sore thumb.
Mike, this is a common misquotation dating back to the original newspaper coverage in 1954. See my post: http://richardlangworth.com/2010/12/jaw-to-jaw-versus-jaw-jaw/
In the following article, WC is quoted as saying “to jaw-jaw is always better than to war-war.”
CHURCHILL URGES PATIENCE IN COPING WITH RED DANGERS By W. H. LAWRENCES New York Times (1923-Current file); Jun 27, 1954; pg. 1
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