Churchill’s Life Today: December 7th Quotes

Churchill’s Life Today: December 7th Quotes

7 Decem­ber 1936 (House of Com­mons): “May I ask my Rt. Hon. Friend [Prime Min­is­ter Bald­win] whether he could give us an assur­ance that no irrev­o­ca­ble step… [Hon. Mem­bers: “No!”] …that no irrev­o­ca­ble step will be tak­en before the House has received a full state­ment, not only upon the per­son­al but upon the con­sti­tu­tion­al issues involved. May I ask him to bear in mind that these issues are not mere­ly per­son­al to the present occu­pant of the Throne, but that they affect the entire Con­sti­tu­tion.” [Hon. Mem­bers: “Speech,” and “Sit down!”]

Churchill lost care­ful­ly built polit­i­cal cap­i­tal by ris­ing to defend Edward VIII, who was fac­ing abdi­ca­tion over his insis­tence on mar­ry­ing Wal­lis Simp­son, a divorced Amer­i­can. On Decem­ber 7th he was shout­ed down by Mem­bers of Par­lia­ment and ruled out of order for mak­ing a speech dur­ing Ques­tion Time. He stormed from the House, declar­ing, “I am fin­ished….”

 7 Decem­ber 1941, Che­quers: “In two or three min­utes Mr. Roo­sevelt came through. ‘Mr. Pres­i­dent, what’s this about Japan?’ ‘It’s quite true,’ he replied. ‘They have attacked us at Pearl Har­bor. We are all in the same boat now.’ I put Winant on to the line and some inter­changes took place, the Ambas­sador at first say­ing, ‘Good, Good’—and then, appar­ent­ly graver, ‘Ah!’ I got on again and said, ‘This cer­tain­ly sim­pli­fies things. God be with you,’ or words to that effect.”

Churchill was at the Prime Minister’s coun­try res­i­dence, din­ing with U.S. Ambas­sador Gil Winant and FDR’s emis­sary Averell Har­ri­man, when he received news of the Japan­ese attack on Pearl Har­bor. He imme­di­ate­ly put in a call to the Pres­i­dent. Lat­er he wrote that he went to bed that night know­ing that Amer­i­ca was “in to the death….I slept the sleep of the saved and thank­ful.”

7 Decem­ber 1943, Con­stan­tino­ple: “Do you know what hap­pened to me today, the Turk­ish Pres­i­dent kissed me. The truth is I’m irre­sistible. But don’t tell Antho­ny [Eden], he’s jeal­ous.”

WSC to his daugh­ter Sarah. Mustafa Ismet Inönü (1884–1973), Turk­ish sol­dier and states­man, sec­ond Pres­i­dent of Turkey, 1938-50. Churchill had tried unsuc­cess­ful­ly to woo Turkey into the war on the Allies’ side.

7 Decem­ber 1947, Lon­don: “Hal­i­fax’s virtues have done more harm in the world than the vices of hun­dreds of oth­er peo­ple. And yet when I meet him, I can’t help hav­ing friend­ly talk.”

Edward Fred­er­ick Lind­ley Wood, First Earl of Hal­i­fax, Vis­count Hal­i­fax (1881–1959), For­eign Sec­re­tary at the 1938 Munich Agree­ment, lat­er Churchill’s wartime Ambas­sador to the Unit­ed States.

7 Decem­ber 1953, Bermu­da: “When I had a chance to speak to the Pres­i­dent he told me he did not need con­vert­ing. We ought not to pay any more atten­tion to McCarthy than they did to Aneurin Bevan. I can­not make it out. I am bewil­dered. It seems that every­thing is left to Dulles. It appears that the Pres­i­dent is no more than a ventriloquist’s doll.”

The most damn­ing thing Churchill ever said about Eisen­how­er. Like most extreme state­ments, he soon thought it over, and had more gen­er­ous thoughts toward “My dear Ike.”

7 Decem­ber 1953, Bermu­da: “This fel­low preach­es like a Methodist Min­is­ter, and his bloody text is always the same: That noth­ing but evil can come out of meet­ing with [Sovi­et Pre­mier] Malenkov. Dulles is a ter­ri­ble hand­i­cap. Ten years ago I could have dealt with him. Even as it is I have not been defeat­ed by this bas­tard. I have been humil­i­at­ed by my own decay.”

John Fos­ter Dulles (1888–1959), U.S. Sec­re­tary of State under Eisen­how­er 1953–59, took a hard line against new approach­es to the Rus­sians advo­cat­ed by Churchill.

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Quo­ta­tions from Churchill By Him­self: The Life, Times and Opin­ions of Win­ston Churchill.

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