“Buckley said, ‘it is the roar we hear when we hear his words.’ Past doubt. CHURCHILL DID NOT WIN THE WAR. His greatest achievement was that for eighteen months, when Britain and the Commonwealth stood alone, he didn’t lose it.” —RML
80 Years On: Winston Churchill Prime Minister, 10 May 1940

80 Years On: Winston Churchill Prime Minister, 10 May 1940

The 10th of May…

In the splin­ter­ing crash of this vast bat­tle the qui­et con­ver­sa­tions we had had in Down­ing Street fad­ed or fell back in one’s mind. How­ev­er, I remem­ber being told that Mr. Cham­ber­lain had gone, or was going, to see the King, and this was nat­u­ral­ly to be expect­ed. Present­ly a mes­sage arrived sum­mon­ing me to the Palace at six o’clock. It only takes two min­utes to dri­ve there from the Admi­ral­ty along the Mall. Although I sup­pose the evening news­pa­pers must have been full of the ter­rif­ic news from the Con­ti­nent, noth­ing had been men­tioned about the Cab­i­net cri­sis.…

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Alistair Cooke: An Introduction and an Appreciation

Alistair Cooke: An Introduction and an Appreciation

My pre­vi­ous note was about Alis­tair Cooke on Churchill in 1930s. I now reprise my intro­duc­tion to his speech, and a per­son­al epi­logue. Sir Alistair’s speech, at the Mount Wash­ing­ton Hotel, Bret­ton Woods, 27 August 1988, is avail­able by email. RML

Sir Alistair Cooke KBE

When, in what we must regard as a stroke of bril­liance, we thought to invite Sir Alis­tair Cooke to talk about Win­ston Churchill, we wrote him with trep­i­da­tion. We were told he had a rep­u­ta­tion for being very hard to get. To our delight, he defied the odds. “This is the time of year when I turn down every­thing,” he wrote.…

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Alistair Cooke: Why didn’t They Listen to Churchill?

Alistair Cooke: Why didn’t They Listen to Churchill?

Alis­tair Cooke addressed this ques­tion over thir­ty years ago. I’ve quot­ed his words repeat­ed­ly over the years. A recent com­ment (reprised below), encour­aged this revi­sion from 2011. Mr. Cooke’s full speech is avail­able by email. RML

Back in the 1930’s, who all denounced and crit­i­cized Churchill for his beliefs in the rad­i­cal Nazi Ger­many? Who specif­i­cal­ly mocked him? Obvi­ous­ly Churchill was right about Hitler and his plans but who in the polit­i­cal, intel­lec­tu­al, or enter­tain­ment are­nas vil­i­fied him? —A.H.

The answer to your ques­tion, I think, is “just about every­body,” from the Roy­al Fam­i­ly to ordi­nary cit­i­zens, most of the media, his own par­ty, the Labour and Lib­er­al par­ties, and cer­tain­ly most intel­lec­tu­als and enter­tain­ment per­son­al­i­ties.…

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