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Happy New Year: “May we all come through safe and with honour”

Happy New Year: “May we all come through safe and with honour”

New Year’s Eve, 31 December 1941…

Some­where east of Ottawa, a spe­cial train bore the Prime Min­is­ter of Great Britain toward Wash­ing­ton. He had been in Cana­da to address Par­lia­ment. His most mem­o­rable lines came as he spoke of the French in 1940:

When I warned them that Britain would fight on alone, what­ev­er they did, their gen­er­als told their prime min­is­ter and his divid­ed cab­i­net, “In three weeks Eng­land will have her neck wrung like a chick­en.” Some chick­en! … Some neck.

A week ear­li­er Churchill had won cheers from hard­ened Amer­i­can politi­cians in Con­gress, hurl­ing defi­ance at the ene­my.…

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“Here is a law which is above the King”

“Here is a law which is above the King”

Do you know where Churchill made this state­ment? “Here is a law which is above the King which even he must not break. This reaf­fir­ma­tion of a supreme law and its expres­sion in a gen­er­al char­ter is the great work of Magna Car­ta; and this alone jus­ti­fies the respect in which men have held it.” —J.F.

Yes, in a book in 1956. Churchill was explain­ing Magna Car­ta, the Great Char­ter of Free­doms, one of the tow­er­ing bench­marks of West­ern Civ­i­liza­tion. In his His­to­ry of the Eng­lish-Speak­ing Peo­ples, vol. 1, The Birth of Britain (Lon­don: Cas­sell, 1956), 256-57.…

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Bull in a China Shop

Bull in a China Shop

An recent arti­cle declares: “Win­ston Churchill once described Amer­i­can diplo­ma­cy as  ‘a bull who car­ries his own chi­na shop around with him.’” Is this an accu­rate quote, and if so, in rela­tion too what? —L.K., Texas

The expres­sion is fre­quent­ly repeat­ed, but in regard to Eisenhower’s Sec­re­tary of State John Fos­ter Dulles, not Amer­i­can diplo­ma­cy. But it does not track among Churchill’s 15 mil­lion pub­lished words (books, arti­cles, speech­es, papers), or 35 mil­lion about him. The phrase “chi­na shop” comes up 22 times, vir­tu­al­ly all of them remarks by oth­ers about Churchill….…

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