In the Wall Street Journal letters column, 2 August 2011, under the heading, “Once again, Churchill sets a high standard,” we read that Churchill “had a rule of never criticizing a policy after the event unless he had given his opinion before.” Did he really have such a rule? —M.M., Cleveland
The Journal’s correspondent can say that on good authority.
In the third paragraph of his preface to The World Crisis, vol. 1 (1923), Churchill writes: “I have made or implied no criticism of any decision of action taken or neglected by others, unless I can prove that I had expressed the same opinion in writing before the event.” (Italics his.)
In the third paragraph of his preface toThe Gathering Storm (1948), Churchill writes: “I have adhered to my rule of never criticising any measure of war or policy after the event unless I had before expressed publicly or formally my opinion or warning about it.…