“Churchill and the Myths of D-Day is excerpted from a lecture on the 2019 Hillsdale College Round-Britain cruise. Hillsdale cruises with “lectures at sea” are an annual event, usually occurring in May or June. For information on the 2020 cruise to Jerusalem and Athens, click here.
I’m here to talk about Winston Churchill. I know this audience knows who he was! Did you know a survey of British schoolchildren reveals that one in five think he was a fictional character? And better than half think Sherlock Holmes was a real person?
There was a time, in a long-ago and innocent age, when national leaders would walk about unaccompanied by security. Sometimes, they would even walk alone.
Four such episodes came to mind last week which exemplify this vanished era. Questions arrived from colleagues about Churchill: his encounters with Canadian soldiers and his North Carolina connections. Then The New York Times published a retrospective on Woodrow Wilson, during the 1918 Paris Peace Conference. This was remindful of a fourth episode, involving Harry Truman. The sadness is that none of these could have happened in, the last fifty years. Maybe longer.
Walk in Paris: Woodrow Wilson, 1918
The Municipal Council of Paris gave President Wilson the keys to the City, but they neglected to present him with what is far more essential, a good map book, with which to find his way about the city’s intricate streets.…
Churchill’s wisdom speaks to us across the years. Take the controversy of whether we blab too much in advance about military operations, like Mosul.
In the October 19th presidential debate, Mr. Trump said the U.S. and Iraqis forfeited “the element of surprise” in publicizing the coming offensive against Mosul. This, he insisted, allowed Islamic State ringleaders to remove themselves from the danger zone: “Douglas MacArthur, George Patton [must be] spinning in their graves when they see the stupidity of our country.” Earlier in the week he had asked: “Why don’t we just go in quietly, right?…