Above all and first, the importance of Henry V is what it teaches about leadership. “True leadership,” writes Andrew Roberts, “stirs us in a way that is deeply embedded in our genes and psyche.…If the underlying factors of leadership have remained the same for centuries, cannot these lessons be learned and applied in situations far removed from ancient times?”
Churchill’s war speeches are—what shall we say—inspired by, remindful of, analogous to Shakespeare’s works in ancient times.…
A friend who is delivering a Churchill speech in D.C. asked for some examples of Churchilian humor involving Washington and U.S. Presidents.
Everyone enjoys Churchill’s famous crack in his first (1941) speech to Congress:
“If my father had been American, and my mother British, instead of the other way round, I might have got here on my own!” That brought down the house.
When in the U.S., Churchill liked to emphasize his American roots. Broadcasting to America six months earlier, he avowed something he always believed:
The great Burke has truly said, “People will not look forward to posterity who never look backward to their ancestors,” and I feel it most agreeable to recall to you that the Jeromes were rooted for many generations in American soil, and fought in Washington’s armies for the independence of the American Colonies and the foundation of the United States.…
Churchill (stepping naked from his bath): “The Prime Minister of Great Britain has nothing to hide from the President of the United States.” **
[Also quoted as: “You see, Mr. President, I have nothing to hide.”]
Churchill allegedly said this during his visit to the White House in December-January 1941. The Japanese had attacked Pearl Harbor and America was in the war. The encounter was confirmed by Churchill’s bodyguard, Walter Thompson, and one of his secretaries, Patrick Kinna. On the strength of their comments I included it as “likely” in Churchill By Himself.…