Tag: Roosevelt

Churchill, Arthur Harris and Decisions to Bomb Germany

Churchill, Arthur Harris and Decisions to Bomb Germany

Did Win­ston Churchill influ­ence the deci­sion to bomb Ger­man cities so bad­ly at end of World War II? What role did he have in appoint­ing Sir Arthur “Bomber” Har­ris to lead Bomber Com­mand? Did he give a secret order to “bomb the hell out of them”? Did he exhib­it this atti­tude in his speech­es? (Updat­ed and repost­ed, 31 May 2018.)

“Bomb the hell out of them”

Gen­er­al Har­ris was a mil­i­tary appoint­ment, though sup­port­ed by Churchill.  For many months after Rus­sia was attacked, bomb­ing was the only “sec­ond front” Britain could offer. The Allies were los­ing every­where and Stal­in was clam­or­ing for the Anglo-Amer­i­cans to attack.…

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Last Try to Avoid Hell, 1914

Last Try to Avoid Hell, 1914

“Sav­ing the Nations from Hell”: The “King­ly Con­fer­ence,” 1914 (Excerpt)

(Read more at Hills­dale Col­lege Churchill Project)

Churchill’s faith in per­son­al diplomacy—solving intractable prob­lems by meet­ings at the high­est level—was famous­ly expressed dur­ing World War II.

Less wide­ly known is Churchill’s 1914 pro­pos­al for a con­fer­ence of heads of state (includ­ing, it seems, French Pres­i­dent Ray­mond Poin­caré) in an effort to head-off World War I. The scheme failed, but not for Churchill’s lack of try­ing.

There is lit­tle on Churchill’s “king­ly con­fer­ence” in the lit­er­a­ture. There is no ref­er­ence in Churchill’s The World Cri­sis, Asquith’s mem­oirs, or biogra­phies by Man­ches­ter, Jenk­ins, Rose, Charm­ley and Birken­head, though Sir Mar­tin Gilbert includes in the offi­cial biog­ra­phy an excerpt from a cab­i­net mem­ber which records Churchill’s words in the cab­i­net of July 27th:

Churchill said we were now in a bet­ter than aver­age con­di­tion, & the fleet was at war strength….Churchill, how­ev­er, added: it was an appalling calami­ty for civilised nations to con­tem­plate & thought pos­si­bly sov­er­eigns could be brought togeth­er for sake of Peace.…

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Churchill’s Rare Press Conferences

Churchill’s Rare Press Conferences

I am  com­plet­ing an Eng­lish assign­ment which looks at the speech­es of Win­ston Churchill and would like to look at any radio inter­views Churchill gave dur­ing World War II but have, so far, only been able to find speech­es. Please could you advise me whether any such inter­views are in exis­tence? —E.L.

Churchill rarely gave interviews—only two that I know of as a young man, and those reluc­tant­ly. Speech­es (live) were his pref­er­ence. How­ev­er, on his vis­it to Wash­ing­ton after Pearl Har­bor, on 23 Decem­ber 1941, Pres­i­den­tial Roo­sevelt ush­ered him into a pres­i­den­tial press con­fer­ence, where he acquit­ted him­self well.…

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