“Issues over Issues” is reprinted with revisions from an essay in 2007.
“I confess myself to be a great admirer of tradition. The longer you can look back, the farther you can look forward….The wider the span, the longer the continuity, the greater is the sense of duty in individual men and women, each contributing their brief life’s work to the preservation and progress of the land in which they live, the society of which they are members, and the world of which they are the servants.” —Winston S. Churchill, Royal College of Physicians, 2 March 1944
“The Cardinals’ bus from their hotel in midtown Manhattan was delayed by more than an hour as it made its way to the ballpark on Wednesday.…
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.…
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.…