A German correspondent writes: “Churchill is misquoted as saying—with reference to the Nazis versus the Soviets—‘We butchered [or slaughtered] the wrong pig.’ The implication: he should have fought Stalin, not Hitler.
“This seems to me revisionist wishful thinking. He could never have said that, since there is no such idiom in English. He would have had to say, ‘We fought the wrong enemy.’ Can you reveal some authentic information as to the origin of this misquotation?”
Prime Ministers are always popular targets. Boris Johnson, Britain’s new PM, wears the bullseye over there now. For everything from domestic squabbling to “insensitivity” in reciting “The Road to Mandalay” on a visit to Myanmar (formerly known as Burma). In the immortal words of Richard Nixon, let us say this about that.
* * * * * “I appointed [Lord Roberts] Commander-in-Chief in India when I was Secretary of State. That was the year I annexed Burma. The place was in utter anarchy. They were just butchering one another. We had to step in, and very soon there was an ordered, civilized Government under the vigilant control of the House of Commons.” There was a sort of glare in his eyes as he said “House of Commons.”
—Lord Randolph Churchill to Winston Churchill in The Dream, 1947 Mandalay as Dog Whistle
Generally speaking nowadays, we deem paeans to the British Empire imperialist, racist twaddle.…
… is the most mysterious and ethereal story Winston Churchill ever wrote. Yet the more we know about him, the better we may understand how he came to write it.
Replete with broad-sweep Churchillian narrative, The Dream contains many references to now-obscure people, places and things. The new online version published by Hillsdale provides links to all of them. You need only click on any unfamiliar name or term for links to online references.…