Bulletin #37 – Jul 2011
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“Churchill´s Finest Hour 1940-1945” now moves on the Bristol Central Library after a successful run.
From July 11th – August 31th it will be put on show at Portsmouth Central Library at Guildhall Square.
Churchill had a long time “relationship” with Portsmouth The most important British Navel base in England. He visited the city many times during the Second World War.
A street had been named after him in Portsmouth; Winston Churchill Avenue.
“It is with great joy that Portsmouth Central Library had given me time to show the exhibition. Because of lack of space the exhibition will be smaller but it will not effect what people can see. It were planned from the beginning that it could be scaled up and down so it could fit in nearly everywere”, says exhabit creator Niels Bjerre.
After Portsmouth the exhibition will go on to Bletchley Park coincide with the 70th Anniversary of Churchill´s first “Most Secret” visit to “Station X” in the beginning of September 1941.
“I’m also very pleased that I has been invited by The Churchill Center for an exchusive exhibit at the 28th International Churchill Conference in London at The Marriott Hotel. It is a fantastic climax to end the first part of my trip at this conference,” ends Bjerre.
Churchill Centre Executive Director Lee Pollock recently spoke with prominent British historian Dr. Andrew Roberts whose new history of World War II The Storm of War has just been released in the United States. Andrew is well known to Chartwell Bulletin readers for his books and articles on Sir Winston and his contemporaries, his longtime support of The Churchill Centre and his frequent participation in TCC’s International Conferences. Among his previous works are acclaimed biographies of Lord Halifax (1991) and Lord Salisbury (1999), Hitler and Churchill: Secrets of Leadership (2003), A History of the English Speaking Peoples since 1900 (2006) and Masters and Commanders: How Roosevelt, Churchill, Marshall and Alanbrooke Won the War in the West (2008).
In addition to his historical writing, Dr. Roberts is a frequent contributor to The Wall Street Journal, Commentary and other newspapers and magazines as well as a television commentator for NBC.
In this CB interview, Andrew talks about his latest books, his recent move to New York and current writing on Churchill and the Second World War.
Lee Pollock: Andrew, some of our readers are not completely familiar with your background. Could you tell us a little about where you grew up, your education and how you developed an interest in history and in Winston Churchill. Were there any Churchillians in your family who influenced you along the way? And do you recall when you first recognized Churchill’s unique role in 20th century history and in the Second World War?
Andrew Roberts: I grew up in Surrey, in Southern England and was educated at Cambridge University, from where I took a First class honours degree in History, was an honorary senior scholar and am a Doctor of Philosophy. My father read history at Oxford and it was he and my prep school history master, Christopher Perry, who first sparked a love of history in me. They too inculcated in me the central role that Sir Winston Churchill played in the Allied victory in the Second World War, and what a very great human being he was.
By Celia Lee
29 June 2011, Westerham Hall, Westerham, Kent
WHITE ROSES AND LILAC ORCHIDS – A CELEBRATION OF THE LIFE OF JENNIE, LADY RANDOLPH CHURCHILL
I have divided the talk into 4 parts:
- The first part is about who Jennie really was; the three following parts concentrate on her voluntary work;
- Fund raising for the women of India;
- Fund raising and involvement with the hospital ship Maine during the Boer War;
- And her work during the First World War.
PART 1: JENNIE – WHO SHE REALLY WAS
Who, was Jennie, Lady Randolph Churchill?
Her parents Leonard and Clarissa Jerome were American. (1)&(2) Clarissa’s maiden name was Hall, and they married in 1849. Both were from well to do farming backgrounds. Clarissa bore 4 daughters: (3) Clarita (known as Clara), who was born in April 1851; Jeanette (known as Jennie), born on 9th January 1854; Camille in November 1855, but died of a fever in 1863; and Leonie in 1859.
During the financial panic of 1857, Leonard Jerome became a millionaire, buying and selling shares on the New York stock market. He built a huge mansion, (4) on Madison Square, which was one of the first private palaces in New York. In 1860, Jennie was 6 years old, when the Jeromes went to live in this huge house, where she was raised in fabulous wealth and luxury. The ballroom could accommodate 300 people and the adjacent theatre could seat 600. Jennie and her sisters had a nanny and a governess, and were educated privately, with emphasis on the genteel arts — music, piano, drawing, and French and German. Their father owned racehorses, and Jennie and her sisters could ride like the wind. He was now reputed to be worth $10 million, about $500 million in today’s value.
But Leonard had a passion for young opera singers and Mrs Jerome tired of her husband’s eccentric life style and his mistresses. In 1867, when Jennie was aged 13, the Jeromes separated, and Mrs Jerome took her three daughters (5) and went to live in Paris in further luxury, where they mingled with the court of Napoleon III and the Empress Eugenie.
In 1873, Jennie was 19 years old. (6) Mrs Jerome took a house the Villa Rosetta, for the season on the Isle of Wight. She received an invitation to a ball during “Cowes Week”, aboard the royal yacht, HMS Ariadne. It was held in the presence of the visiting, Russian, Imperial family, who were staying with Queen Victoria at Osborne House. The Prince of Wales attended, (7) and when Jennie entered the ballroom, attired in a white ball gown and diamonds, she saw Lord Randolph Churchill, (8) the second son of the 7th Duke and Duchess of Marlborough, standing, talking to the Prince. (9)
Their eyes met across the ballroom floor and it was love at first sight. They were married on 15th April 1874, in the chapel of the British Embassy in Paris.
The young couple arrived from honeymoon to live for a brief period at Blenheim Palace, until Randolph’s father bought them a house in fashionable Mayfair, London. Jennie was now referred to as Lady Randolph Churchill.
The world that the 20-year-old entered in Victorian England, was one where aristocratic women were still a long way from liberation. Women wore full-length dresses or skirts, and a hat and gloves, and she was not allowed to go out in public without a chaperone.
By TIMOTHY SNYDER
THE NEW YORK TIMES, June 17, 2011 – How did the Wehrmacht, the best fighting force, lose World War II? The reader seeking the answer to this question, posed by Andrew Roberts in his splendid history, will be treated to a brilliantly clear and accessible account of the war in all of its theaters: Asian, African and European. Roberts’s descriptions of soldiers and officers are masterly and humane, and his battlefield set pieces are as gripping as any I have ever read. He has visited many of the battlefields, and has an unusually good eye for detail as well as a painterly skill at physical description. (His nearly perfect sense of terrain and geography is marred only by his regrettable conflation of Russia with the Soviet Union, which leads to confusion about battlefield locations, German war aims and Soviet casualties.) He is just as much at home at sea as on land; from Midway to El Alamein his prose is unerringly precise and stirringly vivid. It is hard to imagine a better-told military history of World War II.
The title of the book, “The Storm of War,” conceals an answer to Roberts’s central question about the reasons for the German defeat. The notion of war as a storm summons up the Nazi idea of a blitzkrieg, a lightning victory that would somehow resolve all of the political and economic problems of the German state. Yet the reference in the title is not German but British, not to Hitler but rather to Churchill, who told the House of Commons on June 4, 1940, that he had every confidence Britain could “ride out the storm of war.” Lightning signals not the end but the beginning of a storm; he who escapes the flash can survive, endure, get the wind at his back and in his sails, and triumph. The Wehrmacht lost the war because the conflict was long, and it was long in part because Churchill refused to abandon the fight, but chiefly because Germany’s main war aims were impossible to attain.
By A. O. SCOTT
THE NEW YORK TIMES, May 19, 2011 – Most of what happens in “Went the Day Well?” — an undeservedly forgotten British film showing at Film Forum starting on Friday — is a flashback. In the first scene, a friendly chap in a village churchyard addresses the camera, which is to say the audience, and supposes we want to hear about the big battle that happened in the town a few years before.
That skirmish, involving local residents, members of the British Home Guard and a platoon of Nazis masquerading as Englishmen, was a milestone in the defeat of Germany. Now, in peacetime, surveying the graves of those who fought and died, we can reflect on what happened in an attitude of calm amazement.
Except that the film, directed by the peripatetic Brazilian-born cineaste Alberto Cavalcanti and produced by Ealing Studios, was made in 1942, when victory over Germany was anything but certain. For original audiences, in other words, that excursion to the churchyard was a message from the future, an acknowledgement of sacrifices already made and still to come, and also a genial, chin-up morale booster.
“Went the Day Well?,” based on a story by Graham Greene, is part of a rich repository of films, made in Britain and in Hollywood, intended to buck up the spirits of the English-speaking world in the fight against Hitler. “Mrs. Miniver,” a huge, Oscar-sweeping hit in the United States, remains the best-known tribute to the plucky indomitability of ordinary Britons.
By Phil and Sue Larson
On June 8, 46 intrepid Churchillians met at Maggiano’s Oak Brook, IL for a chapter meeting. The outside temperature was 95 degrees and the venue was without air conditioning in the assigned room. With the fortitude of true Churchillians, we charged forward. Brian Shaw, President of the George C. Marshall Foundation in Lexington, VA spoke to the group on the theme “With Affection and Admiration: The Letters of George C. Marshall and Winston Churchill”.
Brian’s powerpoint presentation was informative and thought provoking. It elicited some excellent questions from the gathering. Also in attendance were Lee Pollack (Executive Director TCC-US), Dan Myers (COO TCC), Richard Marsh (Chapter Head Ann Arbor, MI) and guest Eugene Beiriger, PHD (Associate Professor DePaul University of Chicago).
Following the discussion, the group adjourned to a fully air conditioned room for an Italian feast. The group will meet again for the WSC Birthday celebration Dec 9 at the Chicago Union League Club with Dr. John Maurer (Chair, Strategy and Policy Deptartment, Naval War College, Newport, RI) as featured speaker.