Successes in Rhetoric: Language in the Life of Winston Churchill
A long-anticipated new exhibit “Churchill: The Power of Words” opened at New York’s famed Morgan Library June 8, 2012. Curated by Churchill Archives Centre Director Allen Packwood, the exhibit includes a wide range of rarely-seen drafts, speaking notes and correspondence as well as recordings from some of Churchill’s most compelling speeches and broadcasts. Highlight of the show is Churchill’s original certificate of American citizenship signed by Pres. John F. Kennedy in 1963.
The exhibition opened to wide acclaim, including this review by the New York Times:
But ignore the sound, if you can, and leave it for last. For it is best first to be reminded just how important those speeches by a British prime minister really were, and what difference they made.
This isn’t a history exhibition, so you won’t be able to take their full measure; you won’t fully grasp how washed up Churchill’s political career was in the mid-1930s; how few in England were prepared to recognize what was taking place in Germany; how few were also prepared to think the unthinkable about war, scarcely 20 years after the continent was so stained in blood; and how visionary Churchill was, in knowing what would happen and in understanding what price would be paid.
So you won’t really be able to understand that there was a period — between Germany’s beginning to bomb England in 1940 (killing more than 40,000) and the United States’ entrance to the war at the end of 1941 — when England might well have fallen or made generous accommodation to German demands, had Churchill not been a master of words and ideas, rallying his “great island nation” as prime minister with promises of blood, toil, tears and sweat.
The ship of Churchill’s last voyage, brimming with royals, will take to London’s waterway for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Pageant.
“Havengore” on the Thames. THE AUSTRALIAN, 3 June 2012—Retired Sydney businessman Owen Palmer is among a select gathering on the prestigious 26-metre Havengore, along with Prince Andrew and his daughters princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, Prince Edward and his wife Sophie, London Mayor Boris Johnson and former British prime minister John Major.
Best known as the craft which carried the coffin of Winston Churchill along the Thames for his 1965 state funeral, the twin-engined ex-survey ship was also used in the Queen’s 1977 Silver Jubilee river pageant.
“After being watched by 350 million people worldwide for Winston Churchill’s funeral, which was such a big event for the time, this (pageant) will be equally the biggest single public event (for the Havengore),” Mr Palmer said.
Built in 1956 and following a high-profile role, the ship was left to rot until Mr Palmer bought it in 1994.
Randolph Churchill on hand to present Calgary Herald Shield Trophy.
By Bill Brooks
THE CALGARY HERALD, 1 June 2012—The 46th Annual Memorial Banquet of the Sir Winston Churchill Society of Calgary featured none other than Randolph Churchill, great-grandson of the legendary Sir Winston, as the keynote speaker.
Randolph Churchill with Vera Swanson.The Calgary society was established to remember one of history’s greatest people, but also to promote high school students’ “facility in the use of the spoken and written word emphasizing oratorical and communication skills as exemplified by the debates, speeches and writings of Sir Winston Spencer Churchill and in so doing commemorate his leadership and achievement.”
The society sponsors high school debates with the winners attending the annual black-tie banquet. This year’s winners of the debate in the senior-high beginner category and the winner of the Calgary Herald Shield Trophy were Paul Hong and Conrad Lowe from William Aberhart High School. Senior-high advanced category winners and winners of the Calgary Herald trophy were Vasanth Ranganathan and Shahriar Shams-Ansari from, aptly enough, Sir Winston Churchill High School. Winner of the top speaker award and the prestigious Bredin Cup was Ranganathan, for the second year in a row.
The Churchill War Rooms are to be featured in latest series of “Museum Secrets,” airing on UKTV this month.
Museum Director Phil Reed on a tour of the Churchill War Rooms. The Yesterday Channel on UKTV in England will be airing Museum Secrets Season 2 for the first time this summer.
Starting on June 22, 2012, Yesterday will broadcast Museum Secrets on Fridays at 9 PM for eight weeks.
The Imperial War Museum tells the story of Britain at war, from World War One to the present, through a collection of 10 million items – from guns to planes to medals to cyanide pills – at five locations in England visited by over 2 million people every year.
In Episode Two, we descend into Churchill’s top-secret underground bunker to discover why he was an irreplaceable leader. We find out how a London housewife became a spy who withstood horrific Nazi torture to protect a vital secret, then we take cover in a World War One trench as we reveal the story of a Nobel Prize-winning physicist whose discovery turned the tide of the war. We meet an aging cold warrior who exposes dark truths about atomic weapons hidden from the British people for 50 years, then fly above Iraq with British top guns to discover how to stay frosty when enemy missiles lock on. And finally we follow a team of military researchers as they close in on the holy grail of camouflage: how to make a soldier invisible.
On Jubilee weekend Emma Soames reflects on the links between her family and the Crown.
By Emma Soames
Sir Winston Churchill welcomes the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh to 10 Downing Street for dinner in April 1955 Photo: PA THE TELEGRAPH, 1 June 2012—As the young Queen Elizabeth stepped off the plane bearing her back from Kenya on the death of her father in February 1952, waiting at the bottom of the steps was my grandfather, Winston Churchill, the first of 12 prime ministers to serve under Her Majesty across the next 60 years. My family’s path has crossed with that of the Royal family many times since then, but at no time before or since has that relationship been so significant.
The scratchy television footage of that dark morning is loaded with emotion. It doesn’t just illustrate the wheels of the British constitution working smoothly as a government turns out to greet a new sovereign less than 24 hours after the death of her father, but also a prime minister in his eighties doing obeisance to his new monarch, who is a slip of a young woman, pale and determined, with a new and unprecedented burden of responsibility on her black clad shoulders.
Churchill was really deeply upset over the death of King George VI, with whom he had shared so much during the War years. Miss Portal, one of his secretaries, travelled with him to Heathrow to greet his new sovereign. “He was going to broadcast that afternoon. On the way down he dictated. He was in a flood of tears,” she told biographer Martin Gilbert.
No doubt many of his listeners were equally moved when he spoke of King George VI on the radio the following day, ending his eulogy: “I, whose youth was passed in the august, unchallenged and tranquil glories of the Victorian era, may well feel a thrill in invoking, once more, the prayer and the anthem God Save the Queen.” The following day he addressed the House of Commons: “A fair and youthful figure, Princess, wife and mother, is the heir to all our traditions and glories never greater in peacetime than now.”
Historian Andrew Roberts considers Churchill’s feminist views on the occasion of the publication of “Women in War.”
By Andrew Roberts
In the battle of the sexes, Winston Churchill is often thought of as a male chauvinist pig due to his stalwart opposition to Votes for Women while Home Secretary in the Edwardian period. His public meetings were interrupted by suffragettes and a supporter of female enfranchisement even attacked him with a whip on a train. Despite his having voted for female enfranchisement in 1917, his reputation is sullied.
Yet a well-researched, well-written and fascinating new book, ‘Women in War: From the Home Front to the Front Line’, edited by Celia Lee and Paul Edward Strong, shows how by the time of the Second World War, Churchill had embraced sexual equality with fervour. Lee and Strong, who run a Women in War group in the British Commission for Military History, have identified a series of areas in which Churchill personally promoted the concept of women undertaking tasks that had hitherto solely been done by men, thus freeing up British males for frontline combat.
The first ever female regiment to be formed in the British Army was the 93rd Searchlight Regiment of the Royal Artillery. Searchlights were crucial in wartime; often located on the beaches they spotlit German bombers so that the men operating the guns could shoot them down before they dropped their lethal loads on British towns. From 1935, a plan had been approved that nearly 100 searchlight companies would be required, comprising 2,334 lights, 3,000 Lewis guns, 464 three-inch guns and 43,500 men.
As Major Imogen Corrigan points out in ‘Women in War’, women were not initially allowed to take part in operating searchlights. It took Churchill to be far sighted enough to give his approval in September 1941 for the women to go into action. The use of the female regiment was the brainchild of Major-General Sir Frederick Pile, who later wrote: ‘The girls lived like men, fought their lights like men and, alas, some of them died like men.’
General Pile remained as Commander-in-Chief from 1939 until the work of AA Command and Britain’s air defence requirements could finally be closed down in April 1945. Defence writer Georgina Natzio points out how Pile was unusual during the Second World War for his endurance and staying power, assisted by the fact that he and Churchill shared a highly creative and questing outlook in the way they looked at war-related, social and technical matters. It is clear from Pile’s memoir, Ack-Ack, that they understood each other as individuals. Even though Pile was not popular amongst his contemporaries, Churchill – who had more than once known that problem himself – had the wisdom not to move him, because he recognised that Pile was a gifted leader who had welded together a strong sense of identity and purpose among the thousands who served in AA Command.
New entrance to be unveiled at The Churchill War Rooms.
Entrance to the Churchill War Rooms under HM’s Treasury Building. CULTURE 24, 25 May 2012—The entrance to the Churchill War Rooms has for years mirrored its wartime role as a discreet, secret underground location where Winston Churchill and his cabinet conducted the business of war safe from the London Blitz and the terror of Hitler’s flying V bombs.
Now a new bold edifice designed by London-based architects Clash Associates is about to be unveiled that the Imperial War Museum hopes will act as a “beacon, highlighting the museum’s unique role in the nation’s history.”
The new entrance, made of burnished bronze and Portland stone, promises to complement the listed Whitehall buildings that surround it whilst referencing the bulldog spirit of Churchill, the military hardware of World War Two and the bronze sculptures of Jacob Epstein and Henry Moore.
The Churchill Centre honors a distinguished American and holds most successful fundraising event in its history.
Fred Malek is presented with the award by last year’s recipient J.W. Marriott. WASHINGTON, D.C., April 30, 2012—The Churchill Centre presented its 2012 Leadership Award to distinguished American civic and business leader Fred Malek at a gala dinner and award ceremony at the Four Seasons Hotel in Washington, D.C. on April 30, 2012. Mr. Malek, who was recognized for his forty years of service as an advisor to four United States Presidents and his leadership in private industry received the award from J. W. Marriott, Jr., a previous recipient, a Churchill Centre Trustee and Chairman of Marriott International, Inc.
Over 400 Churchillians from across the United States as well as leaders from the public, private and institutional sectors in Washington attended the dinner, the largest and most successful in TCC history. Proceeds supported the Centre’s educational activities and the new National Churchill Library and Centre to be created on the campus of the George Washington University.
Co-Chairs for the evening were TCC Chairman Laurence S. Geller CBE, Jane Harman, longtime member of Congress and President of the Woodrow Wilson International Center, and Catherine B. Reynolds, Chair of the Catherine B. Reynolds Foundation. The host committee included Sens. Trent Lott, Tom Daschle, William Cohen and Norm Coleman, Cong. John Dingell, Gens. Brent Scowcroft, Jim Jones and David Petraeus and Secys. Frank Carlucci and Elaine Chao. Noted journalist Chris Matthews served as Master of Ceremonies.
Dinner speakers included Gen. David Petraeus, Randolph Churchill, Katty Kay, BBC Washington bureau chief, and Dr. Steven Knapp, President of George Washington University. Other distinguished attendees included Lt. Gen. Frank Kearney, Sen. Olympia Snowe, Philip Barton, Deputy Chief of Mission of the United Kingdom, Petr Gandalovic, Ambassador of the Czech Republic, Edwina Sandys and Paul Tetraeult, President of the Ford’s Theater Society. Also enjoying the evening were Cong. Mac Thornberry, Sen. Roy Blunt, GWU Provost Steven Lerman and President Emeritus Steven Trachtenberg.
Churchill Centre Executive Director reveals renderings for new Churchill Library and Center.
By Lee Pollock, Phil and Sue Larson
From left: Jill Pollock; Lee Pollock, TCC Executive Director; Phil and Sue Larson, Co-Presidents, Churchill Centre Chicagoland; Dan Myers, TCC COOChicago area Churchillians gathered for brunch at the Mon Ami Gabi restaurant in Oak Brook, Illinois in early June to hear Churchill Centre (TCC) Executive Director Lee Pollock provide an exclusive preview of plans for the new National Churchill Library and Center to be created on the campus of George Washington University in the heart of Washington, D.C. The group of some fifty local members and supporters, including TCC Chicagoland Co-Presidents Phil and Sue Larson, were given the opportunity to review preliminary architectural renderings and site plans for the new Library and Center as well as discuss the various components of the project which include an endowed professorship in GW’s history department, a comprehensive collection of books and other material by and about Churchill, an endowed Curator/Director position and an exhibit gallery employing state-of-the art digital technology to present Churchill’s story to a wide range of visitors. A recently completed video on the new facility, including interviews with TCC Board Chair, Laurence Geller CBE, Randolph Churchill, and GW President Dr. Steven Knapp, was also presented.
In addition to local members, the guests included five Rickover Military Academy cadets along with Rickover Superintendent Michael Biela and Social Studies teacher Leanne Dumais. The Rickover attendees included the recent winner of the Churchill speaking competition held at Chicago’s Rickover Naval Academy high school and the 2011 Churchill Essay winner. Longtime member Joe Troiani generously hosted 16 guests for the event.
The 48th Annual Memorial Banquet of the The Rt. Hon. Sir Winston Spencer Churchill Society of Edmonton.
At 19:30 sharp, on Monday, 7 May 2012, a trumpet fanfare was followed by the bagpipes leading the President, Roger Hodkinson and Mr. Randolph Churchill between a guard of honour comprised of Royal Canadian Air Cadets, 570 Sir Winston Churchill Squadron under the command of Captain David Goldingay up to the head table. This ceremonial entrance signalled the beginning of the Right Honourable Sir Winston Spencer Churchill Society of Edmonton’s 48th Annual Memorial Banquet.
On the terrace of the Fairmont Hotel Macdonald, Catherine and Randolph Churchill discuss the letters Sir Winston Churchill wrote to his wife while staying at the Macdonald Hotel in 1929 with John Warnke, a Churchill Society member.The sold-out dinner of over 200 filled the Empire Ballroom to capacity. The glistening medals and honours on formal attire and military uniform matched the elegantly refurbished ballroom dating from 1915. The first Churchill Society in the world was back home where it had begun in 1965. The “homecoming” was akin to the prodigal son’s return after having abandoned the Fairmont Hotel Macdonald for close to thirty years.
Earlier in the day the Board of Directors of the Society had welcomed Randolph and Catherine Churchill on the Terrace of the Hotel Macdonald by recalling letters Sir Winston Churchill had written to his wife Clementine during his visit to Edmonton and his stay at the Hotel Macdonald in 1929. His words were most complimentary to the City and to Canada in general.
After this brief revisit of the long history Edmonton has had with Sir Winston Churchill, the Board walked over to Churchill Square, the focal point of downtown life in Edmonton with the City Hall, Law Courts, Alberta Art Gallery, Winspear Centre where the Edmonton symphony orchestra holds concerts, Citadel Theatre, Stanley A. Milner Library, and Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and legal offices all surrounding this central meeting place. Amongst this bustling focus of city life, stands the statute of Sir Winston Churchill, sculpted by Oscar Neman and unveiled in 1989 and rededicated in 2004 on both occasions by the patron the Edmonton Churchill Society, Lady Mary Soames. In brilliant sunshine and before this grand statue which rivals a similar statue located outside the British Parliament Buildings, City of Edmonton Deputy Mayor, Jane Batty, officially proclaimed Monday, 7 May to be Sir Winston Churchill Day in Edmonton in honour of Sir Winston himself and the visit to the city by his great grandson, Randolph Churchill. Randolph and Catherine Churchill received the beautifully framed proclamation as a gift from the City of Edmonton.
Professor Warren Kimball speaks on “Churchill and Roosevelt.” MICHIGAN
By Dick Marsh & Robert Pettengill
GROSSE POINT MICHIGAN, 9 May 2012—The Winston Churchill Society of Michigan met last month at “The Little Club” on the shores of Lake St. Clair.
The Little ClubA record 92 people were in attendance for the event, including five new members, and guests.
Grosse Point was chosen this year as it is the tradition of the Society to rotate it’s meetings around the three corners of the Michigan triangle; Ann Arbor to the West, Bloomfield to the Northwest, and Grosse Point to the East.
Society President Dick Marsh first introduced Lee Pollock, Executive Director of the Churchill Centre, then Warren Kimball as the featured speaker for the evening.
Well known to most members for his role as academic advisor to The Churchill Centre and as a senior editor of Finest Hour, Mr. Kimball is Professor Emeritus at Rutgers University. He is the leading expert on Roosevelt and Churchill’s alliance during World War II and has written several books including his three volume work Churchill and Roosevelt: The Complete Correspondence and, Forged in War: Roosevelt and Churchill.
Professor Kimball spoken on the many complexities of the wartime relationship, with subtexts of the changing world power structure; the United States clearly in the ascendency, the declining British Empire, and although not obvious at that time, the eventual rise of the Soviet Union.
Kimball then discussed the geopolitical situation in post-war Europe. In assessing blame for the Soviet Union’s occupation and oppression of Eastern Europe, Professor Kimball emphasized that first on Churchill’s mind during the war years was defeating Germany and maintaining The Grand Alliance, which made it possible.
The way in which Poland was treated became the touchstone for post war relationships. At Yalta, all Churchill and Roosevelt could do was to ask Stalin for concessions to make the settlement more palatable to their constituents back at home, knowing that it was questionable whether Stalin would ever implement them.
The Churchill Centre United Kingdom publishes the news for May 2012.
By Paul Courtenay The Palace of Westminster on the bank of the River Thames Debate at Royal Military Academy Sandhurst (RMAS)
RMAS holds debates two or three times a year, when two opposing teams, each of three officer cadets, discuss a topic of interest. On Tuesday 26th June a debate will be held on a Churchill-centric theme, and TCC-UK members are invited to attend (and will be allowed to speak from the floor if they wish). The programme will be:
• 5.00 pm short guided tour if requested • 6.30 pm (free) drinks • 7.20 pm debate • 8.30 pm curry supper with officer cadets and staff if required.
Attendance is free, but the charge for those wanting a tour will be £10 and for those wanting supper will be £15. For security and catering reasons RMAS will require us to submit the names of those attending in good time, so it will be essential for members to respond without delay.
Anyone wishing to attend is asked to contact the Editor (see below) by 2nd JUNE and to request full details and an application form, which must be returned by 15th JUNE AT THE LATEST .
A TCC-UK reception will take place at the House of Commons on Thursday 6th September; full details will be circulated in due course.
Two long-awaited and important new editions of WSC books, edited by Jim Muller, are on course to be published in 2012: Great Contemporaries (1937) in late June; The River War (1899) in December. Member’s will be notified of instructions on how to order in due course.
Despite numerous warnings to those who have not yet increased their subscriptions to the current level (set for most at £40 three years ago), several members have ignored these reminders; please note that the accompanying distribution of Finest Hour 154 will have to be the last to those who have not taken the necessary steps to correct this.
We record with regret the death of member Ian Watson (Wokingham), who – until recently – was a regular attendee at Society events.
Letter from the Chairman of the Membership Committee.
Members will have recently received (or will shortly receive) a letter from Morice Mendoza, Chairman of the Membership Committee, being his annual report covering the period from April 2011 till March 2012. Please note, in particular, the item on Governance (see below).
Canadian Churchillian Ron Cohen brings Archives exhibit to Ottawa.
MANOTICK, ONTARIO, 31 May 2012—Churchill bibliographer, longtime Finest Hour contributor and co-founder of the Sir Winston Churchill Society of Ottawa, Ronald Cohen has realized his dream of celebrating Sir Winston Churchill on Canada’s Parliament Hill.
Churchill in Canada. Ron Cohen, left, joins Nepean-Carleton MP Pierre Poilievre at the Churchill exhibit at the Parliamentary LibraryAfter years of collaboration and planning, and the indispensable participation of the Churchill Archives Centre and Canada’s Parliamentary Library, six original pages of the speech Churchill delivered to Canada’s House of Commons in December 1941 are on display at the Parliamentary library, along with a video clip of part of the speech. “The six pages, typed with handwritten notes by WSC are some of the most significant and memorable from the 22-page message,” Cohen said. They include parts written and delivered in French, as well as Churchill’s infamous comment about the French generals’ speculation that “in three weeks England would have her neck wrung like a chicken” and his follow-up “Some Chicken! Some Neck!”
“I’d been talking for years to Archives director Allen Packwood about finding some way to bring something to Canada,” Cohen said. “It was the first and only time that Churchill spoke to our Parliament, and that is a significant event. It was especially important because we were in the midst of the world war and Churchill had been an inspiration to the world.”
Mr. Cohen added that the pages still hold lessons for Canadians today: “The speeches are inspirational, and what Churchill stood for is inspirational. He wrote his own speeches. He was a man of principle and an admirable leader.”
The exhibit includes the iconic Churchill portrait taken by celebrated Canadian photographer Yousuf Karsh, taken right after Churchill delivered his speech in the House. (All seven Karsh photos, and speech itself are in Finest Hour #154.) “If you look at Churchill’s left hand jacket pocket,” Cohen said, “you can see pages stuffed inside—some of the same pages that are now on display. He literally stuffed the pages of the speech in the left hand pocket.”
All of the latest news from the International Churchill Society (ICS) Canada in Toronto for Summer 2012. The nighttime Toronto skyline. TORONTO
By Terry Reardon
A very warm welcome is extended to Frances Jean.
Annual General Meeting
Held on February 29, with new Directors elected, and welcomed to the Board – Kathy Burns and Joan Martyn. One resignation from the Board was Dave Dean, due to time constraints, after his election as Vice Chairman of the Grand Erie District School Board – Dave was thanked for his efforts.
We apologize for the technical “glitch” which resulted in the film, “Winston Churchill: Walking With Destiny” not being shown. Copies of the film were distributed – anyone who attended and did not receive a copy please e-mail Terry Reardon, below, who will order the DVD.
On May 10th 2012, the 72nd anniversary of the day when Winston Churchill became Prime Minister of Britain, one hundred and thirty members and guests enjoyed an evening of good fellowship, fine food and wine, and an address by former Churchill Centre President John Plumpton. John talked of Churchill’s special relationship with Canada, which he referred to as the great Dominion. John interspersed his interesting and stimulating speech with amusing anecdotes. One concerned Louis St Laurent. The Canadian P.M. had stipulated that the Royal Canadian Navy should no longer play Rule Britannia. Churchill knew it by heart and loved it passionately. A stern reproving telegram was sent from 10 Downing Street, but St Laurent was unmoved. Churchill was furious and said he would cancel a planned trip to Ottawa. This resulted in his wife Clementine telling him that he was behaving like a spoilt child. It was an ill humoured, uncooperative Churchill who eventually arrived in Ottawa, with St Laurent and the whole of his cabinet assembled at the railway station to greet him. As Churchill stepped down on to the platform the massed bands struck up, “Rule Britannia.” Churchill stood there, hat in hand, with tears pouring down his cheeks – his private secretary Jock Colville wrote that when they returned to London nobody dared to utter even the mildest criticism of Monsieur St Laurent or of Canada.
The recipient of this year’s Churchill award was the Fort York Foundation, represented by one of its Directors, Ed Arundell, who talked of the fundraising which was underway to generate twenty three million dollars for a new visitor centre. Members are encouraged to consider donating – details www.fortyorkfoundation.ca
Join or Renew NowPlease join with us to help preserve the memory of Winston Churchill and continue to explore how his life, experiences and leadership are ever-more relevant in today’s chaotic world. BENEFITS >BECOME A MEMBER >
Finest Hour Image
The most recent issues of Finest Hour are available online to members. Join to automatically receive a subscription to BOTH Finest Hour and the Churchill Bulletin.LEARN MORE >VISIT FINEST HOUR ARCHIVE >
The International Churchill Society (ICS), founded in 1968 shortly after Churchill's death, is the world’s preeminent member organisation dedicated to preserving the historic legacy of Sir Winston Churchill.
At a time when leadership is challenged at every turn, that legacy looms larger and remains more relevant than ever.