The Place to Find All Things Churchill

Finest Hour 113


Finest Hour 113, Winter 2001-02

Page 46

A compendium of facts eventually to appear as a reader’s guide.

By Prof. Johm Ramsden, Queen Mary & Westfield College

British Union of Fascists

Formed by Sir Oswald Mosley in 1932 after he had left both the Conservative and Labour Parties; a small fringe group that never won a parliamentary seat and whose violent activities were quickly stopped by the British Government in 1934-36. Mosley’s later Union Movement (1948-1979) was even less successful.

Common Wealth

A fringe group that flourished only during Churchill’s wartime premiership, putting up surrogate candidates and winning by-elections where no Labour candidate stood because of the wartime party truce. It was largely absorbed by Labour after 1945.

Communist Party of Great Britain

Formed in 1920, on an initiative from the Moscow-run Communist International, and bringing together pre-existing leftist groups, it never had more than a few thousand members or more than a couple of MPs. It briefly increased its appeal during the 1940s, but was seriously damaged by the Cold War and was formally wound up after the collapse of the Soviet Union.
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Finest Hour 113, Winter 2001-02

Page 45

By Curt Zoller ([email protected])

TEST your knowledge! Most questions can be answered in back issues of Churchill Center publications but it’s not really cricket to check. Twenty-four questions appear each issue, answers in the following issue. Categories are Contemporaries (C), Literary (L), Miscellaneous (M), Personal (P), Statesmanship (S) and War (W).

1207. On 19 January 1935, Churchill was unpleasantly surprised by one of his son Randolph’s rash decisions. What was it? (P)

1208. At the presentation address to Churchill for the Nobel Prize in Literature, Mr. Siwertz of the Swedish Academy compared Churchill to what famous British personality? (L)

1209. When did Churchill learn that he was selected for the Nobel Prize? (M)

1210. What event allowed Churchill to use the name Sir Winston? (P)

1211. What caused Churchill to order a stop to the evacuation of British children to Canada on 23 Sep40? (S)
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Arts – Recipes from No. 10: Blanquette de Veau a L’Ancienne (Veal Stew)

Finest Hour 113, Winter 2001-02

Page 44

By Georgina Landemare, The Churchill family cook, 1940s-1950s

Updated and annotated for the modern kitchen by Barbara Langworth ([email protected]

Inner, in peace or war, tended to be the longest single event of the day, accompanied by vintage Pol Roger champagne and fine claret or burgundy….The quality of the food was superb…. Mrs. Georgina Landemare was not only an exceptional cook; she could, when required (which was quite often) put back the time of a meal at short notice.” —Winston & Clementine: The Triumph of the Churchills by Richard Hough.


(Serves six)
3 lbs breast of veal
2 pints [40 oz] white stock*
Rough vegetables [coarsely cut small carrot, 1/2 onion, stalk celery, 1/2 leek]
Bouquet garni [parsley, thyme and bay]
3 tablespoons butter
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Finest Hour 113, Winter 2001-02

Page 43

Edited and annotated by Paul H. Courtenay

Question Time is that period in the Parliamentary week where Members are allowed to ask the Prime Minister any question, governed only by decorum and the judgment of the Speaker as to whether they are genuinely asking questions or (commonly) giving a speech. Churchill was a master of Question Time, and Mr. Courtenay provides examples of his wit and command.

Restraint in Public Statements

(Or: Donald Rumsfeld’s Model)

On 30 September 1942 a Member asked the Prime Minister to urge all persons with access to inside information to exercise restraint in public statements or speculations about Second Front possibilities. WSC: “I welcome this opportunity of again emphasising the undesirability of public statements or speculations as to the time and place of future Allied offensive operations, even though such statements or speculations are based on inferences and not, as the question would seem to imply, on inside information.”

Invasion Warnings

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Young Winston on the Road

Finest Hour 113, Winter 2001-02

Page 42

Abstracts by Chris Hanger

Todd Ronnei: “Churchill in Minnesota.” Minnesota History 57:7, Fall 2001, pp. 347-55.

At the dawn of the 20th century, citizens desiring nighttime entertainment could attend plays, operas, poetry readings, or lectures. Fresh from his election to Parliament in 1900, young Winston Churchill agreed to a series of lectures in the United States and Canada before he took his seat in February 1901. He had already embarked upon a very successful British lecture tour, entitled “The War as I Saw It,” which recounted his exploits in the Boer War.

These tours were undertaken for Churchill to generate cash quickly. At the time, House members received no salary for their service in the Commons. A member needed to be either independently wealthy, or have an ongoing business on which to rely for income. Despite the financial success of his first books, an unsuccessful Parliamentary race in 1899 made his finances precarious. More cash was needed quickly. He had just won election to Parliament and had hoped to be at least as successful with his lectures in North America as he had been in Britain. However, because of widespread sympathy for the Boers in their war against what they felt was British imperialism, some lecture receptions were less than rousing.
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Finest Hour 113, Winter 2001-02

Page 41

By James W. Muller & Rickard M. Langworth

Marlborough Abridged

A reader asks, “Is the one-volume abridged Marlborough worth my time?” The answer is “yes” and “no”….

Churchill’s Marlborough is one of the great books of the 20th century: it is Churchill’s literary masterpiece, and (as Leo Strauss famously said) an inexhaustible mine of political wisdom and understanding. I have written about it, chaired an academic symposium on it, and taught it to undergraduates in a seminar. It is much to be regretted that it is out of print, and it is one of the Churchill books that The Churchill Center is most interested in having reprinted.

The abridgment by Commager (1968 et. seq.) is much less interesting than die full version, which appeared in four volumes in Britain and six in America, both of these editions seeing several reprints. In postwar England it appeared again in a revised two-volume edition which is also complete, and the one that would be most economical to reprint.
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Books, Arts & Curiosities – Writing about Churchill

Finest Hour 113, Winter 2001-02

Page 39

By Lord Jenkins or Hillhead

Churchill: A Biography, by Roy Jenkins. New York: Farrar Straus & Giroux, 1002 pages, illus. in b&w and color, regular price $40, member price $27

Editors Note

We would not have thought it possible to launch yet another life of Churchill that had anything new to say, and when Lord fenkins wrote in his preface, “I do not claim to have unearthed many new facts,” we were certain that what followed would be just another superfluous effort. Not so! Roy Jenkins’s long and distinguished Parliamentary career saw him in many of the offices Churchill once held; his vast experience in the House of Commons enables him to interpret Churchill’s life from a well of allied experience. His eloquent writing style makes the book read like a conversation with a trusted and patient friend, explaining all that we didn’t know or failed to grasp. All the more remarkable, this accomplished biographer of Gladstone came to change his mind about who was the greatest of prime ministers. Finest Hour’s own review will be published in our next issue, but we would not be undercutting any praise or criticism it may offer by suggesting that this is a book you should not be without. —RML

I propose to divide my talk into three sections: the shape of the book and how I came to write it; Churchill and Chartwell, which I think is an appropriate subject for today; and my summing up of WSC and why, at the end of the day, I put him above Gladstone.
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Books, Arts & Curiosities – “The Beacon of the Western Way or life”

Finest Hour 113, Winter 2001-02

Page 37

By Richard M. Langworth

War Speeches 1939-45, by Winston S. Churchill. Three volumes, 1,622 pages, bound in leather with gilt page edges, page-markers, marbled endpapers, $178.50 plus shipping. Order from the Easton Press, 47 Richards Avenue, Norwalk, Connecticut 06857, telephone (800) 367-4534.

Who were Winston Churchill’s speechwriters?,” a noted statesman once asked Churchill’s official biographer. “There weren’t any,” Sir Martin Gilbert replied—”he wrote all his speeches himself.” The assertion was greeted with incredulous disbelief by Douglas Hurd, then foreign minister of Great Britain.

That someone other than the politician uttering them is responsible for the words of politicians seems natural nowadays; yet the hiring of speechwriters is a relatively new practice, an outgrowth of the importance vested nowadays in polls, analysts, and focus groups, manifestations of modern politics that are possibly responsible for the low esteem in which voters hold politicians. Do people not enter politics to advance certain deeply held beliefs, goals or ideals? What happens to them? How serious can they be if they have to employ others to enunciate their views?
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Finest Hour 113, Winter 2001-02

Page 31

We must not forget how important conference sponsors are to making these events financially viable, and reasonably affordable. It costs a lot of money to put on a Churchill conference because prior conferences have set a very high bar, and transportation costs for guests from England are extremely high. Herewith thanks and a tip of the hat to all those many generous people and companies who made the 18th International Churchill Conference possible.

Queen Mary Seminar Sponsors

Intercollegiate Studies Institute
Books on Tape
Robinson Inc.

Program Advertisers

Altadis, H. Upmann Cigars
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Action This Day – Winter 1876-77, 1901-02, 1926-27, 1951-52

Finest Hour 113, Winter 2001-02

Page 26

By Michael McMenamin

125 Years Ago:

Winter 1876-77 • Age 2

“He thought you would understand…”

Winter found Winston’s parents still experiencing the aftermath of Lord Randolph’s unfortunate interference in the marital difficulties of Lord and Lady Aylesford, the former a close friend of the Prince of Wales, and the latter a former lover both of His Royal Highness and, more recently, Randolph’s brother, Lord Blandford.

In addition to leaving the country to serve as unpaid secretary to his father, the newly appointed Viceroy of Ireland (unpaid so that Randolph could retain his seat in Parliament), Lord Randolph was required as punishment to tender a formal written apology to the Prince in language dictated by, among others, Prime Minister Disraeli.

Winston’s father having done so (“however ungraciously,” wrote one close observer), the Prince of Wales refused to “accept” the apology, apparently in a fit of pique. This did not sit well with Lord Randolph’s father, the Duke of Marlborough, who made his objections known. So it was that on 10 January 1877, the day before Winston and his mother arrived in Ireland, the Prince of Wales allowed the following letter to be sent to the Duke on his behalf by Francis Read More >


Finest Hour 113, Winter 2001-02

Page 24


“You Look Like a Gang of Bloody Pirates”
—WSC, HMS Renown, 1943

On 12 August 1943, as an 18year-old radar operator, I boarded HMS Renown in Scapa Flow. On the 24th we set sail across the North Atlantic into the teeth of a hurricane—my first long voyage in the Royal Navy. We had no escort, since we were a fast ship.

My cruising station was a surface warning radar set atop the mast, 95 feet in the air, reached by a steel ladder. Everything was secret and we had no idea we were going. When we got to Halifax, Nova Scotia, the captain told us we were to pick up a VIP. We were only supposed to stay 24 hours, but the Italians had just capitulated, which apparently delayed our guest a bit longer; we finally sailed on 14 September 1943, with our VIP, Prime Minister Winston Churchill.

The PM was returning to Britain from the “Quadrant” conference with Roosevelt, which fixed Anglo-American strategy for the final stages of the war. He had spent over a month in Roosevelt’s company at Quebec, the White House and Hyde Park. (See Gilbert, Winston S. Churchill VI: Chapter 30.)

Mrs. Churchill was with the party; also Mary Churchill, who celebrated her 21st birthday aboard on our return voyage. During the trip, Mary and a naval officer went onto the quarterdeck, which was awash in heavy seas. Here the future Patron of the Churchill Center and Societies was nearly washed overboard. Her father tapped her on the arm and told her to use more sense!
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Finest Hour 113, Winter 2001-02

Page 22


From July 1949 until May 1958, Leslie Illingworth was responsible for over 90 percent of the political cartoons that appeared in Punch, Britain’s famous humour magazine. Under the editorship of E.V. Knox (1932-49), Illingworth had been allowed latitude for controversy in his cartoons. Under Kenneth Bird (1949-52) conspicuous progress in design was not matched by editorial pluck. Illingworth was thus increasingly restricted to statements of fact and the journal’s note became more muffled.

The General Election of 1950 found Punch hanging uncertainly betwixt parties, a conservative journal in tentative search of socialist readers. Illingworth was called upon to stay well above the issues and personalities. When Kenneth Bird retired as editor, Malcolm Muggeridge succeeded him, and it is safe to say the proprietors got more than they bargained for. During “Mug’s” five controversial years Punch became more pointed, relevant, and audacious than it had been since its early, radical days under Douglas Jerrold and John Leech. No longer was the cartoon apt to dangle from a tenuous snippet of news.

The practice of pairing the cartoon with a signed piece began on 21 January 1953. The question of Winston Churchill’s retirement as Prime Minister was raised gently in a cartoon of 4 March 1953, and somewhat less tactfully seven months later (Alexander at Babylon being pressed by his officers to appoint a successor, October 7th).
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Wit & Wisdom

Finest Hour 113, Winter 2001-02

Page 21

Q: I am trying to locate a quotation of Churchill to the effect, “we will not give up till we are choking on our own blood…” Can you help me? —[email protected]

A: On 28 May 1940, as France was reeling under the German onslaught, Churchill called a meeting of the full cabinet—extraordinary, since this would normally be discussed by the war cabinet. Churchill may have wanted the outer cabinet to be present, knowing that they would bolster his determination to fight on. (In the war cabinet, Halifax was still arguing for exploring, via Mussolini, Hitler’s terms for a cease-fire.)

Two versions of Churchill’s words were recorded by Hugh Dalton, Labour MP, Minister of Economic Warfare (not in the war cabinet). In his memoir, The Fateful Years 1939-1945 (London, 1957), 335. Dalton writes that Churchill said:

“We shall go on and we shall fight it out, here or elsewhere, and if at last the long story is to end, it were better it should end, not through surrender, but only when we are rolling senseless on the ground.”
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Riddles Revisited: More on Churchill and the Atomic Bomb

Finest Hour 113, Winter 2001-02

Page 13

By Craig Horn

Riddles, Mysteries, Enigmas” in FH 111 carried a question concerning Churchill’s attitude toward the use of the two atomic bombs against Japan in World War II. We reported that he favored the use of both. It was recently related to us that then-General Dwight Eisenhower was against the use of at least the second (Nagasaki) bomb, which he regarded as unnecessary. Concerning which, some observations.

No End Save Victory: Perspectives on World War II, edited by Robert Cowley (G.P. Putnam’s Sons, New York 2001), is a collection of essays by distinguished historians. The very last essay, entitled “The Voice of the Crane,” by Thomas B. Allen and Norman Polmar, reveals that in spite of the bombs, and Hirohito’s recorded proclamation accepting President Truman’s Potsdam Proclamation demanding unconditional surrender, elements of the Japanese Supreme Council for the Direction of the War, including Korechika Anami, Admiral Soemu Toyoda and General Yoshijiro Umezu, supported a coup that would remove the Emperor. They would destroy the surrender recording, engage the Allies in a fight to the death on the home islands, and turn American opinion against the war, forcing a negotiated peace.
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Finest Hour 113, Winter 2001-02

Page 12

Send your questions to the editor

Q: Was Winston Churchill fond of turtle soup?

A: Soup and meat both. Researching Churchill’s visits to Virginia before our 1998 conference, the catering department at the Williamsburg Inn uncovered correspondence following Churchill’s request for Maryland Terrapin. They looked around for a supplier (the war had dried up most sources) and finally found one. The supplier reported that there were three grades. Grade 3 was “only fed to pigs”; grade 2 was “only eaten by [censored].” But grade 1 was probably “all right.” Churchill got grade 1!

Q: During what period was Winston Churchill Chancellor of Bristol University?

A: From the website of Bristol University, Churchill/Churchill/Churchill.htm — Churchill Hall, opened in 1956, “is named after Sir Winston Churchill, who was Chancellor of Bristol University from 1929 until his death in 1965.” There are 180 matches to “Churchill” on the B.U. website, most related to University activities. —BFL

A: The House of Commons moved across the road to Church House, Westminster, and then back to the Palace of Westminster, occupying the chamber of the House of Lords at the other end of the building, where it remained till the new House of Commons was built after the war. —PHC
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