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Finest Hour 113

Datelines – Local and National Events

Finest Hour 113, Winter 2001-02

Page 09

Lord Jenkins Launches

LONDON, OCTOBER 8TH— Macmillan’s launch of Churchill by Lord Jenkins of Hillhead OM (see his comments on the book in this issue) took place at the National Portrait Gallery. Among those present were CC/ICS Patron Lady Soames; honorary member Sir Anthony Montague Browne; leading political figures such as Sir Edward Heath, Lords Heseltine, Howe, Hattersley and Gilmour; diplomats such as Sir Nicholas Henderson and Sir Crispin Tickell; and journalists including Max Hastings, John Grigg (Lord Altrincham), Robert Harris, Anthony Howard and Hugo Young.

Lord Jenkins drew attention to Churchill’s multi-faceted life and stressed WSC’s devotion to duty before pleasure; an example was that, despite his undoubted preference for a joyful family Christmas in 1944, he had flown to Athens on Christmas Eve and had consequently saved Greece from falling to the postwar Communist empire. Lord Jenkins was kept busy signing his book, which has had excellent reviews.


HILLSDALE, MICH., SEPTEMBER 9-13TH— Hillsdale College held a seminar entitled “One of Freedom’s Finest Hours: Statesmanship and Soldiership in World War II.” Nine historians and five veterans gave presentations, including Sir Martin Gilbert, Stephen Ambrose, and John Lukacs. An edited collection of essays from this seminar was published in December and is available at a member discount of $17.50 by sending a check or credit card information to: External Affairs, Hillsdale College, 33 East College Street, Hillsdale, MI 49242-9989. —Dan Myers
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Erratum, FH 112

Finest Hour 113, Winter 2001-02

Page 09

Where did the end of Robbins’s article on the Atlantic Charter get to? In my copy the article ends mid-sentence on page 23. —EVAN QUENON

@#$°/o!H The missing words are: “one of Beaverbrook’s newspapers” and the last sentence should read: “Like Churchill, Spring had written for one of Beaverbrook’s newspapers.” In transferring files, sometimes the pixels dump a line. This line was there in the proofs, lost in the bluelines, and we didn’t notice. Sorry. —ED.


Finest Hour 113, Winter 2001-02

Page 05


“…the United States, united as never before, have drawn the sword for freedom and cast away the scabbard.”

Quotation of the Decade?

Gregory Smith offers this Churchill comment on that great religion we are not fighting against, from The River War, first edition, Vol. II, pages 248-50 (London: Longmans, Green & Co., 1899).

“How dreadful are the curses which Mohammedanism lays on its votaries! Besides the fanatical frenzy, which is as dangerous in a man as hydrophobia in a dog, there is this fearful fatalistic apathy. The effects are apparent in many countries. Improvident habits, slovenly systems of agriculture, sluggish methods of commerce, and insecurity of property exist wherever the followers of the Prophet rule or live. A degraded sensualism deprives this life of its grace and refinement; the next of its dignity and sanctity. The fact that in Mohammedan law every woman must belong to some man as his absolute property—either as a child, a wife, or a concubine—must delay the final extinction of slavery until the faith of Islam has ceased to be a great power among men. Individual Moslems may show splendid qualities. Thousands become the brave and loyal soldiers of the Queen; all know how to die; but the influence of the religion paralyses the social development of those who follow it. No stronger retrograde force exists in the world. Far from being moribund, Mohammedanism is a militant and proselytizing faith. It has already spread throughout Central Africa, raising fearless warriors at every step; and were it not that Christianity is sheltered in the strong arms of science—the science against which it had vainly struggled— the civilisation of modern Europe might fall, as fell the civilisation of ancient Rome.”
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Despatch Box

Finest Hour 113, Winter 2001-02

Page 04


Received FH 112 and wanted to say how much I like the Sept 11th feature: just the tonic!

“Our Qualities and Deeds Must Burn and Glow” in Finest Hour 112 was beautiful.

I read your stirring essay in FH 112 and must thank you for it. Your scholarship is impeccable and you have assembled excellent passages from Churchill. I too had thought of his “You may have to fight when there is no hope of victory,” from The Gathering Storm. Just as Orwell and Bernard Levin have criticized those who say “their system is no worse than ours, we oppress people just as they do,” you point out that there is a pretty big divide between “us” and “them.” Really, a most valuable article, written with Churchillian declamation.
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Around & About

Finest Hour 113, Winter 2001-02

Page 10

Winston Churchill was named “the most popular Prime Minister of all time” in a an internet poll (, with 43% of the vote. Second was Lady Thatcher at 23%. Tony Blair was fifth behind Attlee and Lloyd George. But a Mori poll for the “most influential” leader had Thatcher at 28% against only 1% for WSC …. In February, Sunday Telegraph columnist Christopher Booker attacked the BBC for a radio programme, “Europe and Us,” in which they allegedly contrived to make Churchill a Europhile: “In four postwar speeches between 1946 and 1949, in Zurich, London, The Hague and Strasbourg, Churchill, proposed the setting up of a ‘United States of Europe.’ But, as he repeatedly made clear, he did not see Britain as part of this great project.” However, Booker erred in claiming that Churchill’s famous phrase, “we are with Europe but not of it,” originated in 1953. In fact, that line originated with Churchill’s article, “The United States of Europe,” in The Saturday Evening Post of 15 February 1930, Woods C147, reprinted in the Collected Essays, 1975 …. In promoting the “Europe and Us” programme, Sue Gaisford of the Radio Times said “History may regard Winston Churchill as the architect of the disastrous Gallipoli campaign or the maker of xenophobic speeches, but tonight we consider him in philanthropic old age.” A cadre of historians piled on to denounce this absurdity. Norman Stone of Oxford said: “They probably don’t know what xenophobic means and are trying to find some way of saying ‘patriotic without saying it. It’s tosh. You just throw this sort of thing away.” The Mail on Sunday, refused an interview with Ms. Gais- ford, wrote that the comments of “some scurrilous Trotskyite” were not expected from the august Radio Times. Read More >

I was Astonished by Morocco: Celia Sandys In Her Grandratner’s Footsteps

Finest Hour 113, Winter 2001-02

Page 34

*Winston Churchill’s article by this same title appeared in tke Daily Mail, 6 February 1936 (Woods C286), reprinted in the Collected Essays of Sir Winston Churchill, 1975.

My grandfather first went to Morocco in December 1935. Like all his travels it was a working holiday, during which he would paint seven canvasses, write three chapters of Marlborough and a number of newspaper articles, and discuss politics with Lloyd George and Lord Rothermere, who were also wintering in the North African sun. It would be the first of six visits over the course of 23 years. On this occasion my parents, who had been married just four months, spent some time with him. He wrote to Clementine, “It is vy nice having Diana and Duncan here. They are so happy. They say it is a second honeymoon.” My memories of my parents are of less good times, so for me it was nice to visit a place where they had been really happy.

His 1936 article in the Daily Mail shows how quickly Churchill fell under the spell of what was then a French colony: “Morocco was to me a revelation. Reading about the Moroccan question in the newspapers or official documents affords not the slightest impression of the charm and value of this splendid territory.” Towards the end of some thousand words he confesses himself “captivated by Marrakesh. Here in these spacious palm groves rising from the desert the traveller can be sure of perennial sunshine, of every comfort and diversion, and can contemplate with ceaseless satisfaction the stately and snow-clad panorama of the Atlas Mountains. The sun is brilliant and warm but not scorching; the air crisp, bracing but without being chilly; the days bright, the nights cool and fresh.” Of course my grandfather always went to Marrakesh in the winter. When we retraced his footsteps there in August it was a good deal warmer, scorching in the desert, but we too were captivated.
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When Heroes Were Ubiquitous – Churchill and His Jerome Relations

Finest Hour 113, Winter 2001-02

Page 32


“One of the greatest of causes is being fought out, as fought out it will be, to the end. This is indeed the grand heroic period of our history, and the light of glory shines on all.”
-WSC, 27 April 1941

In February 1945 at Yalta in the Crimea, Winston Churchill met with Franklin Roosevelt and Josef Stalin to plan for the postwar world. As Churchill pressed for free elections in Poland and the establishment of democratic governments in other liberated nations, his young American cousin, 21-year old Staff Sergeant James Colgate Jerome of Bennington, Vermont, made history of another sort as he fought with the famous 10th Mountain Division in the Apennine Mountains of northern Italy.

James Jerome, second son of William Travers Jerome, Jr. and Hope Colgate Jerome, was born on 23 January 1924 in Yonkers, New York. His great grandfather, Lawrence Jerome (1820-1888), and Churchill’s grandfather, Leonard Jerome (1818-1891), were brothers, well-known for their financial prowess, and for making and losing several fortunes on Wall Street. Lawrence and Leonard married sisters, Catherine and Clara Hall; Clara became the American grandmother of Winston Churchill. James’s grandfather, William Travers Jerome (1859-1934), the crusading New York district attorney who courageously stood up to Tammany Hall, was double first cousins with Jennie Jerome (1854-1921).
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Finest Hour 113, Winter 2001-02

Page 11


On October 15th at George Washington University, The Washington Society for Churchill sponsored a two-hour panel discussion on recent books on the Second World War. Four accomplished authors provided their views and reading suggestions, followed by a reception and book signing. Dr. Chris Harmon, who teaches a Churchill course for Marine officers, assembled and chaired the panel.

GW’s Dr. Ron Spector began the session noting the huge number of related books available over the Internet, with alone listing more than 5,000 on the Second World War. Of the top ten sellers, individual volumes of Churchill’s war memoirs occupy slots one, two, four, seven, and ten, suggesting their lasting impact. Spector noted topics that have not been as well covered in recent literature (the Eastern Front, mainland Asia, social impact of the war) as well as reasons why America’s more positive view of the war (the U.S. was not bombed or occupied, and was the only unqualified winner) differs from that of other nations. Describing himself as the only panel member who was not a “Churchill groupie,” Spector ranged widely over recent publications on the war.

Dr. David Jablonsky of the Army War College focused on two recent volumes he found especially insightful: Warren Kimball’s Forged in War on the WSC FDR relationship, and David Stafford’s Men of Secrets, which reviewed the uses of intelligence by both leaders throughout their political lives. Jablonsky outlined the similarities and differences between the two men (e.g., WSC focused on details and writing most things down, FDR did neither). He spoke of Churchill’s Read More >

Churchill For Today

Finest Hour 113, Winter 2001-02

Page 20


In every sphere or human endeavour, he foresaw the dangers and potential for evil.

“Why study Churchill?” I am often asked. “Surely he has nothing to say to us today?” Yet in my own work, as I open file after file of Churchill’s archive, from his entry into Government in 1905 to his retirement in 1955 (a 50-year span!), I am continually surprised by the truth of his assertions, the modernity of his thought, the originality of his mind, the constructiveness of his proposals, his humanity, and, most remarkable of all, his foresight.

When, in 1919, Churchill called Lenin the embodiment of evil, many people thought it was a typical Churchillian exaggeration. “How unfair,” they exclaimed, “how unworthy of a statesman.” In Kiev in 1991, I watched the scaffolding go up around Lenin’s statue. The hero of 70 years of Communist rule was about to be taken down, his life’s work denounced as evil by the very people who had been its sponsors, and its victims. They knew that Churchill had been right from the very outset: Lenin was evil, and his system had been a cruel denial of individual liberty.
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Undaunted by Odds: Churchill and the Navy

Finest Hour 113, Winter 2001-02

Page 28


The 18th International Churchill Conferences

The 2001 San Diego Conference welcomed over 200 members from Britain, Canada and the United States, well down from expectations but a success throughout. Nobody who booked through September 10th appears to have canceled except for health reasons, but the hotel received zero registrations after September 11th. Martin Gilbert not only made splendid contributions of his own, but took part in the Q&A after the Gallipoli panel, standing in line to ask his questions. But when he got to speak he said he had been ticking off his list of queries as earlier questioners spoke and realized he had little left to add! Judy Kambestad, to whom we owe much, tells us how it all came to pass.

Seventeenth International Churchill Conference, Alyeska Prince Hotel, Girdwood, Alaska. September 2000: Why would we, Judy and Jerry Kambestad, be invited to a meeting with the Board of Governors? We quickly find out: Judy is asked to chair the planning committee for the 18th International Churchill Conference.

To be part of the planning committee was on our agenda; chairing it was not. But some of us southern California Churchillians had been lobbying for a conference here for several years.
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Brendan Bracken: The Fantasist Whose Dreams Came True

Finest Hour 113, Winter 2001-02

Page 14


The Legacy or “Winston’s Chela” Lasted Far Longer Than He Expected

Editor’s Note

Finest Hour 63 reviewed the two biographies of Churchill’s longtime friend and colleague Brendan Bracken: Poor, Dear Brendan by Andrew Boyle (1974), and Brendan Bracken by Charles Lysaght (1979). We stated: “Boyle’s treatment is robust, but perhaps Lysaght takes us nearer to Bracken’s real character.” We are honored to publish herewith biographer Lysaght’s Brendan Bracken Memorial Lecture on May 9th at Churchill College, Cambridge, which proves our point.

Brendan Bracken was Winston Churchill’s closest friend and Minister for Information in Churchill’s wartime government. He was also a benefactor of Churchill College before it opened its doors. Three months prior to his death, in August 1958, he wrote to Lord Tedder, Chancellor of the University, offering to provide furniture, silver and pictures for the Master: “In distant times the comforts and dignity of the Masters’ Lodges encouraged all sorts of useful people to seek their hospitality. And so I hope the Churchill College will not only be acclaimed as a house of learning but also one of discerning hospitality.”
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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.