July 31, 2013

Finest Hour 122, Spring 2004

Page 12


According to an on-line book locating service, the two most-sought-after books in 2003 were Sex by Madonna and The World Crisis by Winston S. Churchill. We are sure there are clever observations to be made about this, and cordially invite our readers to send them in.

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The latest Churchillian to surface is Britain’s new Leader of the Opposition Michael Howard: “I am a huge admirer of Winston Churchill. If it hadn’t been for Churchill I wouldn’t be alive today.” This was his reference to the fact that, but for fleeing central Europe for Britain, members of his family would have ended their days in Auschwitz. We’ll have to see how often he uses Churchill quotations in his speeches. —Dorothy Jones, Lancashire

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Nigeria and Cameroon have reached a Churchillian settlement of their border dispute, notes Prince Bola Ajibola, head of the Nigerian delegation: “Cameroon has put in 1.25 million dollars and Nigeria 1.25 million dollars….This shows that we mean business.” Seeming to quote Churchill, Prince Ajibola noted that by settling border problems amicably, Cameroon and Nigeria have showed that “it’s better to jaw, jaw, jaw than to war, war, war.”

This was a nice nod to Sir Winston, but the quotation, so often quoted, is not Churchill’s. Sir Martin Gilbert, speaking at our 2000 Alaska conference on “Churchill and the Soviets” (Churchill Proceedings, 1998-2000, to be published shortly) notes: “It was during this Washington visit [June 1954] that Churchill said, in trying to persuade Congress that high-level meeting with Russia was a good thing: ‘Meeting jaw to jaw is better than war.’ Those were Churchill’s actual words. Four years later, during a visit to Australia, Harold Macmillan spoke the version usually—and wrongly—attributed to Churchill: ‘Jaw, jaw is better than war, war.'” 

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