Finest Hour 123


Finest Hour 123, Summer 2004

Page 45

By Curt Zoller (

Questions concern Contemporaries (C), Literary (L), Miscellaneous (M), Personal (P), Statesmanship (S) and War (W). Answers on page 47.

1423. Churchill spent many weekends during World War II in Ditchley. Whose house was it? (C)

1424. Who wrote to Churchill, “I am glad you did the Marlboro [sic] volumes before this thing [WW2] started—and I enjoyed reading them.” (L)

1425. Where was WSC in June 1943 when he said in a speech: “I was speaking from where the cries of Christian virgins rent the air whilst roaring lions devoured them, and yet I am no lion and certainly no virgin”? (M)

1426. Where did Churchill meet Jacqueline Kennedy? (P)

1427. At the end of World War I in November 1918, what did Churchill propose in keeping with his maxim, “In Victory, Magnanimity”? (S)
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Churchill’s First Newspaper Cover

Finest Hour 123, Summer 2004

Page 48

By Paul H. Courtenay


John Frost, of New Barnet, Herts., the world’s foremost newspaper collector and Finest Hour’s cuttings editor, has acquired what he believes is the first newspaper with Churchill on the front page: “Last year my son Andrew and I purchased a large volume of the London Daily Mirror for January-February 1904. It cost £50. Imagine our surprise to find inside a complete original edition for February 4th, 1904, with WSC filling most of the front page. As far as we are aware it was the first time he was featured in picture on the front page of a British newspaper. The Mirror had first appeared only three months earlier, and is still going strong.”

The drawing, by S. M. Fitzgerald, was taken after a well-known contemporary photograph of the young Member of Parliament for Oldham. What was then called The Daily Illustrated Mirror entitled the picture, “Mr. Winston Churchill Gets His Way,” and noted that “The Prime Minister has agreed that Mr. Winston Churchill should receive daily the Ministerial Whip. This favour was granted by Mr. Balfour at Mr. Churchill’s own request. He is said to have pouted till he got it.” The story continues on page 3.
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Finest Hour 123, Summer 2004

Page 47

To the Editor of The Spectator:

Michael Lind’s “Churchill for Dummies” [24 April; see Michael McMenamin’s “Real versus Rubbish,” page 34] contains much that is trite and much that is true, as Arthur Balfour once said of a speech by Churchill: “The problem is that what’s true is trite, and what’s not trite is not true.”

1) There is no doubt that American “neocons” who worship Churchill would praise him less if they knew more about him. (Had he a vote, e.g., he would have voted for the Democrat in the last eleven U.S. Presidential elections of his lifetime!) But this is hardly news to anyone who has put a modicum of study into the Churchill persona.

2) “Something called the International Churchill Society” changed its name to “The Churchill Centre” nine years ago, better to reflect its mission: which is not to worship at the shrine but to look at Churchill “in the round,” as Professor John Ramsden of Queen Mary College put it, “including listening to some pretty tough papers on the subject.” Our scholarly contributors range from Larry Arnn (not “Arn”) to Warren Kimball. They regularly tangle at our conferences and symposia.
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Woods Corner – Miniature Gazettes and Life Serializations

Finest Hour 123, Summer 2004

Page 46

British Gazette Luton Edition

Alfred James of The Churchill Centre Australia loaned us something we had not seen before: a miniature edition of the British Gazette, edited by and with contributions by Winston Churchill during the 1926 General Strike.

This edition carries no publisher imprint but was apparently printed in Luton. A cover note says it was reproduced “from the ‘Luton News’ and associated journals which, following the general permission to newspapers to reproduce from the ‘British Gazette,’ photographically made facsimile blocks of the third day’s issue in miniature and thereafter, day by day, REPRODUCED ALL FOUR PAGES of the ‘Gazette’ ON ONE of its news pages.”
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Another Gem from the Gilbert Pen

Finest Hour 123, Summer 2004

Page 44

Churchill at War: His ‘Finest Hours’ in Photographs, by Sir Martin Gilbert CBE, 160 pp., illus., published at £16.99, member price $24. Order from Churchill Stores, c/o Churchill Centre.

Nobody can produce Churchill photo documentaries like the official biographer. In this outstanding compilation commissioned by the Imperial War Museum, Sir Martin concentrates in six chapters on the six most memorable years of Churchill’s life: the Second World War. The book is not published in the United States but CC members can obtain it through Churchill Stores.

The great strength of this book is the collection of over 150 photos from the Imperial War Museum archives, coupled with Gilbert’s expert captions, supported by the usual authoritative text. We begin on 10 May 1940, Churchill’s first day as Prime Minister, and wind our way through the ups and downs of the conflict to July 1945, when he returned home to hear the disastrous results of the General Election which found him in opposition and Clement Attlee Prime Minister. In a most poignant photograph taken after he’d heard the news, the disappointment is written all over his face, while his wife is smiling broadly over what she had told him was “a blessing in disguise.” We all know WSC’s instant rejoinder: “At the moment it appears quite effectively disguised.”
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Books, Arts & Curiosities – Never Give In!: An Interview with its Editor

Finest Hour 123, Summer 2004

Page 44

By Bret Begun in Newsweek, 10 November 2003, reprinted by kind permission.

Winston Churchill was such a prolific speechwriter that Never Give In! accounts for only five percent of his oratory. Bret Begun talked with Winston Churchill: editor, grandson, and trustee of The Churchill Centre.

How did you select the speeches?
Thirty years ago—across 8,600 pages, in eight volumes in small print—The Complete Speeches was published. Nobody is going to buy eight volumes. I wanted something manageable. One could fill one volume with the best wartime speeches. But I had the idea to do a panorama: to start with his first speech, at the age of 22 in 1897, and go all the way to his last in 1963.
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Books, Arts & Curiosities – Recaps: Franklin & Winston and Never Give In!

Finest Hour 123, Summer 2004

Page 43


Franklin and Winston, by Jon Meacham, 512 pp., illus., published at $29.95, member price $22. Never Give In!: The Best of Winston Churchill’s Speeches, edited by his grandson Winston S. Churchill, 592 pp., illus., published at $27.95, member price $22. Order from Churchill Stores, c/o The Churchill Centre.

I loved the book. While many of the episodes (not all) are familiar to Churchillians, Meacham’s description of the interaction between the two men is fascinating: one cool, crafty and devious; the other emotional, loving, thoughtless of others (Churchill, keeping his people up all night but napping during the day while his staff worked.) Although they were so different personally, they loved each other and were as one with the objective: win the war. Thank God for them both.

I was born in 1926 and remember listening to my parents at the dinner table discussing Chamberlain and Munich. They were both interventionists, even though my father’s father was born in Germany, and two of his brothers were in the German-American Bund. There were times when they would argue, and I was terrified that it would come to blows. I joined the Navy at 17, serving aboard a destroyer. —Robert Disque

Books, Arts & Curiosities – Real versus Rubbish Rumbles – Left and Right

Finest Hour 123, Summer 2004

Page 38

By Michael McMenamin

“Churchill for Dummies,” by Michael Lind, The Spectator, 24 April 2004
“The Real Churchill,” by Adam Young, Ludwig von Mises Institute (

Winston Churchill in 2004 has once again come under attack from the right and the left—a not unfamiliar position. The new attacks both originate in America. Both are prompted by opposition to the war against Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, as well as the frequent invocation of Churchill’s words by American politicians who supported the war.

The left-wing attack, in The Spectator, was by Michael Lind, Whitehead Senior Fellow of the New America Foundation in Washington, D.C. ( which claims its politics are “radical centrist.” The right-wing attack was posted on the website of the libertarian Ludwig von Mises Institute ( on 27 February 2004 by Adam Young, “co-founder of The Resume Store, a Canadian-based service offering resumes and cover letters.”
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Wit & Wisdom – Iraq: The “Ungrateful Volcano”

Finest Hour 123, Summer 2004

Page 37

In 1922 Winston S. Churchill, British Colonial Secretary, was charged with finding a way through the morass of what he often called Mesopotamia, or for short (and with a wry smile) “Messpot.” The reference was to the British League of Nations Mandate of Iraq, whose borders he had drawn the year before at Cairo, carving the country out of the defeated Ottoman Empire.

Cynics say Britain grabbed Iraq for its oil, though Britain’s oil supply had already been assured (with Churchill’s help) through Iran. Although there was hope for future oil revenue, in 1922 the Colonial Secretary was faced only with a steady drain on the exchequer.

Today there is no King Feisal, and Turkey is not the enemy; but substitute “terrorists” for “Turks” and his remarks offer food for thought.

This should not, of course, be read as a prescription for what Churchill would do in 2004, nor a critique pro or con on current Iraq policy: only a commentary on the country and its inhabitants that sounds eerily familiar, eightytwo years later….

WSC to David Lloyd George

(Churchill papers: 17/27)

1 September 1922

I am deeply concerned about Iraq. The task you have given me is becoming really impossible. Our forces are reduced now to very slender proportions. The Turkish menace has got worse; Feisal is playing the fool, if not the knave; his incompetent Arab officials are disturbing some of the provinces and failing to collect the revenue; we overpaid £200,000 on last year’s account which it is almost certain Iraq will not be able to pay this year, thus entailing a Supplementary Estimate in regard to a matter never sanctioned by Parliament; a further deficit, in spite of large economies, is nearly certain this year on the civil expenses owing to the drop in the revenue. I have had to maintain British troops at Mosul all through the year in consequence of the Angora quarrel: this has upset the programme of reliefs and will certainly lead to further expenditure beyond the provision. I cannot at this moment withdraw these troops without practically inviting the Turks to come in. The small column which is operating in the Rania district inside our border against the Turkish raiders and Kurdish sympathisers is a source of constant anxiety to me.

I do not see what political strength there is to face a disaster of any kind, and certainly I cannot believe that in any circumstances any large reinforcements would be sent from here or from India. There is scarcely a single newspaper—Tory, Liberal or Labour—which is not consistently hostile to our remaining in this country. The enormous reductions which have been effected have brought no goodwill, and any alternative Government that might be formed here—Labour, Die-hard or Wee Free—would gain popularity by ordering instant evacuation. Moreover in my own heart I do not see what we are getting out of it. Owing to the difficulties with America, no progress has been made in developing the oil. Altogether I am getting to the end of my resources.

I think we should now put definitely, not only to Feisal but to the Constituent Assembly, the position that unless they beg us to stay and to stay on our own terms in regard to efficient control, we shall actually evacuate before the close of the financial year. I would put this issue in the most brutal way, and if they are not prepared to urge us to stay and to cooperate in every manner I would actually clear out. That at any rate would be a solution. Whether we should clear out of the country altogether or hold on to a portion of the Basra vilayet is a minor issue requiring a special study.

It is quite possible, however, that face to face with this ultimatum the King, and still more the Constituent Assembly, will implore us to remain. If they do, shall we not be obliged to remain? If we remain, shall we not be answerable for defending their frontier? How are we to do this if the Turk comes in? We have no force whatever that can resist any serious inroad. The War Office, of course, have played for safety throughout and are ready to say ‘I told you so’ at the first misfortune.

Surveying all the above, I think I must ask you for definite guidance at this stage as to what you wish and what you are prepared to do. The victories of the Turks will increase our difficulties throughout the Mohammedan world. At present we are paying eight millions a year for the privilege of living on an ungrateful volcano out of which we are in no circumstances to get anything worth having.


This letter, published by Sir Martin Gilbert in Winston S. Churchill IV, Companion Volume Part 3, London: Heinemann, 1977, pp. 1973-74, is reprinted by kind permission of Winston S. Churchill.


Finest Hour 123, Summer 2004

Page 36

One of the editor’s favorite assignments is to answer the flood of inquiries about Churchill that come in regularly by email from young people all over the world. I try to respond as fully as possible (without writing their assignments for them), directing them to our website for source material. I always try to take the line suggested by Professor Paul Addison, author of Churchill on the Home Front: “Paradoxically, I think it tends to diminish Churchill to treat him as super-human.” RML

I am an eighth grader doing a biography report on Winston Churchill. The more I learn about this great man, the more I like him. However on a page of his quotes, I find something rather disturbing and shall I say un-Churchillian. I have been trying in vain to find information that can prove or disprove this quotation, on

“‘I do not understand this squeamishness about the use of gas. I am strongly in favor of using poisoned gas against uncivilized tribes.’ —Winston Churchill, Secretary of State, British War Office, 1919, authorizing use of chemical weapons against Iraqis in n the first of six invasions of Iraq by agents of Anglo Iranian Oil (British Petroleum) in the last 100 years.”
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Finest Hour 123, Summer 2004

Page 34


A committee consisting of James W. Muller, chairman of academic advisers; Terry McGarry, TCC press agent; and Richard Langworth, editor of  Finest Hour, judged the essays by Bermuda students, arranged by John Plumpton at the 2003 Bermuda Conference. The committee also ranked the best overall. The top three were by Attiya Talbot of Berkeley Institute (published herewith) and Rowland Robinson and Michelle Smith, both of Bermuda High School.

In addition to sponsoring the Bermuda essay contest, XL Corporation provided five $5000 prizes for visits to England by the respective winners. They enjoyed tea with Lady Soames at her home, a priceless opportunity to see her photos and memorabilia. They visited Chartwell, where Carole Kenwright hosted a lunch and personal tour; participated in an educational program on the Blitz, with Jo Hunt at the Cabinet War Room; and visited Blenheim Palace and WSC’s gravesite at Bladon. Of the five winners, two are studying English Literature, two Law, and one Biology. All received a marvelous immersion in the Churchill saga.

The Churchill Centre expresses its gratitude to our sponsors, XL Capital Ltd., XL Foundation Ltd. and Axis Capital Holdings Ltd., for their generosity in making the contest possible.
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William Manchester 1922-2004

Finest Hour 123, Summer 2004

Page 33


Encounters with the famous, and opportunities for chance discussions with them, are frequent at Churchill Conferences. Both of us had such a chance with Bill Manchester in 1995 at Boston, and we both asked him which of his books was his favorite.

We had read his Pacific war memoir, Goodbye Darkness, and thought he might select it. He did. It was, he said, uniquely personal: about his own feelings, not involving his usual detailed research. In contrast to his other writings, the book reflected what he felt and recalled.

Beginning with his youth in Massachusetts, the son of a wounded World War I marine, Goodbye Darkness describes how Manchester followed his father’s path by enlisting in the Marines for World War II. He fought on Okinawa, where he was wounded on 5 June 1945, and his last paragraph settles any question about whether he was a great writer: “This, then, was the life I knew, where death sought me, during which I was transformed from a cheeky youth to a troubled man who, for over thirty years, repressed what he could not bear to remember.”
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Churchill and Three Presidents

Finest Hour 123, Summer 2004

Page 31


Developed and underwritten by The Churchill Centre, a symposium on “Churchill and Three Presidents” was held on February 19th at the Library of Congress James Madison Building: one of two scholarly discussions complementing “Churchill and the Great Republic.” The program was free.

Symposiarch was Professor James Muller of the University of Alaska, Anchorage, chairman of the Centre’s Academic Advisers, who gathered a distinguished panel of experts on the subjects to be covered.

The Churchill Centre also proposed and underwrote the cost of publication of a 96-page book that complements the exhibition. Copies of the book, and CDs of the event, may be ordered from Churchill Stores or on our website,
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Churchill and the Great Republic – OPENING REMARKS

Finest Hour 123, Summer 2004

Page 29


I’m honored to join you as we welcome this magnificent collection to the Library of Congress. I’ve always been a great admirer of Sir Winston Churchill: of his career, of his strength, of his character—so much so that I keep a stern-looking bust of him in the Oval Office. He watches my every move. [Laughter]

Like few other men in this or any other age, Churchill is admired throughout the world. Through his writings and personal effects, we feel the presence of the great man himself. As people tour this exhibit, I’m sure they’ll be able to smell the whiskey and the cigars.

I appreciate Jim Billington for hosting this exhibit, and for hosting me. I appreciate the members of Winston Churchill’s family who have come: Lady Soames, who is a daughter; Winston Churchill, who bears a mighty name, and his wife, Luce; Celia Sandys, who is a granddaughter. Thank you all for coming. We’re honored to have you here in America.
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Finest Hour 123, Summer 2004

Page 28

By Elizabeth Olson

The Library of Congress Churchill Exhibit

While on a trip to New York in 1895, Winston Churchill, then 21, wrote to his brother: “This is a very great country, my dear Jack….Not pretty or romantic but great and utilitarian.”

His relationship with Americans, beginning with his American-born mother, Jennie Jerome, was cultivated over visits spanning most of his life, and helped make him the best-known and most popular British leader on the American side of the Atlantic. That “mutual love affair,” as his daughter Mary Soames calls it, was celebrated in the first comprehensive exhibition on Churchill in the United States. It opened February 5th at the Library of Congress, with major contributions by the Library and the Churchill Archives Centre, Cambridge, ran until mid-July, and is now on tour. The Churchill Centre in Washington supported the cost of the program book, and produced two academic symposia on the exhibit theme.
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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.