The Place to Find All Things Churchill

Finest Hour 127

AMPERSAND & Identifying the Maypole

Finest Hour 127, Summer 2005

Page 51

Senior editor Paul Courtenay was first to identify nearly all of the maypole dancers on the back cover of the previous issue, number 126.

From left to right (roughly): Mossadeq of Iran (overthrown with the help of British and American intelligence), King Saud (likely), General Mark Clark (C-in-C Far East and suitably portrayed facing Mao), German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer, unknown European (possibly a Greek or Spain’s Franco), unknown African (possibly Kwame Nkrumah), Mao Tse-tung, Malan of South Africa (or possibly Paul Henri Spaak of Belgium), another African, Winston Churchill, Charles de Gaulle, unknown Japanese, unknown Latin American, Dwight Eisenhower, Juan Peron, Jawaharlal Nehru, Georgi Malenkov, Chin Peng of Malaya, and Neguib of Egypt. If anyone thinks they can better this, they had better let us know!
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Woods Corner – Works in Progress

Finest Hour 127, Summer 2005

Page 49

UNPUBLISHED BUT NOT FORGOTTEN: The Companion Volumes to the Official Biography have been rescued, and the whole o.b. is to be reprinted, but arrangements are still being completed; and its many fans will be pleased that Manchester’s Last Lion, vol. 3, is being written by CC member

The Companion Volumes, 1942-1965

The first three volumes of Churchill War Papers, aka the Companion Volumes to the official biography, appeared in 1993, 1995 and 2000. The previous Companion Volumes for vol. 5 of the o.b. appeared in 1979, 1981 and 1982. Seven more volumes are planned in all: one each year for 1942-1945; one for the opposition period (1945-51); one for the second Premiership (1951-55); and one for the last years (1955-65).

W. W. Norton abandoned the War Papers as U.S. publisher after 2000, citing the increasing size of the books and the gaps between their appearance. Cassell remained willing to be “UK publisher” but their interest was peripheral. They “published” only 300 or so copies of each volume, supplied by Norton with the Cassell imprint, charged double Norton’s price, and then complained about low sales. Subsequently an important educational institution offered to publish the remaining seven Companion Volumes (1942-1965) and to republish the entire official biography, including the eight biographic and sixteen previous document volumes now out of print, most notably the rare companions to vol. 5. Arrangements are being completed but there is no schedule established.
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Finest Hour 127, Summer 2005

Page 46

By Tim Benson

WINSTON CHURCHILL IN CARICATURE: Through September 17th, the London exhibition of the Political Cartoon Society presents the many faces of Churchill as seen by cartoonists, friendly and vicious, over sixty years.

With an unrivalled political career, Winston Churchill became the most caricatured and cartooned politician of all time. His egocentric personality, along with his capacity for political misjudgment, offered a welcome target to cartoonists of all political persuasions. From his first election to Parliament in 1900 through his retirement as an MP in 1964, Churchill was taken to task by cartoonists of all political stripes at every available opportunity.

At its gallery in London, the Political Cartoon Society is offering the first exhibition of original cartoons to focus exclusively on Churchill’s long and illustrious political career. The display, made up of about sixty-five original cartoons by some thirty-five cartoonists, simultaneously summarises the 20th century’s most important events as experienced and influenced by one of its most remarkable characters.
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Inside the Journals – TWO REQUIEMS

Finest Hour 127, Summer 2005

Page 45

CHURCHILL’S LEGACY, 1915 AND 1965: From Ploegsteert Wood to his state funeral many perspectives had changed.

“The Famous and the Forgotten of Plugstreet Wood,” by Lloyd Clark, Battlefields Review 18: 2002.

To walk the peaceful Belgian wood which the Tommies called “Plugstreet,” eight miles south of Ypres, is to tread in the footsteps of volunteers and conscripts of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) who occupied the one and one-half square mile area for all but six months of the war.

Most of their names meant as little during the war as they do today, but a remarkable number were either famous or to become so: Churchill, Eden, Montgomery, Archibald Sinclair, the cartoonist Bruce Bairnsfather and the poet Aubery Leighton are among the notable. A few miles away in Messines, Adolf Hitler served as a corporal during the winter of 1914-15.
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Books, Arts & Curiosities – Television – WSC Hollywood Style

Finest Hour 127, Summer 2005

Page 44

Churchill: The Hollywood Years, directed by Peter Richardson. British television comedy starring Neve Campbell, Christian Slater, Harry Enfield, 85 minutes.

CALLING upon scientific method to deduce how funny this movie is, I’m using a new measure of “funniness” that is simply measured by “laughs per joke.” Director Richardson is famous for the late-night TV comedy Stella Street, an extreme “hit-and-miss” programme whose laughs per joke ratio usually registers 0.2 (a fifth of the jokes are funny). This is pretty bad, but in laughs per joke Churchill: The Hollywood Years is came out 0.13—ridiculously low for a feature film.

Forget science. What can one say about a movie whose premise is that Churchill was actually an after-dinner speaker and character actor called Roy Bubbles?—or includes a joke about Hitler driving a car into a wall? What could one say about a movie that tries to take one of the grimmest periods of modern history and turn it into a comedic farce?
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Books, Arts & Curiosities – An Important Stop on the Way to D-Day

Finest Hour 127, Summer 2005

Page 43

The Path to Victory: The Mediterranean Theater in World War II, by Douglas Porch. Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 800 pp., $35, member price $28

As the memory of World War II slips away and the veterans of that conflict answer their last roll call, the national recollection of that titanic struggle has centered on the D-day landings at Normandy on 6 June 1944. Decisive as that event remains, however, it is well to remember that the war extended far beyond just one invasion or one D-Day.

Douglas Porch, a professor at the Naval Postgraduate School, builds a persuasive case that the Mediterranean theater, which stretched from Spain to Syria and from Italy to Ethiopia, was the pivotal Anglo-American theater of the war. Without it, there could have been no triumph at Normandy. The evidence lies in his brawny volume, The Path to Victory. Full of sprightly prose, keen insights and extensive research, his text deserves to be read and then re-read to gain its full flavor and wisdom.
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Books, Arts & Curiosities – Old Titles Revisited – “Half a Pitt and Half a Puck”

Finest Hour 127, Summer 2005

Page 43

By Daniel N. Myers

Winston Churchill: Being an Account of the Life of the Right Hon. Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill, P.C., C.H., T.D., M.P., by “Ephesian” [C. Bechofer Roberts]. London: Mills & Boon, 1927; New York: Robert M. McBride & Co., 1928, 272 pp.. Extended editions, London: Newnes, 1936; Hutchinson, 1940. Zoller A11. Availability: fairly common.

It is often more fascinating and revealing to read a contemporaneous biography than the account of someone’s life from a distance. When the author is close in time, one sometimes finds a very different and usually biased take on the subject than that more discretionary appraisals written long after the events recorded. Details frequently presented in summary fashion by later biographers are often given in much greater, and interesting, detail by a contemporary.

So it is with this rather well known book, one of the earliest biographies of Winston Churchill, written by a contemporary and dedicated to the wife of Churchill’s friend, Lord Birkenhead (F. E. Smith). While Ephesian’s bias in favor of Churchill is evident throughout, the writing is well done and highly readable, all the more because of the detail the author provides on Churchill’s early years in the army and in Parliament.
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Books, Arts & Curiosities – Deepening Respect for the Soldiers of WW2

Finest Hour 127, Summer 2005

Page 42

By Rege Behe

Armageddon: The Battle for Germany, 1944-1945, by Max Hastings. Knopf, 584 pp., $30, member price $24.

Histories of war are not only written by the victors; they are told predominately through the viewpoint of the statesmen, generals and leaders. Max Hastings’ Armageddon includes those, but also interviews 170 contemporary witnesses described as “ordinary human beings to whom extraordinary things happened.”

Hastings, the award-winning author of Overlord: D-Day and the Battle for Normandy, 1944, thinks the stories of soldiers in the trenches and citizens affected by war helped him develop a deeper respect for the men and women whom journalist Tom Brokaw called “The Greatest Generation.”

“We tend to look at the world in which we’re living today and to see everything in terms of what’s going on around us,” Hastings says from his home outside London. “You often hear people saying today we live in a terrible world, we have the threat of international terrorism and al-Qaida and 9/11. I personally believe each generation has to face different challenges, but when you see what our parents and grandparents who lived through the Second World War went through, it helps us to understand, for all our problems today, we’re a fantastically privileged and pampered generation.”
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Books, Arts & Curiosities – The Great Man and Korporal Shicklgrüber

Finest Hour 127, Summer 2005

Page 41

Andrew Roberts, Hitler and Churchill: Secrets of Leadership. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2003, 202 pp. softbound $14.95, member price $12.

What they shared was: great leadership. Churchill and Hitler commanded the allegiance of millions during some of the most dramatic and difficult times in world history. One was the epitome of all things decent and good about western civilization; the other was one of the vilest ever to walk the earth. Andrew Roberts argues that both have something to teach us about leadership, and that these lessons are as applicable today as they were during the great contest of World War II.

Roberts’ book was an outgrowth of his work on a BBC television series, also called Secrets of Leadership, which examined a broader swath of world leaders and their respective leadership styles. As a scholar who has studied Churchill and his era (he has written a fine biography of Halifax, The Holy Fox), it makes sense that he would spin off this work into a stand-alone volume that considers the two pivotal figures of the Second World War.
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Books, Arts & Curiosities – Current Relevance Leaps Off the Page

Finest Hour 127, Summer 2005

Page 39

By David Freeman

Defending the West: The Truman-Churchill Correspondence, 1945-1960. Edited with an introduction by G.W. Sand. Praeger, 246 pp. hardbound, $70, member price $67.

This important new work completes a trilogy of the published correspondence between Churchill and the American presidents who overlapped with his time as Prime Minister. In length this volume compares with the Churchill-Eisenhower correspondence edited by Peter G. Boyle (University of North Carolina Press, 1990), while both are dwarfed by the the three massive volumes of the Churchill-Roosevelt correspondence edited by Warren F. Kimball (Princeton University Press, 1984). Taken altogether, these books provide a solid, unvarnished view of Churchill’s working relationships with his American counterparts.

Churchill’s Premiership overlapped with just the first three and last eighteen months of the Truman administration. These were critical times, however, especially those three months in the spring of 1945. Well over half the correspondence in this book comes from this period.
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Books, Arts & Curiosities – A Monumental Book about a Monument

Finest Hour 127, Summer 2005

Page 38

By Paul H. Courtenay

In Command of History: Churchill Fighting and Writing the Second World War, by David Reynolds. Allen, 527 pp, £30, member price $48.

You are over seventy years of age, not in the best of health, exhausted after six years of energetic and unremitting leadership in a struggle for survival. You are a world statesman from whose lips every utterance is intently studied. And you are the leader of a political party working to regain office in the foreseeable future. So how about spending the next eight years writing two million words in a six-volume history of the recent cataclysm? And, by the way, some critics half a century hence will be amazed and even scornful if you do not do so all by yourself!

Professor and ICS (UK) member David Reynolds is far too good a historian to be among them. His important and masterly book reveals all the pressures placed on Winston Churchill in writing this monumental work, and how these were overcome. Some have been well known for a long time, but others are newly revealed surprises.
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Books, Arts & Curiosities – REQUIRED READING – A Treat Instead of a Treatment

Finest Hour 127, Summer 2005

Page 37

By Richard M. Langworth

Churchill: The Unexpected Hero, by Paul Addison. Oxford U. Press, 308 pages, £30, member price $20.

The author of the seminal volume on Churchill’s domestic politics (Churchill on the Home Front, 1992) wrote this compact, thorough biography more or less by accident. After writing the Churchill entry for the new Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, it occurred to Professor Addison that his 30,000 words “could easily be expanded to a short work concentrating on an analysis of Churchill’s character and career.” The result is a treat. Professor John Ramsden accurately describes it: “…now by a long way the most recommendable short life of WSC. It seems quite amazingly fresh to me.”

Unexpected Hero is full of arresting insights. Writing of official biographer Sir Martin Gilbert, for example, Addison is the first author to my knowledge to demonstrate that Gilbert is not bereft of opinion—a common critique by the ill-informed. He quotes Gilbert on Churchill’s failings over the Gallipoli episode, and several times to show how Gilbert illumines the often superior judgment of Clementine to Winston. And we naturally are proud of his numerous references to Finest Hour articles; he cites The Churchill Centre as “having done much to encourage debate,” despite its founding by Churchill admirers.
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Finest Hour 127, Summer 2005

Page 30

By Joseph L. Hern

THE FOUR VISITS of Winston Churchill to Boston, Massachusetts illuminate constant qualities and themes at four very different stages of his life; but the circumstances that brought him to the cradle of American liberty were quite different.

In 1900 and 1932 Boston was just one stop on lecture tours that took Churchill to many other North American cities, though his themes on those first two visits varied greatly: the first in defense of a British war, the second in support of Anglo-American destiny. At both, only paying audiences inside hired halls heard him. In 1943 and 1949 he came as a world and allied statesman to deliver major addresses: the first on the state of World War II, the second on the prospects for the postwar world. Both speeches were broadcast to world audiences.

1900: Return of the Red Coats

The years 1895-1900, Churchill wrote, “exceed in vividness, variety and exertion anything I have known—except of course the opening months of the Great War.”1 His last half of 1900 would be vivid enough for anyone. In July he had left South Africa, the war and the army, returning to England to campaign for Parliament and to complete his fourth and fifth books. He also toured Britain and North America to lecture on the war and his renowned escape from the Boer prison camp. Between electioneering and lecturing, he was speaking on one platform or another several nights a week for nearly six months.
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Education – Bombing Germany: Again

Finest Hour 127, Summer 2005

Page 29

“TEACHING THE NEXT GENERATION” sometimes takes the form of unteaching the collected disinformation of distorters…

Editor’s note: Finest Hour 124 carried a letter from a German deploring Churchill’s alleged role in the destruction of German cities by air bombing. Considering the amount of brazen misinformation in German texts about Churchill’s role, this remarkable bending of history should not be surprising. M. Marchal, below, now has the facts; but think of how many readers of Kriegskinder still do not.

I am a student of English and German at the University of Mons in Belgium. In my last year I am writing a thesis on Kriegskinder [Children of the War], by Hilke Lorenz, about the living conditions of German children during the Second World War.

There are several references to the bombing of German cities by the RAF and U.S. Army Air Corps. According to Lorenz, Churchill sent a letter to the general staff of the R.A.F. to congratulate them for the success of the operation, an excerpt of which is translated into German: “I think that the only purpose of our attacks on German cities should from now on be to terrorize the German population, even if we use other pretexts, because otherwise we are going to take control over a totally ruined country.”

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Glimpses – 1900: THE VOYAGE HOME

Finest Hour 127, Summer 2005

Page 28

By Major Frederick, Russel Burnham DSO

“All hell won’t keep him from being Premier some day.”

I was invalided home on the S.S. Dunottar Castle. On the voyage to England were many invalid officers, and some high in the councils of the Empire, who were called home because the political clouds had shifted from South Africa to Fashoda, China, and Constantinople. I recall a graphic review of the world’s condition given by young Winston Churchill, who even then had a clear premonition of the coming storm [World War I]. He explained to me why, in his thrilling escape from the Boer prison, he had been compelled to do certain things which I, as a scout, had criticized. His moves were restricted by the handicap of physical weakness which made a 20-mile run at night entirely beyond his power.

But the thing that marked him in my memory for life was his solemnly calling a meeting in the cabin and demanding that such men as General Colville, Lord Bentinck, and others should be brought to trial for misappropriation of the sport funds. There was a great buzz throughout the ship, including the crew. Churchill was amply cursed as a bounder, an upstart, a silly ass, a swell-headed “Leftenant,” etc., etc. High Dignity appeared offended. Yet the trial had full attendance. Some of the famous legal talent on board was commanded to represent the accused.
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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.