April 30, 2013

DATELINES: FINEST HOUR 148, AUTUMN 2010

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APPLE FROM ORCHARD

AFTER seeing books about Churchill entitled Warlord and Soldier, it might surprise many to learn how much effort Churchill
devoted to peace, reconciliation and human advancement. He believed that freedom of thought and speech were worth fighting
for, both politically and militarily. Being cultured is a good thing. Respecting science is a good thing. Being patriotic is a good thing. Politics can be a noble profession. Above all, be civil, be informed, be engaged, and be happy. I think that all of these are themes that run through Churchill’s life and make his a timeless example worth exploring and emulating. -STAN A. ORCHARD ON
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ARCHIVES ONLINE IN 2012 LONDON, JULY 29TH— Winston Churchill’s vast archive, from school reports and wagers to a personal copy of his “finest hour” speech, will be digitalised and online in 2012. The Churchill Archive Trust has arranged with publisher Bloomsbury to make available more than one million items,some 2500 archive boxes of letters, telegrams, documents and photographs stored in Cambridge and currently viewable only by appointment.

After years of cataloguing and transferring the material to microfilm, the next logical step was making the archives available to everyone, although not for free, said Churchill Archives Centre director Allen Packwood:

“It’s tremendously exciting for us, as it is fulfilling what the trust was established to do in the first place.” An enormous array of historical material will be available without the layers of interpretation that had been added over the years. “It is an opportunity
for people to make their own judgments,” he said. “You’ll be able to see what was on Churchill’s desk on a day-to-day basis and how he responded to it. You’ll be able to compare easily what he was saying in public [to] what he was saying privately.”

The CAC said the only way of digitalising the archive and making it widely available was by finding a commercial partner, since there was no prospect of gaining public funds. “We don’t have the money or, crucially, the expertise,” said Packwood.

When the archive goes live in 2012, organisations and individuals will have to pay to access it. Exact figures are not confirmed, but Frances Pinter, the publisher of Bloomsbury Academic, said they would keep the price low to ensure a wide reach. 

Bloomsbury won the contract after a bidding process and Pinter said the database would be created in a way that researchers could find historical needles in haystacks: “As an archival collection, there’s nothing like this. The nearest comparison would be
something like the presidential archives in America and they are not as digitally advanced as we will be.”

The archive is packed full of letters, photographs and ephemera covering Churchill’s life from his school days; his time as a soldier
during the Boer war; his spell as rising political star in Edwardian England; the isolation of the 1930s and the war itself, before his final years as an elder statesman during the Cold War. Much of it covers international affairs and there are drafts of some of his most famous speeches. There is also more personal material that shines a light on his personal interests and his famous tastes,
including a bet with Lord Rothermere that he could refrain from “brandy or undiluted spirits” for a year. The archives include:

• Annotated drafts of some famous speeches, including two commonly thought to have been broadcast: “Fight on the Beaches”
speech of 4 June 1940, and the “The Few” on 20 August 1940. Both were delivered in the Commons, although he did record them after the war.

• Items relating to Churchill’s menagerie of pets, including his black swans, sheep and pigs at Chartwell; his cat, Nelson; his dogs, Rufus I and II; and his budgerigar Toby. 

• Material about the testing of cigars, reflecting MI5’s concern that Churchill could be offered an exploding or poisonous cigar.

• Articles on subjects both profound and the trite, supplementing his income with pieces such as “Can we breed a race of supermen?” and “Are there men on the moon?” In 1931, after an near-death experience on New York’s Fifth Avenue, he wrote about what it was like to be hit by a motorcar (Finest Hour 136).

• Painting correspondence with Walter Sickert and Sir John Lavery. There are also letters from George Bernard Shaw, T.E. Lawrence and Vivien Leigh. —MARK BROWN IN THE GUARDIAN

WSC NEVER HESITATED WASHINGTON, JULY 2ND— Longtime Churchillian Charles Krauthammer ridicules the current fashion of not calling Muslim extremists Muslim extremists: “The Pentagon report on the Fort Hood shooter runs 86 pages with not a single mention of Hasan’s Islamism. It contains such politically correct inanities as ‘religious fundamentalism alone is not a risk factor.’

“Of course it is. Indeed, Islamist fundamentalism is not only a risk factor. It is the risk factor, the common denominator linking all the great terror attacks of this century—from 9/11 to Bombay, from Fort Hood to Times Square, from London to Madrid to Bali. The attackers were of varied national origin, occupation, age, social class, native tongue, and race. The one thing that united them was the jihadist vision in whose name they acted.”

Krauthammer quotes Faisal Shahzad, the Times Square attacker: “One has to understand where I’m coming from….I consider myself a mujahid, a Muslim soldier.” Well, said the columnist, “that is clarifying. As was the self-printed business card of Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, the Fort Hood shooter, identifying himself as ‘SoA,’ Soldier of Allah.

“Why is this important?” Mr. Krauthammer asks. “Because the first rule of war is to know your enemy. If you don’t, you wander into intellectual cul-de-sacs and ignore the real causes that might allow you to prevent recurrences. 

“Churchill famously ‘mobilized the English language and sent it into battle.’ But his greatness lay not just in eloquence but in his appeal to the moral core of a decent people to rise against an ideology the nature of which Churchill never hesitated to define and
describe—and to pronounce (‘Nahhhhrrzzzzis’) in an accent dripping with loathing and contempt.”

Charles Krauthammer admits he is not expecting anyone “to match Churchill’s rhetoric—just Shahzad’s candor.” Krauthammer knows. During the “Person of the Century” hoopla in 1999, he nominated WSC, saying, “Only Churchill carries that absolutely
required criterion: indispensability.” (FH 105:15-16, Winter 1999-2000.)

ANOTHER COVER-UP? LONDON, AUGUST 5TH— The Telegraph divulged breathlessly that “Churchill was accused of ordering a cover-up of a WW2 encounter between a UFO and a RAF bomber because he feared public ‘panic’ and loss of faith in religion.”
Is the news so slow that they have to regurgitate stuff that was taken care of years ago? Finest Hour 115, Summer 2002
Datelines: London, October 21st— “What does all this stuff about flying saucers amount to?”….WSC’s advisers produced a six-page report [which] played down the phenomenon….later an order went out expressly banning all RAF personnel from discussing
sightings. —THE OBSERVER

Finest Hour 129, Winter 2005-06, Around & About, page 10: [Sir Henry] Tizard saw no threat from UFOs. All sightings, he reported, were explainable by natural events such as the weather or meteors, or were normal aircraft. But Britain followed the American lead in underplaying the sightings, and a few months later an order went out expressly banning all RAF personnel from discussing UFO reports with anyone not in the military. Roberts and Clarke believe that the UFO sightings were the product of
“mass hysteria”…..

Some cover-up. Almost makes us pine for a resurrection of the much more amusing fables that WSC knew about Pearl Harbor and engineered the 1929 Wall Street crash.

ANGUS HAMILTON R.I.P. LENNOXLOVE, SCOTLAND, JUNE 5TH— Angus Hamilton, as he preferred to be known, inherited his
dukedoms from his father in 1973, becoming the 15th Duke of Hamilton and the 12th Duke of Brandon, as well as 22nd Earl of Arran.

In 2008, Angus and his wife Kay were our hosts at Lennoxlove on the final Churchill tour conducted by the editor and publisher. They entertained us affably at lunch while showing us around their exhibition on the 1941 flight to Scotland by Rudolf Hess. The
Deputy Führer was intent on reaching Angus’s father, the 14th Duke, whom he knew and thought had access to the King. The Duke promptly locked him up and rang Downing Street.

As senior descendant of the ancient lords of Abernethy, Angus carried the Crown of Scotland to the first reopening of the Scottish
Parliament since its departure to London in 1707. Shy and academically intelligent, he never relished his public duties, but addressed them loyally. He preferred designing off-road vehicles, driving racing cars, and flying his Bristol Bulldog biplane. He wrote a fine biography of his ancestor, Mary Queen of Scots: The Crucial Years. Mary’s death mask is one of Lennoxlove’s exhibits.

In 1973, Angus inherited Lennoxlove Castle, which his father had purchased in 1947. With its 460 acres of parkland and gardens, it became the Hamilton ducal seat in addition to being open to the public. He married the current Duchess of Hamilton in 1998, and shared her love of animals and music. His heir is his eldest son, Alexander Douglas-Hamilton, Marquess of Douglas and Clydesdale, who now becomes the Duke of Hamilton and Brandon.

TONYPANDY: THERE THEY GO AGAIN LONDON, JULY 21ST— Reader Alistair Cooke (no relation to “the” AC) picked up on a comment in the Daily Telegraph by a Labour MP, that, a century on, “the people of Tonypandy remember Churchill in relation to the
Tonypandy riots.” Few myths, Cooke wrote, have proved as tenacious as the unfounded Labour belief that Home Secretary Churchill had used the Army to suppress Tonypandy rioters. Finest Hour senior editor Paul Courtenay seconded Cooke’s motion and raised him one. The Telegraph truncated Paul’s response. We reprint it in full:

“Mr. Cooke is quite right to puncture the myth of Winston Churchill and Tonypandy. In November 1910, during disturbances
and looting at Tonypandy, the police were thought to have enough officers available to contain the situation, but the Chief Constable of Glamorgan asked for 400 cavalry and infantry as a reserve in case his men were overwhelmed or became exhausted. The General Officer Commanding Southern Command despatched these, pending further instructions.

“When Churchill, the Home Secretary, heard that these military forces were on their way, he immediately gave orders that they were to be halted wherever they were and to go no further. The cavalry were initially halted in Cardiff, but were later allowed to advance as far as Pontypridd (five miles short of Tonypandy), and the infantry were halted in Swindon, which was not even in Wales and was as close as they got. 

“If anyone finds this hard to believe they should read the leading article in The Times of 9 November 1910, in which that newspaper attacked the Home Secretary, saying that he had no business interfering with the arrangements made by the
Chief Constable. On the following day The Manchester Guardian took the opposite view and said that Mr. Churchill had acted correctly and never wavered in his determination not to employ the troops unless the disorders passed beyond the control of the police [which they never did]. Some infantry did later arrive in the locality and remained there for a year, but they never engaged with the strikers.” 

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