February 19, 2015

Finest Hour 161, Winter 2013-14

Page 7

A BBC documentary claimed to have found proof that the WW2 broadcaster J.B. Priestley was sacked by Winston Churchill for anti-WSC statements. Historian Richard North said this occurred after Priestley “became increasingly vocal in his criticism of the Conservative government.” Wait! It was a coalition not a Conservative government. Since we never heard of the story, we asked a British colleague: “It contravened the BBC charter to be political,” he wrote, “so if Priestley was criticising the government it was against the BBC Charter and regulations, and he deserved everything he got.”


A Syrious Situation: Will Durst (http://xrl.us/bpsngf) wrote: “Everyone pretends not to be knee-deep in the icky, tricky, sticky Syria situation. You might say Washington is in a Semi-Syrious mode right now…This whole affair is riddled with enigmas and mysteries enough to make Winston Churchill spin his conundrums right off.  And rumor has it, he harbored huge conundrums.”

Radio talk-show host Hugh Hewitt (http://xrl.us/bpsngw) said today’s lead-from-behind USA is not the one Churchill spoke of in 1943 at Harvard (“the price of greatness is responsibility”). But syndicated columnist and Churchillian Charles Krauthammer cautioned against comparing World War II to Syria:  “There is a difference of scale….That was an existential struggle where the future of civilization was surely in the balance. It could be that Syria will develop into a world conflict, but that is fairly unlikely right now. It is not a conflict in which the existence of ways of life is at stake.”

2024 International Churchill Conference

Join us for the 41st International Churchill Conference. London | October 2024

Blogger Brent Budowsky, comparing Barack Obama to WSC, said the President had “made a hard call,” just like Churchill over the Spanish Civil War, and was all for war if Syria didn’t stop using chemical weapons (http://xrl.us/bpyi9o). This prompted an avalanche of comments, none agreeing with him. One poster wanted to know: Had Bashar al-Assad annexed the Sudetenland? Marched on Poland? Bombed London? Our interest was Churchill: only one post called him a racist. We must be making progress.

Really, these Churchill comparisons need to stop. Churchill took no sides on the Spanish Civil War. Although appalled by its slaughter, his focus was on the main danger, Nazi Germany.  We cannot say what Churchill would do over Syria. But we may perhaps suggest that in today’s Middle East, his focus would be on the main danger. The world leader who figures out who that is might just rate a Churchillian comparison. Benjamin Netanyahu has figured it out, but he is not a world leader.


Not to be outdone by these modest commentators, Father Terrance Klein, a priest writing in the Jesuit magazine America (http://xrl.us/bpxwe4), cited Churchill’s destruction of the Vichy-French fleet in 1940 as “an example of gratuitous violence, like abortion or capital punishment.” We presume Father Klein was not sentient and a resident of London in 1940.

A tribute, join us




Get the Churchill Bulletin delivered to your inbox once a month.