Britain’s relations with the great powers of the continent dominated Churchill’s political and literary attention.
His work on the third volume of Marlborough (Woods A40) was aided by the arrival of a new research assistant, Bill Deakin. Deakin later attributed Churchill’s ability to write in the midst of international crises to his “ruthless partition of the day, the planning of things all the time. There was never a wasted moment. He had intense control.”
His concerns with defense were outlined in a series of articles serialized in the Evening Standard and subsequently published in Step by Step (Woods A45).
Some friends, impressed by Hitter, tried to change his mind on Germany. His cousin Lord Londonderry wrote: “I should like to get out of your mind what appears to be a strong anti-German obsession because all these great countries are required in the political settlement of the future . . .”
Churchill replied that he was not obsessively anti-German and that he did not think that war between England and Germany was inevitable but “British policy for 400 years has been to oppose the strongest powers in Europe by weaving together a combination of other countries strong enough to face the bully. Sometimes it is Spain, sometimes the French monarchy, sometimes the French Empire, sometimes Germany. I have no doubt who it is now. But if France set up to claim the over-lordship of Europe, I should equally endeavour to oppose them. It is thus through the centuries we have kept our liberties and maintained our life and power.”
Similar foreign policy objectives had motivated his ancestor and subject of his biography, the Duke of Marlborough.