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BUSINESS OFFICES 200 West Madison Street Suite 1700, Chicago IL 60606 Tel. (888) WSC-1874 • Fax (312) 658-6088 Churchill Museum & Cabinet War Rooms King Charles Street, London SW1A 2AQ Tel. (0207) 766-0122 CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD Laurence S. Geller EXECUTIVE VICE-PRESIDENT Philip H. Reed OBE CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER Daniel N. Myers DIRECTOR OF ADMINISTRATION Mary Paxson EDUCATION PROGRAMS COORDINATOR Suzanne Sigman DIRECTOR OF DEVELOPMENT Cynthia Faulkner BOARD OF TRUSTEES *EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE The Hon. Spencer Abraham • Randy Barber Gregg Berman • David Boler* • Paul Brubaker Randolph S. Churchill • Winston S. Churchill David Coffer • Manus Cooney • Sen. Richard J. Durbin Kenneth Fisher • Marcus Frost* • Laurence S. Geller* Rt Hon Sir Martin Gilbert CBE • Richard C. Godfrey* Philip Gordon* • Gretchen Kimball Richard M. Langworth CBE* • Diane Lees • Peter Lowy Rt Hon Sir John Major KG CH • Lord Marland Christopher Matthews • Sir Deryck Maughan* Harry E. McKillop • Jon Meacham Michael W. Michelson • Joseph J. Plumeri* • Lee Pollock Robert O’Brien • Philip H. Reed OBE* • Mitchell Reiss Kenneth W. Rendell* • Elihu Rose* • Stephen Rubin The Hon. Celia Sandys • The Hon. Edwina Sandys Sir John Scarlett KCMG OBE • Cita Stelzer HONORARY MEMBERS Rt Hon David Cameron, MP • Winston S. Churchill Rt Hon Sir Martin Gilbert CBE • Robert Hardy CBE The Lord Heseltine CH PC The Duke of Marlborough JP DL Sir Anthony Montague Browne KCMG CBE DFC Gen. Colin L. Powell KCB • Amb. Paul H. Robinson, Jr. The Lady Thatcher LG OM PC FRS FRATERNAL ORGANIZATIONS Churchill Archives Centre, Cambridge The Winston Churchill Memorial Trust, UK, Australia Harrow School, Harrow-on-the-Hill, Middlesex America’s National Churchill Museum, Fulton, Mo. INTERNET RESOURCES John David Olsen, Webmaster Chatlist Moderators: Jonah Triebwasser, Todd Ronnei

ACADEMIC ADVISERS Prof. James W. Muller, Chairman, University of Alaska, Anchorage Prof. Paul K. Alkon, University of Southern California Rt Hon Sir Martin Gilbert CBE, Merton College, Oxford Col. David Jablonsky, U.S. Army War College Prof. Warren F. Kimball, Rutgers University Prof. John Maurer, U.S. Naval War College Prof. David Reynolds FBA, Christ’s College, Cambridge Dr. Jeffrey Wallin, American Academy of Liberal Education

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ALLIED NATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS ___________________________________________ CHURCHILL CENTRE - UNITED KINGDOM PO Box 1915, Quarley, Andover, Hampshire SP10 9EE Tel. & Fax (01264) 889627 CHAIRMAN Paul. H. Courtenay, VICE CHAIRMAN Michael Kelion HON. TREASURER Anthony Woodhead CBE FCA SECRETARY John Hirst COMMITTEE MEMBERS Eric Bingham • Robin Brodhurst Randolph S. Churchill • Paul H. Courtenay Robert Courts • Geoffrey Fletcher • Derek Greenwell Rafal Heydel-Mankoo • John Hirst • Jocelyn Hunt Scott Johnson • Michael Kelion• Michael Moody Brian Singleton • Anthony Woodhead CBE FCA TRUSTEES The Hon. Celia Sandys, Chairman The Duke of Marlborough JP DL • The Lord Marland David Boler • Nigel Knocker OBE • David Porter Philip H. Reed OBE _________________________________________ INTL. CHURCHILL SOCIETY OF CANADA 14 Honeybourne Crescent, Markham ON, L3P 1P3 Tel. (905) 201-6687 Ambassador Kenneth W. Taylor, Honorary Chairman PRESIDENT Randy Barber, VICE-CHAIRMAN AND RECORDING SECRETARY Terry Reardon, TREASURER Barrie Montague, BOARD OF DIRECTORS Charles Anderson • Randy Barber • David Brady Peter Campbell • Dave Dean • Cliff Goldfarb Robert Jarvis • Barrie Montague • Franklin Moskoff Terry Reardon • Gordon Walker __________________________________ CHURCHILL CENTRE AUSTRALIA Alfred James, President 65 Billyard Avenue, Wahroonga NSW 2076 • Tel. 61-2-9489-1158 _____________________________________ CHURCHILL SOCIETY OF PORTUGAL João Carlos Espada, President Universidade Católica Portuguesa Palma de Cima 1649-023, Lisbon • Tel. (351) 21 7214129 ________________________________________________ CHURCHILL SOCIETY FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF PARLIAMENTARY DEMOCRACY Robert A. O’Brien, Chairman 3050 Yonge Street, Suite 206F Toronto ON M4N 2K4, Canada ro’ • Tel. (416) 977-0956

The Journal of Winston Churchill


Number 145 Winter 2009-10 Cover: “St. Malo,” by Winston S. Churchill, circa 1925 (once thought to be a distant view of Venice), published by kind permission of Churchill Heritage Ltd. and Harrow School. Description on back cover.

Churchill, 14

Gilbert, 20

ARTICLES 10/ Netanyahu and Churchill at the United Nations • Elliot Berke 19/ St. George and the Dragon • Winston S. Churchill 20/ Leading Churchill Myths (20): “Churchill Refused to Bomb the Auschwitz Railway Lines” • Sir Martin Gilbert 22/ Glimpses, 1957: “The Greatest Man in the World” • William B. Carey 24/ Churchill’s Efforts to Feed Germany after the Great War • Scott Manning 38/ Churchilliana: Tanked and Plastered • Douglas Hall From the Canon “Nassau Stands like Ganymede: of Questionable Reputation, but Bearing a Cup” 14/ My Happy Days in the “Wet” Bahamas • Winston S. Churchill 16/ How the Bahamas Warmed Churchill to Chamberlain 18/ FDR’s and WSC’s Bahamian Rambles “The Soul of Poland” 1939-1945 27/ Poland’s Contribution to Victory in World War II • Winston S. Churchill 29/ The Myth about Poland’s Defenders • Michał Godlewski 30/ Eye-Witness to Potsdam: I Saw Him Depressed Only Once... • Neville Bullock 37/ Stamps Relate Poland’s Sad World War II Story • Michael Richards

Gilbert, 20

BOOKS, ARTS & CURIOSITIES 40/ The Un-Great Non-Debate • Richard M. Langworh 41/ Churchill’s Bunker, The Third Reich at War, Churchill’s Wizards, World War II Collector’s Vault, Becoming Winston Churchill, Fortune’s Daughters • Reviewed by Ted Hutchinson, Christopher H. Sterling, Michael Richards, Celia Sandys 45/ Old Titles Revisited: Bindon Blood’s Memoirs and The Anglo-Saxon Review • David Druckman and Anne Sebba 47/ Book Collecting: London to Ladysmith “Duly Inscribed” • Max E. Hertwig CHURCHILL PROCEEDINGS: “CHURCHILL AND IRELAND” 25TH INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE, BOSTON, 2008 48/ The Dev and Mr. Churchill • Darmiad Ferriter 54/ That Neutral Island: Ireland in World War II • Warren F. Kimball


DEPARTMENTS 2/ Who’s Who in The Churchill Centre • 4/ Despatch Box 5/ Editor’s Essay • 6/ Datelines • 9/ Around & About • 12/ Action This Day 19/ Wit & Wisdom • 22/ Glimpses • 23/ Riddles, Mysteries, Enigmas 37/ Philately • 38/ Churchilliana • 62/ Churchill Quiz • 63/ Regional Directory

Kimball, 54 FINEST HOUR 145 / 3


Number 145 • Winter 2009-10 ISSN 0882-3715 ___________________________________

Barbara F. Langworth, Publisher Richard M. Langworth CBE, Editor Post Office Box 740 Moultonborough, NH 03254 USA Tel. (603) 253-8900 December-March Tel. (242) 335-0615 ______________________________ Editorial Board Paul H. Courtenay, David Dilks, David Freeman, Sir Martin Gilbert, Edward Hutchinson, Warren Kimball, Richard Langworth, Michael McMenamin, James W. Muller, John Olsen, Allen Packwood, Terry Reardon, Suzanne Sigman, Manfred Weidhorn


FH 143 and 144

To Michael McMenamin: Do you have new information about my grandfather’s children? (See FH 143: 12). Because as far as I know my mother was his first child.

Congratulations to all the contributors on producing so many interesting articles. It has given me hours of pleasurable reading.

Mr. McMenamin replies: Oops.... It’s difficult to find good editors nowadays isn't it? Aren't they supposed to catch things like that?

JACK KEMP Thanks for including my snippet about FDR and Churchill deciding things over brandy in “Around and About” (FH 143: 9). I got a kick out of that. I wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed your tribute to Jack Kemp. It was one of the more interesting ones I read. I made sure that Jimmy and Joanne Kemp saw it, and they both were very appreciative. ELLIOT S. BERKE, WASHINGTON

Senior Editors: Paul H. Courtenay James W. Muller News Editor: Michael Richards Contributors Alfred James, Australia Terry Reardon, Canada Antoine Capet, James Lancaster, France Inder Dan Ratnu, India Paul Addison, Winston S. Churchill, Sir Martin Gilbert, Allen Packwood, United Kingdom David Freeman, Fred Glueckstein, Ted Hutchinson, Warren F. Kimball, Justin Lyons, Michael McMenamin, Robert Pilpel, Christopher Sterling, Manfred Weidhorn, United States ____________________________________ • Address changes: Help us keep your copies coming! Please update your membership office when you move. All offices for The Churchill Centre and Allied national organizations are listed on the inside front cover. ____________________________________ Finest Hour is made possible in part through the generous support of members of The Churchill Centre and Museum, the Number Ten Club, and an endowment created by the Churchill Centre Associates (page 2). ____________________________________ Published quarterly by The Churchill Centre, offering subscriptions from the appropriate offices on page 2. Permission to mail at nonprofit rates in USA granted by the United States Postal Service, Concord, NH, permit no. 1524. Copyright 2009. All rights reserved.



I enjoy your writing style and Jack Kemp was a hero of mine. A cute story: When his daughter was under ten, she was asked, “Aren't you proud of your father? Not only is he an important government official but he was a famous football player.” She replied, “Daddy wasn't a football player. He was a quarterback.” ROBERT DISQUE, MILFORD, CONN.

HMS BULLDOG More on Bulldog (FH 143: 6). She was escorting convoy OB-318 in May 1940 when they were attacked by the U-110, the German sub associated with the sinking of the liner Athenia. The screening ships caused the sub to submerge, when she was damaged by a depth charge. When her captain blew tubes and broached, a trained boarding party from HMS Bulldog set out to capture her. Charges set to sink U-110 before capture never went off, and the first German Enigma coding machine was captured intact, leading to breaking German Navy codes. Bulldog’s attempt to tow the uboat to port failed and it sunk, but not until the prize was safely taken from it. GENE LASSERS, LAKEWOOD, CALIF.

Produced by Dragonwyck Publishing Inc.


FH 143 was splendid in every way. You set a high standard years ago and have kept to it. I thought back to the day when a copy of FH 50 arrived in the mail with a letter from you inviting me to join. I did and there has been much history between us since, some involving bicycles, biking Latvia and sailing the Maine coast! HON. DOUGLAS S. RUSSELL, IOWA CITY, IOWA

Finest Hour is the only magazine I find solace from reading. To know people still promulgate and cherish the Churchillian values gives me hope, albeit waning. Justin Lyons’ “Winston Churchill’s Constitutionalism” is a piece I intend to share. Your remembrance of Jack Kemp and response in the letters column were balanced, and your review of “Into the Storm” caused me to order it. I sense your concern for the state of the great democracies. I too take refuge in Churchill's writings more these days. I am grateful for your knowledge of the man and his times and your ability to communicate his humanity and statesmanship. CHARLES W. CRIST, CULPEPER, VA.

Fred Glueckstein’s intriguing and intimate story of Ed Murrow and Churchill in FH 144 covers an obscure area. Beyond the basic knowledge that Churchill knew Murrow, I was astounded that they became friends. In further reading this excellent piece, it dawned on me that Winston Churchill had played the ultimate propagandist, indeed on more than equal footing with Josef Goebbels. He did this by letting Ed Murrow broadcast live to the United States, showing the brave front that Britain was putting up in those desperate times. Churchill in his own way was swaying America’s opinion and in effect isolating the isolationists. Kudos to Mr. Glueckstein for an excellent article. RICHARD C. GESHKE, BRISTOL, CONN. ,


Churchill on Jargon t was recently suggested that Finest Hour stress “content symbiosis, innovative, provocative and objective thinking, assessment of operational responsibilities, specific parameters targeted at a demographically mixed audience with varying tastes, discernment and intellectual approaches, ensuring that each medium reaches targeted audiences, making it more cross-generationally enticing, using more immediate and responsible electronic media.” Such an astonishing number of words, all on one page, is liable to confuse somebody whose livelihood depends on communication. What this perfectly well-intended message boils down to is: make Finest Hour more appealing to younger readers and develop an electronic edition.1 But I did wonder in passing how Churchill, that peerless practitioner of the Queen’s English, would react to the kind of language it contained. “Short words are best,” he said, “and the old words, when short, are best of all.”2 We can imagine what he would think about substituting Politically Correct fad-words, like “challenges” for “handicaps” or “issues” for “difficulties.” What would he make of the cliché “reaching out”? Would he wonder if it means conversing, telephoning, writing, telegramming, faxing, emailing or Twittering? Instead of “reaching out,” what’s wrong with “communicating”? Churchill would snort at catch-all code-words like “the rich” (for anyone earning a comfortable living), or tergiversations like “man-caused disaster” instead of “terrorism.” But even in his day he had his hands full: “I hope you have all mastered the official Socialist jargon which our masters, as they call themselves, wish us to learn,” he said in 1950. “You must not use the word ‘poor’; they are described as the ‘lower income group.’ When it comes to a question of freezing a workman’s wages the Chancellor of the Exchequer speaks of ‘arresting increases in personal income’….[Homes] are in future to be called ‘accommodation units.’ I don’t know how we are to sing our old song ‘Home Sweet Home.’ ‘Accommodation Unit, Sweet Accommodation Unit, there’s no place like our Accommodation Unit.’”3 Churchill learned English from a Harrow master, Robert Somervell, who instilled in him a love of clarity and a hatred of obfuscation. To his wartime colleagues in 1940 he said: “Let us have an end of such phrases as these: ‘It is also of importance to bear in mind the following considerations…’ or ‘Consideration should be given to the possibility of carrying into effect….’ Most of these woolly phrases are mere padding, which can be left out altogether or replaced by a single word. Let us not shrink from using the short expressive phrases, even if it is conversational.”4 Years later he was still banging away: “In this Debate we have had the usual jargon about ‘the infrastructure of a supra-national authority.’”5 Alas, woolly phrases have a long shelf-life, and “infra” and “supra” are with us yet. Protesting the Ministry of Defence’s “barren, dismal, flatulent, platitudinous” 1947 White Paper, Churchill said: “It was one of those rigmaroles and grimaces produced by the modern bureaucracy into whose hands we have fallen—a kind of vague palimpsest of jargon and officialese with no breadth, no theme, and, above all, no facts.”6 In 1942, Soviet Foreign Minister Molotov wrote a turgid memo about the Royal Navy, saying, that Russia “will be in a position to draw the necessary conclusions as to the real state of affairs, particularly in regard to certain irregularities in the actions of the respective British naval authorities.” Churchill tore that one up with one of his favorite pejoratives: “This grimace is a good example of how official jargon can be used to destroy any kind of human contact, or even thought itself.”7 In Cardiff in 1950, Churchill added: “I hope to live to see the British democracy spit all this rubbish from their lips.”8 Aye, and the other democracies with it. Any year now, God willing. RML ,


1. We already have electronic editions: see To ease searches, Webmaster John Olsen and I are laboring to add more .html (hypertext markup language) files of major articles and departments to the present .pdfs (portable document formats). 2. The Times Literary Award luncheon, London, 2 November 1949. Robert Rhodes James, ed., Winston S. Churchill: His Complete Speeches, 8 vols. (New York: Bowker, 1974), VII: 7885. 3. Cardiff, Wales, 8 February 1950. Winston S. Churchill, In the Balance: Speeches 1949 & 1950 (London: Cassell, 1951), 181. 4. Sir Martin Gilbert, ed., The Churchill War Papers, vol. II, May 1940-December 1940 (New York: Norton, 1994), 636. 5. House of Commons, 27 June 1950. In the Balance, 291. 6. House of Commons, 31 March 1947. Winston S. Churchill, Europe Unite: Speeches 1947 & 1948 (London: Cassell, 1950), 53. 7. Winston S. Churchill, The Second World War, vol. IV, The Hinge of Fate (London: Cassell, 1951), 516. hurchill, In the Balance, 188. FINEST HOUR 145 / 5


Quotation of the Season





British government has set up Gilbert an Inquiry into British involvement in the Iraq War. Appointed to the panel is longtime honorary member and Churchill biographer Sir Martin Gilbert, in consequence of which he has been made a member of the Privy Council. He is now The Unless the prefix is omitted for any reason, it is incorrect to add “PC” to one’s post-nominal letters because this honor is already indicated by “The Rt. Hon.” (An exception is that peers, who may already use the Rt. Hon. prefix to denote their peerages, may add PC after their names to make this status clear.) It may also be appropriate to explain (in answer to periodic questions we receive) that although Sir Martin has a knighthood, it is not a KBE (KnightCommander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire). He was honoured in 1995 with the rank of Knight Bachelor, which does not normally carry post-nominal letters. He therefore retains the letters CBE (Commander of the Most Excellent Order, etc.), awarded in 1990. —PHC


William ReesMogg, in a review of British Ambassador Nevile Henderson’s “failed mission” to Henderson Germany in the late 1930s, suggests that perhaps Neville Chamberlain was the right Prime Minister in 1937, as Winston Churchill was in 1940: 31ST—

In 1937, Henderson was invited by Hermann Goering to stay at his hunting lodge and shoot stags. They discussed Anglo-German relations. “His idea of an understanding between Great Britain and Germany was an agreement limited to two clauses,” Henderson wrote. “In the first, Germany would recognise the supreme position of Great Britain overseas and undertake to put all her resources at the disposal of the British Empire in case of need. By the second, Great Britain would recognise the predominant continental position of Germany in Europe, and undertake to do nothing to hinder her legitimate expansion.”

ell, then, you must remember that the House of Lords have very lately made a public-spirited offer of the highest importance. They have offered to take over the whole business of governing the country. They have offered to save us the trouble and the worry and the vexation and the anxiety of governing ourselves. The only thing they do not offer to take over is the expense. But everything else is to be done for us. We put the penny in the slot. They do the rest.” —WSC. SUN HALL, LIVERPOOL, 8 DECEMBER 1909

It was so easy. Just “do nothing to hinder her legitimate expansion.” The vision of a “non-hindering Britain” surviving with her liberties intact on a Nazi continent is so enticing—but too easy, as Larry Arnn once remarked, to be good. Churchill had the measure of this notion when he said on 5 October 1938: There is no difficulty at all in having cordial relations between the peoples. Our hearts go out to them. But they have no power. But never will you have friendship with the present German Government. You must have diplomatic and correct relations, but there can never be friendship between the British democracy and the Nazi power, that power which spurns Christian ethics, which cheers its onward course by a barbarous paganism, which vaunts the spirit of aggression and conquest, which derives strength and perverted pleasure from persecution, and uses, as we have seen, with pitiless brutality the threat of murderous force. That power cannot ever be the trusted friend of the British democracy.

Nevile Henderson and William Rees-Mogg, those old smoothies, have their counterparts today, who urge caution and not jumping to conclusions when a clearly declared religious fanatic shoots innocents at an army base. There are thought-provoking comments at the end of this article on The Times’ website. See —Ed. FINEST HOUR 145 / 6


For the Churchill weekend starting today, Bletchley Park Post Office prepared a special commemorative coin cover. The coin on the face is a 1965 Churchill Crown. A limited edition stamp featuring the “Station X” mansion was postmarked “Bletchley Park.” The background design is the Union Flag and Stars and Stripes in a wartime setting. Images of Churchill and Eisenhower complete the design, which represents the beginning of the “special relationship,” fostered by the codebreaking operations undertaken at Bletchley Park. The cover can be viewed at The price is £7.50 plus post and packing charges for mail order. It is only available direct from Bletchley Park Post Office, The Mansion, Bletchley Park, Milton Keynes, MK3 6EB, England, telephone (01604) 272690 or 631797.

WSC IN THE BNP? The British National Party’s exposure to a nationwide audience provoked outrage last night as its leader reiterated his claim that Churchill would have joined his party. Nick Griffin, whose appearance on the programme “Question Time” prompted protests at the BBC Television Centre, declared that his party Griffin would have been home for Churchill because of WSC’s warnings about mass immigration and foreigners “coming for benefits.” He added that what Churchill had said about the dangers of Muslim fundamentalism would by today’s standards have been called Islamophobic. He said that the whole of the effort of the two world wars had been to defend British freedoms and sovereignty which the Government was ceding to the European Union in Brussels. Mr. Griffin said he was not a Nazi and never had been. Asked by David Dimbleby, the presenter, if he had ever denied the Holocaust, he replied: “I do not have a conviction for Holocaust denial.” Throughout the screening there were protests from the audience. One British Asian asked him where he expected him to go, and told Mr. Griffin he would be surprised how many people would gladly have a “whip-round” to send him and his supporters to the “colourless” South Pole where he would be happy. Ed Lousley, 25, of Camberwell, South London, said: “Griffin didn’t get a particularly good reception. Gradually the audience got tired of his comments. There were sighs of boredom when he started talking.” —THE TIMES LONDON, OCTOBER 23RD—

OPINION: We do not stoop to proclaiming what Churchill would do, but in this case it’s not hard to imagine that far from joining the BNP, he would be fighting them, as he hated and despised fascism and was the first to awaken the world to its evil. He interned the leadership and a large proportion of the membership of the British Union of Fascists in May 1940, and they were the

ideological forerunners of today’s BNP. The word HITLER tattooed on the chest of Griffin’s bodyguard tells us all we need to know about what Churchill’s attitude would have been. It is disgusting that the BNP have tried posthumously to co-opt Churchill to their cause, and Griffin was rightly ridiculed and jeered when he tried to defend it. —ANDREW ROBERTS

CLEMENTINE AT E’BURGH The Edinburgh Festival included another production by Hugh Whitemore, playwright for the two Ridley Scott documentaries “The Gathering Storm” (FH 115:32) and “Into the Storm” (FH 143: 44). WSC’s claim that his most brilliant achievement was to persuade his wife to marry him was given ample support in Whitemore’s play “My Darling Clemmie.” Following the success of “The Gathering Storm,” which focused on the turbulent nature of the marriage between Churchill and his wife, Whitemore’s new production was a one-woman show. Through the recollections of an older Clementine, we are guided through the emotional and political harmony of their early years together, as well as the increasingly fraught years of the relationship as wider political forces, not least Churchill’s rise to power and the change this brings to his personal manner, penetrate the intimate bond between them. Rohan McCullough gave a steadfast performance as “Pussycat” to Churchill’s “Mr. Pug,” striking a highly convincing balance between devotion and diplomacy in her approach to her husband, a man who, like most workaholics, emerges as almost impossible to live McCullough with. A telling moment comes when Clementine is asked how WSC manages to have so many interests. She replies: “He never does anything he doesn’t want to do, and always has someone else to clear up the mess afterwards.” Whitemore’s dexterity as a playwright surfaces as he manages subtly to EDINBURGH, JULY 25TH—


draw the delicate negotiations and sacrifices found at the heart of their relationship, with nearly all concessions, predictably, coming from Clementine. Churchill, it seems, held as little faith in appeasement privately as he did politically. There are perhaps one too many teary-eyed wistful moments, which tend to dull in their emotional impact by the play’s close. Nevertheless, it is a moving production of a complex marriage told with skilful lucidity. —DAILY TELEGRAPH

SOMERVELL PRIZE 2009 In Finest Hour 142, Professor David Dilks wrote of Churchill’s oftacknowledged debt to Robert Somervell, the Harrow master who had taught him English. (Somervell’s son served in WW2 as Attorney-General, then became Home Secretary in the caretaker government of May 1945.) “Perhaps our Centre should institute a Somervell Prize,” Dilks wrote, “for we all have ample cause to bless this splendid teacher.” The Finest Hour Journal Award, which we have always thought a clumsy title, is awarded for the best article in the past year. We renamed it the “Somervell Prize” in honor of Robert Somervell and the mastery of the language he conveyed to the young Winston. The 2009 Somervell Prize for the outstanding original article in the past year’s editions of Finest Hour (140-43, Summer 2008 through Spring 2009) goes to David Jablonsky Jablonsky for “Preemptive Use of Force: The Churchill Experience and the Bush Doctrine,” in Finest Hour 141, Winter 2008-09. Without speculating on what Churchill would think of Bush’s Iraq venture, Jablonsky provides incisive and timely thoughts on earlier comparable situations, and how Churchill resolved or reacted to them. Previous winners of the Somervell Prize were: 2003: Paul K. Alkon, Lawrence of Arabia features, FH 119, Summer 2003. 2004: Larry P. Arnn, “Never Despair,” FH 122, Spring 2004. >>

DATELINES SOMERVELL PRIZE... 2005: Robert Pilpel, “‘What an Extraordinary People’: What Churchill Owed the Great Republic,” FH 125, Winter 2004-05. 2006: Terry Reardon, “Winston Churchill and Mackenzie King,” FH 130, Spring 2006. 2007: David Dilks, “The Queen and Mr. Churchill,” FH 135, Summer 2007. 2008: Philip and Susan Larson, “Hallmark’s Churchill Connection,” FH 137, Winter 2007-08.

as the State Funeral of Sir Winston Churchill: from Tower Bridge past the Tower of London, City Hall, HMS Belfast, London Bridge, the Golden Hinde replica, Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, Southwark Bridge, Tate Gallery, Blackfriars Bridge, Waterloo Bridge, Royal Festival Hall on the South Bank, Hungerford Bridge, the RAF Memorial on the Embankment, the London Eye, County Hall and Westminster Bridge, to the bank opposite the Houses of Parliament. —MIKE BROOKE


HAVENGORE REMEMBERS The vessel that carried Sir Winston Churchill’s coffin on its last journey on the Thames in 1965 was back on the river this morning. This time the motor vessel Havengore led a flotilla of small ships for an Armistice Day Remembrance service on the water. She left from St. Katharine’s Pier by Tower Bridge at 10 a.m., passing the Tower of London, to reach the Houses of Parliament by 10:40 a.m. for the service. As Big Ben chimed 11, a two-minute silence was observed before the service continued with a wreath cast onto the water as a bugler sounded The Last Post. Armistice Day, when the guns fell silent in the Great War on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918, took on special significance this year. The last living British serviceman to have seen active service at the front was Henry Allingham, originally from Clapton in East London, who died earlier this year at the age of 113. The wreath-laying on the Thames coincided with a national service of commemoration with HM the Queen at Westminter Abbey, while an RAF Hercules flew over the river, dropping poppies in memory of those who fell. The Havengore ran the same route LONDON, NOVEMBER 11TH—

LONDON, NOVEMBER 18TH— A Churchill bust and a George III beechwood chair from Chartwell brought double their estimates in a Bonham’s auction today. Sculpted by Sir William Reid Dick, an 11-inch-high bronze bust estimated at up to £5000 made an astonishing £12,000. The Royal Academy commissioned it in 1942, but reputedly, only after the intervention of George VI was Churchill, always an impatient poser, persuaded to sit for it. WSC’s open armchair with an arched top-rail, estimated around £1000, made £2,040. Following his death, the chair was sold as part of his estate by Knight, Frank and Rutley. The sale, in January 1966, included pictures, drawings and prints, European and Asian porcelain, antique and reproduction furniture. It was purchased by the antique dealer John Day of London. Bonhams, founded in 1793, is one of the world’s oldest and largest auctioneers of fine art and antiques. The present company was formed by the 2001 merger of Bonhams & Brooks, Phillips, and Neale UK. —BROMLEY TIMES & FH

SCIENTOLOGY NOT The Churchill family has asked the Church of Scientology to stop using images of Sir Winston in its recruitment literature. The organisation has been circulating promotional material which includes LONDON, NOVEMBER 6TH—


photographs of Churchill along with quotes from his speeches, aiming to create new British Scientology facilities. The “church,” founded in 1953 by L. Ron Hubbard, was last week convicted of defrauding its followers in France, where it is classed as a sect. Nicholas Soames, Conservative MP for Mid-Sussex and a grandson of Sir Winston, has written to the group asking it to stop using his grandfather’s words and picture. “I expect them to desist from using my grandfather’s image immediately. I don’t know if anything else can be done, but I have written to them and we will see what happens,” said the former armed forces minister. The church defended its use of Churchill in its materials and accused detractors of “trying to stir up mischief….The use of iconic images, including those available in the public domain, to add colour is of course done very commonly.”

EDITORIAL BOARD Readers of Finest Hour and the Chartwell Bulletin will have noticed an Editorial Board added to the masthead: not exactly news, since they have been advising us all along, but something we have now formalized. The headlines were different when Finest Hour produced its first thermofaxed issue, but Sir Winston Churchill drove it, as he does today. In 1968 the Soviets Finest Hour 1, 1968 were shutting down Czechoslovakia, as the Germans did thirty years before. Internet, email, mobile phones and faxes were unheard of, and we communicated by post at 6¢ or 9p a letter. Reflecting the profound changes in historiography over the past forty years, the top stories today have changed: the Soviets are gone in the wake of a massive communications revolution; Churchill is challenged by revisionists, revelations in long-secret documents, hundreds of books and websites, in ways undreamed of at the time of his death. But Winston Churchill’s inspiration, wisdom and incredible life are still there, clearer than

ever, still touching the lives of anyone who cares enough to listen. And Finest Hour, buttressed by our website, still keeps “the memory green and the record accurate.” We could not do so without the generous amounts of time provided by our sources and contributors. Our writers and reviewers are the best at what they do. Scholars and other experts spend hours explaining their research and findings. They help check for accuracy and, along with our editors, suggest story ideas for these pages and online at That working relationship has always been implicit in everything we do. Continuing this tradition of close collaboration, we have now formalized our editorial board. On page 4 you will see the names of those friends of Finest Hour who help us bring you the best source of information about Churchill’s life, and how it affects our lives. They comment on story proposals and manuscripts; offer expertise for planning issues; they critique and challenge us, holding us up to the scrutiny that is essential if we are to excel. And they will, I trust, help to select my successor. In responding to my invitation to formalize this board, many of them offered warm words about Finest Hour, telling me how it has inspired them as readers or reminding me of its critical role in informing its audience, especially on the Worldwide Web. That is a daunting level of expectation, but in these collaborators we have powerful means to succeed. Our goal, as ever before, is to serve our readers. RML

OVERREACTING? JANUARY, 2009— Following Hillel Halkin’s “The Jewish State & Its Arabs” in this month’s edition of Commentary (see also “Leading Churchill Myths,” page 20), a reader wrote to say that Churchill “overreacted” to the assassination of his friend, Lord Moyne (Walter Guinness) the British Minister Resident in Cairo, and his driver, by members of the Jewish Stern Gang, on 5 November 1944. Churchill was a friend of the Jews, we wrote to Commentary, but not an uncritical friend, and he deplored terrorism regardless of its source. Following

AROUND & ABOUT A is advertising a Kindle edition of “The Complete Works of Winston Churchill” for the bargain price of $2.99. Unfortunately it’s the American novelist whose works have been collected. Still, some day…

kkkkk is promoting some very nice looking “Churchill Motivational Posters,” combining good photos of WSC with quotations in a sharp black & white format. Unfortunately, more than half the quotations are wrong. Our internet chatlist lit up over this in October: Readers might like to be aware of this before touting the posters. Here is what Churchill actually said (we will not reprint the misquotes): “In the course of my life I have often had to eat my words, and I must confess that I have always found it a wholesome diet.” “My ability to persuade my wife to marry me [was] quite my most brilliant achievement.…” “This truth is incontrovertible. Panic may resent it, ignorance may deride it, malice may distort it, but there it is.” And here are the quotations that are not by Churchill, or at least not verifiable in any of the 50 million published words by and about him: “If you’re going through hell, keep going.” (Unknown) “I am a man of simple tastes—I am quite easily satisfied with the best of everything.” (Said about WSC—“Winston is a man...”—by F. E. Smith.) “Success is going from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm.” (Possibly Abraham Lincoln.) “The organ grinder still has hold of the monkey’s collar.” (Bowdlerized from something Churchill said about Hitler and Mussolini.) “Continuous effort—not strength or intelligence—is the key to unlocking our potential.” (Unknown)

kkkkk The 3 September “Great Debate” sponsored by (FH 142: 62), fizzled. Proposing the motion, “Resolved that Winston Churchill was more a liability than an asset to the Free World,” were Pat Buchanan, Nigel Knight and Norman Stone. Opposing 
were Antony Beevor, Richard Overy and Andrew Roberts. The vote: in favor, 181; opposed, 1194; don’t know, 34. Thirty-four didn’t know? (Review, page 40.)

kkkkk Reported by Terry Reardon from the Globe and Mail, Toronto: Bank of England Governor Mervyn King, making his case recently to a group of business leaders in Edinburgh for splitting up banks before they can become “too big to fail,” said: “To paraphrase a great wartime leader, never in the field of financial endeavour has so much been owed by so few to so many. And, one might add, so far with little real reform.” ,

the killings WSC suggested that the Colonial Secretary, Oliver Stanley, should impress upon Zionist leader Chaim Weizmann “that it was incumbent on the Jewish Agency to do all in their power to suppress these terrorist activities.” On November 17th, Churchill took up the matter in the House of Commons, 17 November 1944 (Churchill by Himself, New York: Public Affairs, 2008, 442): FINEST HOUR 145 / 9

If our dreams for Zionism are to end in the smoke of assassins’ pistols, and our labours for its future to produce only a new set of gangsters worthy of Nazi Germany, many like myself will have to reconsider the position we have maintained so consistently and so long in the past. If there is to be any hope of a peaceful and successful future for Zionism, these wicked activities must cease, and those responsible for them >> must be destroyed root and branch.


Netanyahu and Churchill at the United Nations • Elliot Berke

QUOTES MARK II Your editor began a top to bottom review of all 4000 quotations in Churchill by Himself for the Second Edition, coming from Public Affairs in 2010. Churchill by Himself is different from other quote books through its correctibility. Quotes can be checked only because there is a reference to each entry. Publishers were chosen who keep books in print and welcome updates. Any work as complicated as this is a constant running battle between conflicting sources, experts who disagree with each other, quotes verified that were not originally thought to be Churchill’s and vice versa, transcription and scanning errors, and inexorable deadlines. The most critical corrections are posted on my website (http:// A master list is being prepared and reader comments are welcome (email I am grateful for the many interested persons who are helping. My special thanks to my publishers, who share my sense of responsibility; and to David Dilks, not only for his fastidious note-taking, but his understanding and lack of pedantry: qualities which, I have come to learn, are rare. —RML NEW YORK, NOVEMBER 5TH—


tall story that Sir Alexander Fleming twice saved Churchill’s life (by rescuing him from drowning as a boy and with penicillin in 1943) has roared around the Internet for years. Ken Hirsch has used Google Book Search to track what is likely the first appearance of this myth: the December 1944 issue of Coronet magazine, pages 17-18, in the story, “Dr. Lifesaver,” by Arthur Gladstone Keeney. Mr. Hirsch identified Arthur Keeney (1893-1955), as a Florida and Washington D.C. newsman who served in the Office of War Information. “Since Keeney’s story was published only a year after Churchill was stricken (prominently) with pneumonia,” Mr. Hirsch writes, “I think it may be the first appearance of the myth.” Our “Leading Myth” on this subject has been updated on our website: >> FINEST HOUR 145 / 10

NEW YORK, SEPTEMBER 24TH— “Over seventy years ago, Winston Churchill lamented what he called the “confirmed unteachability of mankind”: the unfortunate habit of civilized societies to sleep until danger nearly overtakes them. Churchill bemoaned what he called the ‘want of foresight, the unwillingness to act when action will be simple and effective, the lack of clear thinking, the confusion of counsel until emergency comes, until self-preservation strikes its jarring gong.’ “I speak here today in the hope that Churchill’s assessment of the ‘unteachability of mankind’ is for once proven wrong. I speak here today in the hope that we can learn from history—that we can prevent danger in time. In the spirit of the timeless words spoken to Joshua over 3000 years ago, let us be strong and of good courage. Let us confront this peril, secure our future and, God willing, forge an enduring peace for generations to come.”


rime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel pointedly criticized the UN for its stance on his country. He began by noting how, the day before, the President of Iran had stood at the same podium “spewing his latest anti-Semitic rants,” and challenged delegates who failed to condemn Hamas and its Iranian patron, while simultaneously condemning Israel. For a world leader to refer to Churchill is of little surprise and has almost become a cliché. Netanyahu’s references are of interest, rather, in demonstrating the large shadow Churchill continues to cast over the Middle East, the UN, and more broadly, the need to learn from history. Churchill was a supporter of Jews and Arabs. In 1948, while favoring the founding of Israel, he said the “whole question” of the Middle East might have been settled with an Arab Confederation alongside a Jewish State. In 1921, Colonial Secretary Churchill charted new boundaries and vision for the Middle East: ‘‘to set up an Arab government, and to make it take the responsibility, with our aid and our guidance and with an effective measure of our support, until they are strong enough to stand alone [and] to reduce our commitments and to extricate ourselves from our burdens.…” The world still has the same, stubborn burdens, and the burden can no longer be denied by the UN. Churchill described the Middle East in 1958 as “one of the hardesthearted areas in the world.” Over fifty years later, the UN would be wise to heed his injunction: “We, their representatives in this world-famous assembly, have a great responsibility, and we cannot always discharge it by treading easy paths and saying smooth things.” Clearly, as Netanyahu demonstrated, the path remains uneasy and the sayings unsmooth. To quote another great Englishman, “what’s past is prologue.” Drawing parallels between the anti-Semitic militarism of 1930s Germany and contemporary Iran should not be avoided. It is wrong to stand silent or to remove any tool, including military intervention, from the arsenal that may be required to combat both the rhetoric and action engaged in by the Iranian regime and its beneficiary. While it may seem a cliché, the UN and world community must take heed of this storm as it gathers and looms in the Middle East. , ______________________________________________________________________

Mr. Berke is a Washington, D.C. attorney focusing on political law. He has served as Counsel to the Speaker of the House and to the House Majority Leader. Mr. Netanyahu’s speech is available at or by email from the editor.

JOHN RAMSDEN 1947-2009

watching cricket, walking, and yet more and wider contributions to scholarship.


Professor John Ramsden, who died on October 16th aged 61, was a key historian and a scholarly writer. The base for his hugely productive academic career was Queen Mary College at the University of London, where he taught for almost four decades until last year. By the time he left he had established himself as the preeminent scholar in his field, writing three of the six volumes of Longmans’ History of the Conservative Party. His Churchill masterwork, Man of the Century: Winston Churchill and His Legend Since 1945, occupies an unimitated niche in Churchill studies, outlining how the great man’s persona grew, in part through his own efforts, but touching every other aspect, including the rise of The Churchill Centre. But as in all his work Ramsden did not confine himself to personalities or formalities, and was alert to relevant social context: the dining clubs, countryhouse gatherings, electoral structures and constituency loyalties which enabled the party to thrive in a mass democracy. The roots of John Ramsden’s Conservatism lay in Sheffield, where he was born on 12 November 1947. The Tory Party was strong in his part of the city, and he retired to his childhood home in 2008. John won a scholarship from the local primary school to King Edward VII School, Sheffield, and reached Corpus Christi College, Oxford, in 1966. His first-class degree in Modern History surprised nobody, and after three years at Nuffield College, Oxford, he submitted his doctoral thesis in 1974 on Conservative Party organisation between 1910 and 1930. He was not a flamboyant writer, but his enthusiasm for his subject, brimming over in his conversation, ensured that he coined the vigorous phrase when needed. The Conservative Party before 1914 “resembled less a unitary structure than a collection of private franchises”; Bonar Law’s leadership “was... a form of pragmatic extremism, extreme action…in the cause of more limited objectives”; Baldwin was “a complex character who

Adviser and Friend: JOHN BY HIS COLLEAGUES


chose to masquerade as a simple one.” Ramsden crowned his dedication to the Conservative movement in 1998 with his substantial survey of its history since 1830, An Appetite for Power. At Queen Mary, Ramsden twice acted as head of History, from 1988 to 1990 and 1998 to 2000. A staunch republican, he nevertheless spent an enjoyable day showing the Queen around the new arts faculty building in 1992. Ramsden’s was a career of enormous energy: teaching, lecturing, examining and travelling worldwide to conferences and seminars. While his learning could, on occasion, be intimidating, history was for him, as for A.J.P. Taylor (who had examined his thesis), fun. He also showed a practical interest in drama and film, and was a devoted fan of Sheffield United Football Club. His drive and energy had been sparked, in part, by the incessant inquisitiveness about history he had shown from a very young age. But the Methodism he shared with both his parents was also a factor. This, and his Yorkshire background, lent him his characteristic combination of blunt speech and kindness to individuals. His Methodism also reinforced his courage after he contracted cancer. His illness, bravely borne, ended his hopes of FINEST HOUR 145 / 11

The terrible news that John Ramsden had died left Ellen and me in a state of shock. We were lucky enough to have been with him at Churchill events far and wide, and visited him and his wife Sue in London, going together to restaurants and plays. When John was in Los Angeles in 2007, he came to our home for dinner with other academic friends. He was always wonderfully good company. His books and presentations taught in ways that were strikingly original, engaging, and pleasant—rare qualities. I’m especially grateful to John for the learning, tact, and generosity he brought to his work as a press reader for the manuscript of my book, Winston Churchill’s Imagination. Very few readers take the trouble to be so helpful, and fewer still are tactful. His many precise suggestions allowed me to improve the book greatly. His knowledge of fiction, drama, and film history, in addition to his bailiwick of political and social history, amazed me. In academic life he was the gold standard. —PROFESSOR PAUL ALKON UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA A man never dies as long as he is remembered. We will remember John as the longtime vice-chairman of our Board of Academic Advisers; and for his unique masterpiece, Man of the Century, on the rise of the Churchill legend—which, with his famous thoroughness, includes the origins of The Churchill Centre. —RICHARD M. LANGWORTH, EDITOR It is very sad that John was only 61. In April 2007 he and his wife Sue, herself a considerable intellect, brought twelve of our far-flung members together in Melbourne, which no one else had ever accomplished. Some travelled 1000 miles to hear John speak and sign copies of his book, Man of the Century. They were with us until past midnight. John was in Australia to interview our thenPrime Minister, John Winston Howard. —ALFRED JAMES CHURCHILL CENTRE AUSTRALIA ,

125-100-75-50 YEARS AGO

125 years ago Winter, 1884-85 • Age 10 “Will you go out on a tiger hunt?”

by Michael McMenamin


ith his father away in India, Winston continued to improve at school. His mother wrote to Lord Randolph on 30 January: “The children are flourishing and I hear a much better account of Winston.” Winston kept a regular correspondence with his parents, some of his letters growing longer. On New Year’s Day he wrote his father in India: “We had a Christmas tree and party here this year, which went off very well. My Stamp Book is gradually getting filled. I am very glad to hear you arrived safely. Will you write and tell me all about your voyage, was it rough at all?” On 28 January he asked his mother: “Do you think Papa will stay long in India? Have your heard from him lately? Is Jacky quite well and happy? Does he cry at all now? I am quite well and, very happy. And to his father in February: “...tell me about India, what it’s like….It must be very nice and warm out there now, while we are so cold in England. Will you go out on a tiger hunt while you are there? Are the Indians very funny?” 100 Years Ago Winter, 1909-10 • Age 35 “The Peers v. the People”


he general election in January 1910 did not go as Churchill and the Liberals hoped or expected. Prime Minister Asquith dissolved Parliament when, on 30 November, the House of Lords rejected his government’s budget. The Liberal campaign theme, echoed nationwide by Churchill, was “The Peers v. the People.” He published a collection of his speeches, The People’s Rights, on Free Trade, land and social reforms, and “settlement for ever of the evil, ugly veto of the Peers, which they have used so ill so long.” Churchill did well in Dundee, increasing his margin from 2000 votes in 1908 to 6000, but the Tories gained 116 seats and reduced the Liberal majority to only two: 274 to 272. Seventy-one Irish Nationalists and forty of the growing Labour

Party held the balance of power. Asquith tried to persuade Churchill to become Secretary of State for Ireland. In a February letter marked “Secret,” Asquith wrote: “…in view of the character & composition of our re-arranged forces, you might see your way to take what is bound to be one of our most delicate & difficult posts—the Irish Office. Twice in my experience, it has been held, under not more arduous conditions, by men (on each side) of the weightiest caliber— Balfour & Morley.” Churchill was now a strong supporter of Irish Home Rule, but he did not want to head the Irish Office unless it was to bring about the passage of a Home Rule Bill—something he did not believe possible without another general election. But it is a delicate task for a politician to say no to a Prime Minister who wants you to take a post while you want a different one. WSC’s son Randolph wrote in the official biography that his father made two handwritten drafts of his reply to Asquith before sending the final: I am sensible of the compliment you pay to my personal qualities in suggesting that I should go to Ireland at this juncture, & I realise the peculiar importance to the Government of the successful conduct of that post. I am the more grateful to you for not pressing me to undertake it. The office does not attract me now. There are many circumstances connected with it which repel me. Except for the express purpose of preparing & passing a Home Rule

FINEST HOUR 145 / 12

Bill I do not wish to become responsible for Irish administration. And before that situation can be reached, we must—it seems to me—fight another victorious battle in the constituencies.

Churchill then expressed his preference for either the Admiralty or the Home Office. In the event, Asquith appointed him Home Secretary, the youngest man to hold the position since Sir Robert Peel. (See “Top Cop in a Top Hat,” Finest Hour 143:20).

Clementine and Lady Broughton, 1937. (See also back cover, FH 139.) Published by kind permission of Erich Salomon, © Bildarchiv Preussicher Kulturbesitz, Berllin.

Seventy-Five Years Ago Winter, 1934-35, Age 60 “If we were both young again”


n December, Clementine departed on a six-month holiday cruise to the Dutch East Indies on Lord Moyne’s yacht, Rosaura. It was a small party, consisting, for the first 6000 miles, only of Mr. & Mrs. Lee Guinness, Clementine and Terence Philip, a 42-year-old bachelor. At Rangoon, the Guinnesses departed and Lord Moyne arrived with his lady friend, Lady Broughton, wife of Sir Delves Broughton. The remainder of

the cruise consisted only of Moyne, Philip and two wives of other men. It was an unusual arrangement and, as Mary Soames writes in her biography of her, “Clementine fell romantically in love” with Terence. Clementine’s marriage survived the voyage; that of Lady Broughton did not, and she subsequently divorced. Their letters in January 1935 illustrate the love the Churchills had for each other, come what may. On New Years Day, CSC wrote: “Oh my Darling, I’m thinking so much of you and how you have enriched my life. I have loved you very much but I wish I had been a more amusing wife to you. How nice it would be if we were both young again.” Winston replied: …I always feel so overwhelmingly in yr debt, if there can be accounts in love. It was sweet of you to write this to me, & I hope & pray I shall be able to make you happy and secure during my remaining years….Time passes swiftly, but is it not joyous to see how great and growing is the treasure we have gathered together, amid the storms & stresses of so many eventful & to millions tragic & terrible years.

Perhaps without her benign influence, Churchill continued to alienate the Conservatives over his opposition to centralized Home Rule for India and his support for the alternative of limited provincial autonomy. He was not helped by his son, who stood in January for Parliament in a by-election at Wavertree, against the official Conservative candidate. Churchill, who campaigned for his son, thought Randolph had a chance, but in the event Randolph split the Tory vote, giving the seat to Labour. The party votes were 15,000 to 13,700, with Randolph third at 10,500. Churchill is still criticized for his stand against centralized Indian Home Rule, but few recall his support for provincial autonomy: the safeguarding of individual liberties, to which the India Bill turned a blind eye. During one debate, India Bill supporters questioned Churchill’s belief in democracy. His reply to that question in a subsequent speech illustrates his belief that democracy and personal liberty are not synony-

mous. With an American political mentor and an American mother, he knew that America’s founding fathers had this question well in hand: Do you or do you not believe in democracy?” That is a fairly large question. We all remember the gentleman who, on being shown an elephant for the first time, said he did not believe it; and there was the lady who wrote a metaphysical treatise [which began] with the words “I accept the Universe.” And, as we all know, Mr. Carlyle made the celebrated comment: “Gad, she’d better.” That is rather like my feeling about democracy. I accept it. But I am a good deal more doubtful whether democracy believes in Parliamentary institutions….We have only to look across the Channel in Europe to see how democracy tends in its present manifestation to be injurious to the Parliamentary system and to the personal liberties which are dear to the Liberal heart. I should like to ask the Hon. Member, does he call this Bill democracy? Is the communal franchise democracy? Is caste reconcilable with democracy? Is the idea of 60,000,000 untouchables reconcilable with any sort of democratic system?

Earlier, in a BBC broadcast on 29 January, 1935, Churchill tried to link the India Bill with the growing threat posed by Nazi Germany: The storm clouds are gathering over the European scene. Our defences have been neglected. Danger is in the air….The mighty discontented nations are reaching out with the strong hands to regain what they have lost; nay, to gain a predominance which they have never had….Is this, then, time to plunge our vast dependency of India into the melting-pot? Is this the time fatally to dishearten by such a policy all those strong clean forces at home upon which the strength and future of Britain depends?

On 19 March, in a debate over a proposed defense spending increase of £10 million, Churchill made the controversial assertion that Germany had already reached air parity with Britain, and that geography favored the Germans:

FINEST HOUR 145 / 13

The frontiers of Germany are very much nearer to London than the sea-coasts of this island are to Berlin, and whereas practically the whole of the German bombing air force can reach London with an effective load, very few, if any, of our aeroplanes can reach Berlin with any appreciable loads of bombs. That must be considered as one of the factors in judging between two countries. We only wish to live quietly and to be left alone.

The Under-Secretary of State for Air, Sir Philip Sassoon, complained of Churchill’s use of a “morass of figures” and said in rebuttal that Britain had 690 first line aircraft in 1934: “So far as we can at present estimate, we shall still, at the end of this year, possess a margin of superiority.” A week later, Hitler himself effectively confirmed Churchill’s warnings. He told British Foreign Secretary John Simon and League of Nations Minister Anthony Eden, that Nazi Germany had reached air parity with Britain, which he believed to be 1045 first line aircraft. Simon replied that Britain only had 690. If Germany indeed had 1045, then Germany’s air force was already 50 percent greater than Britain’s. Fifty Years Ago Winter, 1959-60, Age 85 “Snow and Sleet”


hurchill and Clementine journeyed to Monte Carlo and stayed at the Hotel de Paris, writing to John Colville on 9 January that the weather was superb. That changed a week later, and Churchill wrote in a letter to his first love, Pamela Lytton complaining of the “snow and sleet.” The couple returned to Britain in February, and left again on 8 March by air for Tangier where they were met by Aristotle Onassis’s yacht Christina. From there, the luxurious yacht cruised to Barbados, arriving on 21 March. ,


My Happy Days in the “Wet” Bahamas W I N S TO N S. C H U R C H I L L First published in The Daily Mail, 23 March 1932 Published in Finest Hour by kind permission of Winston S. Churchill and Curtis Brown Ltd. (Footnotes by the Editor.)

INTRODUCTION Ever the literary entrepreneur, Churchill took the occasion to write this article while recuperating from the New York traffic accident that almost killed him in December 1931. (See “My New York Misadventure,” Finest Hour 136, Autumn 2007.) Churchillian visitors to the Bahamas will be intrigued by how much of his 1932 impressions still obtain. The island nation is still a land of “sunlit coasts and invigorating wavelets,” rent from time to time by the “heartache” of hurricanes, only to reopen, “mutilated but not cowed,” for the next tourist season. Racial harmony presides still, for in this easygoing tropical strand one quickly forgets color, and the Bahamians are sweet, welcoming people, driven by a still-powerful religion. Independent since 1973, and self-governing even before Churchill’s visit, the country still shows British influence. Parliamentary democracy thrives; the Queen’s Birthday and Boxing Day are holidays; Queen Victoria still broods in dignity before the Parliament building in Nassau. The boom following U.S. Prohibition—on which Churchill decidedly writes tongue-in-cheek—was replaced by a thriving tourist industry. Winter residents still ignore the tourists, and the many Canadians testify to what Churchill suggested was Canada’s winter-garden. Much has changed, and much remains the same, in “de lan’ of de sea an’ sun.”


hen Christopher Columbus discovered the Bahamas he christened them by various highsounding names; but the English when they came along some years later and evicted the Spaniards were more prosaic. They called the island Santa Maria de la Concepción, Rum Cay; Fernandina and Isabella, named after the King and Queen of Spain, became FINEST HOUR 145 / 14

PAGE OPPOSITE: Churchill and his daughter Diana during his recuperation in Nassau, probably taken at the British Colonial Hotel, now the British Colonial Hilton. WSC’s battered face from the traffic accident is still apparent. Photo by Gordon Davis, from Randolph Churchill and Helmut Gernsheim’s Churchill: His Life in Photographs (1956).

respectively Long and Crooked Islands, and San Salvador, the island of the Holy Saviour, was renamed Cat Island. These decisions have been respected by hydrography.* The history of the Bahamas is unedifying. Their first industry was piracy. From the thousands of creeks, bays and harbours in which the group of islands abounds the corsairs scoured the seas for prey. Thither they returned to carouse and quarrel, and here they divided and concealed their booty. More “pirate gold” was found only last month. Gradually, as civilization toiled onwards, African slaves replaced the destroyed aboriginals and buccaneering was superseded by wrecking. The islands seemed specially blessed by nature for this purpose. Their intricate navigation must have proved in any case most dangerous to seafarers, and the well-conceived use of

misleading lights and signals lured many a vessel triumphantly upon the reefs. So prevalent and so profitable did the new industry become that the earlier Governments of the islands resolved to regulate it. Wrecking became a licensed trade, and those who pursued it were honourable citizens. They had their troubles, none the less, in the unfair and undercutting competition of unauthorized and disreputable wreckers. Nevertheless, the pulse of Bahamian progress beat more strongly as the generations passed. American independence brought a great incursion of loyalist refugees from the mainland, with large new supplies of slaves; and agriculture added the toils of the land to the craft of the sea. Wrecking in its turn fell out of fashion in the general advance of culture and morals, and the islands were likely to have fallen upon evil days when their protecting saints sent the American Civil War for their deliverance. Here was the hey-day. The lagoons, which formerly had sheltered Blackbeard and his buccaneers, now provided a far more lucrative security for the blockaderunners. Cargoes of cotton outward bound from the Confederacy purchased cargoes of munitions in return. Important depots and repair shops were erected for the service of the numerous vessels which ran the gauntlet of the Union blockade. The two Whitworth rifled guns, the first of their kind ever fired in war, whose great range and screech attracted the notice of both armies at Gettysburg, must have reached General Lee by this route. Riches accumulated, and the city of Nassau (named after William of Orange) thrived and grew. All too soon for the Bahamians, the Civil War came to an end, and a long lean period then ensued. In the 1880s, the eye of Mr. Joseph Chamberlain, already ranging far beyond his native Birmingham, was attracted by the possibilities of sisal-growing. He purchased a large estate, sank much capital therein, and sent one of his sons, a bright young man called Neville, to reap the fruits. (See sidebar overleaf.) This venture failed. Over-capitalization, the enormous rise in wages on the mainland, and the competition of British East Africa have been assigned as explanations. But the native Bahamians whisper that the real cause was due to malignant fairies who perch in the trees and who had, in some way or other, been offended by the project. >>

*In 1925, Watlings Island was renamed “San Salvador.” Cat Island may have been named for the pirate Arthur Catt. **On Chamberlain’s Andros, largest of the islands, locals still speak of “chickcharnies,” bird-like, forest-dwelling elves with piercing red eyes and a tail used to suspend themselves in trees. Like leprechauns, chickcharnies must be treated with respect, or beware the consequences.

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How the Bahamas Warmed Churchill to Chamberlain

“WET” BAHAMAS... Very lean indeed had the years become in the Bahamas at the beginning of the 20th century. Even the Great War brought no immediate relief. It seemed too far away to do them any good. They deemed themselves entirely God-forsaken. But celestial aid was on its way. That wonderful surge of idealism which induced the newly enfranchised women of the United States, in the absence of their husbands and brothers at the war, to prohibit forever the use of alcohol by American citizens, was destined to bring to the Bahamas an affluence more steady, more widespread, and more remarkable than any windfall in their long history. There, at the gate of the Caribbean, ministering assiduously to the wants of Uncle Sam, stands Nassau, like Ganymede of questionable reputation, but certainly bearing a cup. In no part of the American continent is the nobility of the Eighteenth Amendment more admired than in the Bahamas. A numerous, influential, and very wealthy American colony descended swiftly upon Nassau in search of health, sunshine, freedom and refreshment. They did not seek in vain. Their villas, white, orange and pink, rose swiftly in a gay profusion on every knoll and promontory. Their yachts and sailing boats fill the lagoons. They congregate at the luxurious and highly exclusive Porcupine Club to enjoy the delights of eternal summer and incomparable bathing, the diversions of tennis and golf, and the comfort of soft breezes and hard drinks. The permanent winter residents offer scant welcome to the crowds of their own countrymen who disembark almost daily from visiting ocean liners. These merrymakers must content themselves with a bathe at Paradise Beach and the over-flowing hospitality of the taverns of Nassau. Still, they, too, seem to enjoy themselves. Over all spreads the decorous administration of a British colony. The streets are clean and tidy. Their traffic is regulated by magnificent Negro policemen, each under a fixed umbrella, attired in the undress uniform of the Horse Guards Blue. In front of the Parliament House stands the statue of an extremely youthful Queen Victoria, with an undeniably truculent air; while overhead in great profusion fly the Union Flags. Racial peace reigns throughout the islands and the colour question appears completely solved. At a dinner given to me by both branches of the Legislature, considerably more than half the members—all in immaculate evening dress—were of ebon hue. It was with pleasure that I listened to speeches affirming the long-proved loyalty of the Bahamas to the British Crown, or heard the Leader of the Opposition declare that “here in Nassau as well as from history we have learned that no civilization or


hurchill’s knowledge of the Bahamas stood him in good stead when, in 1939, he needed to lay aside disagreements after becoming Neville Chamberlain’s colleague. From The Gathering Storm, 388-89. (WSC was wrong about the size of Andros; it is the largest of the 700 Bahamian islands.)

On Friday, November 13 [1939], my relations with Mr. Chamberlain had so far ripened that he and Mrs. Chamberlain came to dine with us at Admiralty House....By happy chance I turned the conversation on to his life in the Bahamas, and I was delighted to find my guest expand in personal reminiscence to a degree I had not noticed before. He told us the whole story, of which I knew only the barest outline, of his six years’ struggle to grow sisal on a barren West Indian islet near Nassau. His father, the great “Joe” was firmly convinced that here was an opportunity at once to develop an Empire industry and fortify the family fortunes. His father and Austen had summoned him in 1890 from Birmingham to Canada, where they had long examined the project. About forty miles from Nassau in the Caribbean Gulf there was a small desert island, almost uninhabited, where the soil was reported to be suitable for growing sisal. After careful reconnaissance by his two sons, Mr. Joseph Chamberlain had acquired a tract on the island of Andros, and assigned the capital required to develop it. All that remained was to grow the sisal. Austen was dedicated to the House of Commons. The task therefore fell to Neville. Not only in filial duty but with conviction and alacrity he obeyed, and the next five years of his life were spent in trying to grow sisal in this lonely spot, swept by hurricanes from time to time, living nearly naked, struggling with labour difficulties and every other kind of obstacle, and with the town of Nassau as the only gleam of civilisation. He had insisted, he told us, on three months' leave in England each year. He built a small harbour and landing-stage and a short railroad or tramway. He used all the processes of fertilisation which were judged suitable to the soil and generally led a completely primitive, open-air existence. But no sisal! Or at any rate no sisal that would face the market. At the end of five years he was convinced that the plan could not succeed. He came home and faced his formidable parent, who was by no means contented with the result. I gathered that in the family the feeling was that though they loved him dearly they were sorry to have lost £50,000. I was fascinated by the way Mr. Chamberlain warmed as he talked, and by the tale itself, which was one of gallant endeavour. I thought to myself, “What a pity Hitler did not know when he met this sober English politician with his umbrella at Berchtesgaden, Godesberg, and Munich that he was actually talking to a hard-bitten pioneer from the outer marches of the British Empire!” This was really the only intimate social conversation that I can remember with Neville Chamberlain amid all the business we did together over nearly twenty years. ,

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NASSAU CHURCHILLIANA: The determined hunter will find traces of Sir Winston—and his first Sovereign—in the capital of the Bahamas. Left: “An extremely youthful Queen Victoria, with an undeniably truculent air” still sits before Parliament House, where HRH the Duke of Windsor (formerly King Edward VIII) once held sway as Governor. Center: The Churchill Building, nearby, bears a bronze plaque commemorating its namesake. Right: Clementine Churchill writes from Nassau on 22 January 1932, “This is such a heavenly climate. The sea is turquoise & the temperature of it is 74!” (From the Mary Soames collection.)

progress is possible without a stable Government administered by capable and honest officials.” These admirable sentiments are supported by a public revenue which, though reduced in this hard year, is nevertheless four times what it was before the United States voted dry and felt thirsty. The most grievous visitation of the islanders is the hurricane. Perhaps once in every ten or fifteen years a frightful circular storm sweeps and devastates the Bahamas. Preceded by greenish skies and the instinctive premonitions of the natives and birds, the whirlwind lashes land and sea with the fury of over a hundred and fifty miles an hour. It is an understood thing between the Bahamas and their Creator that the hurricane season and the tourist season must never clash. Nature has arranged her processes in harmony with this decree. Scarred and mutilated by the calamity which periodically smites them, all the hotels open punctually, and Nassau, throned in luminous seas of green and blue, presents, with whatever heartache, a smiling face to smiling skies. One need scarcely say that the economic future of the Bahamas, and indeed the whole of the West Indies, ought to be specially linked to Canada. The West Indies can offer to the Dominion exactly that range of tropical products and winter resorts which it needs. Twenty-five years ago, when I was Under-Secretary

for the Colonies, all this talk about the West Indies being Canada's winter garden, “sun-parlour” and tropical hot-house was already familiar. The talk goes on still. One is shocked to find how little has been done. Too swiftly came the day when I must leave these sunlit coasts and invigorating wavelets and return to my toils under the bone-dry laws of the United States! Nassau is not only one of the most expensive, but one of the most accessible places in the world. Three or four times a week mighty ships lie in the roads. On one of these I sailed away. The last scene lingers in my memory. The arduous work of rounding up tardy or straggling passengers had been completed. The rear-guard had tottered up the gangway and reeled safely on to the tender. Last of all, struggling in the grip of six sturdy Bahamians and uttering strange cries of hilarity or wrath, came a tall grey-bearded American citizen earnestly recording his dissent from the provisions of the Volstead Act; while on the jetty minstrels played upon sorrowful saxophones the local anthem of Nassau: Momma don't want no rice, no peas, no coco-nut oil, Momma don't want no rice, no peas, no coco-nut oil, Momma don't want no rice, no peas, no coco-nut oil, All she wants is brandy, whisky, beer.* , * To hear this popular song of the 1930s, visit

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FDR’s and WSC’s Bahamian Rambles N

atives of Eleuthera, a slender, 110mile-long island fifty miles east of Nassau, take pride in believing that both Roosevelt and Churchill visited their island. Allen Packwood and Dr. Lynsey Robertson of the Churchill Archives Centre, and supervisory archivist Robert Clark at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library, have been helping us search for the evidence, which is scanty. Roosevelt proposed visiting Eleuthera after the election in 1940 “to see the site of the future United States base,” part of “Destroyers for Bases” deal with Britain on 2 September 1940. The Archives hold a letter annotated by Churchill (CHAR 20/9B-186-89) in which the Foreign Office expresses dismay, since Britain had not yet formally agreed to a United States base: “...the President should be asking if he might visit.…” But Roosevelt never set foot on Eleuthera. He did moor in Miller’s Anchorage on 13 December 1940, aboard USS Tuscaloosa during a fishing trip. HRH the Duke of Windsor, Governor of the Bahamas, arrived for lunch in a seaplane, and later the two held an on-board press conference for the three reporters traveling with the President. HRH left at 2 p.m., and Tuscaloosa weighed anchor at 2:47, bound for Charleston, South Carolina and the end of Roosevelt’s voyage. Nor was a U.S. naval base immediately established. In 1951, ten personnel from Florida arrived at an “Experimental Station” ten miles north of the island capital, Governor’s Harbour. Retired Lieutenant William Clark recalled: “What a surprise to find our base consisted of a general building and a Western Electric laboratory, both wooden structures, five Quonset huts still unassembled, and, oh yes, the Communications Center” —a tent until they assembled the Quonsets. In 1957 the Navy constructed an elaborate facility which tracked missiles launched from Cape Canaveral through 1981, when the Bahamas government raised the rent and the Navy considered it dispensable. It still lies abandoned, but the land was recently bought by Marriott interests for a proposed resort. It straddles the island

The Beaverbrook house on Eleuthera.

from the Atlantic to the Caribbean. he Churchill visit is problematic. On Eleuthera is a handsome house once owned by Lord Beaverbrook, filled with memorabilia—including a photo of WSC and Beaverbrook, allegedly on the spot. But when? The Beaverbrook Archives tell us that early in World War II, Beaverbrook began acquiring properties in Nassau and Jamaica. In 1945, in recognition of his war effort, he was also given the opportunity to name any place he would wish to own as a gift from the Crown. He chose Eleuthera, and spent a fair amount of time there. Churchill holidayed in Florida with a side trip to Cuba in early 1946, before delivering the “Iron Curtain” speech in Fulton, Missouri. Lynsey Robertson, who kindly checked his appointment cards (CHUR 2/616), tells us that he “spent a week in Cuba before returning to Miami on 8 February. Two days later he traveled to Washington, returning to Miami on the 12th. The engagement card is then blank until the 19th.” He then traveled to Washington, Fulton and back, Virginia and New York, returning to Britain March 20th.” The “blank” period offers a possible time for Churchill’s visit to Eleuthera. From Miami he could easily have slipped across the Gulf Stream, visited his friend, and had his picture snapped. But we’re not even sure Beaverbrook’s house was finished by then—and the letters of secretary Jo Sturdee, who was with WSC in Florida, make no mention of a side trip to the Bahamas. In January 1953, WSC holidayed in Jamaica (where Beaverbrook hosted him), within easy range of Eleuthera. But, while Allen Packwood found that WSC asked secretary Elizabeth Gilliat about visiting Barbados from Jamaica, there is no mention of the Bahamas. We also considered his 1961 West Indies cruise aboard the Onassis yacht Christina. But Sir Anthony Montague Browne, who was with him then, recalls no visit to Eleuthera by Christina at that or any other time. Perhaps the photo on Eleuthera was taken in


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Wit & Wisdom

“St. George and the Dragon”

The cartoon “Perseus and Andromeda” (back cover, FH 125) is irresistible in this context: Churchill’s speech to the Royal Society of St. George, broadcast 24 March 1933, reprinted by kind permission. WSC prodded BBC Director-General Sir John Reith for muzzling him politically, and mused over a mind-set he thought might threaten the country. Of course there is absolutely no intention to relate this to any modern situation or nation....

am a great admirer of the Scots. I am quite friendly with the Welsh, especially one of them. I must confess to some sentiment about Old Ireland, in spite of the ugly mask she tries to wear. But this is not their night. On this one night in the whole year we are allowed to use a forgotten, almost a forbidden word. We are allowed to mention the name of our own country, to speak of ourselves as “Englishmen,” and we may even raise the slogan “St. George for Merrie England.” We must be careful, however. You see these microphones? They have been placed on our tables by the British Broadcasting Corporation. Think of the risk these eminent men are running. We can almost see them in our mind's eye, gathered together in that very expensive building, with the questionable statues* on its front. We can picture Sir John Reith, with the perspiration mantling on his lofty brow, with his hand on the control switch, wondering, as I utter every word, whether it will not be his duty to protect his innocent subscribers from some irreverent thing I might say about Mr. Gandhi, or about the Bolsheviks, or even about our peripatetic Prime Minister. But let me reassure him. I have much more serious topics to discuss. I have to speak to you about St. George and the Dragon. I have been wondering what would happen if that legend were repeated under modern conditions. St. George would arrive in Cappadocia, accompanied not by a horse, but by a secretariat. He would be armed not with a lance, but with several flexible formulas. He would, of course, be welcomed by the local branch of the League of Nations Union. He would propose a conference with the dragon—a Round Table Conference, no doubt—that would be more convenient for the dragon's tail. He would make a trade agreement with the dragon. He would lend the dragon a lot of money for the Cappadocian taxpayers. The maiden's release would be referred to Geneva, the dragon reserving all his rights meanwhile. Finally St. George would be photographed with the dragon (inset—the maiden). There are a few things I will venture to mention about England. They are spoken in no invidious sense. Here it would hardly occur to anyone that the banks would close their doors against their depositors. Here no one questions the fairness of the courts of law and justice. Here no one thinks of persecuting a man on account of his religion or his race. Here everyone, except the criminals, looks on the policeman as the friend and


*The BBC entrance was adorned by Eric Gill’s “Prospero and Ariel,” from Shakespeare’s The Tempest. Ariel was naked, and complaints about the size of his member caused Reith to order Gill to reduce it.

servant of the public. Here we provide for poverty and misfortune with more compassion, in spite of all our burdens, than any other country. Here we can assert the rights of the citizen against the State, or criticize the government of the day, without failing in our duty to the Crown or in our loyalty to the King. This ancient, mighty London in which we are gathered is still the financial center of the world. From the Admiralty building, half a mile away, orders can be sent to a Fleet which, though much smaller than it used to be, or than it ought to be, is still unsurpassed on the seas. More than 80 percent of the British casualties of the Great War were English. More than 80 percent of the taxation is paid by the English taxpayers. We are entitled to mention these facts, and to draw authority and courage from them. Historians have noticed, all down the centuries, one peculiarity of the English people which has cost them dear. We have always thrown away after a victory the greater part of the advantages we gained in the struggle. The worst difficulties from which we suffer do not come from without. They come from within. They do not come from the cottages of the wageearners. They come from a peculiar type of brainy people always found in our country, who, if they add something to its culture, take much from its strength. Our difficulties come from the mood of unwarrantable selfabasement into which we have been cast by a powerful section of our own intellectuals. They come from the acceptance of defeatist doctrines by a large proportion of our politicians. But what have they to offer but a vague internationalism, a squalid materialism, and the promise of impossible Utopias? Nothing can save England if she will not save herself. If we lose faith in ourselves, in our capacity to guide and govern, if we lose our will to live, then indeed our story is told. If, while on all sides foreign nations are every day asserting a more aggressive and militant nationalism by arms and trade, we remain paralyzed by our own theoretical doctrines or plunged into the stupour of after-war exhaustion, then indeed all that the croakers predict will come true, and our ruin will be swift and final. Stripped of her Empire in the Orient, deprived of the sovereignty of the seas, loaded with debt and taxation, her commerce and carrying trade shut out by foreign tariffs and quotas, England would sink to the level of a fifth-rate Power, and nothing would remain of all her glories except a population much larger than this island can support. Why should we break up the solid structure of British power, founded upon so much health, kindliness and freedom, for dreams which may some day come true, but are now only dreams, and some of them nightmares? We ought, as a nation and Empire, to weather any storm that blows at least as well as any other existing system of human government. We are at once more experienced and more truly united than any people in the world. It may well be that the most glorious chapters of our history are yet to be written. Indeed, the very problems and dangers that encompass us and our country ought to make English men and women of this generation glad to be here at such a time. We ought to rejoice at the responsibilities with which destiny has honoured us, and be proud that we are guardians of our country in an age when her life is at stake. ,

FINEST HOUR 145 / 19

“Had I known, I could at least have tipped my wing to show the people there that someone knew they were there.” —South African pilot

Leading Churchill Myths (20):

“Churchill Refused to Bomb the Auschwitz Railway Lines” SI R MARTIN GI LBERT Sir Martin is the official biographer of Sir Winston Churchill and an Honorary Member and Trustee of The Churchill Centre.

Following Hillel Halkin’s “The Jewish State & its Arabs” in the January issue of Commentary, a reader posted this note on the Commentary website ( “Had Churchill given an order to bomb Auschwitz, rather than simply recommend that it be bombed, it would have been bombed. He did not do so, presumably, because he was loath to quarrel with his general staff and did not wish to stand accused of risking British pilots and air crews in order to save Jewish lives that had no military value.” FINEST HOUR 145 / 20


hrough the first week of July 1944, because of the continuing D-Day landing priorities, all European bombing targets had to be approved by the Supreme Allied Commander, General Dwight D. Eisenhower. On 6 July 1944, in a meeting with British foreign minister Anthony Eden, the Zionist leader Chaim Weizmann and the head of the Jewish Agency for Palestine Moshe Shertok, made five urgent and desperate suggestions, the fifth of which was “that the railway line leading from Budapest to Birkenau, and the death camp at Birkenau and other places, should be bombed.” When Churchill was shown this request by Eden, he did something I’ve not seen on any other document submitted to Churchill for his approval: He wrote on it what he wanted done. Normally he would have said, “Bring this up to the War Cabinet” or “Let us discuss this with the Air Ministry.” Instead, he wrote to Eden on the morning of 7 July: “Is there any reason to raise this matter with the Cabinet? Get anything out of the Air Force you can, and invoke me if necessary.” I have never seen a minute of Churchill’s giving that sort of immediate authority to carry out a request. There is a vast subtext, of which I have written in my book, Auschwitz and the Allies....when the request was put to the American Air Force Commander, General Eaker, when he visited the Air Ministry a few days later, he gave it his full support. He regarded it as something that the American daylight bombers could and should do. But as we know, from the letter which is put up in the Holocaust Museum in Washington, when the request reached Washington—indeed, on the five separate occasions when the request reached Washington—it was turned down. On the second occasion that it reached the Undersecretary for War, John J. McCloy, he told his assistant to kill it; and it was then effectively killed. The debate about bombing those particular lines continued for more than a month after the lines were no longer in use. In the second week of July 1944, as a result of the international outcry (to which Churchill contributed emphatically)—following the arrival in the West of four Jewish escapees from Auschwitz, with news about Hungarian Jews being sent there—the Hungarian Regent Admiral Horthy forced the SS to halt the deportations, which depended on Hungarian gendarmes and railway workers to be carried out. At that point, the reason for the bombing request was ended, and the Jewish Agency asked that surviving Jews—120,000 in Budapest saved by the international

outcry (precisely what Churchill had asked for—“the largest outcry possible”)—be given protective documents. These were given by a committee of neutral diplomats in Budapest headed by the Papal Nuncio Angelo Rotta, at the urging of both Churchill and Roosevelt. My book, The Righteous, has further details on this collective diplomatic rescue effort. I spoke to a number of those who would have been involved in bombing the lines, as Churchill had wished—even bombing the camp installations, had the deportations not stopped. One thing which greatly heartened me from my perspective, from my window as a Jew, was that all the pilots and air crew I spoke to, who would have had to do the work, were emphatic that they would have done it, and were ashamed and angry that they had not been asked to do it. I even found the young man who had taken that aerial photograph of the camp which is displayed in the Museum, a South African photo reconnaissance pilot. He was in extreme distress at the thought that, on the four separate occasions when he flew over the camp with his camera, he had no idea what he was flying over. He flew only an unarmed plane, but as he said to me very touchingly, “Had I known, I could at least have tipped my wing to show the people there that someone knew they were there.”


hurchill had no doubt that a terrible crime had been committed. As he wrote to Anthony Eden on the day that the escapees’ account of the truth about Auschwitz and the “unknown destination” reached him: “There is no doubt that this is probably the greatest and most horrible crime ever committed in the whole history of the world, and it has been done by scientific machinery by nominally civilised men in the name of a great State and one of the leading races of Europe. It is quite clear that all concerned in this crime who may fall into our hands, including the people who only obeyed orders by carrying out the butcheries, should be put to death after their association with the murders has been proved. Declarations should be made in public, so that everyone connected with it will be hunted down and put to death.” Editor’s note: In May 2009, responding to their reader’s letter, we sent Commentary excerpts from Sir Martin’s lecture, “Churchill and the Holocaust,” at the Holocaust Museum, Washington, during the 1993 International Churchill Conference, from which much of the above is drawn ( To date, the Commentary

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1957: “The Greatest Man in the World” W I L L IA M B. CA R EY


t is sometimes said that in the late Fifties an American schoolgirl posted a letter addressed only to “The Greatest Man in the World,” and that the U.S. Post Office and Royal Mail delivered it to 28 Hyde Park Gate, London. In 1957, a twenty-year-old student taking a course called “Civilisation Française” at the Sorbonne in Paris, I certainly shared her sentiment. Foreign study was unusual then, but my wonderful mother had agreed to pay the bill. Halfway through the two-month course I decided to take a break from French Civilization and go to England for a few days. It was my first visit. Arrived in London, it entered in my head, for reasons I can’t recall, that I wanted to meet “The Greatest Man in the World.” He was eighty-three then, retired from his second term as Prime Minister but still in Parliament. The newspapers reported his occasional comings and goings. I learned that he lived at Hyde Park Gate, a short distance from Hyde Park itself. With camera in hand, I arrived at the red brick house on a quiet summer afternoon. There was no sign of activity. A man was working in his garden across the street, however, and I walked over to chat with him. He confirmed that the house opposite was Churchill’s. His young sons, he told me, sometimes made loud noises, and Churchill would complain. Later I learned that the neighbor was the sculptor Jacob Epstein, whose busts of Churchill would one day adorn the White House and Windsor Castle. As I was talking with Epstein, a big black car pulled up to No. 28. A chauffeur got out and was knocking on the front door as I ran across the street. When the door opened, the chauffeur and I were greeted by a man in a vest, who I later learned was Detective Sergeant Edmund Murray, Churchill’s bodyguard. He knew who the chauffeur was, but obviously hadn’t a clue who I was. Needing a quick explanation, I blurted out the first thing that came to my head: that I hoped to take a picture of Sir Winston. The man turned and spoke to someone behind him, just inside the house, and I heard the famous voice, deep and resonant, wondering what the hold-up was. It was just a few feet from the door of the house to the door of the car. To go from one to the other, Sir Winston Mr. Carey (, a member of the Churchill Centre since 2002, is an attorney in Berkley Springs, West Virginia.

had to pass me. He paused at the door, looked at me, and growled, “All right, take it.” I snapped a shot and tried to make conversation, but he wasn’t interested. When he was about to enter the car, I asked if he would pose for a photograph with me. Churchill refused. “You seem like a very nice young man,” he said, “but I don’t know you and you might be someone terribly disreputable.” He got into the car and I murmured “Thank you, sir” as the door closed. The car drove off. Back across the street, Epstein observed that he was probably going to Parliament. A few months later, back in the U.S., I mailed a copy of my photo to Churchill and asked him to autograph it. His private secretary, Anthony Montague Browne, replied that it was Sir Winston’s rule not to sign photographs unless there was “a strong personal connection. I am sorry to send you a disappointing reply, but Sir Winston hopes you will excuse and understand his position.” It a cheeky thing to do, but I considered it fortunate that he even stopped for a photograph. I remember being struck by how blue his eyes were, and all the history they had seen. It was, I’m sure, a typical encounter between Churchill in his later days and the admiring public that continued to look upon him with a rare affection. ,

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RIDDLES, MYSTERIES, ENIGMAS Send your questions to the editor

Churchill on Health Care


I am hoping you can place in context a statement by Mr. Churchill, which has been offered to show that he would support current U.S. heath care reform proposals. My own Catholic parish recently published the aforementioned statement in its weekly bulletin: What Would Winnie Do? Here's an interesting quote. It's from Conservative British Prime Minister Winston Churchill explaining his view on health care and government in 1948: “The discoveries of healing science must be the inheritance of all. That is clear: Disease must be attacked, whether it occurs in the poorest or the richest man or woman simply on the ground that it is the enemy; and it must be attacked just in the same way as the fire brigade will give its full assistance to the humblest cottage as readily as to the most important mansion. Our policy is to create a national health service in order to ensure that everybody in the country, irrespective of means, age, sex, or occupation, shall have equal opportunities to benefit from the best and most up-to-date medical and allied services available.” The heading, coupled with the quotation, implies that we Catholics should support national health care, but my instincts suggest caution. Lacking the rhetorical context and conditions existing in Britain sixty years ago, I mistrust such a pat assessment of Churchill's stance. But I would like to operate from a position of accuracy. What was Churchill’s actual position on national health care? —JENNIFER RUPERT, CHICAGO


We tend to deprecate articles suggesting that Churchill would do this or that about modern situations. His daughter likes to ask people who say such things: “How do you know?” The answer is, of course, that none of us knows. (Also, except as a boy, he hated that nickname “Winnie”!) The Churchill quotation you sent is not from 1948, but from his tribute to the Royal College of Physicians on 2 March 1944. (Complete text available from the editor by email.) You will have to decide whether the excerpts joined together in your church bulletin are in context. You are right to suggest that conditions in Britain were different then (more critical, health-wise). Also, in 1944 the words “national health service” did not necessarily mean what the Labour government created after the war; nor do they define what is proposed in America today. Without question Churchill believed that new medical discoveries are “the inheritance of all,” but that leaves a fairly wide array of options.

On 3 July 1945, too late to affect the election (which came two days later), he issued a Cabinet Paper calling on his colleagues to move forward on legislation for “National Insurance and a National Health Service.” What they would have come up with we’ll never know, since the Conservatives lost by a landslide, and the Labour Party took over and created their own plan. It seems evident that Churchill did not oppose the Labour Health Service, though he was not among its advocates. In the beginning everything was to be free, of course. When, inevitably, costs began to rise, and the Chancellor of the Exchequer introduced charges for spectacles and dentures, he protested the heavy government expenditures in the House of Commons (10 April 1951), suggesting that other economies should have been made to accommodate the increases: Those who hold that taxation is an evil must recognize that it falls upon this country in a most grievous manner at the present time, continually burdening the mass of the nation and FINEST HOUR 145 / 23

continually clogging—or, at any rate, hampering our efforts. There is to be an increase of taxation. I am not at all concerned today to examine even cursorily the detailed proposals which the Chancellor has made, but taxation is to be increased; it is to be heavier still. Naturally, many people will feel that the issue should be argued out very tensely as to whether other economies in Government expenditure might not have relieved us from the need of applying new burdens and new taxation.


I was wondering about Sir Winston's clothes. Did he use the same tailor? Did he really care about clothes? (I'm referring to civilian garb). We always see him in a dark three-piece suit with polka dot bow tie. —ALEC ROGERS


Allen Packwood of the Churchill Archives Centre informs us that Sir Winston’s favorite London tailors were Austin Reed in Regent Street, and Henry Poole & Co, of Savile Row, both still around. A most interesting quote on his sartorial practices is from Robert Lewis Taylor, Winston Churchill: An Informal Study of Greatness (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1952) 4-5: The Churchills have a family tailor, on Savile Row, in London, whose establishment has for years swathed the normally impeccable line. It is only under extreme prompting by his wife, however, that Churchill will consent to step in for a new outfit. He considers that, creatively, he is the equal of any tailor on record, and besides, he cares very little one way or another. His gabardine “siren suit,” which he concocted in the early part of the last war, was a familiar sight to the thousands who saw him in person and to the millions who knew him as a heartening staple of the newsreels. When one of his friends, pressed for an opinion, commented that the siren suit, to him, seemed “pretty damned dull,” Churchill made one of his rare bows to criticism; he ordered a pin-striped siren suit. The friend was unmoved by the improvement. ,


Churchill’s Efforts to Feed Germany after the Great War S COT T M A N N I N G Mr. Manning ( is a business analyst living in Lansdowne, Pennsylvania.


ith America’s entry into the First World War in 1917, the Allies finally had enough ships and manpower to implement a full naval blockade on Germany. The effects were mounting on 11 November 1918, when Germany surrendered and signed an armistice, with an agreement to work out a formal treaty later. The Treaty of Versailles was not signed until 28 June 1919, and during the preceding seven months, the people of Germany continued to starve. It is estimated that 100,000 died during this time.1 Churchill has been accused of ignoring pleas for help from Germany, most recently by Patrick J. Buchanan, who claims there is “no supporting evidence that Churchill ever made any sustained effort to end the starvation blockade.”2 The truth is that the German people had several champions who toiled to end their plight and one of them was Winston Churchill. But it

The Secretary of State for War with Chief of Imperial General Staff Field-Marshal Sir Henry Wilson (right) inspecting British occupation forces, Cologne, August 1919. Between them is Sir Archibald Sinclair, WSC’s Military Secretary. Sinclair, later Lord Thurso, was leader of the Liberal Party, 1935-45, and served as Churchill’s Secretary of State for Air in the World War II Coalition government. Photo from the Sinclair collection and Martin Gilbert, Churchill: A Photographic portrait (1974).

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took time for him to recognize the severity of their situation. After serving as Minister of Munitions from July 1917, Churchill became the Secretary of State for War and Air on 9 January 1919. His main task was developing a demobilization plan for three and one-half million British soldiers on the continent, all anxious to return home. During his first week in office, Churchill met with his military army commanders and drafted a plan. Throughout the rest of January, he labored to get his plan approved by the British cabinet and even traveled to Paris to meet with Prime Minister David Lloyd George, who was attending the peace conference. By December 1918, prior to Churchill’s arrival, the War Office had received several reports of food shortages in Germany.3 The following month, British officers were sent to investigate. On 12 January, the German government stated that they had been able to make do since the Armistice, but that their food sup-

plies were about to “come to an end.”4 The War Office continued to send officers and to receive reports until May. Churchill did not fully appreciate conditions in Germany until the last weeks of February. On the last day of that month he openly voiced his concerns about the situation to the War Cabinet, with the Prime Minister in attendance, urging “winding up all military matters with the least possible delay.”5 He said that all “intelligence received by him was to the same effect, that cruel privations were being suffered” by Germany, and that he “wished to see Germany treated humanely and adequately fed, and her industries re-started.”6 Churchill then took his concerns to the House of Commons. At the end of a lengthy demobilization report on March 3rd, he brought up “another matter which calls for very prompt settlement…the speedy enforcing of the Peace Terms upon Germany.”7 Churchill discussed British officers’ reports which revealed “the great privations which the German people are suffering” and “the danger of collapse of the entire structure of German social and national life under the pressure of hunger and malnutrition.”8 In a poetic analogy, Churchill compared Europe to the Titanic, and each country to a compartment in the ship. The ship did not sink immediately, he said; instead it “had compartment after compartment invaded by the sea.”9 His message was clear: Germany’s collapse would sink the rest of Europe. Although Churchill’s words were reported by several newspapers, he was not convinced that people in Britain understood the seriousness of the situation. He wanted the British officers’ reports published, and was “anxious that a wise and humane policy should be adopted toward the

Germans in the zone of our occupied armies.”10 As Churchill received further reports from his officers and other ministries, he forwarded them to the War Cabinet.11 On March 14th, he compiled the reports in book form and forwarded a copy to Lloyd George, asking permission to publish it.12 Nine days later, after no response, he telegrammed the Prime Minister, asking again for permission to publish, with an aim to “induce a more humane feeling about the Germans.”13 Lloyd George telephoned later that day, saying he had no objections.14 Food from the Allies finally arrived in Hamburg on 26 March, but it was not enough. Churchill continued to pester the Prime Minister. On April 7th he telegrammed: “I feel it is my duty to tell you that all my military advisers without exception agreed that the interior situation in Germany is approaching a catastrophe.”15 In early April, the War Office published Reports by British Officers on the Economic Conditions Prevailing in Germany, December, 1918 - March, 1919. Distributed to Parliament, press, and public, the 94-page document provided ten reports from seventeen British officers, including one Brigadier General, unanimously concluding that Germany needed food. Unfortunately, few took notice. Churchill complained to a newspaper editor, “I cannot understand why the German White Book I published last week has scarcely been noticed by the Press. The situation in Germany is very serious indeed and can only be relieved by food and raw materials.”16 The next day, Churchill again appealed to Lloyd George: “All the soldiers are agreed that the most important military action required from the allies is to feed Germany, not only with food but FINEST HOUR 145 / 25

with raw materials, and to raise the blockade. They think that Germany is on the verge of a complete collapse….”17 With the bulldog tenacity for which he was already famous, Churchill was determined to make something happen. On 10 April he forwarded another report to the War Cabinet stating that many Germans were “literally starving,” that it was essential to give them “some hope of the future security and of at least a partial recovery.”18 The next day he gave a speech at the Aldwych Club, appealing publicly to help Germany. Referring to his neglected Germany book, he said that the officers all agreed that “the most vital step we ought to take immediately to secure victory is to feed Germany.”19 He urged his audience not to let their “eyes be blinded with false counsel.”20 The situation was grave, and the government’s responsibility was “to disarm Germany, to feed Germany, and to make peace with Germany.”21 Churchill’s speech was carried by The Times the next day. He asked that it be shared with German delegates to the peace conference because he was “concerned to see reports that they are beginning to despair of saving their country from Bolshevism.”22 Still Churchill was not satisfied. He wanted to address the press directly and “make them realise how foolish it is to go on saying that the German is only pretending, when conditions are so desperate.”23 On 16 April, Churchill published Further Reports by British Officers on the Economic Conditions Prevailing in Germany, April, 1919, an 18-page follow-up, concluding that “the most vital need is food” and that the food must be sent immediately in large quantities or the relief would only be temporary.24 The report also said there >>


FEEDING GERMANY... was “little danger at present from the old mobile army. The General Staff is powerless, and old regular officers are being dismissed.”25 The fear of hostilities breaking out again (the main reason for continuing the blockade) was diminished. The report was carried by several papers, including The New York Times.26 Churchill continue to pester the Prime Minister, the highest-ranking person to whom he had access, until the blockade was finally lifted on 11 July 1919.27 What is most remarkable about Churchill’s efforts to feed the defeated was that he was not deterred by his lack of authority over the blockade or the armistice terms, or over the peace negotiations. After his demobilization plan was in place, he focused on hard issues like the Bolshevik revolution in Russia. Yet when Churchill discovered the drastic situation in Germany, he appealed not only to all levels of government, but to the press and public as well. The German people suffered severely during this period; but they had an advocate in Winston Churchill. ,

1. Suda Bane and Ralph Lutz, eds., The Blockade of Germany after the Armistice 1918-1919 (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1942), 791. 2. Patrick J. Buchanan, Churchill, Hitler, and the “Unnecessary War”: How Britain Lost Its Empire and the West Lost the World (New York: Crown Publishing Group, 2008), 391. 3. See “Recent Reports Regarding Situation in Germany,” issued on 31 December 1918. War Office Papers 144/6/128-37. 4. Notes on the Meeting of the Armistice Commission held on January 12, 1919. War Office Papers 144/7/146-47. 5. Meeting Minutes. Martin Gilbert, ed. Winston S. Churchill: Companion Volume IV, Part 1, January 1917-June 1919 (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1978), 557.

6. Ibid. 7. Robert Rhodes James, ed., Winston S. Churchill: His Complete Speeches 1897-1963, 8 vols. (New York: Bowker, 1974), III: 2684. 8. Ibid. 9. Ibid. 10. Telegram, Churchill to General Bartholomew, 7 March 1919. Chartwell Papers 16/15B/250. 11. See for example E. F. Wise’s “Note of Food Supplies for the Left Bank of the Rhine,” Churchill to War Cabinet, 6 March 1919. Lloyd George Papers F/8/3/26. 12. Telegram, Churchill to Lloyd George, 14 March 1919. Lloyd George Papers F/8/3/32. 13. Telegram, Churchill to Lloyd George, 23 March 1919. Chartwell Papers 16/5/110. 14. Telephone message, Lloyd George to Churchill, 23 March 1919. Chartwell Papers 16/5/111. 15. Telegram, Churchill to Lloyd George, 7 April 1919. Chartwell Papers 16/6/49. 16. Churchill to John Spender, editor of the Westminster Gazette, 8 April 1919. Chartwell Papers 16/6/51.

17. Companion IV, Part 1, 612. 18. F. L. Carsten, Britain and the Weimar Republic: The British Documents (New York: Schocken Books, 1984), 21. 19. Complete Speeches, III: 2773. 20. Ibid. 21. Ibid. 22. Churchill to Director of Military Intelligence, 12 April 1919. Chartwell Papers 16/16A/33. 23. Churchill to Director of Military Intelligence, 12 April 1919. Chartwell Papers 16/16A/26. 24. Army, Further Reports by British Officers on the Economic Conditions Prevailing in Germany. April, 1919. (London: HMSO, 1919), 18. 25. Ibid. 26. The New York Times, “Aid for Germany Declared Urgent: British White Paper Shows Economic Conditions as Found by Investigator,” 17 April 1919. 27. The blockade of Germany was eliminated only when the Reichstag ratified the Treaty of Versailles on 11 July 1919. C. Paul Vincent, The Politics of Hunger: The Allied Blockade of Germany, 1915-1919 (Athens: Ohio University, 1985), 115.

Curt Zoller’s Annotated Bibliography of Works About Sir Winston S. Churchill, at 410 pages, is the most comprehensive bibliography of works about Churchill. It includes frank, forthright reviews on 700 books specifically about WSC. Also listed are works substantially about Churchill, articles, lectures, reviews, dissertations and theses. The book was a Farrow Award winner in 2004. Selling for up to $189 on the web, it’s indispensable for the serious Churchill library. SPECIAL! We will include Curt’s unabridged Addendum (specify whether you want this by email or hard copy): $65 postpaid in USA. TO ORDER: Send check payable to The Churchill Centre, 200 West Madison Street, Suite 1700, Chicago IL 60606 USA. Or phone tollfree (888) WSC-1874. Credit cards accepted: Visa, Mastercard, Amex and Discover. Postage extra outside USA. FINEST HOUR 145 / 26


Poland’s Contribution to Victory in the Second World War W I N S TO N S. C H U R C H I L L Sir Winston’s grandson is a Churchill Centre Associate, Trustee and Honorary Member.

The only countries which fought from beginning of the war to the end were those of the British Commonwealth and Poland. There is room for many views about Churchill’s policies in respect of Poland, but there is no doubt he felt deeply toward that country, as this and the following article will describe.


he Polish people and nation will forever hold a warm place in British hearts. It was in defence of Poland’s freedom and independence that Great Britain drew the sword against Nazi Germany on 3 September 1939, within forty-eight hours of the German invasion of Polish territory. The 145 Polish pilots named in the RAF Roll of Honour for the Battle of Britain constituted the largest non-British contingent engaged. They formed five percent of the RAF’s front-line strength in the struggle, and provided its most battle-hardened pilots. No. 303 Kosciuszko Squadron claimed the highest number of “kills” (126) of all the squadrons engaged in the skies over Britain. Given the knife-edge on which the outcome depended, it could be argued that the Poles played a key role in turning the tide of victory when the fate not just of Britain, but of the world, hung in the balance. In the field of Intelligence Poland made an immense contribution by sharing with Britain and France, on 25 July 1939—just six weeks before war began—their six and onehalf years’ work in cracking the German Enigma code. This enabled the code-breakers at Bletchley Park, at a very early stage in the war, to provide my grandfather with the “Ultra” decrypts—undoubtedly the most important single source of

real-time intelligence available to the Prime Minister and the British Chiefs of Staff. “Ultra” played a crucial part in the successful prosecution of the war, and in ending it earlier than would otherwise have been the case. After the dismemberment of Poland by the Nazis and the Soviets acting in concert, the Polish Resistance came into being, numbering 200,000 to 300,000 soldiers and many more civilian sympathizers. In the wider field of Intelligence, 43 percent of all reports received by the British secret service from continental Europe during the war originated from the Polish Home Army, which furthermore provided the key intelligence that pinpointed and made possible the destruction of the Peenemunde V-2 Rocket launch-site by the RAF on the night of 17-18 August 1943. On land Polish ground-forces, allied to the British (General Anders’ Army), or serving under British command, numbered 142,000 by war’s end. The Soviets recruited a Polish People’s Army numbering 200,000 under their command. Among the key battles in which Polish ground forces took part were Warsaw (1939), France (1940), Narvik (1940), Tobruk (1941), Normandy (1944), Monte Cassino (1944), Arnhem (1944) and Berlin (1945). In the air, by the end of the war, 14,000 Polish airmen were serving in fifteen RAF squadrons or with the U.S.

The text is the author’s article in Poland’s Contribution to Victory in World War II, published in support of a new Polish War Memorial in National Memorial Arboretum near Litchfield, Staffordshire, England. The Arboretum comprises 150 acres of woodland and memorials dedicated to the fallen in wars of the 20th and 21st centuries. A detail of the Polish Memorial is shown above.

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Army Air Force. Losses of Polish aircrew serving with >> POLAND’S CONTRIBUTION... RAF Bomber Command amounted to 929. Meanwhile, at sea, 4000 Polish seamen served with the Royal Navy, of whom 450 perished, most in the Battle of the Atlantic. My grandfather was a great admirer of the Polish nation and a staunch defender of their national sovereignty. After the Great War, on 29 August 1920, Winston Churchill echoed William Pitt in 1805 by declaring: “Poland has saved herself by her exertions and will I trust save Europe by her example.” A generation on, following the outbreak of World War II, in his BBC broadcast of 1 October 1939, he avowed: “…Poland has been again overrun by two of the great powers which held her in bondage for 150 years, but were unable to quench the spirit of the Polish nation. The heroic defence of Warsaw shows that the soul of Poland is indestructible, and that she will rise again like a rock, which may for a spell be submerged by a tidal wave, but which remains a rock.” In a broadcast to the Polish people on 3 May 1941 he paid this tribute: “When the call came Poland did not hesitate…to risk all the progress she had made rather than compromise her national honour; and she showed in the spontaneous response of her sons and daughters that spirit of national unity and self-sacrifice which has maintained her among the great nations of Europe through all her many trials and tribulations.” On 22 February 1944 he declared in the House of Commons: “I took occasion to raise personally with Marshal Stalin the question of the future of Poland. I pointed out that it was in fulfillment of our guarantee to Poland that Great Britain declared war upon Nazi Germany; that we had never weakened in our resolve, even in the period when we were all alone; and that the fate of the Polish nation holds a prime place in the thoughts and policies of His Majesty’s Government and of the British Parliament. It was with great pleasure that I heard from Marshal Stalin that he, too, was resolved upon the creation and maintenance of a strong integral independent Poland as one of the leading Powers in Europe.” His hopes were frustrated. On 1 August 1944, with the Red Army on the banks of the River Vistula just sixty miles from Warsaw, General Bor Komorowski, Commander of the Polish Home Army—following repeated implorings by Radio Moscow—ordered a general uprising against the Nazi occupying forces. It was nothing but a cynical ploy by Stalin who, though nominally Poland’s ally, was determined to see the destruction, at the hands of the Nazis, of the Polish forces allied to the West, so as to install in power in postwar Poland a Communist puppet regime. The Nazis concentrated five divisions of troops including three SS divisions in Warsaw to quell the uprising. But Stalin ordered the Red Army, which had

WLADYSLAW SIKORSKI, Prime Minister in exile, was killed in a plane crash in July 1943 after demanding investigation of the Katyn Forest massacre of Poles, later proven to be Soviet work. Above left: Downing Street, 5 August 1940: Stepping into the garden after signing a British-Polish pact: WSC, Sikorski, Foreign Minister Zaleski, Deputy PM Attlee, Foreign Secretary Halifax. Above right: Sikorski, WSC and de Gaulle inspecting the Tenth Armoured Brigade, 10 September 1941. Below: Churchill and Sikorski inspecting coastal defences near St. Andrew’s, Scotland, 1 January 1941.

swept westwards 400 kilometres in the previous month, to stand fast on the Vistula, arms-folded—a shameful betrayal of an ally. This permitted the Nazis to destroy the Polish Home Army, together with the patriotic forces allied to them. For sixty-three days the battle raged in the streets of Warsaw—even in the sewers beneath. Desperate appeals flowed into London and Washington from the beleaguered Polish fighters, requesting urgent air-drops of weapons, ammunition and supplies. But Warsaw was at the extremity of the range of the RAF, and Stalin refused to allow Allied transport aircraft, after dropping supplies to the embattled Poles, to land and refuel in Soviet-liberated territory just 100 kilometres to the East. Churchill, determined to help the Poles any way that he could, was outraged. He promptly proposed to Roosevelt that Great Britain and the United States threaten jointly to suspend convoys to Murmansk and Archangel, delivering aircraft, tanks and war materiel to the Soviets, until Stalin agreed to allow their transport aircraft to land and refuel.

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SEPTEMBER 1939: THE MYTH ABOUT POLAND’S DEFENDERS Goebbels’ propaganda, in which Hitler’s Wehrmacht allegedly made short work of the “poorly trained Poles,” still speaks from the pages of many modern history books. In our capital, Warsaw, a single Polish Fifth Infantry Division repulsed the First and Fourth German Panzer Divisions for a week. In the “Warsovian Thermopylae,” men of the 30th Kaniowski Rifle Regiment halted the advance of the German 24th Infantry, allowing retreating Poles to make it back to Warsaw after defeat at Bzura river, costing the German 30th Regiment 500 men alone. Warsaw itself remained locked in combat until 26 September, after almost a month against overwhelming odds. For a week at Westerplatte, a small body of 180 riflemen from the Polish garrison withstood thousands of German soldiers, marines and SS, equipped with guns, heavy weapons, planes and a warship. The Poles lost fifteen, the Germans a couple hundred. (I speak of a “couple” because the Nazis never said a single word about losses.) The Polish Post Office was defended by fifty-one postmen, a trainman, a building owner with his wife and ten-year-old daughter. They withstood the attacks of Danzig Police, Wachsturmbanne SS, and SS Heimwehr Danzig, supported by artillery, demolition charges, armored vehicles and flame throwers. The Poles had three Browning machine guns, pistols, rifles and a few grenades. They fought from 4:45 a.m. until 5 p.m. when, refusing to surrender, they were forced out of the building when the Germans destroyed its walls with satchel charges. —Michał Godlewski, Warsaw (

POLISH HEROISM: In their stand at Westerplatte (above left), 180 Poles held off thousands of German invaders, and were celebrated by a postwar Polish stamp. Warsaw (left) held out for nearly a month against overwhelming German power, while patriotic posters exhorted the Poles to fight on. The gallant Sikorski, who led thousands of Poles fighting with British air, naval and army forces, was greatly revered in Britain. On 5 July 1949, Churchill arrived to greet Mrs. Helena Sikorska (above) at a reception at the General Sikorski Historical Institute, London. Sikorski’s memorial (right) stands at Kinburn Park, St. Andrew’s, Scotland.

President Roosevelt replied to the Prime Minister on 26 August: “I do not consider it advantageous to the longrange general war prospect for me to join you.” Without U.S. support, the proposal had to be abandoned and the Poles were left to fight on with minimal outside support against impossible odds. Speaking in Question Time in the House of Commons, a month later on 26 September, the Prime Minister said: “I welcome this opportunity of paying tribute to the heroism and tenacity of the Polish Home Army and the population of Warsaw, who, after five years of oppression have yet fought for nearly two months to contribute all in their power to the expulsion of the Germans from the capital of Poland.” Just a week later, the valiant but forlorn Polish resistance came to an end. A further three months were to ensue before the Soviet advance was resumed and Warsaw was “liberated” by the Red Army on 17 January 1945. It is frequently alleged that Churchill and Roosevelt

“gave away” Poland at the Yalta Conference (4-11 February 1945). The reality was that Poland’s fate had been sealed by the fact that the Soviet Red Army was by then already at the heart, and indeed at the throat, of Europe. Short of declaring war on the Soviets, which neither Britain nor the United States were in a position to do, there was nothing that could be done to save our gallant Polish allies, to whom so much was owed.


eville Bullock’s following article provides eyewitness testimony to how excruciating the Polish tragedy was to my grandfather. In Poland’s defence Britain had drawn the sword against Nazi Germany, and Poland’s contribution to the allied victory of 1945 was important—indeed heroic. I can say without hesitation that it was Churchill’s greatest disappointment of the war that Poland, in the very hour of her liberation, was to discover that five years of Nazi slavery was instantly replaced by a Soviet slavery that

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Eye-Witness to Potsdam: He Enjoyed BeingWinston Churchill. I Saw Him Depressed Only Once... N EV I L LE B U L LO C K

“Volunteers Wanted” In June 1945 I was among a number of Royal Marines returning home after duty aboard the aircraft carrier HMS Venerable. We arrived at Stonehouse Barracks, Plymouth, where we awaited our next posting. The barracks is a Georgian pile built in the 1700s, which has turned out England’s royal sea soldiers ever since. A party of Royal Marines was needed to escort the

Prime Minister on an undisclosed journey. We were called on parade, where the Adjutant and Regimental Sergeant Major lined us up in single file, asking for volunteers: “If you want to go, take one pace forward!” We were not told anything about the destination, nor how long the assignment would last. I and a few others volunteered. The Adjutant and RSM walked up the line and, without saying where, asked each of us if we were sure. “Yes

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Churchill to Giuliani Potsdam, 23 July 1945 - New York, 11 September 2001 The only man alive who knew them both. At age 19 the author, already a fully trained Royal Marine, found himself serving as a bodyguard to Prime Minister Winston Churchill during the last wartime summit conference, with Marshal Stalin and President Truman in Potsdam, a suburb of Berlin, in July 1945. In 1996 Neville Bullock, now 71, was elected councillor on the St. Helens Metropolitan Borough Council, Merseyside, England, where he served for eight years. Here he made the acquaintance of Rudolph Giuliani, Mayor of New York, who was cracking down on the city’s crime and street violence. When he asked the Mayor if he would discuss his “Zero Tolerance“ policy of community safety, Mr. Giuliani responded, and the author learned the strategies by which the Mayor and his team had cleaned up New York. The two have remained friends ever since.

sir,” we replied. They asked again. We replied again. The Adjutant chose thirty of us, and the RSM marched us away. Later, wearing black battledress with “Royal Marines” shoulder flashes, we travelled by train to London where we were billeted at the Union Jack Club, which to this day hosts serving and ex-serving military personnel. Here we were informed of the nature of our job: protection duty for the Prime Minister and the British delegation at the forthcoming Potsdam Conference with Stalin and Truman. Churchill’s bodyguard, Scotland Yard detective Walter Thompson, came to meet us. I think because I came from a police family, he chatted with me about the PM, warning me to keep a safe distance and to exercise discretion. Thompson had looked after the “old man” for eighteen years (1920-32, 1940-45); he had left the Yard when the war started, but Churchill had recalled him: “I want you back; Hitler may try to kill me.” Meeting Walter Thompson had a great effect on me; I was in awe of the tall, capable inspector from Scotland Yard. I expected he would be coming with us to Berlin, but in fact he had retired in May, and had just come down to brief us. I did not see him again.

In a large government garage at the back of Sloane Square, the delegation’s equipment was loaded by night and handed over to the Royal Marines. Awaiting departure, we remained at the Union Jack Club, causing many a raised eyebrow among other service personnel. One rarely saw a marine; to see a group of them in black battledress, keeping to themselves, piqued everyone’s interest. In late June at Northolt Airport, we boarded a Liberator bomber fitted out with passenger seats. It was my first time in the air, a fine spring morning as we flew across France. Scores of buildings, farms and hamlets had been blasted to rubble during the German retreat. Looking down at the ruins and bomb craters, the landscape seemed like a well-worn pewter plate. We landed at a Russian-held airfield—Gatow as I remember—in Spandau-Berlin. The Soviets told us we had one hour to get out. Two British army lorries appeared, and we and our equipment promptly departed. We entered Potsdam to the cheers of German civilians, mostly women and children, who had gathered on the sides of the road. It looked as though our secret was out. The British were assigned to one square mile in Babelsberg, once an up-market Potsdam village, totally >>

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Far left: I put President Truman’s height at c Churchill. In photos, all appear the same heigh take up some of the difference. The photograph open space, and I am sure this is why so few o Army stamp of approval! Right: After the electio Leahy (Chief of Staff to the President) and the th

The Wreckage of Berlin

EYEWITNESS TO POTSDAM... surrounded by the Red Army. Our access points were watched by Coldstream Guards, who were also on duty at the Prime Minister’s residence, the Villa Urbig on Kaiser Strasse. Billeted nearby, we prepared to take up our duties. Churchill’s mansion, just down the street, had been confiscated from a German family. It was a handsome building, close to a river and lake. Mr. Churchill lived upstairs, and meetings of the British delegation were held in a ground floor room off the foyer. Stalin and Truman had their own villas elsewhere in the town. The plenary sessions were conducted at Schloss Cecilienhof which, like Villa Urbig, was on Kaiser Strasse (see Finest Hour 132: 20).

The Red Army took what they wanted—and bicycles were the least of it. (From Carl Bahm, Berlin 1945: The Final Reckoning (London: Pen and Sword Books, 2001). Reprinted by permission of the publisher.

By the time I arrived, General Montgomery had lifted the “non-fraternisation” ban and British forces could openly associate with German civilians. In its early stages this usually meant answering questions from young German women. The only German men of any age I saw in the Berlin area were hobbling about on crutches: the war had taken a deadly toll of the male population. Berlin was a sorry sight, typified by something I saw in the ruins near the Reich Chancellery: a bus, blasted up during the bombing, which had landed across the roof corners of a semi-demolished building. It hung there, fifty feet from the ground, a monument to the grim toll of war. Women and children were walking about with little carts, picking up pieces of firewood and taking it back to the cellars where they lived. They came and went by tunnels burrowed through huge piles of rubble. German helmets, placed on small piles of bricks, covered the corpses of soldiers; from these piles rose the nauseous smell of death. The survivors were terrified of the Russians. Apart from the looting and cruelty, there were 100,000 reported rapes. Upon capturing Berlin, Stalin had authorised the Red Army to do as it liked. The Russians were taking a dreadful revenge for what had happened to their countrymen at the hands of the Wehrmacht. Russian infantrymen were good but largely illiterate soldiers who took what they wanted, even from their own women. Near the Brandenburg Gate, I saw a Red Army girl on a box, directing traffic with red and green flags. Five of her brother infantrymen pulled her off the box and dragged her, shouting and screaming, behind a bombed building. There was no doubt about their intentions, and no way to

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close to 62 inches, Churchill’s at 67, and Stalin within half an inch of ht, but it was clear to me that the President had heightened his shoes to hs were taken in the Villa grounds. Stalin had an aversion to being in any outdoor photos were taken. Left and above: My papers bore the Soviet on Clement Attlee (left) replaced Churchill. Standing are Admiral William hree foreign ministers: Ernie Bevin, James Byrnes, Vyacheslav Molotov.

help. The day before, an American army sergeant who tried to intervene in a similar scene had been shot and killed. I have always had bad thoughts about not acting, but I am still here.... Once I was invited to an official evening with the famous Cossack Regiment, intended to engender fraternal friendship. The Cossacks were a kind of cross between our Military Police and the Waffen SS. They were smart, efficient, and better educated than the infantrymen: the Soviet military “shop window.” But the evening was an awkward affair, in part because of the atrocities we had witnessed. There was a deep feeling of mistrust on both sides.

The Conference Begins The conference started on 15 July. Its chief purpose was to agree on the administration of postwar Germany, settle border questions, establish the postwar order, plan for the peace treaty to come, and counter the effects of war. Each of the allied leaders was accompanied by bodyguards. Stalin was surrounded by six huge OGPU (NKVD) men; I could barely see him through the spaces between his guards, who guarded him closely. Truman had four large FBI men who also kept close formation around him. Churchill, much more at ease, walked across the foyer without fuss, although there was always an overlap of Royal Marines who were on continuous double-shift duty. Passing through the foyer of the Villa Urbig was an impressive array of dignitaries: the Prime Minister, Eden and Lindemann, generals and admirals, regimental colonels and adjutants, senior officers and interpreters, journalists and security guards. Clement Attlee, the Labour Party

leader, whom Churchill had courteously brought along in the event of a Labour victory in the concurrent election, was an observer. Churchill’s daughter Mary was her father’s aide-de-camp. General Slim was not able to attend because of his commitments to the “forgotten” 14th Army, still fighting the Japanese in Burma. I was assigned to the Churchill/Lindemann team: the Prime Minister, his scientific adviser Professor Frederick Lindemann, along with a Mr. Clarke and a Mr. Brown. “The Prof” was an established friend of the Churchill family, and I once heard Mary, the PM’s daughter, greet him with “Hello, Uncle.” He did not smoke, drank very little, and had no apparent interest in women: a serious man, 100 percent loyal to his boss. I became aware that in my circumstances one got to “know things,” but had to keep them to oneself. In any case, we were bound by the Official Secrets Act. Messrs. Clarke and Brown intimated that they were “back room boys.” Clarke, the senior, was very quiet, but Brown was more open and gave me a good insight as to what occupied “the Prof” and the Prime Minister. It was hot in Potsdam, but conventional summer recreation was risky. One day a member of our staff, sitting on the river’s edge and dangling his feet in the water, was surprised when a shot rang out and a bullet thudded into the bank three feet away. It came from Soviet patrols on the opposite bank. Everyone was told to stay out of the river. On another day a tornado hit. Off duty in the Royal Marines house, I saw a large greenhouse fly across the garden, twenty feet off the ground. There was damage to trees, but the buildings seemed unscathed. It was noisy but short-lived. >>

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Dramatis Personae LINDEMANN: “The Prof” was WSC’s scientific adviser and an established friend of the Churchill family. I once heard Mary, the PM’s daughter, greet him with “Hello, Uncle.” He did not smoke, drank very little, and had no apparent interest in women: he was a very serious man, 100 percent loyal to his boss.

EDEN: Foreign Secretary in the Caretaker Government, and in the wartime Coalition before it, he was polished and urbane. Incidentally, Eden always kept a bottle of gin or whisky handy, but unlike Churchill, he never appeared to suffer from scurrilous remarks about his drinking.

ISMAY: Churchill called his Chief of Staff “Pug” for his resemblance to that breed, and he exhibited all the canine virtues of loyalty. But even General Ismay was very careful not to speak unless spoken to first. After Labour won the election he told us: “Mr. Churchill has resigned, Attlee is in. We shall have to stay in the bloody army now.”

ATTLEE: Fom the day he returned after the election to the end of the conference, he never spoke a word in my hearing. From what I picked up from the “internal telegraph,” he was a cultured man, extremely quiet, and only had one friend: Mr. Bevin. Attlee gave the impression that he wanted the conference over as quickly as possible,

BEVIN: I was taken aback the first day we met when he came right up to me and asked, “How are you, lad?” He asked where I came from, and got me talking. I found him to be a most friendly man. He stopped briefly over the next few days and I began to pick up his socialist leanings. He also conveyed a very special envelope to me from WSC.


Mr. Churchill The Prime Minister, now into his 71st year, was still the anchor man of freedom. His health seemed remarkably good for his age. He was buoyant, walked with a cheeky swing, and did not give two hoots for any possible danger. We had no difficulties securing his safety in the villa, but our job was more hazardous when he wanted to look round. Twice he went on walkabouts in Berlin, plainly unworried at being what I saw as an open target. He enjoyed being Winston Churchill, and demanded all the consideration that went with his job; but he also believed he could look after himself. It was a relief when we returned to Babelsberg and the comparative safety of Villa Urbig. The PM never showed any signs of fatigue, and always wanted to “get on with it.” His spirit carried our entire delegation. I did see him depressed once, when he looked totally fed up. More of this anon. Although there were journalists from all three allied nations, I found the Americans aggressive in their attempts to find news—as did WSC. Once, walking across the foyer, an American reporter tried to ask him something I could not catch. The old man snarled, “Get him out,” and he and his comrade were ejected; they did not appear again whilst I was on duty. This was another instance of Mr. Churchill’s moods. He could change very quickly but was able to compensate just as fast. Here, I thought, is a man who does not suffer fools gladly—who radiates concentration. Even his chief of staff, General Ismay, was very careful not to speak unless spoken to first. Mr. Churchill would sometimes joke with Lindemann about the Prof’s abstinence, which reminds me of a particularly annoying myth. It was started during the war by the German propaganda minister Goebbels, but some historians still repeat the notion that Winston Churchill was a drunk. I was there and the historians were not. Mr. Churchill was no more a drunk than anyone who likes a drink. He did have his favourite tipples, brandy or whisky, topped up with champagne, and he pleased himself when he fancied a glass, which helped him work. Incidentally, our own Foreign Secretary, Anthony Eden, always kept a bottle of gin or whisky handy, and he never appeared to suffer from scurrilous remarks.

Mr. Attlee On July 25th Churchill and Attlee returned to London for the election results, and I was left in Babelsberg with General Ismay and other military staff. We all expected a few days’ relaxation before Mr. Churchill returned. To our shock came the unbelievable news of a Labour landslide. With a strained face, Gen. Ismay told us: “Mr. Churchill FINEST HOUR 145 / 34

WALKABOUTS: The Prime Minister walked with a cheeky swing and didn’t give two hoots for any possible danger. Left: Visiting the ruins of Hitler’s bunker on July 16th, WSC exits where jerry cans mark an important spot: “Our Russian guides then took us to Hitler's air-raid shelter. I went down to the bottom and saw the room in which he and his mistress had committed suicide, and when we came up again they showed us the place where his body had been burned. We were given the best first-hand accounts available at that time of what had happened in these final scenes.” (Triumph and Tragedy, 546.) Right: On July 21st, Churchill took the salute from the Eighth Army and other British units. Two large oblong platform boxes were erected along the Tiergarten and I was stationed at the steps to the box designated for the Prime Minister’s party. Left to right: “The Prof” (Lindemann), Montgomery, Sir Alexander Cadogan (obscured), WSC, Ismay, Field Marshal Alexander and, paper in hand, WSC’s doctor, Lord Moran.

has resigned, Attlee is in. We shall have to stay in the bloody army now.” (Of course I didn’t “hear” that—and neither has anyone else, until now.) Clement Attlee, now Prime Minister, duly returned, accompanied by Ernest Bevin, our new Foreign Secretary. They started to tidy up the conference paperwork, signing off on Poland, whose fate was not their fault. It had really been settled by the onrushing Red Army and the Yalta Conference, although Churchill had hoped, vainly as it turned out, that Stalin would allow a Polish democracy. Attlee took over the British Delegation on 28 July, and from that day to the end of the conference on 2 August, he never spoke a word in my hearing. From what I picked up from the “internal telegraph,” he was a cultured man, extremely quiet, and had only one friend: Mr. Bevin. Attlee gave the impression that he wanted the conference over as quickly as possible, and there was no fuss abut him, compared to the frenzied daily activities of Churchill.

Mr. Bevin In the foyer the day Attlee returned I recognised Ernie Bevin. He had been Minister of Labour in the wartime coalition government, which had broken up in late May, when Churchill had formed a “caretaker” Conservative government until the election. After the Labour victory (and much to his surprise), Attlee had asked him to be Foreign Secretary, and on July 27th he had resigned as General Secretary of the Transport and General Workers Union, a position he had held since it was created in 1922. I was rather taken aback when Bevin came right up to me and said, “How are you, lad?” in his distinctive West

Country accent. “All right, sir, thank you,” I replied. He smiled warmly and continued: “Come on lad, how are you really?” I was not supposed to speak unless it concerned the job at hand, so I hastily said, “I really am all right, sir!” Undeterred, Bevin asked where I came from, and got me talking. I found him to be a most friendly man. He stopped briefly over the next few days and I began to pick up his socialist leanings, which he explained as “looking after people and doing away with poverty.” I thought Ernie Bevin had singled me out because of my working class background. I was pleased, because until then I’d thought the Labour Party was all “black beards and cellars.” In fact, as I later learned, he was looking for me, because he had brought something for me from England— of which more shortly. I came to Bevin’s aid one day in an encounter with the Russian Minister for Employment. They were speaking through interpreters, and Bevin had heard something about the treatment of Russian workers, which upset him. He shouted at the Russian to the effect that he would not get away with that in England. This was badly translated, and fists were nearly flying—all because of their interpreters! Having had friendly chats with Bevin, I felt safe to interrupt the argument by telling him there was an important message for him. It worked, fortunately. “Right, thank you,” he said, and left the foyer with a very long face. The conference wound up on 2 August and we returned home the next day as I remember—this time aboard a twin-engine C-47 Dakota, a modified Douglas DC-3 used for transport. I remember asking one of the Canadian pilots if it was normal to see oil streaming out a portside engine; to my relief he said it was. >>

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The critical question at Potsdam concerned Poland’s western boundary. Churchill states in Triumph and Tragedy that he and Eden could never have agreed to the Western Neisse, encompassing largely German populations (as agreed later by Attlee) as the Polish frontier. He writes that upon his return from England, he was prepared if necessary to have a public break with Stalin rather than allow any territory beyond the Eastern Neisse to be ceded to Poland.

Above: A demographic map used at Potsdam to show the territories being transferred (Wikimedia Commons). Churchill planned to resist the transfer from Germany of the lower striped area. Above right: A map comparing the boundaries of postwar Poland agreed by Attlee, Truman and Stalin (shaded area) to the prewar boundaries (the white areas went to the USSR). Right: A note from General Ismay in the author’s possession advising that Bevin was “not back from the conference yet” but “probably will come to the mess before lunch.”


Poland, Churchill and Bevin I mentioned seeing Churchill really depressed only once. Indeed I remember the date: the evening of July 23rd. The Potsdam agreement was still being finalised, with arguments over Poland’s border; but the cause of his anguish was deeper than that. Even in my lowly rank, I had picked up the word: Polish freedom was being extinguished, and Mr. Churchill was devastated and angry. Over Poland he had had only lukewarm support from Truman, and he felt humiliated by Stalin. I know this because I had to burn Churchill’s meeting notes on July 23rd. One sentence stands out in my memory: “Poland will be divided and further subdivided into areas of collective farming, and the Polish peasants will be put to work in these areas.” This certainly depressed him. At the 1995 International Churchill Conference, one of the panelists, Dr. Larry Arnn, compared “British interests” in Greece (trade and support of British foreign policy) with “Soviet interests” in Poland—which, he said, were “everything Poland had.” Indeed, Stalin used Poland as his pantry; he took almost everything it produced. And Churchill knew what was coming on 23 July 1945. That evening the Prime Minister managed to slip unaccompanied out a back door of the villa into the courtyard. An ATS kitchen girl saw him and alerted me. I ran after him down the path. He had gone about twenty yards. As I caught up, he swung round with an angry look. “Do you have to follow me everywhere?” “Yes, sir,” I said.

“Well, you’re a bladdy nuisance.” Momentarily I felt as though I had been electrocuted but characteristically, he immediately put it right: “Oh, come along. I’ve been a bladdy nuisance for years.” Back at the door, I stood aside to let him through. He stopped. There was a sad, questioning look on his face as he said to me very seriously: “There’s a cold wind coming, you know. We are going to have to keep warm.” He turned to go, I said good-night, he gave a grunt, and that was that. Soon after Ernie Bevin arrived in late July I realized why he had sought me out. Before one of the plenary sessions he said, “I have something for you,” and at lunch the next day he handed me a creamy, buff-coloured envelope. I looked in surprise at the large letters written on it: B NUISANCE “Do you know who that’s from?” Mr. Bevin asked. “I think so, sir.” I opened it and found three one pound notes—equivalent to three weeks’ wages. There was nothing else. Mr. Bevin nodded and left. I am sure he knew all about it. Later I told him of my July 23rd conversation with Churchill, saying, “I’m afraid he was upset.” Bevin smiled and said, “That’s something to tell your grandchildren.” What did I do with the envelope? Nothing. It was a welcome closure of a most unusual and unique experience. As Mr. Bevin recommended, I have indeed told my two grandsons, aged 23 and 24. They have shown much interest in what I did at Potsdam. In answer to them, and many others who have asked me what Churchill was like, I always give the same answer. He was the man for England at the right time. ,

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Stamps Relate Poland’s Sad World War II Story


vast array of “Churchill-Related” stamps can be used to trace the tragedy of Poland in World War II. Right: Anguilla’s Churchill issue --(1974) shows WSC before the microphones and illustrates his “Soul of Poland” speech on 18 September 1939. It is accompanied by USA issues marking Overrun Poland (1944) and the Polish Millennium (966-1966). A grim reminder of the German onslaught are the three “General Government” overprints early in the occupation. The originals are on the next page, below. • Below left: Polish stamps celebrate Marshal Pilsudski, the ‘tween wars Polish leader largely responsible for regaining independence; Ignacy Moscicki, President 1926 through the German invasion; and Marshal Smigly-Rydz (or Rydz-Smigly), who in 1935 succeeded Pilsudski as general inspector of the armed forces and served in that capacty during the German invasion. Other stamps illustrate the 1939 battle, augmented by a 1965 Brazil Churchill issue. • Below center: A 1954 Poland commemorative celebrates the sesquicentennial of national hero Thaddeus Kosciuszko’s 1794 uprising against the Russians. Surrounding Poland’s stamp marking the brave stand at Westerplatte is a blood-red German Hitler issue and four German semi-postals which help to illustrate the nature of Hitler’s assault on Poland in September 1939. • Below right: A General Government occupation commemorative marking the 400th anniversary of the death of the astronomer and mathemetician Nicolaus Copernicus illustrates a powerful irony. Although Copernicus was born in 1743 in Thorn, Kingdom of Poland, he is hailed by the German occupiers as “Die Deutschen Astronomen.” ,

Stop Press: The Ball Catalogue of Churchill Stamps Coming Shortly Celwyn Ball, former president of ICS Canada, has spent over half a century creating the world’s most complete collection of Churchill stamps, and will soon publish a complete illustrated catalogue of every issue to date. Finest Hour will publish excerpts from this signal work, beginning with Celwyn’s survey of Churchill issues over the past decade, starting soon. FINEST HOUR 145 / 37


The True Tale of the Tank Teapots DOUGLAS HALL The late Douglas Hall, for many years Finest Hour’s Churchilliana editor, was author of The Book of Churchilliana (2001), the most comprehensive reference to the hundreds of pieces of memorabilia produced over the years in Winston Churchill’s image. He left a large backlog of articles which we were are pleased now to offer our readers.

Tanked! The 17th/21st Lancers exchanged horses for tanks in 1938 and served with distinction in World War II. It is a happy coincidence that a certain former officer of the 21st Lancers played a prominent role in tank development during World War I. (See “Churchill on the Tank,” two articles by Marcus Frost and David Fletcher, Finest Hour 135, Spring 2007.) One of the most successful British World War II tanks was the “Churchill.” Ordered “off the drawing board” and delivered in less than a year, the early versions had teething troubles, as the Prime Minister explained: “...large numbers went into production very might be expected it had many defects...and it was therefore appropriately rechristened the ‘Churchill.’” The defects were soon overcome and the “Churchill” fought in support of infantry operations, crewed by members of the Royal Armoured Corps or infantry battalions converted to armour. The “Churchill tank teapot” has no relation to the tank bearing Churchill’s name, but Finest Hour gets a lot of questions about it from collectors, who always ask if the figure peeking out from the top is Churchill.

Upper left: Model of a Churchill Mark VII tank in desert camouflage for service in North Africa in 1943. Above: Sadlers’ 1940 remake of the World War I teapot with Churchill’s image for the lid. Left: The WW1 image, shown here on a money bank, was a British tommy.

From World War I through the 1920s, James Sadler & Sons of Burslem sold a teapot and a money box in the shape of the Mark I Foster tank. The cover or lid of the teapot—and the top of the money box—were of an identical design: a steel-helmeted soldier, with a contorted grimace, peering from the turret. The money box, though not the teapot, was inscribed, “Where’s that blinkin’ Kaiser?” The soldier represented no one in particular: just an ordinary British tommy. In 1940, with Churchill now prime Mminister, somebody at Sadler’s remembered his role as “Father of the Tank” and resurrected the original teapot moulds. The teapot body mould was reused without modification, but a new lid was modelled with the quite unmistakable, and smiling, features of Churchill, smoking a large cigar and wearing a golden steel helmet. The Churchill tank teapot was produced only for a short time before the pottery was turned over to producing industrial ceramics for the war effort. Both versions of the teapot are now scarce—the Churchill model extremely so. We can understand the confusion, and sympathise with those readers whose teapot is not what they thought it was, but to those still seeking this rare piece of Churchilliana, there is no mistaking the real thing when you see it.

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Left: A first class likeness, signed and marked “Copyright. Made in England” on the back. Painted grey (others are known in white) which enhances the detail, 8½” tall by 4½” wide. Plinth inscribed, “Let us go Forward Together.” I have seen this bust, cast in bronze, on sale for up to $500. The plaster version would cost much less. Not common. Right: A fair likeness, 7” tall, finely detailed, unsigned, scarce (up to £50 in 2009), the detail picked out in brown and coated in golden varnish. “Winston Churchill” on the plinth suggests that it predates 1953, when WSC was knighted and became Sir Winston.

Plastered! Sculptures in Plaster of Paris are usually regarded as inferior to those carved in marble or cast in bronze. This is true in material terms, but the skill employed in fashioning an original clay model is an entirely equal test of a sculptor’s abilities. Many eminent sculptors working on the finer materials have issued plaster maquettes to sell in higher quantities at more affordable prices. The reputation of plaster busts has suffered over the years from a flood of inferior examples—poorly designed, moulded in low-grade material, shoddily finished and often vulgar, directed at the “cheap and cheerful” popular market.

Churchill was a popular personality, and humble homes throughout the land sought to display his image on the sideboard at low cost. But the high visiblity of these cheaper items tends to overshadow the superior plaster sculptures, such as the four shown here. The use of quality calcium sulfate plaster produces a hard and finely textured surface allowing delicate detail, often with more definition than can be achieved in china, bronze or marble. The best plaster works are protected with a coat of varnish or paint, and can be aesthetically equal to those in more expensive materials. Such works are fully worthy of display alongside the best commemorative items. Usually they are unsigned, for the artists were unfortunately never destined to take their place alongside Jacob Epstein and Oscar Nemon. ,

Left: A wall plaque, varnished, 8”x7” and unsigned. Judging by the expression, this may date from 1945. Sculptures of Churchill with expansive smiles are quite rare. Yousuf Karsh, Cecil Beaton and Vivienne Entwhistle certainly seem to have set the tone for Churchillian images which other artists try to follow. Right: Varnished plaster bust, 8” tall, signed on rear of left shoulder. Three examples are known, all with different signatures “M Lindman,” “J H Bird” and indecipherable. Best guess: do-it-yourself busts, made from a common mould, either in a sculpting class or supplied in a kit. Some think this dates to the 1920s, but its likely origins (and Churchill’s appearance) seem much later. One example cost £55; likely more in 2009.

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Books, A rts & Curiosities The Un-Great Non-Debate RICHARD M. LANGWORTH

The Great Debate: “Resolved, that Winston Churchill was more a liability than an asset to the free world.” Sponsored by Intelligence Squared, viewable on C-Span. See:


abling a truly ridiculous motion on September 3rd, Intelligence Squared (“the only institution in town aside from Parliament to provide a forum for debate on the crucial issues of the day”) combined with C-Span to bring us this, er, spectacle. It would have been more illuminating to debate whether Hitler or Churchill was the better painter. I will spare you tempting wisecracks about Intelligence Squared. The debate (hardly a “crucial issue of the day”) was so organized as to obfuscate the argument by forcing panelists to respond to disparate questions hurled in succession from the audience. It started off interestingly, but soon tapered into a long palimpsest of clichés, accusations, denials and counter-charges. Arguing the affirmative, and by far the most lively and effective debater, was the engaging Patrick J.

Buchanan (Churchill, Hitler and the Unnecessary War, FH 139:13). His team included Norman Stone (Bilkent University, Turkey) and a supercilious Cambridge don, Nigel Knight, whose Churchill: The Greatest Briton Unmasked (FH 141:53) concludes that only Hitler made WSC a historical figure. Pat Buchanan was the best they had going. A great polemicist, he knows how to liven things up. But he could have done better by enlisting John Charmley, a witty and able critic, and, like himself, a gentleman. Opposing the motion was a team led by Andrew Roberts (Masters and Commanders and numerous other sound histories). Roberts is a razorsharp advocate, but the nature of the program prevented him from getting in all his best ripostes. He stuck too closely to his prepared remarks and— except for a few preemptive strikes at what he knew was coming—not until the Q&A was he able to chop away at the forest of misinformation. Also effective was Anthony Beevor (D-Day: The Battle for Normandy), supported by Richard Overy of the University of Exeter, who usually just repeated Roberts’ points while sniffing at Knight’s. Stone seemed mainly to talk about growing up in postwar Britain and what a bad picture of him appeared in the papers. What it came down to was a superficially compelling attack by Buchanan (“We have come not to praise Churchill but to bury him”), who rolled out all the shibboleths and out-of-context quotes from his book, from Churchill leading the war party in FINEST HOUR 145 / 40

1914 to bombing Dresden in 1945. Pat labeled 1940’s failed attempt to occupy Norway the “worst British debacle,” but later gave that title to the British guarantee to Poland in 1939, omitting that it was Chamberlain who did that. Roberts called him on this, but Buchanan replied that, well, Churchill was “urging Neville Chamberlain on,” forgetting that the last person Chamberlain was listening to in March 1939 was Churchill. Norway-as-Debacle is somewhat outranked by Singapore, but not to worry: Knight trotted out Singapore later. He was right that WSC guessed wrong on Singapore—but so did the entire British military establishment. Buchanan’s most original idea was that it wasn’t necessary to guarantee Poland (which couldn’t be guaranteed, after all). Britain and France merely had to “draw a line down the middle of Europe,” to the west of which they would throw all their might against German aggression. Er, what? Debate where it should have been if you like—but Churchill’s whole purpose in life from 1933 onward was to get somebody, somewhere, to draw that line, and nobody ever did. The Rhineland was a practical line, and we all know how the French and Stanley Baldwin responded to Hitler over that piece of real estate (Finest Hour 141:16). Of the Polish guarantee, Churchill said roughly what Pat Buchanan said: “Here was decision at last, taken at the worst possible moment and on the least satisfactory ground, which must surely lead to the slaughter of tens of millions of people.” (One of the quotes Pat didn’t mention; later he told me that Churchill only believed this in retrospect. Prove it.) Nigel Knight took the attack to the 1920s when, he said, Churchill not only foisted the Gold Standard on Britain, impoverishing her for the war ahead, but disarmed in the face of Hitler—whom Knight (but nobody else) divines was a serious threat circa 1928, when the Nazis held 2.6 percent of the vote. It was of course the Bank of England that wanted the Gold Standard, and not without reason,

though this is an argument far removed from the subject. Knight landed one good punch by declaring—in support of invading France in 1943—that they used more landing craft in the invasion of Italy than in Normandy. If that’s true, it’s an interesting point, but in his zeal Knight forgets that in the final analysis, D-Day was postponed through a series of decisions by Roosevelt, Churchill and their military advisers—and delay was the wisest of choices. The rest of Knight’s attack comprised wholesale non-information in gratuitous and arrogant tones: I know all this, so just shut up and listen. Anthony Beevor gamely replied, and the third batters on each team followed suit, but it soon developed into an exchange of “the real facts” versus “travesties of the truth.” I soon wanted to pull the plug on my monitor. Moderator Joan Bakewell helped make the time drag by complaining about the sound and the light, and by

taking questions in bunches rather than one at a time. This distracted the debaters and got into all sorts of muddles, dropped threads and mistaken recollections of the questions. The most interesting factor, Bakewell concluded, was the difference between the two audience votes, taken before and after the debate: Vote taken: Before After For the Motion 118 181 Against 1167 1194 Don’t know 422 34

Oho, Bakewell chortled: The pro-Churchill side added twenty-seven votes, but the anti-Churchill side added sixty-three! She implied that Buchanan and Co. had made serious inroads. Not really. The startling change was in the totals. Add them up and you’ll find that 1707 people were there to vote before the debate, but only 1409 afterward. The rest apparently left early. Justifiably. ,

The View from the Two Bunkers TED HUTCHINSON

Churchill’s Bunker: The Secret Headquarters at the Heart of Britain’s Victory, by Richard Holmes. Profile Books, hardbound, illus., 246 pages, $27.40, member price $22.


eemingly every Churchill admirer outside of England eventually conducts a pilgrimage to the island home of his hero. My first visit was in 1999, and I was determined to see all the sights. I went to Blenheim, and was also able to visit the House of Commons. (A tolerant security guard, in those easygoing pre-9/11 days, even

let me sit in Churchill’s old seat below the gangway.) For pilgrims, Chartwell is Mecca, but a close second is the underground complex known then and now as the Cabinet War Rooms. They were, author Holmes states, at the heart of Britain’s victory in the Second World War. I wish I’d had a copy of Churchill’s Bunker when I visited the War Rooms that first time. One of the finest of a dwindling number of academic military historians, Holmes offers an engrossing narrative history from conception during World War I to frantic planning in weeks leading up to World War II, when everyone assumed cities like London would be bombed to dust. Prewar plans for an underground headquarters accommodating Britain’s political leaders were first thought feasible only in the suburbs, away from the destruction central London would witness. Circumstances made these contingencies unnecessary; Churchill FINEST HOUR 145 / 41

Churchill Centre Book Club Managed for the Centre by Chartwell Booksellers (, which offers member discounts up to 25%. To order please contact Chartwell Booksellers, 55 East 52nd Street, New York, NY 10055. Email Telephone (212) 308-0643 Facsimile (212) 838-7423

BUNKERS... and his staff would eventually work with the largely improvised (and, as the author points out, not altogether safe) War Rooms beneath what was called the New Public Offices (Number Ten Annexe), just a few steps from Ten Downing Street. Holmes does yeoman work in sorting out the tricky chronology of where Churchill was during the war, and what offices he used. Even meticulously researched volumes like the official biography sometimes are unclear about WSC’s location. Holmes explains that Churchill first preferred Downing Street, but spent most of his war at Number Ten Annexe. Contrary to myth, WSC ventured into the underground rooms rarely, and probably slept there only on a handful of nights. The importance of the War Rooms, however, go beyond the presence of the Prime Minister. Holmes provides fascinating detail about how the War Rooms worked, from the all-important Map Room to the men and women who staffed the various offices. These lowerlevel workers, and particularly the military and civilian women who did the grunt work, are the real heroes of the War Rooms. Totally dedicated and professional, “the girls” kept secrets as well as any military officers: some did not reveal their wartime activities to their families until the 1980s. It is largely through these women that we see the development of the War Rooms, from a headquarters for Churchill and his staff early on, to an administrative and communications center as the Blitz waned. (The rooms still proved their worth as a shelter when rockets began falling on >>

BUNKERS... London late in the war.) Holmes also follows the staff on their trips abroad: the War Rooms staff became so indispensable that they had to travel to key meetings overseas. The final chapter is an excellent summary of the history of the War Rooms from 1945 to its present status as the Churchill Museum. That journey in itself is interesting. In a sense the War Rooms have functionally been a museum since the day the war ended. Worthies who knew the right people could always get a tour of “the bunker.” But the situation now is much improved; everyone gets a chance to view this fascinating slice of history. Visitors will be able to enjoy the Churchill Museum much more if they read Holmes’s book, which captures a lost age and brings many people, some well known and some not, into the light of history.

The Third Reich at War, by Richard J. Evans. Penguin, hardbound, illus., 944 pages, $40, member price $32.


ichard Evans’ latest volume is third =in a trilogy on the history of Adolf Hitler’s “Thousand-year Reich.” The first two volumes (The Coming of the Third Reich and The Third Reich in Power) combine with it to form the finest full-scale study of Hitler’s Germany ever written, and this volume can now take its place as the most important English-language history of Germany in the Second World War. This book is mandatory for anyone who wishes to have a fuller understanding of the conflict from the perspectives of Hitler and his lieutenants, as well as the common German soldier and civilian. It also meticulously and thoughtfully catalogs

the history of Nazi Germany’s many victims, including the mentally ill, the elderly, criminals, gypsies, and masses of Slavic and Jewish peoples. The violence that Hitler unleashed is horrifying. I found the atrocities, committed on nearly every page, so vivid and well-described that they often brought me to tears, and I had to put the book down to recover from the awful things I read. None of this violence is offered gratuitously; it is there because it was a fact of Hitler’s war. Every time I read about another child being murdered or a family being shot and bulldozed into a mass grave, I thought about Britain’s and Churchill’s determination to continue fighting when there was no one else left to fight. And that led me to think carefully about some claims that revisionist historians have made in the past. Aside from offering a superb narrative and chronological history, Evans emphasizes two indisputable points: 1) Hitler was aware of, approved of, and in fact led every part of the war and its horrors, including the Holocaust. 2) The “ordinary German” participated in and approved of the genocide and destruction. Indeed the most fervent supporters of the Reich were younger people—especially those who had come of age after Hitler rose to power, and knew little of politics other than the Fuehrer’s racism, hate and cynicism. There is little in this volume


Churchill’s Wizards: The British Genius for Deception, 1914-1945, by Nicholas Rankin. Faber & Faber, paperback, illus., 672 pp., $14.95, Amazon $11.69. FINEST HOUR 145 / 42

about Churchill, which may lead FH readers to wonder why it is being reviewed. The reason is that it is a hugely important contribution to the study of the seminal event of Churchill’s life. To understand Churchill’s momentous decision to fight on in 1940, we need to understand that Hitler was uniquely evil. Yes, the 20th century produced a number of abhorrent individuals; Stalin and Mao murdered more people; but they had more time. Hitler’s aggressiveness, which knew no national boundaries, his thirst to wipe whole races off the map, and his lack of concern about unleashing the most terrible war in history, put him in a class by himself. As Fox News commentator Brit Hume put it recently, there were worse murderers, but calling someone a “Hitler” is the worst thing you can say. And Evans does make it clear (as did Hitler’s biographer Ian Kershaw) that Churchill was Hitler’s main nemesis. Even during his last days in his bunker, Hitler was muttering that the war was Churchill’s fault; that even peace with Stalin would have been more likely than peace with the inexorable Briton who would never stop. Many plaudits have been placed on Winston Churchill’s shoulders. His fifty-year political career was unmatched in recent history. But no honor is greater than to have been the arch-enemy of Adolf Hitler. ,


recent addition to the growing =shelf of “Churchill and” books, this centers on Britain’s use of propaganda, camouflage (the book’s most important historical contributions), secret intelligence and special forces— all subjects near and dear to Churchill during both world wars. There is some discussion of code-breaking as well. But it must be noted that Churchill’s direct tie to much of this derring-do is often pretty thin. While the book is well-written and eminently readable, and filled with interesting sidebars, Churchill appears only here and there, more often absent than present on its pages.

Rankin, a BBC producer turned historian and biographer, carries his reader along with artful comparisons of what actually happened with what fiction and non-fiction books said had happened—often not the same thing. But Rankin’s focus is not on Whitehall’s politicians but on unsung figures behind the scenes. Examples: We read of Archibald Wavell, long before he became a World War II general; several World War I camouflage creators, including the marine painter Norman Wilkinson; T.E. Lawrence as he developed his Arab persona in 1917-19; and jolly Sefton Delmer, who was a reporter before becoming (after 1940) a black propaganda radio expert. Rankin’s book is a


World War II: Saving the Reality, A Collector’s Vault, by Kenneth W. Rendell. Whitman, hardbound, slipcased, 144 pages, profusely illustrated in color with 80 replicas, $49.95, member price $40.


ere is the most indispensible guide ever created to the war that made us what we are today. From students to veterans, readers will be captivated by this portable version of Kenneth Rendell’s Museum of World War II: an unimitated collection of wartime memorabilia, documents, personal effects and autographs housed in an unmarked building in Natick, Massachusetts. Visits to the Museum itself are necessarily restricted. Being private, it has no public-access facilities; moreover, there are few barriers—thousands

series of interwoven vignettes demonstrating entertaining and insightful examples of British deceptive creativity and pluck, often in the face of huge odds. While I recommend this as a useful survey, it is not a “Churchill book,” despite a title that seeks to produce sales by suggesting otherwise. Even in its second part, dealing with the 1939-45 period when Churchill bestrode the government, the Prime Minister appears only sporadically. It’s a tactical rather than strategic tale. Rankin supplies us with profiles of people and tasks that developed (in part) from Churchill directives; but this is really a contextual history of British responses during both world wars. ,

of exhibits are displayed in the open. Naturally, Mr. Rendell is particular who meanders through his trove. Now through his book, everyone may experience and even “handle” the artifacts. It would take pages to describe the exhibits, but this book does a fine job. Reproductions of paper items from postcards to passports are tucked into envelopes and pockets, or taped to the pages of a massive, landscape-format book housed in a sturdy slipcase. The Rendell collection runs from identification papers for SS soldiers to the rough draft of the Munich agreement, with amendments in their own hands by Hitler and Chamberlain (rescued from a bin by Nevile Henderson, British Ambassador to Germany); from maps of German invasion plans (including Ireland) to wartime propaganda posters from every belligerent; from Holocaust and POW documents to confidential letters from Roosevelt to Churchill; from first editions of Mein Kampf and the Diary of Anne Frank to German town signs warning Jews to keep out; from officer insignia fashioned by prisoners from food tins to Nazi flyers designed to demoralize invading Allied troops: “Blondes prefer strong and healthy men—not cripples!” On my last visit to the Museum, Mr. Rendell showed me a recent acquiFINEST HOUR 145 / 43

MARKETING A WAR... sition: an innocent sheet of yellowing stencil paper labeled OPERATIONS ORDER and dated 6 August 1945. On it were the names of a flight crew— Tibbets, Sweeney, Marquardt, McKnight—and the notation: “BOMBS: Special.” It was the ops-order for the atomic bomb that devastated Hiroshima. Sure enough, a perfect replica of this priceless document is housed in a pocket of the final chapter. Indeed, no outstanding item from the famous Rendell collection seems to be missing, except maybe his tank and landing craft, Hitler’s personal effects, the “gentleman’s toiletries” box Hermann Goering took to prison in Nuremberg, and waxwork figures of Churchill, Hitler, Patton and Montgomery—but most of these are pictured. The book like the museum is laid out in chronological order, from the prostrate Germany that emerged defeated after World War I, to Victory over Japan in September 1945. By far the most chilling aspect of this hoard are the brilliantly effective Nazi graphics: uniforms, banners, swastika-bedecked standards patterned after those of the Roman Empire—for the Reich was to have outlasted Rome. Rendell collected the Nazi material with repugnance, knowing it was needed to tell the story. Sometimes he had to deal with pretty scary characters: living, would-be Nazis who viewed the Third Reich as a lost opportunity. Visitors frequently remark on the array of German propaganda posters, which begin by depicting Hitler as the benign Fuehrer, presiding over bucolic farmers and mothers with children, then gradually evolve to race-baiting admonitions and exhortations of Deutschland Erwacht!—Germany Awake! When they comment on how superior the German graphic artists were, Mr. Rendell nods in agreement: “They were the best,” he says. They were trying to market a war—and they succeeded.” Don’t fail to secure your copy of this book. You might want extra copies for your children and grandchildren, to remind them of what our forebears went through to secure liberty. ,

New Edition of a Classic Work CELIA SANDYS

Seven fictional passages are written from young Winston’s point of view, six from Cockran’s, and one from Churchill’s mother in a chapter where she is preparing for the 1895 dinner party where she met Cockran—the first step in a chain of events which was to change her son’s life. Sources for these fictional narratives are well referenced in the chapter notes. The authors mention Churchill’s well-known adventures from 1895 to Becoming Winston Churchill, by 1900 only in passing, focusing instead Michael McMenamin and Curt Zoller. on the time and effort he spent during New paperback edition, Enigma this period educating himself for a Books, illus., 300 pp., $19. member career in politics, and as a writer deterprice $15.20. mined to make a name for himself. The entire Churchill-Cockran hen I first read this book, essen- correspondence is reproduced. Most tially a dual biography of my poignant is a long letter from WSC to grandfather as a young man and his Cockran on 30 November 1899, while mentor Bourke Cockran, I realized at Winston was a prisoner of the Boers. It once it was breaking new ground in concludes: “I am 25 today—it is tercovering my grandfather’s life. But rible to think how little time remains!” while I enjoyed it, I did not know how How little indeed. My grandfait would be received by scholars. ther lived until he was ninety! Well, the verdict is in. Sir Martin This book covers in more detail Gilbert says the book is “fascinating: a than other biographies Winston’s tour de force that brings light and life to romances as a young man and the three one of the great early influences on beautiful young women to whom he Winston Churchill.” Churchill Archives reputedly proposed marriage, prior to Director Allen Packwood calls it “A meeting the fourth and most beautiful magnificent and an illuminating study of all, Clementine Hozier, who said of a largely forgotten relationship.” “yes.” I was struck by Winston’s first Read it and you’ll understand why Finest Hour called it “The most important new book about Winston Churchill…one you’ll come back to again and again for its extraordinary insights into Churchill’s genius.” TED HUTCHINSON The use of brief fictional passages to introduce each of the fourteen chapters is unusual, but it works. It brings to life details about Cockran’s littleknown, remarkable life and career. Hailed in his time as America’s greatest orator, he was a friend and adviser to two presidents, Democrat Grover Cleveland and Republican Theodore Roosevelt. The latter was his neighbour on Long Island’s “Gold Coast.”


love Pamela Plowden. He once told his mother that he didn’t think he could be happy with any other woman. They were unofficially engaged but, under parental pressure, she married another. Pamela and Winston nevertheless remained close friends for life. (“Your Pamela” is how Clementine Churchill referred to her.) Early in their romance, in 1897, WSC told her he’d destroyed all her letters, presumably in an effort to encourage her to be open about her feelings for him. After each of their marriages, the two continued to correspond episodically, including a letter Pamela wrote Winston in October, 1950, reminding him that he had proposed to her fifty years ago to the day. We know this only because Winston wrote a sweet letter back, telling her “how much I cherish yr signal across the years, from the days when I was a freak.…but there was one who saw some qualities, & it is to you that I am most deeply grateful…Fifty years!” Fortunately for history, Pamela saved Winston’s letters. But my grandfather, who otherwise saved nearly everything he received or wrote, was true to his youthful promise: although he usually kept everything, no letters from Pamela to him survive. I hope you enjoy reading Becoming Winston Churchill in this affordable paperback. I did. After all, it’s difficult to resist a book whose first line is: “It began with a love story.” ,

Three Yanks in Queen Victoria’s Court

Ms. Sandys is Sir Winston’s granddaughter. Her review is from this edition’s foreword.

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Fortune’s Daughters: The Extravagant Lives of the Jerome Sisters: Jennie Churchill, Clara Frewen and Leonie Leslie, by Elisabeth Kehoe. Atlantic, 2004), softbound, illus., 386 pp., $16, member price $12.80


his engaging history charts the lives of the Jerome sisters, three New York women who went on to marry British aristocrats in the second half of the 19th century. Each would lead an interesting and exciting life, but what most closely united them was the

love and trust that each held for her two sisters. The girls were born to Leonard and Clara Jerome, he a successful stock speculator in Manhattan who was said to have made and lost three separate fortunes. Clara longed for each daughter to marry a “suitable” young man from the continent; she originally targeted the French upper classes, but after the Franco-Prussian war of 1870 reluctantly steered her daughters towards England. Jennie, Clara and Leonie were not easy to please. All were all accustomed to utter luxury, whether or not their parents actually had the money to pay for it. They continued these habits after their respective marriages. But Kehoe makes it clear that their extravagance was accompanied by absolute loyalty to each other, and to their husbands, throughout long and sometimes difficult marriages. The youngest sister, Leonie, probably had the happiest marriage. She married Jack Leslie, a British officer who would inherit a large Irish estate. Although his family initially objected, Leonie won over her in-laws with her decency and common sense, and lived a relatively happy life in Ireland. Older sister Clara eventually married a disaster of a man named Moreton Frewen, well known to bibliophiles as the “editor” who mangled the first edition of his nephew Winston’s first book, The Story of the Malakand Field Force—nicknamed “Mortal Ruin” for his propensity to lose both his own money and that of any friend or family foolish enough to give him some. In spite of their perpetual pecuniary problems, however, Moreton and Clara loved each other and were married for many years. The middle sister, Jennie, easily the most famous, was the wife of Lord Randolph Churchill and mother of Britain’s greatest Prime Minister. She is probably the reason a publisher was willing to take on this study. But the book is about Jennie and her sisters, and Winston and his brother Jack appear infrequently. Kehoe does support other research on Winston’s childhood,

though she suggests that his boyhood was not as unhappy as his autobiography says. He certainly had a happier childhood than many of his cousins, particularly on the Frewen side. The book is not without flaws. In the first line, we are told that Lord Randolph Churchill died of syphilis. This has been disputed strongly by qualified authorities, not least in this journal. The author says the disease was likely the single most defining characteristic of his marriage, a claim that at times makes the rest of the study hard to understand in any other context. Such problems do not detract

Old Titles Revisited:

Bindon the Great DAVID DRUCKMAN

Four Score Years and Ten: Reminiscences, by Sir Bindon Blood GCB GCVO. London: G. Bell & Sons., 1933. Availability: scarce. Five copies are offered on from $130 to $450.


ord Baden-Powell (creator of the Boy Scouts), Louis Botha (first Prime Minister of South Africa), Lord Chelmsford (British commander in the 1879 Zulu War), Lord Curzon (Viceroy of India), Charles Dickens, Edward VII,

David Druckman travels widely in search of Churchill; his articles have appeared in FH 47, 90, 129 and 132; his account of Livadia Palace, Yalta, will be in a forthcoming issue.

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from the overall value of the book, which takes the reader to a lost time of glamour and romance, when being a member of the British upper classes meant, among other perks, unlimited credit! It also illustrates, as the author says, what it meant to be a female member of the British aristocracy during its decline, when incomes were falling but aristocrats were slow to reduce their expenditures. The story of the Jerome girls is interesting, and one in which the women largely made a success of life through the love, understanding, and protection they afforded each other. ,

George V, Gordon of Khartoum, Queen Victoria, Lord Roberts, Winston Churchill: these are some of the extraordinary people Bindon Blood knew during his long life. At age 91 he published his memoirs, which have been out of print since 1933. After three years I finally obtained a copy, from New Zealand via the Internet. The romantically named Bindon Blood was an important character in Churchill’s early military, sports and writing careers. In My Early Life Churchill describes their first meeting in 1896, when Blood was 54: Winston “extracted a promise that if he ever commanded another expedition on the Indian Frontier, he would let me come with him.” The following year, Blood formed a field force to put down the revolt of the Pathan tribesman on the Indian frontier, and Churchill “telegraphed reminding him of his promise.” Out of the campaign came Churchill’s first book, The Story of the Malakand Field Force—dedicated to Blood. The experience was Churchill’s first taste of battle with British forces. Incidentally with the Malakand force, Churchill gained his liking for whisky, since the water was not fit to drink unless “purified” with alcohol. Blood’s memoirs include two references to Churchill. In the preface he writes: “I owe and feel the utmost gratitude to a long list of authors— Winston Churchill and many others >>

“…my father set out to examine me [on] Charles I. He asked me about the Grand Remonstrance; what did I know about that? I said that in the end the Parliament beat the King and cut his head off. This seemed to me the grandest remonstrance imaginable.” –WSC, 1930 BINDON BLOOD... of the moderns.” There is an erratum correcting “The reference in the Index against Churchill, Lt. W. should be 303.” On that page we read: “When I returned from Upper Swat at the end of August, I had found my young friend (in his early twenties then), Lieutenant Winston Churchill, of the 4th Queen’s Own Hussars, who joined me as an extra A.D.C.—and a right good one he was….He was personally engaged in some very serious work in a retirement, and did some excellent service with a party of Sikhs to which he carried an order, using a rifle which he borrowed from a severely wounded man.” In a passage that must have engaged Churchill’s romantic imagination, Blood describes his ancestor’s attempt to steal the Crown Jewels from the Tower of London, only to be appointed to command King Charles I’s bodyguard—not, in the long run, a very successful endeavor. (In My Early Life, Churchill recalled being grilled by his father about the Grand Remonstrance: “I said that in the end the Parliament beat the King and cut his head off. This seemed to me the grandest remonstrance imaginable.”) Blood’s book is like those of many Victorian generals who wrote autobiographies. Trademarks of this style are modesty, an effort to offend no one, and passing over periods that may cause embarrassment, yet with some detail, especially of India. It seems as if every 19th century book by a British officer who served in India has chapters about tiger shooting and “pig sticking” (hunting wild boar with spears). Blood is no exception. There are spirited discussions of his fighting and playing in the 1879 Zulu War, the 1882 Tel-el-Kebir expedition in Egypt, and the Boer War in 1901. His own memoirs end in 1906, as he writes gallantly: “I now beg to

make my bow to my readers as on that day [in 1906, when, in India, two soldiers of the 9th Lancers were accused of beating a native to death], since I should have no pleasure in recording, and I fear they would have no pleasure in reading, what I might write about the time, nearly twenty-seven years

now, that has since elapsed.” Yet in 1906, he had nearly four decades of active years ahead. Blood and Churchill remained friends for life. The official biography finds the General encouraging WSC his change of parties in 1904, his Belfast Home Rule speech 1912, his publication of Marlborough in 1933. After Churchill sent him the fourth and final Marlborough volume in 1938 he thanked “Dear Winston,” wishing “my best salaams to you and Mrs. Churchill.” He died on 16 May 1940, having lived to see his protégé become Prime Minister. ,

Tribute to One of Life’s Great Survivors ANNE SEBBA

The Anglo-Saxon Review, edited by Lady Randolph Churchill. John Lane, London and New York, June 1899September 1901, 10 vols. Each volume bound in leather in facsimile to a fine binding, with a note by Cyril Davenport, F.S.A. Fine copies are rarities; a very good 10-volume set is presently on offer at $1000.


sk any writer. Every so often in the =course of research one is made an irresistible offer. It’s the price one pays for information. That’s what happened to me while researching the life of Winston Churchill’s American mother, Jennie Jerome. And I didn’t hesitate for a second. Mrs. Sebba’s biography of Lady Randolph Churchill was reviewed in FH 137:50. This article was first published in the Financial Times Magazine. Finest Hour 98 was largely devoted to Lady Randolph.

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A Churchill scholar in America, more interested in the man than his mother, revealed during our interview that he owned a complete set of ten beautiful leather-bound volumes of the Anglo-Saxon Review, a “quarterly miscellany,” once the talk of London society. The Review, founded and edited by the then-widow of Lord Randolph Churchill, ran from June 1899 until September 1901, when Jennie decided she could continue no longer with the loss-making journal. If I wanted them, the scholar said, all I had to do in exchange was send him some books available only in Britain. The deal was easily struck. Several months later my books (for that is what they are, though issued as periodicals) arrived back in their homeland. For weeks I kept opening these dusty volumes with their gilt edges, high-quality paper and hand-blocked covers, each a facsimile of a famous medieval binding, and landing at random upon some obscure essay, poem or short story within. Many of the pieces are by authors who toiled in the late Victorian literary vineyard, but whose names have long been forgotten, such as Pearl Craigie, who contributed a whole play. When Mrs. Craigie spurned George Moore, “a man who told but never kissed,” he spread malicious gossip about her and her friend, Jennie Churchill.

Why are these volumes so exciting? I had already seen Jennie’s original set, now owned by a descendant, and I could consult other copies any time at the Churchill Archives Centre in Cambridge. So I must own up to frankly base possessive instincts. I have become a collector! Alas I am exhibiting traits I have read of in others: touching, feeling and seeing an object gives me, the owner, a frisson that no amount of consulting the same volume in a library could offer. My thrill at owning these books derives from the fact that I was writing the biography of their creator. I could indulge myself at leisure with the insights they offer into my subject. Owning a relic of one’s subject is a need to which many biographers succumb. As I have become obsessive about Jennie, wondering how she might react in any situation, owning something she created seems to bring me a heartbeat closer. One year after launching the Anglo-Saxon Review, Jennie, a widow, married the handsome but feckless George Cornwallis-West, twenty years her junior. She had hoped the venture would make them some money. Lord Randolph Churchill had died in 1895, leaving her with a mixture of debts and dashed hopes. Such income as she had derived from a property in Manhattan once owned by her father, the financier Leonard Jerome. But it was nowhere near enough to fund her famously extravagant lifestyle. So Jennie at 46 set off for her honeymoon with George, carrying two baskets of papers: one containing outstanding bills she hoped her new husband might pay, and the other, editorial contributions to the next issue of her magazine. Winston, then a young subaltern, advised his mother throughout. He was horrified at her suggestion of the magazine’s subtitle, “Blood is Thicker than Water,” through which Jennie wanted to play up the transatlantic connection. In 1900 Winston called this a “cheap imperialist jibe.” By 1941 he had perhaps realised the usefulness of such emphasis. As an editor, Jennie was scatterbrained but charming. She had a small

private army of friends—politicians, aristocrats, writers—whom she called upon to write for the Review: the Duchess of Devonshire, Henry James and Lord Rosebery in the first issue. I had my volumes gently preserved and had a beautiful oak book trough made to house them. Just as Jennie envisaged, the books have survived—and that’s appropriate, for she was one of life’s great survivors. The bookplate on the front endpaper of each volume, a drawing of a trawler, declares the volumes Ex Libris Grimsby Public Library, over-stamped “withdrawn”; such ephemera, I believe, adds

to their history, if not their value. Catty friends of Jennie commented that the newsstand price—one guinea (£1/1 or about $5.50 at the time)—made each issue prohibitively expensive; others that Jennie unjustly fancied herself a literary lady. But hers was a genuinely creative spirit, and she used it in the Anglo-Saxon Review to brilliant if not profitable effect. These handsome volumes provide a snapshot of an elite society on the cusp of change, just before the Edwardian era began. For me, they reveal a woman of high ambition and forgivable flaws. ,

Book Collecting

writing, but from a later date. In 1900 his signature was less expansive than it became in later years, and this looks more like post-1930. Inscribed first editions with the inscriptions on a separate card or sheet pasted in are not, of course, as valuable as books the author has personally inscribed. Still, inscribed copies of

“Duly Inscribed...” MAX E. HERTWIG

Official Biography up toVol. V Hillsdale College has reached Volume V and its hitherto rare companion volumes have a first American edition of in its reprint of Churchill’s London to Ladysmith via Sir Martin Pretoria (New York: Longmans Green, Gilbert’s official 1900). On the inside cover is a signed biography! label. Is this original, or a label printed Not only are in quantities? —L.C., QUEBEC, CANADA these books affordable (bioWe have not encountered the graphic volumes words “duly Inscribed” in a Churchill $45, companions inscription before, but the signature $35) but you can buy all eight biolooks authentic, and the ink suitably graphics for $36 each and all twenty aged. However, since this is a on a (eventually) companions for $28 each, pasted-in card, it seems likely that he signed the card in advance, perhaps not by subscription. Better yet, if you subscribe for all knowing how the recipient would use thirty volumes, you get the biographic it. Assuming it is written in ink and not printed (like the common facsimile volumes for $31.50 and the companions for $24.50. That includes the holograph thank-you notes from the three 1500-page companions to 1940s), it would seem one of a kind. Volume V, first editions of which have The pen had a broader nib than been trading for up to $1000 each. the ones Churchill favored, but it How can you not afford these might have belonged to someone who books? Order from Hillsdale’s website handed it to him to inscribe the label. or telephone tollAll in all, we think it’s Churchill’s free (800) 437-2268. ,


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“The Dev” and Mr. Churchill An Irish Nationalist’s View of a Complicated Relationship DIARMAID FERRITER Dr. Ferriter is Professor of Irish History at University College Dublin and was the 2008-09 Burns Scholar at Boston College. His latest book is Judging Dev: A Reassessment of the Life and Legacy of Eamon de Valera (2007). Two further papers on de Valera and Churchill, delivered at the 2008 Boston conference by Professors Thomas Hachey and David Freeman, will appear alongisde this one on our website. Professor Freeman’s will have been revised and expanded for a conference on the Churchills and Ireland at the University of Ulster last June. Papers from this conference will be published later by the Irish Academic Press.


hat was the significance of the political relationship between Winston Churchill and Eamon de Valera (“the Dev”), the dominant politician of 20th century Ireland? How did they characterize each other during the course of their tempestuous relationship? The two crossed swords on many occasions and there are a variety of colorful quotations one could cite to encapsulate the essence of the relationship between them, and in particular Churchill’s view of de Valera. At various stages, he called him a liar, a fanatic, a murderer, a perjurer, a Bolshevist, and, perhaps most insultingly, a bore. Eamon de Valera was more circumspect in how he used language, and generally tended to be more understated than Churchill. But it is also important to emphasize that for all that divided the two men, they had a lot in common, perhaps most obviously their extraordi-

nary political longevity. De Valera first came to public prominence in 1913 as a member of the Irish Volunteers, precursor to the Irish Republican Army. He was still in office as President of the Republic of Ireland in 1973; no other figure dominated Irish politics during this period to the same extent. His greatest political successes were achieved in the 1930s and the 1940s, but he remained preoccupied with the period of the Irish Revolution or the Irish War of Independence, particularly the years between 1918 and 1923, when Churchill’s rhetoric about de Valera was at its most visceral. De Valera made mistakes during this period; while never admitting that in public, he did tend to ponder in private the consequences of his actions, and in particular the consequences of the split in the Irish Republican family—the Sinn Fein movement—during the period after de Valera refused to travel to London for the negotiations that resulted in the Anglo-Irish Treaty of

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December 1921 (see last issue, pages 44-62.) He supported the anti-Treatyites during the subsequent civil war, an opposition to which Churchill often alluded. Many of the accusations Churchill made against de Valera, and much of the wild Churchillian rhetoric, can be traced back to this War of Independence period. Some can be seen as quite far-fetched, considering the many and bigger theatres of war that Churchill was associated with throughout his career. But Churchill reserved a considerable portion of his bile for those Irish whom he regarded as treacherous. It was an attitude that was shared by many of his contemporaries in British politics and it was chiefly born of ignorance. Churchill was also disingenuous in the language that he used about de Valera and about Ireland generally during the War of Independence. He liked to give the impression of the British government being a benign presence that was reacting to an insoluble and intractable Irish problem and, indeed, insoluble and intractable Irish personalities such as de Valera. Churchill wrote to his wife in the spring of 1920 about “that treacherous, assassinating, conspiring trait which has done them in in the bygone ages of history and prevented them from being a great, responsible nation with stability and prosperity.” This was the kind of assertion that exposed a convenient and deliberate ignorance of Irish politics. He failed to recognize or acknowledge the various layers of the Sinn Fein movement. He had a tendency to depict de Valera as being a diehard, an extremist and a fanatic. The reality was that de Valera was neither an extremist nor a fanatic; he was someone who presided over a Sinn Fein movement, from 1918 onwards, that was a broad coalition. There were many young, absolutist and idealistic republicans within the Sinn Fein movement, but there were others who were a lot more moderate and who were not necessarily looking to create an Irish republic as a solution to the Anglo-Irish problem. De Valera, in a sense, fell between those two different wings, and in presiding over the Sinn Fein movement, he was very conscious that there was diversity of opinion within its ranks. But this was not something that was recognized by Churchill, who tended to talk, in the early 1920s, about “the integrity of the Irish quarrel,” as being “one of the few institutions unaffected or unaltered by the cataclysm” of the First World War. The notion that the unreasonable Irish stubbornly stuck to their quarrels, no

matter what was happening in the rest of the world, was a theme that he came back to repeatedly. This was very convenient for Churchill and the British government. It absolved them from having to take responsibility for what was going on in Ireland. It absolved them from the mistakes of British government policy in Ireland. Churchill’s bogus contentions were that the Irish had “a genius for conspiracy rather than government,” and that it was impossible to reason with an absolutist Anglophobe like de Valera. The truth was that de Valera was not anti-British. What he had was a profound distrust for many British politicians, something that stemmed from the controversy over the treaty negotiations in 1921.

Reluctance: The 1920s De Valera made perhaps the most controversial decision of his career not to travel to the treaty negotiations in 1921. It was a decision that had a huge impact on the course of the Irish Republican endeavor, and it had a significant personal impact on de Valera as well. Whether or not he should have gone to the treaty negotiations is something that historians have debated vigorously. In one sense, it was a grave mistake on his part. But it is also the case that many, in the aftermath of the treaty and the division within the Sinn Fein movement, blamed British politicians for duping the Irish delegation into signing this treaty, under threat of “immediate and terrible war.” This was the exact language that was used by the British Prime Minister, David Lloyd George. During the Irish War of Independence, Churchill had often defended the use of counter-terror in Ireland. He was conscious of the broader significance of the Irish problem; the wider issue of the fate of the British Empire. Ireland was striking out, at a very early stage, for its own independence, and Churchill was nervous about the domino theory. If Ireland was allowed to go its own way, what would the consequences be for Egypt, for South Africa, and perhaps most obviously, for India? The MI5 file on de Valera revealed a continuing unease after 1922 at “the links between Irish and Indian radicals.” Nonetheless, Churchill was a pragmatist. He may have defended the use of counter-terror, but he was also somebody who was keen to see negotiations start, and he urged David Lloyd George to talk to Irish Republicans, or “Irish terrorists,”

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as they were usually referred to in the early 1920s. >> FERRITER... But he retained his narrow outlook when it came to de Valera and the belief that the trouble in Ireland, particularly as it slid towards civil war in the summer of 1922, was being fomented by a very small minority of malcontents led by de Valera, the idea being that once they were crushed, a moderate majority would emerge in Ireland. This was a serious underestimation of the complexity of Irish politics, and indeed of the appeal of de Valera. Despite the fact that the Irish electorate endorsed the treaty, that did not mean that there was not considerable support for de Valera. Churchill and others were slow to recognize that complexity, and were loath to acknowledge the appeal that de Valera had beyond the socalled “die-hards” of the IRA. Interestingly Churchill used his accusatory language at a time when de Valera was very vulnerable. The civil war period was undoubtedly the most difficult of his career. He was not in a position to influence those who rejected the treaty in a way that he might have liked in 1922 and 1923. In the midst of the civil war he wrote to a close colleague of his, the Cork Republican Mary McSwiney, suggesting that nature had never fashioned him to be a partisan leader or the leader of a revolution. He went on: “Every instinct of mine would indicate that I was meant to be a dyed-in-the-wool Tory or even a bishop”—hardly the words of a fanatic. These were the sentiments of a man under huge pressure, a man who, some would argue, had lost the plot, and a politician turned reluctant soldier who was in danger of becoming politically irrelevant. De Valera was imprisoned by the Free State government in 1923 and remained incarcerated for a year. It was one of the most important years in his life, because it gave him time to focus on the splits in the Sinn Fein movement, to mourn colleagues that he had lost in the civil war, and to determine that any new political strategy he developed would prioritize unity, to ensure that what happened as a result of the treaty would never happen again.

“De Valera was not antipathetic to the Commonwealth, though Churchill did not appreciate this. The Irish leader would have been quite happy for Ireland to remain in the Commonwealth as a united Ireland. But ultimately what became much more important in the 1930s and the 1940s was preserving the integrity and the security of the twenty-six counties....”

Assertiveness: The 1930s De Valera brought single-mindedness to his new political movement, the new Fianna Fail organization he established in 1926, which evolved in the long term into one of the most successful political parties in the world. He experienced his wilderness years, just as Churchill did, but de Valera recovered relatively quickly, leading his party to victory in the general election of 1932 and remaining prime minister until 1948. He was thus in power in the early 1930s, at a time when Churchill was struggling against enormous odds to make his voice heard in British politics.

Counties of the Republic of Ireland: 1. Dublin, 2. Wicklow, 3. Wexford, 4. Carlow, 5. Kildare, 6. Meath, 7. Louth, 8. Monaghan, 9. Cavan, 10. Longford, 11. Westmeath, 12. Offaly, 13. Laois, 14. Kilkenny, 15. Waterford, 16. Cork, 17. Kerry, 18. Limerick, 19. Tipperary, 20. Clare, 21. Galway, 22. Mayo, 23. Roscommon, 24. Sligo, 25. Leitrim, 26. Donegal. Counties of Northern Ireland: 1. Fermanagh, 2. Tyrone, 3. Londonderry (often called Derry), 4. Antrim, 5. Down, 6. Armagh.

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What’s striking about de Valera’s and Churchill’s relationship at this stage is a failure on the part of Churchill to appreciate the logic of Irish foreign policy in the 1930s, in the context of de Valera’s tearing up the treaty of 1921. Churchill could only look on in horror at what he regarded at yet another manifestation of the genius for conspiracy. Historians and researchers now have a lot more information on the thinking behind the framing of Irish foreign policy in the 1930s. The Royal Irish Academy in Dublin has sponsored a series of books of documents on the subject. Notable about the 1930s is the sheer clarity of thinking that existed on the part of de Valera and his colleagues and civil servants after they took power in 1932. The framing of this foreign policy involved the prioritization of Anglo-Irish relations. De Valera was adamant that the treaty could be torn up—wrecked in a very systematic way—yet that this could be done in a way that Britain could live with. In this sense he found it much easier to deal with the likes of Austen Chamberlain than he did with the likes of Churchill, though in any case, Churchill was not in a position to control British foreign policy at that stage. But despite that clarity of thinking about asserting Irish independence—as de Valera put it, “letting the people at home and the rest of the world know that Ireland is independent”—there was also the issue of how de Valera viewed the Commonwealth. De Valera was not antipathetic to the Commonwealth, though Churchill did not appreciate this. The Irish leader would have been quite happy for Ireland to remain in the Commonwealth as a united Ireland. But ultimately what became much more important in the 1930s and the 1940s was preserving the integrity and the security of the twenty-six counties, the Free State which declared itself to be Eire after the constitution of 1937. Whatever the theoretical issues surrounding partition—which had been a reality since 1920 and were not caused by the treaty despite many assertions to the contrary—de Valera was determined to control that twenty-six county unit, and that informed his foreign policy and particularly the decision to remain neutral after the outbreak of the Second World War. De Valera was determined to ensure that the Irish body politic supported neutrality, and maintaining unity about the integrity of Irish foreign policy was a political priority of de Valera from the early 1930s onwards.

Determination: The 1940s De Valera used a very simple phrase to justify neutrality. It was, he said, “the logical consequence of Irish history and the forced partition of this country.” But in a meeting with the British representative in

Dublin at the outbreak of the war, Sir John Maffey, he did talk at length about the wider consequences and the broader dilemmas associated with neutrality. He talked about the fact that he needed to be evenhanded and about the difficulties that he would have with the proGerman Irish Republican Army. Maffey found him a very difficult man to interrupt: He was prone to very long lectures about what he regarded as British responsibility for the partition of Ireland. But De Valera also suggested that two-thirds of the Irish people were pro-British; interestingly, Churchill suggested that threequarters of the Irish people had such sentiments. In that meeting with Maffey, he also spoke positively of a united Ireland as a member of the Commonwealth. Churchill believed de Valera would do nothing to offend the IRA during this period, but that is untrue. In order to defend the integrity and the security of the twenty-six counties, de Valera was quite prepared to see IRA men imprisoned and dead on hunger strikes during World War II. It is important to underline that point, given the many accusations Churchill made about the relationship between de Valera and the IRA. Whatever common cause he may have made by releasing IRA prisoners in 1932, de Valera was very much poacher turned gamekeeper by the end of the 1930s, when the IRA was proscribed as an illegal organization. There were other important meetings during the Second World War, particularly between de Valera and Malcolm MacDonald, a British cabinet minister who had negotiated with de Valera in the 1930s. MacDonald suggested, after they met in Dublin in 1940, that de Valera’s physical and mental vigor was lower than it had been in their previous (very positive) dealings in the late 1930s. He observed that he was not making the same long, narrow speeches. When it came to reacting to MacDonald’s proposals about a joint defense council for the north and south of Ireland, perhaps a precursor to a united Ireland, de Valera responded negatively and vigorously. He insisted that if they had to, the Irish would fight the Germans if they invaded; that they would “fight them from hedge to hedge,” mentioning that the Irish had a very long tradition of guerrilla fighting and were very skilful in that regard. He even suggested that perhaps Britain should begin negotiating with Hitler. We can imagine the reaction of Churchill to that idea. Some actually ridiculed the idea that Ireland could do anything to defend its shores. The Irish poet Patrick Kavanagh, for example, suggested the Irish army was not equipped “to protect a field of worms from an invasion of crows,” while one parliamentarian offered the following questions: “What exactly are you going to do if a German U-Boat appears on the Irish coast? Take a pot-

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shot at it with a rifle?” The idea that Ireland was in >> FERRITER... any way militarily equipped to deal with a German invasion was laughable to many. But it is important to point out that the fear of British invasion was genuine. When de Valera was told that a message would be coming from Churchill, he said he never knew what it was going to be. It could have been an ultimatum. There was also another controversy centered around the idea of imposing conscription on Northern Ireland. That set off particular historical alarm bells for de Valera and others who had made much political capital out of their opposition to a similar suggestion towards the end of the First World War in 1918. Ultimately, it was also deemed not to be worth the acrimony it would create in 1941. The controversy surrounding the suggestion rekindled a lot of Churchill’s old animosities, partly because of the kind of language that de Valera used. He insisted in a letter to Churchill that there had been a vast improvement in Anglo-Irish relations, that things were better between Britain and Ireland than they had been for some time, but he went on to suggest that to impose conscription on Northern Ireland would “revolt the human conscience,” and that Churchill was in danger of repeating the historic mistakes of various British governments. Churchill was clever enough to know at that stage that it was better to drop this particular proposal. But it angered him and led to him bemoaning what he called “the ignoble Irish fear of bombing.”

“Now or Never” There was also the question of how de Valera interpreted Churchill’s famous wartime telegram: “Now or never! ‘A nation once again,’” after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Some historians have suggested that this was not an offer to get rid of partition, but was an invitation to Ireland to recover its lost soul by joining the war effort on the allied side. De Valera in some respects saw it as a wild gesture, though Sir John Maffey, who delivered the message, said Churchill was in high spirits. Interestingly, there was also a suggestion that de Valera should travel to meet Churchill during this period of the Second World War. De Valera, again thinking in terms of his overall strategy for neutrality, decided against. He feared he might be accused of doing deals with Churchill, and was conscious of what Downing Street deals had done historically for those of his generation. He was afraid he would be accused of undoing the 1938 Ports Agreement, which returned the Irish ports that had been retained by Britain for defense under the terms of the Treaty—and that he might provoke the Germans as well. The Irish ports became largely irrelevant as the

“Both were natural leaders. Both experienced political longevity. Both had reputations as die-hards, but were in reality well capable of the art of compromise....both had courage, which Churchill had always suggested was the most important trait, because it guaranteed all the other traits that were necessary for effective leadership.” war progressed, but it still seemed that Churchill, in the words of one MI5 officer, still had “a bee in his bonnet” about Ireland, which underlines the extent to which he still saw neutrality as an affront. At that stage, Churchill was considering new proposals to deal with the Irish question, which caused some amazement on the part of his colleagues, including Leo Amery. Churchill was persuaded to drop these proposals from the British Cabinet agenda in 1943, and Amery recorded that he withdrew them “with not too good a grace.” Amery observed: “I was always afraid that at some point Winston might lose his balance, and it may be that this is the one.” Not widely known is the extensive Anglo-Irish security liaison during World War II. This was based on mutual interest and trust, albeit qualified, between intelligence professionals. (Both Irish G2 Army Intelligence and the British MI6 spy network were quite interested in spying on each other, while preventing spying by their opposite numbers.) Overseeing all of this on the Irish side was the Department of External Affairs, with de Valera at its helm. There did seem to be at times a reluctance or a naivete in London about de Valera’s willingness to cooperate. He presided over a group of very independentminded cabinet ministers who had various different views on how to approach many of these issues. But de Valera was adamant about one thing; that he would control the Department of External Affairs, and in doing so he was aware of the detail of this intelligence network. Ireland was not necessarily unique in its experience of neutrality. The British management of the intelligence and security challenges resembled the treatment of other neutrals contiguous to the Empire. Afghanistan, for example, was subjected to the same mix of covert security

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cooperation, invasion threats, and diplomatic coercion, the latter often urged by Churchill against the advice of his officials. The important point for de Valera was that he kept his nerve under considerable pressure as a result of these various gestures and maneuvers. The same applies to the implications for Ireland of American involvement in the war and the U.S. demand that Ireland close down the German embassy in Dublin, which de Valera saw as a threat. Churchill remarked to President Roosevelt, “Don’t disabuse him of that notion. Let fear work its healthy process.” But de Valera refused, and again was able to ensure the unity of the the two other main political parties, Fine Gael and Labour, for his stance. This emphasis on national unity also did wonders for de Valera electorally. He was continuously fighting elections, winning more than he lost. His Fianna Fail party received 51.9 percent of first-preference votes in the 1938 general election; in the 1943 general election 41.9 percent of first-preference votes, and in the 1944 election, in the aftermath of this American controversy referred to above, it got 48.9 percent. Clearly, de Valera was able to capitalize electorally on threats to Irish neutrality. Had Churchill’s party received such a first-preference vote in the 1945 election, he would have won the peace as well as having won the war.

Condolences and Regrets Most historians (see next article) regard it as an appalling gaffe that in May1945, de Valera visited the German legation to offer his official condolences on the death of Hitler. De Valera refused to back down; he justified it on the basis of the seriousness with which he took neutrality, right up to the last mathematical dot. This is where de Valera’s frustrating character came to the fore, where his stubbornness was evidenced by his acting against the advice of his officials. Finally, there is the question de Valera’s reaction to Churchill’s victory broadcast that same month, criticizing Irish neutrality, and de Valera for “frolicking” with the Axis and praising Britain for not violating that neutrality through invasion. In reality, Churchill did de Valera a huge favor by attacking him in such a personal way. De Valera’s response demonstrated considerable political maturity. He acknowledged at a later stage that if he had been a younger man, he would have responded immediately and mirrored the drama and overstatement. What he did instead was very clever: He waited for three days. It was an important pause. There was a buildup of expectation in Ireland about how he would respond. When it came, the response was thoughtful, focused, and dignified. More importantly, perhaps, it diverted attention away from a neutrality that had always,

in any case, been Anglophile. His broadcast was also a brilliant forensic exercise, an indication of his ability to use rhetoric to satisfy national psychic needs, by re-asserting historic Irish claims, restating basic truths about the international order as he saw them. It is fair to point out that de Valera had to face his own irrelevance in the postwar world, just as Churchill had to accept rejection from the British electorate in 1945. After he temporarily lost power in 1948, de Valera made trips to different Commonwealth countries, making long speeches about partition at a time when there was very little international appetite for longwinded oratory about Ireland. Both men returned to power, and they finally met, at Downing Street, in 1953. It has been suggested they had considerable mutual respect for each other at that stage, though de Valera could not resist once again bringing up the issues that had long divided them, urging Churchill to address the question of partition. More important is what the two had in common. Obviously, they were very different men from very different backgrounds. De Valera, born in New York in 1882, was the son of an Irish immigrant mother and a Spanish Cuban father; Churchill was a privileged member of the British aristocracy. Nonetheless, there were parallels that bound them together. Both came to encapsulate the destinies of their respective countries. Both came to symbolize the animosities that existed between Britain and Ireland. Both made extraordinary political comebacks. Both showed political spirit and skill. In 1940, when Churchill felt that he was walking with destiny, de Valera also seemed to feel that way, because the most important point about his foreign policy was that neutrality presented the world with Ireland’s the first practical claim to independence. Unless you implement an independent foreign policy, you cannot claim to be truly independent—an awareness of which dominated de Valera’s agenda throughout his time in power. Churchill could be imperious, had an affinity for drama, and had a big brain. We know he thrived when challenged. De Valera was more understated. He was not a natural orator. But he was focused, dignified and, like Churchill, an effective strategist. Both were natural leaders. Both experienced political longevity. Both had reputations as die-hards, but were in reality well capable of the art of compromise. Most importantly, both had courage, which Churchill had always suggested was the most important trait, because it guaranteed all the other traits that were necessary for effective leadership. Churchill was wrong about one fundamental thing: believing that the Irish had a genius for conspiracy rather than government. Ultimately, what the career and independence of mind of Eamon de Valera proved was

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“Legally, I believe they are ‘At war, but skulking.’” —Winston Churchill to Lord Halifax, 22 October 1939

“Analyze for yourself the future…if Germany won. Could Ireland hold out? Would Irish freedom be permitted as an amazing pet exception in an unfree world?” —Franklin Roosevelt, “Arsenal of Democracy” speech, 29 December 1940

That Neutral Island (With apology to Clair Wills1) WA R R E N F. K I M B A L L

Dr. Kimball is Robert Treat Professor of History Emeritus at Rutgers University, a leading scholar on Roosevelt and Churchill in World War II, author of numerous books, including The Juggler: Franklin Roosevelt as Wartime Statesman, editor of the seminal three-volume Churchill and Roosevelt: The Complete Correspondence, a member of the Finest Hour editorial board and a FH contributor.


he well-known studies of Churchill contain only the most cursory mention of Irish issues during World War II. The same for publications more focused on Franklin Roosevelt.2 Fortunately, John Ramsden rescued Churchill and Ireland in the war years in a quite nice chapter in his book, Man of the Century, although the Anglo-American angle gets only brief attention.3 Is there really more to say? Also fortunately, Joe Hern, and The Churchill Centre thought so. Some may have thought Dublin would be the proper place for this conference, but perhaps others feared a replay of the burning of Union Flags and Irish Tricolors at Dublin’s Trinity College that happened on VE-Day. A bit silly to worry about today, but there you are. And here we are, happily in Boston, where there may well be more Irish than in Dublin.

The Treaty Ports: Lough Swilly in the north, Berehaven and Cobh (Cork Harbour) in the west and south.



To start with the overarching issue: With the outbreak of World War II in September 1939, Ireland, a member of the British Commonwealth…declared neutrality! Churchill’s anger and bewilderment was palpable and understandable, however much Cabinet had to hold him back. “Legally, I believe they are ‘At war, but skulking,’” he quipped.4 Roosevelt’s response was pubicly restrained (voters and all that), but privately his anger and scorn for Irish neutrality was as apparent as Churchill’s. In fact, I know of no issue where the two were more tightly in tandem—at least until the very end. Three specific issues illustrate Ireland’s effect on

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the Anglo-American wartime relationship. The first was Irish neutrality, declared with a vengeance by Taoiseach (prime minister) Eamon de Valera, which barred Britain from conducting anti-submarine operations from the socalled Treaty Ports (Cobh, Lough Swilly, Berehaven) on Ireland’s southern, western and north-western coasts. The ports’ usefulness receded after a few years, with Allied bases in Iceland, increased range of Allied aircraft, and German U-boats operating out of western France rather than the Baltic or Norway. But the longterm effect was to antagonize Churchill and irritate Roosevelt. As a result, even though Ireland appeared on their radar screens only occasionally, both leaders invariably took a dim view of Irish arguments. Second was the crusade of David Gray, the U.S. wartime representative in Dublin. (Not an ambassador; Ireland was technically if not emotionally part of the British Commonwealth, where U.S. embassies were rare before the war.) Gray persistently caused Ireland to pop up on high-level radar screens, initially by demanding that Ireland practice a benevolent non-belligerency, and allow access to the Treaty Ports. De Valera’s refusals infuriated Gray, an ardent interventionist, who worked persistently to disparage de Valera on personal and policy grounds. Roosevelt, who had appointed him (he had married Eleanor Roosevelt’s aunt), never restrained him and at times seemed to be leading Gray, not following him. Third was the 1944 Chicago civil aviation “nonagreement” and subsequent negotiation of a bilateral Irish-American pact allowing U.S. commercial aircraft to land in Ireland en route to the European continent. A bizarre postscript that still generates deeply bitter responses from the British was de Valera’s personal visit in May 1945 to the German legation in Dublin to express formal “condolences” on the death (i.e., suicide) of Adolf Hitler. One cannot quite see de Valera going to

Churchill understood that the Americans had what amounted to a veto over British treatment of Irish neutrality. He regularly muttered about occupying Ireland, but always backed off. He thought about making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear by exploiting that neutrality and building factories in Cork or Dublin, where they could be somewhat safer from German air attacks. But, as he told Max Beaverbrook in November 1939, “the first step…is to try to interest Roosevelt in the business….” An ancillary worry was Ireland’s military weakness. They were not only unwilling to fight, but unable. As of September 1939, the army had only 7500 men, though large numbers were serving in the British military; the air corps had four effective fighters; and the navy had two patrol boats! Occupation of Ireland by Germany seemed frighteningly easy, though that fear ignored the improbable supply lines from the Continent and the even more improbable imposition of “law and order” on the Irish—a task that had eluded the British themselves.5 British fears were accentuated by the belief that the Irish would do anything to bring the six northern counties into a united Eire, including allying with the Nazis—remembering, perhaps, the absurd 1916 German attempt to support the Easter Rising. Partition was a running sore, one that prompted de Valera to ask FDR, as early as 1938, to intercede with the British. But that move came to nothing.6 Churchill regularly dangled apparent offers to end partition and unite Ireland. His now famous “letter” to Roosevelt of 7 December 1940, remembered largely because it supposedly stimulated creation of the LendLease program (a genial exaggeration), also contained a suggestion that the “good offices” of the USA could help with Ireland, followed by a wistful and palpably false

1. I am grateful to Clair Wills’s That Neutral Island for inspiring my title, and to Terry Golway for saving me from divers cultural, historical, and linguistic blunders. For my purposes, Ireland or “Irish Republic” do not refer to Northern Ireland, “the six counties” or Ulster. This can be tricky in quotations from British sources since they sometimes used “Ireland” when they meant Northern Ireland. When I speak of “the north of Ireland” it may be my genetic Irish coming out. 2. The only mention of Ireland during WW2 in Geoffrey Best’s justly praised Churchill: A Study in Greatness, (London and New York: Hamabledon & London, 2001) is a quote from a Churchill minute (22Nov40) suggesting that the Irish Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Eamon de Valera, be allowed to “stew in his own juice,” plus Best’s explanation that Churchill “much resented” Irish neutrality. Best’s Churchill and War (same publishers, 2005) contains a pithy statement that Irish neutrality “infuriated him,” and Best then points out that the Cabinet repeatedly warned that a neutral and not unfriendly Ireland “was better than a partially occupied Ireland seething with indignation.” Sir Martin Gilbert discusses the Treaty Ports in Finest Hour 1939-1941, volume VI of the official biography, Winston S. Churchill, but volume VII, Road to Victory 1942-1945, has no entries for Ireland,

Eire or de Valera, though Northern Ireland is mentioned. Forged in War, my study of Roosevelt, Churchill and the Second World War, contains only the briefest allusion to Irish issues though there is a good bit more in the headnotes to my Churchill & Roosevelt: The Complete Correspondence. American scholars Waldo Heinrichs, Robert Shogan, James Leutze, Thomas Bailey and Paul Ryan all focus on the naval war in the Atlantic but make no mention of Irish neutrality and its effect on that naval war. Certainly Churchill would have questioned that omission. 3. John Ramsden, Man of the Century: Churchill and His Legend since 1945 (New York: Columbia University Press, 2002). 4. Martin Gilbert, Finest Hour (London: Heinemann, 1983), 67, quoted by T. Ryle Dwyer, Strained Relations: Ireland at Peace and the USA at War, 1941-1945 (Totowa, NJ: Barnes & Noble, 1988). 5. Robert Fisk, In Time of War: Ireland, Ulster and the Price of Neutrality, 1939-45 (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1983), 249; idem.,”Éire,” in The Oxford Companion to the Second World War, C. B. Dear, ed. (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 1995), 324. 6. Fisk, In Time of War, 35.

such trouble upon the death of a British sovereign.

What Churchill Knew

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Berehaven on Ireland’s southwest coast was an Allied base in WW1. Above, the American submarine L-4 in 1918. (Wikimedia)

hint that, if Ireland would join with the “democracies >> KIMBALL... of the English speaking world…the unity of the island would probably emerge…after the war.” One can only speculate on how loyalists in the north of Ireland would have reacted had they read that message. Then, when Pearl Harbor brought America into the war, Churchill quoted a portion of the anthem of Irish Nationalists in another apparent offer to de Valera: “Now is your chance. Now or never! ‘A nation once again.’”7 Churchill must have known his plea would be spurned by a nationalist who had rejected the notion that Ireland was part of the British “nation.” Certainly it was not an offer to end partition—something a British prime minister could not offer, then or later.

The Treaty Ports With the collapse of French resistance in June 1940, a German invasion of Great Britain seemed imminent. Huge shipping losses to German U-boats bid fair to cut off supplies from North America. Anti-submarine operations out of the Irish Treaty Ports would have provided convoys with better protection. Following the British attack on the Vichy French fleet in the Mediterranean, Churchill on 4 July 1940 spoke of making “every preparation in our power” to defend Great Britain or Ireland, “which is in imminent danger.” De Valera responded by giving an interview to The New York Times that prompted Secretary of State Cordell Hull to warn the British ambassador that a military move against Ireland would damage Roosevelt’s proBritish policies. Shortly thereafter the British, who were genuinely concerned about Ireland’s ability to defend itself, sent 20,000 U.S. rifles to the Irish Republic.8 Even so, suspicion overcame logic in Dublin, and Irish leaders continued to worry about a British occupation. As soon as Churchill became prime minister, he

warned of reports about German parachutists making airborne “descents in Ireland.” A prolonged visit by an American naval squadron to Ireland might help persuade the Irish to cooperate. When Roosevelt considered the request and then backed away, the Prime Minister repeated the suggestion, proposing the treaty port of Berehaven as the place to show the flag.9 For six weeks from the fall of France until the end of July 1940, Churchill sent only a single message to Roosevelt, and that a quite trivial one. Roosevelt similarly waited two months to contact Churchill directly. But they were in touch indirectly through representatives at a time when the Destroyer-for-Bases “deal” was developing. The discussion focused on the disposition of the British fleet in the event of a successful German invasion. In those moments of crisis, Irish neutrality was an aggravation, but not of the essence. Nevertheless, one message about Ireland almost did get through to FDR. Drafted but not sent, it expressed Churchill’s fears that the Germans would invade an unprepared Ireland, that de Valera thought the Germans would win, and that the Irish were “throwing in their lot” with Hitler. The PM warned that Britain might have to act to prevent a German “descent” (his favorite word to describe possible German action) on the Treaty Ports. The message was shelved, but Churchill’s take on Ireland remained constant.10 Once Roosevelt was re-elected that autumn, he and Churchill got a little braver. The day after the vote, the Prime Minister complained about Ireland’s refusal of British use of the Treaty Ports. Gray, with striking bluntness, told one Irish cabinet member that the American press might support the ports’ occupation. Roosevelt’s secretary of the navy, Frank Knox, a bit more restrained, proposed a systematic campaign among Irish-Americans to pressure Dublin to allow use of the ports. That campaign never developed, and Gray’s threats had no effect

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beyond increasing tension between him and de Valera.11 Churchill bemoaned not having the Treaty Ports, but he seemed more concerned about getting the overage destroyers promised in the destroyer-bases deal. He did announce, a bit pettily, plans to cut off British shipping carrying foodstuffs from Ireland to England. Britain, he told FDR, needed the ships, didn’t need the food, and took it “much amiss” that they carried the goods at risk of attack, subsidizing Ireland “handsomely when de Valera is quite content to sit happy and see us strangled.” Churchill asked FDR about his reaction to the plan, but the President made no direct answer.12 But two weeks later, in his “Arsenal of Democracy” speech on December 29th, Roosevelt publicly wondered whether Irish freedom would be allowed in a Nazi-dominated Europe. Mindful of anti-interventionist criticism that he was violating America’s neutrality, FDR went on to dismiss nations claiming neutrality:

aged Aiken to make inflammatory statements as de Valera later claimed), that was the result. The President told one anti-interventionist congressman: “When will you Irishmen ever get over hating England? Remember that if England goes down, Ireland goes down too.”14 But bringing Ireland to heel was more trouble than it was worth. In spring 1941, when Britain considered conscription (the draft) in Northern Ireland, Gray told Roosevelt that it would be “a major and irretrievable fatal blunder” unless Catholics could be exempted as conscientious objectors. Hyperbolically, he predicted draft riots and “draft dodgers” who fled to the south being treated like “hero martyrs.” FDR made it clear to the British that conscription was a bad idea. Churchill’s advisers had their own objections, but FDR’s opinion was one that mattered.15

“All in the Same Boat”

Later that spring, at Gray’s suggestion, one of de Valera’s ministers visited the United States. Whatever the obscure and somewhat suspicious motives of Gray and de Valera, the visit, by Frank Aiken, an IRA leader born in Northern Ireland, was a disaster. Perhaps de Valera hoped to influence American public opinion in Ireland’s favor—but Aiken went way over the top, making speeches that alienated FDR and his Administration. Whether or not Gray intended the Aiken mission to exacerbate Irish-American relations (and even encour-

Immediately after Pearl Harbor, confident in FDR’s December 7th message that the Anglo-Americans were all in the same boat, Churchill proposed a flash trip to Washington. The President, wary that such a visit would give the impression that the decision he would make—to fight Germany first—had been influenced by the Prime Minister’s presence, asked for more time. But two weeks after the Japanese attack, and after Germany and the United States were formally at war, Churchill sat in the White House talking to Roosevelt. Ireland was not the major focus, but the two agreed that the U.S. would take over the defense of all of Ireland, and would send troops to replace British forces in Northern Ireland. In passing, Roosevelt gibed that “he believed if we put the [conspicuously Irish] 69th Regiment in South Ireland we could probably get them to do some fighting and not so much talking.”16 American entry into the war posed difficulties for Irish neutrality. Now Roosevelt could ask Irishmen, and Irish-Americans, to support the USA rather than the

7. Warren F. Kimball, ed., Churchill & Roosevelt, 3 vols. (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1984), C-43x (7Dec40), 102-09 (hereafter C&R). WSC’s message to de Valera was passed to FDR 8Dec41; C&R, I, 282. As indicated by the italics, the Irish “anthem” contained the phrase “Let Ireland, long a province, be a nation once again!” 8. Dwyer, Strained Relations, 7-8. 9. C&R, I: C-9x (15May40), R-4x (16May40), 37-38; C-15x (13Jun40), 45 10. C&R, I: C-20x draft A, not sent (5Jul40), 24-26. Fred Pollock, “Roosevelt, the Ogdensburg Agreement, and the British Fleet,” Diplomatic History, 5:3 (Summer 1981), 203-19. Among those who (wishfully?) believed that Germany could win in 1940 was Irish secretary for foreign affairs Joseph Walshe. He predicted a German victory because the British were “too soft” to defeat “men of steel like Hitler, Stalin and their followers.” As quoted by Aengus Nolan, “‘A Most Heavy and Grievous Burden’: Joseph Walshe and the Establishment of Sustainable Neutrality, 1940,” in Ireland in World War Two, Dermot Keogh and Mervyn O’Driscoll, eds. (Cork: Mercier Press, 2004), 127.

11. Dwyer, Strained Relations, 9. Raymond James Raymond, “David Gray, the Aiken Mission, and Irish Neutrality, 1940-41,” Diplomatic History 9:1 (Winter 1985), 63. 12. C&R, I: C-43x (7Dec40), 102-11; C-45x (13Dec40), 112-13. 13. Samuel Rosenman, ed., Public Papers and Addresses of Franklin D. Roosevelt, 13 vols. Vol IX, 1940. (New York: Macmillan, 1941), 637. 14. Raymond, “The Aiken Mission,” 55-71; Dwyer, Strained Relations,12-14. T. Ryle Dwyer, Irish Neutrality and the USA, 1939-1947 (Dublin: Gill and Macmillan, 1977), 41. Ramsden, Man of the Century, 250. Terry Golway, “A New Shade of Gray: American-Irish Relations Reconsidered, 1940-41” (unpublished manuscript, 2005). 15. Fisk, In Time of War, 448-49). C&R, II: C-280 (11Apr43) mentions Winant’s role back in 1941. 16. U.S. Dept. of State, Foreign Relations of the United States [FRUS] (Washington: USGPO, 1862- ) Washington and Casablanca conferences, 1941-43, 75, 77. The 69th Regiment, which dated back to the Civil War, had long recruited heavily among the New York Irish.

Democracy’s fight against world conquest is being greatly aided, and must be more greatly aided, by the rearmament of the United States and by sending every ounce and every ton of munitions and supplies that we can possibly spare to help the defenders who are in the front lines. And it is no more un-neutral for us to do that than it is for Sweden, Russia, and other nations near Germany to send steel and ore and oil and other war materials into Germany every day in the week.13

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“Ireland was a sideshow— an eddy in the huge tides of the Second World War. The realities of Irish neutrality were why the disputes never went beyond words, however nasty and sometimes threatening.”

U.S. Army Signal Corps


Bigger fish to fry: Churchill and Roosevelt at Casablanca, 1943

British. Stationing U.S. forces in Northern Ireland, in >> KIMBALL... January 1942, brought a pro forma complaint from de Valera that his government had not been consulted and saw the move as approval of partition, and that some in Ireland feared the American army would attack Irish forces. To de Valera’s pleasure, Roosevelt responded with assurances that the United States would not invade.17 Ask the Irish during the Second World War, “who are we neutral against?” and the answer was resounding: Germany. British aircraft and warships routinely entered Irish territory without protest; Allied airmen who crashed in Ireland were not interned, as required by neutrality, but sent to Northern Ireland. In mid-1941, de Valera had arrested the bulk of the leadership of the Irish Republican Army, executing one IRA enforcer in March 1942. (The arrests followed the capture and torture by the IRA of its own chief of staff, Stephen Hayes, who had drawn up a truly silly plan for a German attack on Northern Ireland, with the ostensible purpose of uniting Eire.) Still, suspicion and distrust characterized AngloIrish relations. When the Germans mistakenly bombed a Dublin suburb, civilians assumed the British had done it. Nevertheless, once danger of invasion of the British Isles was past (some time after Hitler’s invasion of Russia), the urgency disappeared.18 That coincided with the establishment of remarkably close, though secret, intelligence coordination and liaison between British and Irish bureaucracies, which reassured the British about Irish actions and intentions. Public suspicions remained, fed by lurid news reports in Britain and the United States that Ireland harbored German spies or saboteurs. But military officials, and presumably political leaders, knew better. Code-breaking was, for the argument over Irish

neutrality, a bit of a wash. The Germans had, until 1944, penetrated British and Allied merchant ship codes. The British had broken the German diplomatic code in December 1942, allowing them to read what codebreakers labeled PANDORA traffic to and from the German legation in Dublin—information the British did not share with their Irish colleagues. In hindsight, we can see that German code-breaking made the Treaty Ports relatively unimportant; whereas breaking the German codes reassured the British that the Irish government was, in fact, cooperating quite closely with the war effort. But public perceptions were distorted because known German agents could not always be apprehended lest that damage or disclose the now famous British Double-Cross system of anti-espionage and deception. 19 Those who, over a half-century later, consign the Irish to one of Dante’s hells for their country’s failure to join the fight against Hitler, may want to read Eunan O’Halpin’s Spying on Ireland: British Intelligence and Irish Neutrality during the Second World War. Its exquisite research and detailed narrative may prompt some to rethink their verdict. Just one example: The extensive intelligence cooperation as OVERLORD was being prepared set to rest concerns that Dublin was a leaky faucet of information to Germany. Whatever Churchill’s role in all this, he knew of Irish-British intelligence liaison; yet he seemed personally uncomfortable, warning that it be limited to “special lines of mutual interest.” O’Halpin suggests that Churchill’s use of (or rather failure to use) wartime intelligence about Irish actions and policies is understandable given his “personal resentment of Irish neutrality.” “Petulant” is O’Halpin’s label.20 “Distrust” would be mine. How much the Americans and Roosevelt knew about Irish cooperation with British intelligence is

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unclear. Not until mid-1944 did British (MI5) and American (OSS) intelligence finally agree to exchange information related to Ireland.21

Machinations In April 1943, Churchill asked if Roosevelt and the American public would now permit conscription in Northern Ireland. Roosevelt replied that he no longer thought public opinion would take issue with conscription, but nothing came of the initiative. Churchill’s advisers were still opposed. They apparently had hoped for a strong negative reaction from Roosevelt that they could show to those “loyalists” in the Northern Ireland government who persistently agitated for conscription so as to tie Ulster even more strongly to the UK.22 By mid-1943, Gray was casting about for ways to play a broad role in the “special relationship” between Great Britain and the United States. By his calculus, the issue of Irish partition would poison Anglo-American relations after the war. His plan was to discredit de Valera and his party and “remove the pressure of the Irish question from Anglo-American relations.”23 Churchill obviously agreed. In May he dismissed neutrality in general and Ireland in particular in a brief remark at a luncheon in Washington with high-level U.S. officials. He could see “little but an ineffective and inglorious role for Mr. De Valera and others who might remain neutral to the end.”24 A few months later, Gray met with Roosevelt and Churchill and then drafted (or re-drafted) a long, argumentative letter for Roosevelt to send de Valera, overwrought, over-written, and over-exaggerated. It read more like a declaration of diplomatic war than an attempt to promote agreement. At the same dinner in Hyde Park when Churchill described the “fraternal relationship” he wished for between the United States and Great Britain after the war, Gray lectured the Prime Minister and President on how Ireland should be handled. Averell Harriman succinctly noted: “The Prime Minister seemed unimpressed.” Although Churchill told

17. Dwyer, Strained Relations, 139-40). Joseph T. Carroll, Ireland in the War Years (Newton Abbot: David & Charles, 1975), 116-17. 18. Fisk, In Time of War, 307-10; Fisk, “Éire,” 325. 19. Fisk, In Time of War, 250; Eunan O’Halpin, Spying on Ireland: British Intelligence and Irish Neutrality during the Second World War (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008), 163, 215, and passim; see also PANDORA in the index. 20. O’Halpin, Spying on Ireland, 247-58; quotations on 256. Despite the derring-do tales in Brian Garfield’s novel, The Paladin (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1979), neither German submarine pens nor the book’s hero, Christopher Creighton, are found in Ireland by O’Halpin—or anyone else; see also Richard M. Langworth, review of The Paladin in Finest Hour 139: 24. 21. O’Halpin, Spying on Ireland, 199-200, 256.

Roosevelt that he liked Gray’s Irish message, it seems that either the Prime Minister or the President, or both, thought it too personal and had Gray tone it down.25 By the time of the Cairo Conference in December 1943, Churchill finally told Roosevelt that continued protests about the Treaty Ports and the proposed letter to de Valera were likely only to muddy the waters without accomplishing anything. Cordell Hull agreed. Roosevelt still wanted “to have an American protest to Ireland on record,” but acquiesced to the British request. But now Gray was off again on what seemed a personal crusade—personal except that Roosevelt never pulled him back. This time he wanted de Valera to close the Axis missions in Dublin, ostensibly to maintain secrecy about American troop movements into and in Northern Ireland. The British foreign office went along, persuaded that Roosevelt wanted to get a refusal on record. Again, the purpose seems to have been to undermine Irish-American support for Ireland against Britain and partition, an issue Gray and Roosevelt thought would cause serious problems in the postwar world.26 The expected refusal came, but so did leaks to the American press. Gray and presumably Roosevelt must have smirked to themselves that their scheme had worked when James Reston of The New York Times solemnly warned that de Valera should not expect the same support his “ancient battles with the British” had garnered in the past. But that furor died from lack of oxygen. In reality, the Irish were cooperating quite smoothly with Allied intelligence. Postwar politics, not on-scene security, generated the tension. British intelligence even worried that Anglo-Irish cooperation might be endangered.27 As one perceptive historian put it, it is “hard to avoid the impression that Gray engineered” a crisis by calling for what all parties knew was impossible for de Valera—an end to Irish neutrality by the expulsion of Axis missions. Gray (and the American government?) were intent on purposefully discrediting the de Valera government and deepening the disaffection of Irish-

22. C&R, II: C-280 (11Apr43), 186-87; R-273 (19Apr43), 192. 23. Dwyer, Strained Relations, 104-06. 24. Churchill, The Hinge of Fate (London: Cassell, 1950, 719. 25. FRUS, Quebec Conference, 1943, 618-24, 832; C&R, II: C-412/4 (15Aug43), 421. 26. FRUS, Cairo and Teheran, 1943, as quoted in Dwyer, Strained Relations, 116. This story is well summarized on 111, 99172, passim. Quotations without citations are from that discussion. 27. O’Halpin, Spying on Ireland, 247-56. Forrest Davis, “What Really Happened at Teheran,” Saturday Evening Post, 116 (13May44), 41. 28. Clair Wills, That Neutral Island: A Cultural History of Ireland during the Second World War (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2007), 361, 386-88.

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Americans from the Republic.28 Gray seemed obsessed >> KIMBALL... with a desire to add Ireland to the “list” of allies against the Axis, regardless of what it could contribute.29

Pokes in the Eye Two other issues would cloud Irish relations with the Anglo-Americans before war’s end. One was just plain silly and stupid. The other was just plain coercive —and more than a bit nasty. When Adolf Hitler’s suicide became public, Eamon de Valera, as head of the Irish government, made a “courtesy” call (2 May 1945) at the German Mission in Dublin to express his “official” condolences. Whatever the duties and courtesies expected of a neutral, that seems a bridge too far, even though some other neutrals acted in similar fashion. Perhaps it was just plain stiffnecked stubbornness. He’d be damned if he would drop the appearance of genuine neutrality just because the English spalpeens were winning. Hardly anything new for Irish-English relations! But deep down, the visit was a poke in Churchill’s eye—and perhaps that of David Gray as well—reminiscent of Churchill when he unconsciously reversed his V-for-victory sign. Churchill responded on 13 May by bitingly attacking Irish neutrality. Refusals to allow Royal Navy access to the Treaty Ports, he declaimed, came at “a deadly moment in our life”—true at the time, though untrue in the hindsight—“and if it had not been for the loyalty and friendship of Northern Ireland we should have been forced to come to close quarters with Mr. de Valera or perish forever from the earth”—neither necessary nor plausible, and certainly an inference about partition that was a poke back into de Valera’s eye. “...however, with a restraint and poise to which, I say, history will find few parallels, His Majesty’s Government never laid a hand upon them—because it was not worth the trouble—and we left the de Valera government to frolic with the Germans and later with Japanese representatives to their heart’s content.” Frolic? Amusing and satisfying to the British; insulting and inaccurate to the Irish. The magnanimity in victory that Churchill called for in his Second World War memoirs seemed a bit strained.30 Yet Churchill always had second and third thoughts that usually improved as he went along: A few years later he wrote of Ireland: “They are neither in nor out of the Empire. But they are much more friendly to us than they used to be....The bitter past is failing.” That was written in 1947—when de Valera still headed the Irish State.31 Whatever Churchill’s reactions, in the glare of publicity about German death camps, de Valera’s condolence visit was a foolish mistake; an embarrassing and

disgraceful move by a leader who had more than a little knowledge of Nazi atrocities. But nationalism trumps all. Little wonder that, at Yalta, Roosevelt dismissed Ireland as a candidate for founding membership in the United Nations Organization.32 The coercive matter was equally distasteful but less emotional. At the end of 1944, the U.S. sponsored a Chicago conference on postwar civil aviation. The Americans wanted the right to pick up passengers in one foreign country and carry them forward to a third country. They also insisted on being allowed to increase the level of commercial air services to meet demand. rather than being restricted to a specific number of flights and capacity. The latter, termed aviation’s “fifth freedom,” was significant because the Pan-American Airways’ round-the-world route was commercially viable only if it could top-up with passengers along the way. Put baldly, the U.S. had the equipment, and their airlines the experience, to be formidable competitors; the British did not. Ironically (or planned?), a wartime agreement on division of labor had the Americans producing specialized transport aircraft which could be the basis for new passenger planes. As Churchill forlornly put it: “I have never advocated competitive ‘bigness’ between our two countries….You have the greatest navy in the world. You will have, I hope, the greatest air force. You will have the greatest trade. You have all the gold.” How it all ended is for another discussion. But when the British rejected the U.S. position and the conference ground to an inconclusive end, Roosevelt and the Americans played hardball, at a minor league level. They simply spun around and in February 1945 negotiated a bilateral civil aviation agreement with Ireland. Given refueling requirements at that time, the British had thought that they had a stranglehold on the American gateway to Europe, but the agreement with Dublin bypassed them. Churchill expressed astonishment at the American agreement with the “Southern Irish.” Nevertheless, in 1945, western Ireland’s Shannon Airport became a transatlantic destination and connection for Americans traveling to Europe.33

Looking Back Today From the perspective of 2009, Ireland’s neutrality in World War II seems to have had few consequences. Computers and the global economy brought a prosperity that tenant-farming and heavy industry could never provide. Out-migration became return-migration, as selfexiled Irish returned to their emotional home. Partition continues, but the violence of the IRA, the Ulster Defence Association and the Ulster Freedom Fighters has, at long last, been trumped by public disenchantment in both the north and the south, whatever the

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isolated (one hopes) incidents early in 2009. There was never a chance of the Republic fighting with the Axis, unless the British tried to occupy it. IRA extremists who felt otherwise were imprisoned by the Irish government. But even World War II was not a war for ideals that automatically applied to small neutrals. Developing long lists of “allies,” regardless of what they could contribute, became a goal of Anglo-American foreign policy, then and now—a way to demonstrate moral superiority in a kind of democratic “vote.” It was the “if you’re not with us, you’re against us” syndrome that would become so strong during the Cold War. Neutrality was wrong, if not evil.34 Ireland was a sideshow—an eddy in the huge tides of the Second World War. The realities of Irish neutrality were why the disputes never went beyond words, nasty or threatening though they were. Occupying or conquering Ireland to obtain three superfluous naval bases, closing down a German embassy in no position to provide important intelligence, or adding Ireland’s name to a laundry list, would achieve nothing of value. Forcing Ireland out of neutrality would have created a behind-the-lines sore that bled money and manpower. It would have confirmed de Valera’s accusations that the Anglo-Americans would ignore decent standards of conduct by violating a small nation that was no threat. The Holocaust, which accurately branded Nazi Germany as barbaric, also branded the Second World War as the “good war”: the litmus test for civilized behavior. But reality quickly set in. De Valera’s job was to care for the people of Ireland. Like Franco and Salazar, de Valera is much praised for keeping his nation out of a war that would have brought little gain and, in the early stages, possible retaliation or invasion.35 Still, Ireland could have joined up after 1942,

when all threat of German military action against it had disappeared. Why not? If de Valera had ever thought Germany might win, such thoughts were dispelled. There is no evidence that he wanted Germany to win, whatever his speculation that a German victory could end partition. Had Ireland joined the Allies in 1942 or 1943, the minor ostracization that happened after the war would have been avoided. But that was more important for Ireland than for the Anglo-Americans. If other in-betweeners, like Sweden or Switzerland, could escape the war with their reputations and bank accounts intact, why not Ireland? Is it, perhaps, the burden of a common language and Ireland’s history as England’s first colony? Family always matters more— and hurts more—than strangers. Ireland’s story in World War II is worth telling, because there are lessons in that story that are relevant to our world. Ireland’s uncomfortable position was a European version of an awkward struggle throughout the 20th and 21st centuries: National self-determination often runs counter to national interest and even common sense. The “republic” of Georgia and its 200year colonial relationship with Russia mirrors, far from precisely, the centuries-long relationship of Ireland and England. How Ireland was treated by the great powers is different from the story of Russia and Georgia more for practical reasons than those of ethics and honor. In 2008, Russia could use military force against Georgia with impunity; Britain and America could not so act against Ireland without…Stop!36 Just raising questions about the parallels makes the point. Whatever arguments we might make—about Ireland in the Second World War or a contemporary confrontation—they will help us better to understand the dynamics of today’s relationships between the great

29. Until Gray left Dublin in mid-1947, he continued his crusade, with little effect. As the Cold War built, Americans wanted to add Ireland to their “list” of those opposed to the Soviets—hardly an issue with the anti-communist, Roman Catholic Irish. However, the USSR vetoed Irish membership in the UN until 1955. See Troy D. Davis, Dublin’s American Policy (Washington: Catholic University Press, 1998), 40-49. In the 1950s, Gray wrote an introduction to a Unionist booklet condemning Irish neutrality. See Sean Cronin’s biting critique, Washington’s Irish Policy, 1916-1986 (Dublin: Anvil Books, 1987), 161. 30. Oxford Companion, 298; Wills, That Neutral Island, 391-92 ff.; Dwyer, Strained Relations, 164-65; Robert Rhodes James, ed., Winston S. Churchill: His Complete Speeches, 8 vols. (New York: Bowker, 1974), VII 7158 (emphasis added). 31. Winston S. Churchill, The Dream (Delray Beach, Florida: Levenger Press, 1977), 33. (First written in 1947.) 32. FRUS, Yalta, 784. 33. See Alan P. Dobson, “Roosevelt and the Struggle for a PostWar Civil Aviation Regime,” in David Woolner, Warren Kimball and David Reynolds, eds., FDR’s World: War, Peace, and Legacies (New York: Palgrave, 2008), 193-213. See also Dobson, Peaceful Air Warfare: The United States, Britain and the Politics of International Aviation (Ox-

ford: Clarendon Press, 1991). For “all the gold” see C&R, III: C-836 (28Nov44), 419-21; see also R-654, C-827, R-655/1 draft A, R-655/1, and R-661, 402-07, 424-25, all November 1944. Churchill’s and FDR’s comments on the bilateral agreement are in C&R, III: C-904, 543-44 and R-717, 566-68. When FDR threatened to terminate Lend-Lease, U.S. Ambassador Gilbert Winant was loath to deliver the message, but Churchill said, “even a declaration of war should not prevent them having a good lunch”; Colville diary quoted in Gilbert, Road to Victory, 1074. 34. See the 1942 Declaration of United Nations, listing forty-five such governments, FRUS, Conferences at Washington, 1941-42, and Casablanca, 1943, 376-77. For more on lists-as-policy, see Warren F. Kimball, “The Sheriffs: FDR’s Postwar World,” in FDR’s World, 91-121. 35. See Geoffrey Roberts, “Three Narratives of Neutrality: Historians and Ireland’s War,” in Brian Girvin and Geoffrey Roberts, eds., Ireland and the Second World War (Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2000), 165-79. 36. On how the Anglo-Americans treated other small neutrals, particularly Portugal, during WW2, see Warren F. Kimball, “The Singing of Small Birds: Franklin Roosevelt and the Postwar Settlements,” in Luís Nuno Rodrigues, ed., Franklin Roosevelt and the Azores during the Two World Wars (Lisbon: Luso-American Foundation, 2008), 365-78.

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Level 4: 1. Which leading Welsh politician refused to serve under Churchill in the Second World War? (C)

12. Which American president said that Churchill was a man of extraordinarily strong convictions, and a master of argument and debate? (S)

Level 2: 13. Who wrote in his diary about WSC in 1941: “God knows where we would be without him, but God knows 3. Of whom did the Morning Post write where we shall be with him!”? (C) on 17 August 1917: “That dangerous and uncertain quantity, Mr ——— — 14. Churchill in My Early Life: “Don’t give your son money. As far as you can ——, a floating kidney in the body afford it, give him [what?].” (P) politic, is back again...”? (M) 2. What activity did WSC take up at Hoe Farm in 1915, which became a lifetime passion? (M)

4. In which speech did WSC say that his policy was to wage war against a monstrous tyranny, never surpassed in the dark, lamentable catalogue of human crime? (S) 5. Churchill said in 1899: “...I am not a good life. My [who?] died too young. I must try to accomplish whatever I can by the time I am forty.” (P) 6. Which Admiral often ended his letters to Churchill with “Yours till Hell freezes,” “Yours till charcoal sprouts,” and “Yours till a cinder”? (C) Level 3: 7. “The Admiralty [in 1909] had demanded six ships: the economists offered four: and we finally compromised on eight.” How many did WSC hold out for? (W) 8. Whom did Churchill mean when, on 20 January 1945, he told Colville not to bother about “Atler or Hitlee” and watch a film? (M) 9. What American Civil War book did WSC recommend to Bourke Cockran in February 1896? (L)

15. Who wrote the foreword in October 1940 to Pitt’s War Speeches, speaking of fighting “till we in turn achieve our Waterloo”? (S) 16. WSC delivered his “Finest Hour” speech on 18 June 1940. Why did he think the date was significant? (W) 17. Which of Churchill’s books was fastest into print? (L) 18. In which of his books did WSC proclaim the maxim “Courage is not only common, but cosmopolitan”? (L) Level 1: 19. After his visit to America in 1929 Churchill had contracted to write twenty-two articles. For how much? (L) 20. When did WSC cry, “Keep, cool men. This will be interesting for my paper”? (W) 21. For whom is the town of Churchill, Manitoba named? (M) 22. In his essay “The Scaffolding of Rhetoric” (1897), whom did Churchill quote: “You shall not press down upon the brow of labour this crown of FINEST HOUR 145 / 62

24. To what incident was WSC referring when he wrote his wife in 1911: “If she [Germany] thinks Morocco can be divided up without John Bull, she is jolly well mistaken”? (W) ,


(1) Lloyd George. (2) Painting. (3) Winston Churchill, who had been appointed Minister of Munitions on 18 July. (4) His first speech as Prime Minister on Monday, 13 May 1940. (5) WSC’s father, Lord Randolph Churchill, who died on 24 January 1895 at the age of 45. (6) Lord Fisher.

11. Who wrote the obituary of Major Valentine Fleming DSO, father of Ian Fleming, in The Times in 1917? (C)

(7) Four. WSC admitted he was wrong, and that the First Lord, Mr. McKenna, was right. (8) Attlee and Hitler. Attlee had annoyed the PM with a blunt letter. They watched Bette Davis in Dark Victory. (9) The Red Badge of Courage, by Stephen Crane. (10) Lord Randolph Churchill. Lord Salisbury accepted his resignation on 23 December. (11) His friend Winston Churchill. Ian Fleming, only eight years old when his father died in action on the Western Front, kept a copy of the obituary on his desk for the rest of his life. (12) Eisenhower.

Each quiz includes four questions in six categories: contemporaries (C), literary (L), miscellaneous (M), personal (P), statesmanship (S) and war (W), easy questions first. Can you reach Level 1?

23. WSC to his mother, 6 July 1895: “I felt very despondent and sad—the third funeral I have been to within five months.” Whose funerals? (P)

(13) Alanbrooke. (14) Horses. (15) Churchill. (16) It was the 125th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo. (17) The People’s Rights, based on speeches in 3-11 December 1909, was published on 14 January 1910. (18) The Story of the Malakand Field Force.


thorns. You shall not crucify humanity upon a cross of gold”? (S)

(19) £40,000, or 100 times the annual salary of a Member of Parliament. (20) When trying to free the armoured train from a Boer ambush, 15 November 1899. (21) John Churchill, First Duke of Marlborough, Third Governor of Hudson’s Bay Company, 1685-92. (22) William Jennings Bryan. (23) His father died on 24 January, his grandmother Jerome on 2 April, and his nanny Mrs. Everest on 3 July. (24) The Agadir incident, when Germany sent the gunboat Panther to the Moroccan port.

Churchill Quiz

10. After his triumph on 30 July 1886 he was asked: “How long will your leadership last?” Six months” he replied. “And after that?” “Westminster Abbey!” Who was he? (P)

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“St. Malo” 1925 Oil painting by Winston S. Churchill, 20 x 24 in., 51 x 61.2 cm. (Coombs C135). Published in Pictures at Harrow by Carolyn Leder, Curator, 1998. Exhibited: M. Knoedler, London, 1977; New York City International Arts Festival 1983; Japan, 1998. Reproduced by kind permission of Minnie Churchill, Churchill Heritage Ltd., and the Keepers and Governors of Harrow School, Harrow on the Hill, Middlesex. The painting is located in the Old Speech Room Gallery, which is open by appointment with the curator, Mrs. Carolyn Leder ( This painting was originally entitled, “The Adriatic, with Venice in the Distance,” but Lady Churchill, who presented it to Harrow in 1966, suggested that the view was St. Malo. The sailing vessels, which seem to have been added later by Sir Winston, are based on another of his paintings (Coombs C133), a copy of a 19th century Dutch seascape that hangs at Chartwell (below).

Finest Hour 145  
Finest Hour 145  

Finest Hour, The Journal of Winson Churchill is the quarterly publication of The Churchill Centre.