May 13, 1940: The Day the English Language Was Mobilized and Sent Into Battle

 

Seventy-nine years ago, on Monday, May 13, 1940, a man who had been the Prime Minister of England for just three days, and who’d only ascended to the position as the candidate of last resort after internecine squabbling within his own party, and only with the reluctant support of his King, made his maiden speech to Parliament (excerpt follows, entire speech here):

Sir, to form an Administration of this scale and complexity is a serious undertaking in itself, but it must be remembered that we are in the preliminary stage of one of the greatest battles in history, that we are in action at many points in Norway and in Holland, that we have to be prepared in the Mediterranean, that the air battle is continuous and that many preparations have to be made here at home. In this crisis I hope I may be pardoned if I do not address the House at any length today. I hope that any of my friends and colleagues, or former colleagues, who are affected by the political reconstruction, will make all allowances for any lack of ceremony with which it has been necessary to act. I would say to the House, as I said to those who have joined the government: “I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat.”

We have before us an ordeal of the most grievous kind. We have before us many, many long months of struggle and of suffering. You ask, what is our policy? I will say: It is to wage war, by sea, land and air, with all our might and with all the strength that God can give us; to wage war against a monstrous tyranny, never surpassed in the dark and lamentable catalogue of human crime. That is our policy. You ask, what is our aim? I can answer in one word: victory; victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory, however long and hard the road may be; for without victory, there is no survival. Let that be realized; no survival for the British Empire, no survival for all that the British Empire has stood for, no survival for the urge and impulse of the ages, that mankind will move forward towards its goal. But I take up my task with buoyancy and hope. I feel sure that our cause will not be suffered to fail among men. At this time I feel entitled to claim the aid of all, and I say, “Come then, let us go forward together with our united strength.”

The speech was brief (less than six minutes) and urgent. Its most famous line was cobbled together and borrowed, bits from Teddy Roosevelt, and bits from Giuseppe Garibaldi. Its message was clear. Britain was on the ropes. Appeasement had failed. Hitler was winning. Disunity at home would not be suffered to continue. A governing coalition, composed of all leaders of all parties would go forward together, with the country on a firm war footing, with victory, at any and all cost, the aim. (Although Churchill’s message for public consumption was one of “buoyancy and hope,” he was under no illusion about what was to follow, remarking to his Chief Miltary Assistant, General “Pug” Ismay, “Poor people, poor people. They trust me, and I can give them nothing but disaster for quite a long time.” And so it seemed.)

With the exception of his own Conservative Party, many of whose members clapped politely, while others sat on their hands, Winston Churchill’s speech was greeted with a rapturous ovation by the crowd at Westminster, and by the British public, which longed to hear someone speak in terms other than platitudes of appeasement and cooperation with “Herr Hitler,” and which desperately wanted a leader they could follow, and a champion of whom they could be proud. The man had met the moment, and the rest is history.

I sometimes wonder if such national unity, sense of purpose, and resolve against seemingly impossible odds will be ever seen again in the West.

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There are 33 comments.

  1. 1
  2. 2
  1. She Thatcher
    She Post author

    The title of the post contains a buried quote, referenced by President John F. Kennedy on the day he granted Winston Churchill honorary American citizenship:

    He mobilized the English language and sent it into battle.

    Kennedy, who used the quote without attribution, actually borrowed it from Edward R. Murrow:

    Now the hour had come for him to mobilize the English language, and send it into battle, a spearhead of hope for Britain and the world. We have joined together some of that Churchillian prose. It sustained. It lifted the hearts of an island of people when they stood alone.

    • #1
    • May 13, 2019, at 4:41 AM PDT
    • 7 likes
  2. Percival Thatcher

    About the only things the British had going for them were an extraordinary leader and a people who wouldn’t quit.

    • #2
    • May 13, 2019, at 4:59 AM PDT
    • 8 likes
  3. She Thatcher
    She Post author

    Percival (View Comment):

    About the only things the British had going for them were an extraordinary leader and a people who wouldn’t quit.

    Sometimes, that’s enough

    • #3
    • May 13, 2019, at 5:01 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  4. Al Sparks Thatcher

    She:

    I sometimes wonder if such national unity, sense of purpose, and resolve against seemingly impossible odds will be ever seen again in the West.

    I don’t think so. The existential threat posed by the Soviet Union didn’t.

    And of course you need “seemingly impossible odds”.

    And as Kevin Williamson has noted in a recent column, unity is overrated.

    • #4
    • May 13, 2019, at 5:58 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  5. Hang On Member

    She (View Comment):

    Percival (View Comment):

    About the only things the British had going for them were an extraordinary leader and a people who wouldn’t quit.

    Sometimes, that’s enough

    The British had a leader who recognized that Britain had much going for it than that. They had a fleet second to none. They were an island that had to be invaded en masse. They had an air force with the advantages of interior lines of communication. They had Chain Home (which evidently the Germans didn’t know about). They had Spitfires. They broke German codes and cipher capability second to none. And they did have indomitable spirit. But indomitable spirit by itself would not have been enough even with a great leader. (Finland had both – and still lost to the Soviets.)

    • #5
    • May 13, 2019, at 6:05 AM PDT
    • 8 likes
  6. Hang On Member

    Al Sparks (View Comment):

    She:

    I sometimes wonder if such national unity, sense of purpose, and resolve against seemingly impossible odds will be ever seen again in the West.

    I don’t think so. The existential threat posed by the Soviet Union didn’t.

    And of course you need “seemingly impossible odds”.

    And as Kevin Williamson has noted in a recent column, unity is overrated.

    But Williamson is a dolt.

    • #6
    • May 13, 2019, at 6:07 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  7. Al Sparks Thatcher

    Hang On (View Comment):

    Al Sparks (View Comment):

    She:

    I sometimes wonder if such national unity, sense of purpose, and resolve against seemingly impossible odds will be ever seen again in the West.

    I don’t think so. The existential threat posed by the Soviet Union didn’t.

    And of course you need “seemingly impossible odds”.

    And as Kevin Williamson has noted in a recent column, unity is overrated.

    But Williamson is a dolt.

    Well, we disagree, but if he is, that doesn’t make him wrong about unity..

    • #7
    • May 13, 2019, at 6:18 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  8. Vectorman Thatcher

    Hang On (View Comment):
    The British had a leader who recognized that Britain had much going for it than that. They had a fleet second to none. They were an island that had to be invaded en masse. They had an air force with the advantages of interior lines of communication. They had Chain Home (which evidently the Germans didn’t know about). They had Spitfires. And they did have indomitable spirit. But indomitable spirit by itself would not have been enough even with a great leader.

    They also had a Tory leader that could work with the leftest American President. Without the U.S. aid, including the formal Lend-Lease in March 1941, the British could have been starved into submission before December 1941.


    The Quote of the Day series is the easiest way to start a fun conversation on Ricochet. We have only 3 days left on the May Signup SheetWe even include tips for finding great quotes, so choose your favorite quote and sign up today!

    • #8
    • May 13, 2019, at 6:21 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  9. She Thatcher
    She Post author

    Al Sparks (View Comment):

    She:

    I sometimes wonder if such national unity, sense of purpose, and resolve against seemingly impossible odds will be ever seen again in the West.

    I don’t think so. The existential threat posed by the Soviet Union didn’t.

    And of course you need “seemingly impossible odds”.

    And as Kevin Williamson has noted in a recent column, unity is overrated.

    The column was almost eighteen months ago. An absolute age, in modern politics. And I think the gist of it was that the notion of “unity” as proselytized by Steve Bannon (where’d he go, anyway?), was not Williamson’s cup of tea.

    https://www.nationalreview.com/2017/10/republican-unity-overrated/

     

    • #9
    • May 13, 2019, at 6:27 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  10. James Gawron Thatcher

    She:

    “I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat.”

    We have before us an ordeal of the most grievous kind. We have before us many, many long months of struggle and of suffering. You ask, what is our policy? I will say: It is to wage war, by sea, land and air, with all our might and with all the strength that God can give us; to wage war against a monstrous tyranny, never surpassed in the dark and lamentable catalogue of human crime. That is our policy. You ask, what is our aim? I can answer in one word: victory; victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory, however long and hard the road may be; for without victory, there is no survival. Let that be realized; no survival for the British Empire, no survival for all that the British Empire has stood for, no survival for the urge and impulse of the ages, that mankind will move forward towards its goal. But I take up my task with buoyancy and hope. I feel sure that our cause will not be suffered to fail among men. At this time I feel entitled to claim the aid of all, and I say, “Come then, let us go forward together with our united strength.”

    She,

    Where’s the feel good, let’s not hurt anybody’s feelings, let’s not frighten anybody, brainless garbage that came out of Obama’s mouth. Obama tried to act like the whole world was one giant “safe space” where you’d get graham crackers and a teddy to hug. If ever there was a speech that was the exact opposite this is it. Winston doesn’t hold back a thing. He lays it all out, the entire horror, and then he lifts everyone by his sheer force of will.

    This is the best speech by any leader that I have ever heard.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #10
    • May 13, 2019, at 6:38 AM PDT
    • 7 likes
  11. She Thatcher
    She Post author

    Hang On (View Comment):

    She (View Comment):

    Percival (View Comment):

    About the only things the British had going for them were an extraordinary leader and a people who wouldn’t quit.

    Sometimes, that’s enough

    The British had a leader who recognized that Britain had much going for it than that. They had a fleet second to none.

    The Royal Navy. Perhaps the only reason to give thanks for that corrupt old mountebank Henry VIII. That and his younger daughter, of course.

    They were an island that had to be invaded en masse. They had an air force with the advantages of interior lines of communication. They had Chain Home (which evidently the Germans didn’t know about). They had Spitfires. They broke German codes and cipher capability second to none.

    On the code-breaking side, they had a considerable assist from the Poles. I was very pleased to see that prominently acknowledged when I visited Bletchley Park several years ago.

    Auntie Pat (96 in July, may she live forever) is a one-woman representation of Britain’s indomitable spirit. She did say though, that it was much easier to remain indomitable while Britain was actually at war, and that the almost ten years afterwards, during which much was still rationed, times were still very tough, and privation was still quite widespread, were much harder than the war years themselves. “But we’d won, you see,” she says. “We thought it was all going to be over and quickly go back to normal.” But it didn’t. And it really never has.

    (Pat is in the middle)

    • #11
    • May 13, 2019, at 7:00 AM PDT
    • 11 likes
  12. She Thatcher
    She Post author

    James Gawron (View Comment):
    She,

    Where’s the feel good, let’s not hurt anybody’s feelings, let’s not frighten anybody, brainless garbage that came out of Obama’s mouth. Obama tried to act like the whole world was one giant “safe space” where you’d get graham crackers and a teddy to hug. If ever there was a speech that was the exact opposite this is it. Winston doesn’t hold back a thing. He lays it all out, the entire horror, and then he lifts everyone by his sheer force of will.

    This is the best speech by any leader that I have ever heard

    Regards

    Jim

    You’d have to look hard to find a better one, that’s for sure.

    • #12
    • May 13, 2019, at 7:04 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  13. Hang On Member

    She (View Comment):

    On the code-breaking side, they had a considerable assist from the Poles. I was very pleased to see that prominently acknowledged when I visited Bletchley Park several years ago.

     

    The Poles were treated shabbily and Turing was treated shabbily after it was over. They should have been feted but weren’t. 

    • #13
    • May 13, 2019, at 7:37 AM PDT
    • 7 likes
  14. Full Size Tabby Member

    James Gawron (View Comment):

    She,

    Where’s the feel good, let’s not hurt anybody’s feelings, let’s not frighten anybody, brainless garbage that came out of Obama’s mouth. Obama tried to act like the whole world was one giant “safe space” where you’d get graham crackers and a teddy to hug. If ever there was a speech that was the exact opposite this is it. Winston doesn’t hold back a thing. He lays it all out, the entire horror, and then he lifts everyone by his sheer force of will.

    This is the best speech by any leader that I have ever heard.

    Regards,

    Jim

    That’s what makes the Churchill speech so remarkable. We can debate for a long time the actual advantages or disadvantages that Britain had. But Churchill set a clear objective for the use of whatever the British had. No sugar-coating. No platitudes. No warm-and-fuzzies. “Here’s what we’re going to do. Now let’s go do it.”

    • #14
    • May 13, 2019, at 9:08 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  15. Tex929rr Coolidge

    My absolute favorite Churchill pic:

     

    • #15
    • May 13, 2019, at 10:53 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  16. Mr Nick Member

    She (View Comment):

    Hang On (View Comment):

    She (View Comment):

    Percival (View Comment):

    About the only things the British had going for them were an extraordinary leader and a people who wouldn’t quit.

    Sometimes, that’s enough

    The British had a leader who recognized that Britain had much going for it than that. They had a fleet second to none.

    The Royal Navy. Perhaps the only reason to give thanks for that corrupt old mountebank Henry VIII. That and his younger daughter, of course.

    They were an island that had to be invaded en masse. They had an air force with the advantages of interior lines of communication. They had Chain Home (which evidently the Germans didn’t know about). They had Spitfires. They broke German codes and cipher capability second to none.

    On the code-breaking side, they had a considerable assist from the Poles. I was very pleased to see that prominently acknowledged when I visited Bletchley Park several years ago.

    Yes and don’t forget the crucial role played by the Polish pilots who fought in the Battle of Britain. There is an amazing Polish War Memorial in London’s western outskirts. The free Poles had a brilliant secret service beyond Bletchley, apparently British intelligence couldn’t break their codes.

    • #16
    • May 13, 2019, at 12:45 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  17. Taras Coolidge

    Mr Nick (View Comment):

    She (View Comment):

    Hang On (View Comment):

    She (View Comment):

    Percival (View Comment):

    About the only things the British had going for them were an extraordinary leader and a people who wouldn’t quit.

    Sometimes, that’s enough

    The British had a leader who recognized that Britain had much going for it than that. They had a fleet second to none.

    The Royal Navy. Perhaps the only reason to give thanks for that corrupt old mountebank Henry VIII. That and his younger daughter, of course.

    They were an island that had to be invaded en masse. They had an air force with the advantages of interior lines of communication. They had Chain Home (which evidently the Germans didn’t know about). They had Spitfires. They broke German codes and cipher capability second to none.

    On the code-breaking side, they had a considerable assist from the Poles. I was very pleased to see that prominently acknowledged when I visited Bletchley Park several years ago.

    Yes and don’t forget the crucial role played by the Polish pilots who fought in the Battle of Britain. There is an amazing Polish War Memorial in London’s western outskirts. The free Poles had a brilliant secret service beyond Bletchley, apparently British intelligence couldn’t break their codes.

     Now, imagine how all this would have gone if the Left in Britain had managed to break up the British Empire a decade or two early, so it really would have been a small island facing the Reich by itself.

    • #17
    • May 13, 2019, at 1:50 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  18. Goldwaterwoman Thatcher

    She (View Comment):
    “But we’d won, you see,” she says. “We thought it was all going to be over and quickly go back to normal.” But it didn’t. And it really never has.

    They said the same thing about WWI too. Everyone thought that war would be short and then back to normal.

    It should be noted that all these post World War ll years later we worship at the feet of Churchill, but he had a hard time keeping his coalition together at the time and was much criticized by his own people during the course of the war. He once said history would be kind to him as he intended to write it. Regardless of who wrote the history, the western world owes him a huge debt. 

    • #18
    • May 13, 2019, at 2:23 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  19. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… Member

    Al Sparks (View Comment):

    Hang On (View Comment):

    Al Sparks (View Comment):

    She:

    I sometimes wonder if such national unity, sense of purpose, and resolve against seemingly impossible odds will be ever seen again in the West.

    I don’t think so. The existential threat posed by the Soviet Union didn’t.

    And of course you need “seemingly impossible odds”.

    And as Kevin Williamson has noted in a recent column, unity is overrated.

    But Williamson is a dolt.

    Well, we disagree, but if he is, that doesn’t make him wrong about unity..

    I guess that I disagree with both of you. I don’t think that Williamson is a dolt, but I think that his statement about unity is incorrect.

    • #19
    • May 13, 2019, at 2:33 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  20. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… Member

    Hang On (View Comment):

    She (View Comment):

    Percival (View Comment):

    About the only things the British had going for them were an extraordinary leader and a people who wouldn’t quit.

    Sometimes, that’s enough

    The British had a leader who recognized that Britain had much going for it than that. They had a fleet second to none. They were an island that had to be invaded en masse. They had an air force with the advantages of interior lines of communication. They had Chain Home (which evidently the Germans didn’t know about). They had Spitfires. They broke German codes and cipher capability second to none. And they did have indomitable spirit. But indomitable spirit by itself would not have been enough even with a great leader. (Finland had both – and still lost to the Soviets.)

    Britain also had the most advanced sonar and the most advanced implementation of radar; an industrial base and industrial output that rivaled Germany’s (even with a population disadvantage of 48 million to 80 million); a good four-engine heavy bomber, the Lancaster (only Britain and the US had four-engine bombers); one of the most advanced nuclear programs; an excellent and well-developed set of overseas bases; and an ability to draw on the physical resources of much of the world (partly because of the British Fleet, partly because of the Empire).

    • #20
    • May 13, 2019, at 2:39 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  21. EJHill Podcaster

    Churchill was correct about the war being Britain’s finest hour. Mrs. May is bringing her to her knees, groveling to a German chancellor. 

    If the polls are accurate (always a big if) then the Tories could fall all the way to fifth in next week’s European Parliamentary elections to a party that didn’t even exist a few months ago. And those same polls show the Conservatives tied for the domestic general election with Labour at 24%. If the MEP election gives them momentum into a general election contest you either get Jeremy Corbyn, an out-and-out Communist, or Trump’s best friend Nigel Farage as the next Prime Minister. 

    • #21
    • May 13, 2019, at 2:48 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  22. Taras Coolidge

    Goldwaterwoman (View Comment):

    She (View Comment):
    “But we’d won, you see,” she says. “We thought it was all going to be over and quickly go back to normal.” But it didn’t. And it really never has.

    They said the same thing about WWI too. Everyone thought that war would be short and then back to normal.

    It should be noted that all these post World War ll years later we worship at the feet of Churchill, but he had a hard time keeping his coalition together at the time and was much criticized by his own people during the course of the war. He once said history would be kind to him as he intended to write it. Regardless of who wrote the history, the western world owes him a huge debt.

    The “we” who “worship at the feet of Churchill” does not include the progressives our universities are stamping out every day. Even if he was useful for a few years to win what they regarded as the “War to Save the Soviet Union“, the Left always considered him its enemy. Of course, because of his towering stature among people who remember the war, they had to mute their criticism — but not anymore.

     

    • #22
    • May 13, 2019, at 2:48 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  23. Hank Rhody-Badenphipps Esq Contributor

    Al Sparks (View Comment):

    She:

    I sometimes wonder if such national unity, sense of purpose, and resolve against seemingly impossible odds will be ever seen again in the West.

    I don’t think so. The existential threat posed by the Soviet Union didn’t.

    And of course you need “seemingly impossible odds”.

    And as Kevin Williamson has noted in a recent column, unity is overrated.

    Don’t worry. We’ll face further existential threats, and the odds will get worse and worse as time goes by.

    I’m not sure what’s in there to make you not worry though.

    • #23
    • May 13, 2019, at 2:57 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  24. She Thatcher
    She Post author

    Mr Nick (View Comment):

    She (View Comment):

    On the code-breaking side, they had a considerable assist from the Poles. I was very pleased to see that prominently acknowledged when I visited Bletchley Park several years ago.

    Yes and don’t forget the crucial role played by the Polish pilots who fought in the Battle of Britain. There is an amazing Polish War Memorial in London’s western outskirts. The free Poles had a brilliant secret service beyond Bletchley, apparently British intelligence couldn’t break their codes.

    I’ll never forget the Polish pilots. Here’s an excerpt from a post from a few years ago, when Auntie Betty died at the grand old age of 102.

    At the outbreak of World War II, Betty joined the Royal Signals Corps and learned Morse Code. She worked all over England as a ‘decoder,’ of German messages and in 1941 was posted to London, working underground at Whitehall, where she remained for the rest of the war. She loved her job, and the sense of camaraderie she felt with all the other members of the Corps.

    One Sunday morning in 1944, Betty missed Chapel devotions in Wellington Barracks because she had worked the night through and had been sent home to rest. The Chapel took a direct hit from a German bomb during the service, and 121 people were killed. Betty never forgot.

    Early in the war, Betty met Stefan, a Polish flyer who had escaped Poland through France, and who, like hundreds of his compatriots and fellow flyers, had come to England to join the RAF. Before he left Poland, Stefan’s wife had been rounded up by the Nazis and sent to a concentration camp. He heard that she had died there.

    Stefan and Betty fell in love. Betty’s family, and their friends, expected them to marry when the war was over.

    Finally, the war was over.

    And Stefan learned that his wife had survived the concentration camp. Although terribly damaged in both body and spirit, she was now free.

    Soon thereafter, Stefan and his wife left England to begin a new life in Canada, and Betty never saw him again.

    She never married.

    The Poles, I have found since marrying into an American family of 100% Polish extraction on both sides, are a remarkable people. I think about Stefan sometimes, and hope and pray that his life after the war was happy, and that his wife found some peace after what must have been a shattering ordeal.

    In early 2007 Dad broke his hip, and since I was still working at the time, Mr. She traveled to England and spent six weeks as his nursemaid (not a sinecure, if you know anything at all about Dad, trust me). Dad had recently retired from the County Council, and took great pleasure in showing off the American son-in-law, and introduced him to the Polish expat community in Worcestershire. The experience was fascinating.

    Niech Bóg błogosławi Polski. Or something along those lines.

    • #24
    • May 13, 2019, at 2:58 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  25. Goldwaterwoman Thatcher

    Taras (View Comment):
    Even if he was useful for a few years to win what they regarded as the “War to Save the Soviet Union“, the Left always considered him its enemy.

    It wasn’t always just the left. Both Churchill and the great appeaser, Neville Chamberlain were members of the Conservative Party. The upper classes, in particular, didn’t believe Hitler wanted war with Britain. In the 1930’s dinner at German Ambassador von Ribbentrop’s residence was the hottest ticket in town and frequented by royalty including the future King Edward VIII. It can be said that Churchill was the voice in the wilderness.

    • #25
    • May 13, 2019, at 3:21 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  26. Goldwaterwoman Thatcher

    EJHill (View Comment):
    Trump’s best friend Nigel Farage as the next Prime Minister. 

    Too good to be true. What I don’t understand is the failure of his UKIP Party to flourish in the UK as it did badly in the recent council elections.

    • #26
    • May 13, 2019, at 3:28 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  27. She Thatcher
    She Post author

    Tex929rr (View Comment):

    My absolute favorite Churchill pic:

    Love this! Apparently, they found the gun.

    This one is pretty good, too:

    File:Churchill-and-machine-gun-H36960.jpg

    The most famous photo of Churchill is probably the one by Karsh of Ottawa, from 1941. I’ve always read that Yousuf Karsh had just grabbed Churchill’s cigar and put it out, which irritated Winston no end; hence his scowl:

    Winston Churchill

    Somewhere in the mid 1970s, I was photographed by Malak Karsh, Yousuf’s brother (for many years, I mistakenly thought he was the son, but, no). He was well-known for his photos of Canadian rural life, and I guess that he responded to me in my Summer role as a Maritime fisher girl. I only wish I’d had the sense to order up my own copy of his photos, some of which were used in tourist brochures to entice people to come to PEI. The photo below isn’t a Karsh (it’s a “Dad”) but it’s one of my favorites, and, perhaps, gives you the general idea.

    • #27
    • May 13, 2019, at 3:29 PM PDT
    • 7 likes
  28. She Thatcher
    She Post author

    Goldwaterwoman (View Comment):

    She (View Comment):
    “But we’d won, you see,” she says. “We thought it was all going to be over and quickly go back to normal.” But it didn’t. And it really never has.

    They said the same thing about WWI too. Everyone thought that war would be short and then back to normal.

    It should be noted that all these post World War ll years later we worship at the feet of Churchill, but he had a hard time keeping his coalition together at the time and was much criticized by his own people during the course of the war. He once said history would be kind to him as he intended to write it. Regardless of who wrote the history, the western world owes him a huge debt.

    Indeed. He wasn’t perfect, but crimenutely, he could stand when it counted:

    • #28
    • May 13, 2019, at 3:47 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  29. She Thatcher
    She Post author

    Goldwaterwoman (View Comment):

    She (View Comment):
    “But we’d won, you see,” she says. “We thought it was all going to be over and quickly go back to normal.” But it didn’t. And it really never has.

    They said the same thing about WWI too. Everyone thought that war would be short and then back to normal.

    One of the most touching family stories I have about WWII is Pat’s recounting of the discovery of the Christmas Pudding on the top of the bedroom wardrobe, a couple of years into the war. Traditional Christmas Puddings are very rich, are made in bulk and then dried, and then can be reconstituted for years after the original steaming.

    Evidently, one of the maids hadn’t done her job at No. 5 Farquhar Road, and a left over “pud” had been overlooked at the back of the top shelf of the wardrobe. Somewhere in 1941 or 1942, in the midst of severe rationing and privation, the family found it.

    They cried with joy.

    I totally get that. I do too, every time I think about it.

    Christmas pudding topped with holly

    • #29
    • May 13, 2019, at 3:55 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  30. Steve C. Member

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    Hang On (View Comment):

    She (View Comment):

    Percival (View Comment):

    About the only things the British had going for them were an extraordinary leader and a people who wouldn’t quit.

    Sometimes, that’s enough

    The British had a leader who recognized that Britain had much going for it than that. They had a fleet second to none. They were an island that had to be invaded en masse. They had an air force with the advantages of interior lines of communication. They had Chain Home (which evidently the Germans didn’t know about). They had Spitfires. They broke German codes and cipher capability second to none. And they did have indomitable spirit. But indomitable spirit by itself would not have been enough even with a great leader. (Finland had both – and still lost to the Soviets.)

    Britain also had the most advanced sonar and the most advanced implementation of radar; an industrial base and industrial output that rivaled Germany’s (even with a population disadvantage of 48 million to 80 million); a good four-engine heavy bomber, the Lancaster (only Britain and the US had four-engine bombers); one of the most advanced nuclear programs; an excellent and well-developed set of overseas bases; and an ability to draw on the physical resources of much of the world (partly because of the British Fleet, partly because of the Empire).

    The one man in a position to know, admitted he did not feel confident of victory until he learned about the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

    • #30
    • May 13, 2019, at 4:06 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
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