Tag: Winston Churchill

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.”

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Some people regard private enterprise as a predatory tiger to be shot. Others look on it as a cow they can milk. Not enough people see it as a healthy horse, pulling a sturdy wagon. – Winston Churchill When I first read this great quote referring to private enterprise as a “healthy horse,” I immediately […]

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Trump Went Easy on Putin? Get a Load of Churchill on Stalin

 

Winston Churchill to the House of Commons in 1945, shortly after returning from the Yalta Conference:

The impression I brought back from the Crimea is that Marshal Stalin and the Soviet leaders wish to live in honourable friendship and equality with the Western democracies. I feel also that their word is their bond. I know of no Government which stands to its obligations…more solidly than the Russian Soviet Government. I decline absolutely to embark here on a discussion about Russian good faith.

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Direction by Joe Wright More

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Want to Write Well? Get Anglo-Saxon with It.

 

William Zinsser writes about the Latin, Norman, and Anglo-Saxon version of some words. When you need some information you can simply ask. If you want to be fancy you can pose a question. But only the truly sophisticated will interrogate.

Boris below observes the genius behind Churchill’s style is in moving between these different variations at the right moment. When Churchill really wants to grab the audience and make a memorable point he goes to the pre-Norman, Anglo-Saxon vocabulary that they know. Zinsser would approve as he advises us to cut out the clutter and get simple with word usage to produce great writing.

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This holy week, “while no creature was stirring, not even a mouse”, several publications posted some startling articles. For example: Dec. 21, 2017 The following story appeared in Military.Com, regarding a routine rotation of 300 marines in Norway this year. We are there at the invitation of Norway to “enhance partnerships” with European Allies. However, […]

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Quote of the Day: Democracy

 

“The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.” — Winston Churchill

Yes, he also said democracy is the worst form of government, except all others, but watching the votes this Tuesday makes me sympathetic to what I chose as a quote today. As H.L. Mencken said: “Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.”

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Victor Davis Hanson gives listeners a guided tour of his new book, “The Second World Wars: How the First Global Conflict Was Fought and Won.” More

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The Speech Heard Round the World

 

President Trump’s first address to the UN could have been called The Gathering Storm, the title of Winston Churchill’s 1948 book. While many separate elements of the speech hit on the challenges of our day and time, taken together, there was thunder, wind, and warning combined with hope. Trump first thanked those who have supported our country’s hurricane recovery efforts and mentioned record job creation, market growth and drop in unemployment, then got down to message. “We live in a time of extraordinary opportunity, potential waiting to be unleashed. Yet, we meet at a time of both immense promise and great peril.”

Military Strength – One of Trump’s first statements (which he reiterates in all his speeches), was sending a message to those present, and especially to those not present, namely Russia, China and North Korea, whose delegation walked out, that he is restoring and upgrading our defenses, which were reduced under Obama — Peace through strength.

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Dunkirk: Film vs. Fact

 

Victor Davis Hanson places the new film Dunkirk in its full historical context, explaining the events that preceded it, the scope of the challenges facing the British military, and the reason why German forces didn’t strike a killing blow despite Allied vulnerability.

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ACF #7 Dunkirk

 

Here’s the first in a series of podcasts on the movies of Christopher Nolan, starting with his newest, Dunkirk. Today, I am joined by my friend Eric and we’re talking about everything from Winston Churchill and Christopher Nolan to Edward Elgar and Charles Lightoller (yes, the second officer on the Titanic!). The crisis of confidence of the West is part of the discussion, too, as are America’s teenagers. And all that in about half an hour. Listen to our podcast — you’ll get details about the movie mentioned almost nowhere else, and assembled in a novel way. Pain and patriotism rate a mention, too!

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Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts. Winston Churchill More

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We here in America have a similar problem, dear Englishmen and Englishwomen. We, too, have those in our midst who rage against us and want to kill us and torture us. More

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V Is For “Victory” — In The Oval Office

 

A British newspaper is reporting that Sir Winston Churchill appears to be a big winner in America’s 2016 presidential election.

If the story’s right, Churchill’s bust is being returned to the Oval Office.

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I have recently taken to calling PM David Cameron soon-to-be former PM Cameron. I am in the unfortunate position of not having done this enough to acquire a fame. He has resigned today, just now, effective immediately–that is, in October. We can now all call him soon-to-be former PM. I commend to you my lines […]

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Jeb, Out There “Blowhardin'”

 

508009668-jeb-bush-new-hampshireTrump’s theatrics aside, perhaps the most entertaining (and revealing) episode of this primary season features Jeb Bush. On the stump this Tuesday, Jeb regurgitated a string of poorly memorized sound bites (“I won’t be an agitator-in-chief … I won’t be out there blowhardin’, talkin’, er, a big game… “) and then, at the height of a crescendo that failed to move a soul, he prompted the crowd to “please clap.”

Over at the Ricochet Member Feed, Brian Watt’s link to the clip is appropriately entitled: “Very Sad. Jeb Please Just Stop. You’re An Embarrassment.”

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Sunday Morning Churchill Surprise Contest

 

Winston_Churchill_cph.3a49758Here’s a link to The Churchill Centre, which has one of the better collections of Churchill’s speeches and writings on the Internet; and here’s a link to the National Churchill Museum, where you’ll find many more.

This Sunday’s contest is a little different. Usually I ask members to submit their entries for their favorite lines from a great writer or politician. Today, I suggest combing through Churchill’s writings and speeches for the ones that surprise you most — the things you never had any idea he said. Entries from any of Churchill’s 43 books are also admissible and welcome.

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And That’s Where It All Went Wrong

 

World History has plenty of moments where a single decision — or a seemingly insignificant act — brought about enduring disaster that appears, in retrospect, to have been be tragically avoidable. The events of late summer of 1914 come to mind.

More obscurely, Winston Churchill famously regretted the monkey who bit King Alexander of Greece on the leg, which caused a fatal infection and set off a succession crisis in during the Greco-Turkish War, arguably leading to the deaths of a quarter million people.

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