Tag: Winston Churchill

‘Oblivion or Glory: 1921 and the Making of Winston Churchill’

 

As 1920 ended, Winston Churchill seemed headed for obscurity. The British failure at Gallipoli brought his political career to collapse in 1916. While partially restored before the Great War ended, he was stalemated in a dead-end cabinet position as 1921 opened. His judgment was widely questioned. He was experiencing financial difficulties.

When 1921 ended, everything seemed changed. His political star was rising again, and his finances were secure. Far from heading to insignificance, Churchill was again heading to a destiny of leadership.

“Oblivion or Glory: 1921 and the Making of Winston Churchill,” by David Stafford, tells the story of Churchill’s transformative year. It was a year of great opportunity and great tragedy for Winston Churchill.

In this episode, British author and filmmaker Damien Lewis sits down with Dave to discuss his new book, Churchill’s Shadow Raiders: The Race To Develop Radar, WWII’s Secret Invisible Weapon. The discussion (and the book) centers on a Top Secret mission to “snatch and grab,” Adolph Hitler’s prize possession; a rather highly advanced radar that enabled German anti-aircraft guns to decimate British bombers and otherwise run roughshod over anything and anyone that stood between the Third Reich and Hitler’s dreams of conquest. The daring courage and relentless tenacity of fledgling airborne commandos, spurred on by Winston Churchill over the objections of senior government officials, literally saved the war effort and became the genesis of the SAS. It’s a fascinating book, and a riveting conversation that you don’t want to miss.

Dave also welcomes Ricochet Member and Moderator Randy Weivoda onto the program to talk about various happenings with Ricochet Members, including plans for a large Ricochet Member Meet Up, next year in Louisiville, Kentucky.  Interested? Listen for details!

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This has been an interesting time, forced to make do at home. Fortunately, I am able to continue teaching my math classes online by utilizing Screencast-O-Matic, YouTube, and Zoom. So far, my students have not lost any precious geometry and calculus content! I don’t think I could have successfully taught my students remotely just a […]

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I write a weekly book review for the Daily News of Galveston County. (It is not the biggest daily newspaper in Texas, but it is the oldest.) After my review appears on Sunday, I post the previous week’s review here on Sunday. Book Review ‘Churchill’s Phoney War’ a nuanced view of a leader By MARK […]

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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.”

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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.

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.”

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.”

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.

Pillars of Peace – Trump reminded the UN body of their original mission. No. 1 under Article 2 of the UN Charter: “The Organization is based on the principle of the sovereign equality of all its Members.” The UN was designed to keep the peace through the collective effort of all the member countries, it was not designed to ignore the sovereignty of each member or placate countries that ignore the goals that created the institution. Sovereignty – Security – Prosperity. “The Marshall Plan was built on the noble idea that the world is safer when nations are strong, independent and free.”

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.

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 This attitude is one reason Churchill achieved greatness. He was a man who experienced both the triumph of high achievement, and the bitterness of failure while daring greatly. Preview Open

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