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Churchill: The Indispensable Man

Gentlemen, you will never make peace with Napoleon! Napoleon cannot be master of the world until he has smashed us up, and believe me, gentlemen, he means to be master of the world! You cannot make peace with dictators. You have to destroy them, wipe them out!

Lord Horatio Nelson, That Hamilton Woman

 

 

Something for the weekend.  Heart of Oak from That Hamilton Woman (1941).  Sir Winston Churchill died 50 years ago today.  He loved that film, echoing as it did his own struggle against Hitler in the earlier stand of Great Britain against Napoleon, and would frequently show it to guests during the War.

 

When Churchill was born veterans of Trafalgar still lived, the same vintage as our current World War II veterans.  Churchill lived into the dawning of the Space Age.  He led a long and colorful life and he changed History.  The beginning of World War II seemed like the dawning of a new era:  the age of totalitarian empires.  The weak and disunited democracies seemed to be on their way out.  Churchill changed all this by keeping Britain fighting, even when victory seemed impossible, and gave his nation their finest hour.  Having reduced the Thousand Year Reich to rubble and ashes, he sounded the alarm against the Soviet Union in 1946.  Instead of the democracies ending up on the ash heap of history, it was the totalitarian empires who did so, ending like vanishing fever dreams at the dawn of a new day.  Churchill, although he battled depression his entire life, was ever an optimist about free peoples.  This was captured I think in his finest speech with this passage:

Upon this battle depends the survival of Christian civilisation. Upon it depends our own British life, and the long continuity of our institutions and our Empire. The whole fury and might of the enemy must very soon be turned on us. Hitler knows that he will have to break us in this island or lose the war. If we can stand up to him, all Europe may be freed and the life of the world may move forward into broad, sunlit uplands.

 

Churchill was the indispensable man of the last century for all those who cherish freedom, and this is a good day to recall him and why it is up to us to continue the fight he waged and to recall his warning if we ever tire of the struggle:

 

But if we fail, then the whole world, including the United States, including all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new dark age made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted science.

 

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Donald R. McClarey

Cradle Catholic. Active in the pro-life movement since 1973. Father of three and happily married for 35 years. Small town lawyer and amateur historian. Former president of the board of directors of the local crisis pregnancy center for a decade.

11 Comments

  1. How timely. If there ever was a time for people, abandoning the term “grassroots”, and realizing their manhood against the deceits of the Satan and Lucifer, the time is now. Secular humanism is for the secular humanist. Real men, free men bleed out for Truth, Justice and Freedom.
    .
    After evolution, Mother Nature lays prostrate before the King of heaven and earth, the true God of the Universe and His Son, Jesus Christ Who bled out for man. Viva Christo Rey.

  2. When Churchill was born veterans of Trafalgar still lived, the same vintage as our current World War II veterans.”

    The span of human memory and the overlapping of generations is a remarkable thing.

    In 1956, aged 11, I met a brother and sister, both in their 80s, who had lived all their lives in Bl John Henry Newman’s old parish of Edgbaston in Birmingham; they both remembered him well.

    Now, Newman was born in 1801 and died in 1890. He would have been a 14-year old schoolboy when he heard the news of Waterloo and he recounted, as one of his earliest recollections, his family talking of the death of the Cardinal Duke of York, the brother of Bonnie Prince Charlie, in 1807. Newman had no idea, at the time, who the Cardinal Duke of York was, but the name intrigued him and stuck in his memory.

  3. I apologize for not posting this sooner… Westminster College in Fulton, Mo., the site of the “Iron Curtain” speech and of the National Churchill Museum, had a live-streamed 50th anniversary Churchill memorial service this morning. I suspect they will have a video recording of it posted after the fact, but even if they don’t, there’s a lot of interesting stuff at this link:

    http://www.westminster-mo.edu/news/LiveStreaming/Pages/LiveStream.aspx

  4. More from the Westminster College website:

    “Sir Peter Westmacott, British Ambassador to the United States, will speak during the service which is based on the 1965 service held at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, England.

    “Churchill’s granddaughter, Edwina Sandys, and great grandson, Duncan Sandys, will be attending the service, along with Missouri Governor Jay Nixon.”

    I’m sure we all noticed who WASN’T there…

  5. Elaine Krewer. “I’m sure we noticed who WASN’T there…”

    Thank God he wasn’t. He would have ruined the tribute. After all, it’s not inexpensive to have to fumigate Westminster College after himself has departed. Better to save the money.

  6. I’m sure we all noticed who WASN’T there…

    Of course we noticed. If he had been there, there would have been one of his hideously bloated motorcades tying up traffic all over the state capital, everyone would have been manhandled and then put under lockdown by his ant heap of bodyguards, and the whole event would have been obscured by Himself running his self-referential mouth.

  7. “Thank God he wasn’t. He would have ruined the tribute”

    Of course he would have, and ultimately it’s better that he didn’t show up. Still, it would have been nice to have had someone of comparable status to the British ambassador there. I suspect that if Reagan or either Bush were still in office, they would have found a way to attend, if only to send a message to the world about what kind of leadership they sought to emulate.

    “If he had been there, there would have been one of his hideously bloated motorcades tying up traffic all over the state capital, everyone would have been manhandled and then put under lockdown by his ant heap of bodyguards, and the whole event would have been obscured by Himself running his self-referential mouth.”

    That would go with the territory anytime a president attends an event like this, I would think. I attended Eureka College in Illinois while Reagan was president, and as much as my family and I liked and admired him, we all hoped and prayed he would NOT decide to speak at my graduation because of all the security hoops that we would have to jump through if he did. On the plus side, a Reagan commencement speech would certainly have been memorable (I can’t remember a thing our actual commencement speaker said or who he was) and probably not a “self-referential” screed such as “Himself” would deliver.

    Speaking of Reagan, there are some who consider his 1982 Eureka College commencement speech in which he announced the START talks to be a sort of bookend to the Iron Curtain speech — the latter marking the beginning of the Cold War and the former the beginning of the end of the Cold War. Both campuses, by the way, also have chunks of the Berlin Wall on their grounds.

  8. Art Deco: “…’His’ antheap of bodyguards. .”

    I am ever intrigued by the obsessive need of despots for innumerable armed guards, the same despots who would like to pry our own few self-defensive-type arms out of our not – yet – quite cold hands.

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