Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Churchill Series - Nov. 19, 2008

(One of a series of weekday posts about the life of Winston S. Churchill.)

During his long life, Churchill witnessed extraordinary changes. The gas lamp gave way to the light bulb, the horse carriage to the automobile, and the ocean liners he loved were replaced by four-engine planes and later intersontinental jets.

But not everything changed. Churchill was often harried and sometimes viciously attacked throughout his public career by egocentric and ill-informed newspaper editors.

Here's part of what his biographer, Martin Gilbert, tells us about a Feb. 14, 1932 Washington Post editorial written while Churchill was in Washington during his American lecture tour that year:

As for Churchill's call for "a working agreement between Great Britain and the United States," (the Post) was hostile.

"Not many years ago." it declared, "political and economic unity with the Yankees would have been repulsive to British statesmen."
"Now the tables are turned and Mr. Churchill is trying to flatter the United States into taking over some of Great Britain's (World War I debts)."
"What contribution has Britain to make to the cooperative bond that Mr. Churchill suggests for the two countries?"
A few years later, the Post's editorial writers began wondering whether the Royal Navy was doing enough to make sure Britain would be able to protect neutral American ships in the Atlantic in the event of a "European war".

By 1939 Churchill, as First Lord of the Admiralty, was responsible for making sure Britain made that "contribution the cooperative bond" between our two nations.

Do you think Post editorial writers in 1939 remembered their paper's editorial of Feb. 14, 1932?
Martin Gilbert, Churchill and America. (pgs. 140-141)


Anonymous said...

John: I just came across this quote from WSC: "The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings. The inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries."
The aphorism is especially pertinent today. Have a great day.
Tarheel Hawkeye