Friday, April 17, 2009

The Churchill Series - Apr. 16, 2009

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

On October 2, 1929, Churchill, along with his son, Randolph, his brother, Jack, and Jack’s son, Johnny, arrived by train in Chicago. They were met there by an old friend of Churchill’s, Bernard Baruch, one of America’s wealthiest men and an advisor to President.

Baruch put his private rail car at the disposal of the Churchill party for its trip to New York, where they would be Baruch’s guest at the Plaza Hotel on 59th Street and 5th Avenue.

Before leaving Chicago, Churchill gave a speech in which he stressed the importance of naval cooperation between America and Britain. He said he believed if the two fleets were ever used together it would be “for the preservation of peace.”

Such a speech may seem like pretty tame stuff to us today, but at the time it was quite a bold speech. Isolationist sentiment was very strong in America. So was anti-British sentiment, especially in cities like Chicago which had large numbers of Irish and Irish-Americans.

The city’s Mayor, William “Big Bill” Thompson, often told audiences that King George V was “America’s greatest enemy.” Thompson had a standard campaign pledge: “If I ever meet King George, I’ll punch him in the nose for all of us.”

One of the constants of Churchill’s public career was his commitment, in words and deeds, to a strong, active Anglo-American union. For close to a century now, that allience has led the fight to preserve and expand freedom and civilization.

The more we study Churchill’s life, the more we realize how much we owe him.

Monday's post finds Churchill in New York when the Great Crash of 1929 occurs.

Here in central Carolina the sun is shining, the weather is beautiful and the dogwoods are in full bloom.

I hope things are good where you are. Have a nice weekend.


Martin Gilbert,
Churchill and America (pgs. 118-120), contains the information in this post except that relating to the pugnacious Mayor "Big Bill" Thompson. For that, call up a search engine and enter: Chicago Mayor England King.