tv Winston Churchill - Life Legacy Part 3 CSPAN July 24, 2022 6:39pm-8:01pm EDT
port of to brook as you can see in that map. just crossed the red line there in libya. by australian and british and later polish forces this defensive to brooke ensure that for the time being. anyway, hitler's forces could not take this to his canal could not go into the middle of middle middle eastern oil fields, but even so the war was far from over and and churchill was no closer to coming to grips in europe itself with hitler's forces in europe. i believe is 1:30, and i think i'm supposed to stop.
when churchill became prime minister in may 1940, uh, he was informed by the chiefs of staff. that any kind of victory that they could hook to gain would only come about through support from the united states. and this became one of churchill's primary war aims and that was that was to woo america in general and its president franklin roosevelt in particular. after you are really couldn't do much to help the british even though he wanted to until after he won a third term in november 1940 that was because the united states had a large isolationist movement that believed that this country could stay out of the war anymore with the atlantic ocean on one side and the pacific ocean on the other which
i think is perfectly encapsulated by this cartoon uncle sam. add to that there was an organization in the united states called america first headed by a certified american hero charles lindbergh the first man who flown across the atlantic in 1927 nonstop and america first was extraordinarily influential in political circles. so fdr found that he had to move very slowly before he could do anything to help the british knowing that there could be a backlash. despite the fact that a good part of the american media at the time was probritish that americans were being confronted confronted with images like this. in one of the picture magazines of the day life magazine that
radio reporters, especially edward r. murrow was bringing the war of the blitz itself into american homes opposition to any kind of support for britain was widespread. it is telling that in one poll in late 1940 fully sixty percent of the respond in these are all americans fully 60% of the respondents said that britain was fighting in america's interests. in this war but only 13% wanted to give the british any kind of help. so when looked at from that perspective, it was hard to see how roosevelt was going to be able to move public in a more in a direction. that would be more the british. what's this story?
an exchange for 50 over age world war one destroyers that the british desperately needed to defend their island. the americans got 99-year leases on various british bases in the western hemisphere, which are are marked on this contemporary map. fdr could do this because he could argue that this was a defensive measure for the united states even then he got a lot of pushback isolationists, especially in america first did not believe anything of the kind and he was still dealing with this problem after november 1940. after the election after the destroyed for basis deal. both churchill and fdr confronted a stark fact, and that was that britain was literally running out of money. to wage the war and it was fdr who decided he was going to find a way to take the dollar sign out of this equation. what he came up with was lendlease lend-lease which he proposed in january 1941 would allow the british to borrow american weapons and much else besides which all of which could be could be would be on loan and would be returned at the end of the war now if you think about this for more than three seconds, that's crazy. how can you loan ships that are going to be sunk planes that are going to be shot down tanks are going to be blown up or bullets are going to be fired.
where reporter asked fdr about this he said well, it's very very simple. we are it's like it's as if a neighbor of yours has his house on fire and you are loaning him your garden hose to put out the fire. that's all we're doing. amazingly it worked. and congress in march of 1941 past lendlease lendlease was decisive in winning the war. uh by the end of war thanks to lindley's not only were weapons being provided to the british and as you can see from this poster to other allies as well later on but for britain itself, thanks to lynn lease fully one fifth or 20% of the food it eaten by britain's civilians and military forces alike were provided by lindley's for his part churchill called lynn lease the most unsorted act in history. it would be a mistake though to say that when lease was in one way street. it was not under the terms of lendlease the british had to provide what was called reverse
splendlease. among other things they were required to give up all rights and royalties on inventions such as radar jet aircraft antibiotics nuclear research and to help pay. they also had to give up most of their gold reserves and and because of this churchill came under a great deal of criticism then and since because just by reading off the list of those industry those inventions, it's clear that these were going to be the technologies of the late 20th century. in mid-august churchill took the step of crossing the atlantic to meet with franklin roosevelt who came up from maine. on his own on the cruiser us cruiser the augusta to meet off the coast of newfoundland. this is not their first meeting.
they met 25 years ago in 1918 when fdr was in london as a young assistant secretary to the navy. churchill did not remember the meeting. fdr did he felt churchill had been very dismissive called him a real stinker. and so this this next meeting was going to be crucial. it was important for both men that they get on and churchill took the step crossing new boat infested waters. to make it to the coast of canada on a new british battleship hms prince of wales. his bodyguard said he was so excited. he was like a little schoolboy. the two men met for four days. um, and this gathering also allowed the meeting of their
military chiefs in particular in particular those two men standing over churchill's left shoulder the american army chief of staff george c marshall and the chief then chief of the imperial general staff field marshal sir, john dill these two men the american war secretary henry simpson later said made possible the global prosecution of war and it was at this first meeting that they got to know one another. at these meeting at these meetings fdr told churchill that he could not declare war onism point that out to him, but he said he would wage war. he would not declare it, but he would wage it and hope that an incident provoked by the germans would bring america into the war on britain's side. the two men also signed the atlantic charter a document promising that people's would be free to choose their own
governments churchill was reluctant about this. he thought it only applied to occupying europe not to the empire. um, and it also became a source of contention in later years the high point of these meetings occurred on sunday. when a a sunday morning service was on prince of wales. and the ships companies of both of the american and british navy stood intermingled on the corner deck churchill very carefully chose the hymns for this service. he later wrote a about the event that it was a great hour to live. um before the year was out prince of wales and hms repulse would be sunk by the japanese. just three days after pearl harbor. churchill was a spending time
after dinner on sunday evening when he heard the first news reports over the bbc that the american fleet at pearl harbor in hawaii had been attacked. he immediately phoned franklin roosevelt. no mean feat at that time. where fdr confirmed the news and said to churchill we are all in the same boat now. we tend to forget about the attack on pearl harbor we tend to forget that it was non-isolated incident as i pointed out this morning. we also tend to forget that the aim of all of these attacks on hong kong on the philippines on the singapore was to allow the japanese to take control of the dutch east indies and the oil that could be found there. as soon as churchill heard the news he decided that he would go to washington. i should say here that there are
conspiracy stories it still circulate to this day that fdr and even churchill himself had knowledge about these attacks and that simply doesn't a comport with the evidence if anything these two men the last two things these men wanted was a war in the pacific in asia with the japanese their main focus was hitler and german and europe. when churchill went to bed that night he later wrote that he slept the sleep of the saved and the thankful. but in fact this these attacks it only brought the united states into the war against japan. once again, it was hitler who came to the rescue four days after pearl harbor. he announced that nazi germany and fascist. italy would also declare war on the united states and it was only with that that the united states came into the war against
fascism in europe. even so churchill was alive to the fact that many americans sought japan as the primary enemy and that explains why he decided to come to the united states in december 1941. and address both houses of congress. this was not the only legislative body. he addressed while he was on this side of the atlantic a few days later. he spoke to the canadian parliament where he delivered an often quoted remark, that is little understood and i would like to play it for you here as last bit. and of the military leaders of france at the time of the french collapse mr. churchill says, but that general misled them. when i warned them that britain would fight on alone whatever they did. they are general told their prime minister and his divided
cabinet. in three weeks england will have our neck run like a chicken. some chicken some neck that remark to some chicken some neck has been lost to us in some ways. we get the chicken part. we don't get the net part at the time to say that someone had some neck would be akin to someone today saying that another person had a lot of goal or a lot of nerve and that's what churchill was saying about the french generals that first calling comparing britain to a chicken and saying it's nick would be wrong that they had a lot of her to say that the night after churchill's speech to come
congress and before he traveled to canada to address the canadian parliament. he suffered a mile heart attack. um, and now in most cases the standard treatment would have been six weeks rest. but he wouldn't hear it. um, even before the united states of entered the war british and american military planners have been holding secret talks and in these talks they agreed that if the united states came into the war whatever else germany would be the primary target. churchill wanted to make sure that the stunning attacks on pearl harbor would not turn america's focus to asia instead and that they would concentrate on defeating hitler first before it was too late. he was in washington for a month. came just before christmas and stayed until mid january and the press had a lot of fun with
this. i love this cartoon the two men for christmas eve. churchill was on the same floor was on the same floors fdr and became resident of the white house. i don't know that it's ever been true of any other world leader. one of the important results of these conferences was the decision to virtually combine the british and the american military's and what was called unity of command. for that we have george c marshall to thank marshall was actually alarmed at the way fdr and churchill would make decisions without first consulting their advisors, especially the military advisors. and so he and sir john dill who was now representing the british
military here in washington. came up with the idea of unity of command what that meant was literally dividing those parts of the world where british and american forces operated and having a single overall commander. sometimes it would be a british commander. sometimes it would be an american commander no matter what nation the forces came from they would be under that overall commander. this was a decision that i have not aware of has ever taken place before the second world war what it meant was the two nations were able able to pool their resources on matters as diverse as shipping sharing intelligence the british had made far greater strides in intelligence information that famously at blessley park as well as in technical know how um, it's no exaggeration to say that the efforts of these two
men marshall and dill saved countless lives during the war. they also combined the chiefs of staffs of both nations and to what was called the combined chiefs of staffs and this over the command chief of chiefs of staff. excuse me to make plurals and i again this helped to lead to a more a more smooth operation in the war now that does not mean to say that everybody liked it. it doesn't mean that it always went as planned. it did not nevertheless as i say it it helped both nations in this war to win much more quickly and with less loss of life. churchill himself often found that he was at loggerheads with his military commanders not least with the chief of the
imperial general staff that man on churchill's left phil marshall, sir, allen brooke. brooke also was a constant across hairs with in concert in concert. well. constantly at odds with churchill. he was always trying to play off churchill's more outrageous or outlandish plans for the war and one diary entry brook wrote. he is quite the most difficult man to work with but then he added what i would not have missed the chance of working with him for anything on earth. churchill's colleagues in government found the same clement atley again seated here between churchill and anthony eden. later said that we who worked with him churchill we who worked with him know how quickly he
could change from the great man to a naughty child. but it is war memo was churchill recalled the period from january 1942 to june 1943 as a time when the war turned from almost under uninterrupted disaster to almost unbroken success. and indeed the first six months of 1942 were a disaster, uh beginning for the british. anyway with the surrender of singapore in mid-february. the largest capitulation of british forces in their history um and for churchill personally another surrender this time in north africa when to brook was besieged for a second time, but failed to held out on this occasion unlike previously churchill happened to be in washington forget another conference when he received the
news of the the surrender it to brooke don't need you and he was meeting with roosevelt and his military advisors and it was at this meeting that one of the most i think endearing moments in the two men's relationship occurred. this was highly embarrassing the surrender. it was highly embarrassing for churchill. um, but after a stun silence in the room the american president looked at the british prime minister, and he uttered six simple words. what can we do to help? with the americans could do and did do was to send a massive amount of aid to the british forces still in north africa the eighth army including tanks and this would make possible the decisive victory at llama maine in november 1942 this vote.
i'm sorry. this this disaster book led to yet a second vote of no confidence in churchill, which he again barely survived. the vote didn't show that was lopsided in his favor, but he was few still a of trouble politically. in august churchill had to travel to meet stalin for the first time to give him the news that the anglo-americans would not be opening. the second front. that is the invasion of france that stalin had been demanding not in 1942. the american general douglas macarthur never known to be an anglophile when he was told about the trip simply marveled at the fact that churchill flew from london to moscow via gibraltar cairo and tehran in an unheated b-24 liberator bomber which was notoriously
uncomfortable in the best of circumstances. macarthur said that anyone who could travel 10,000 miles like that deserved the victoria cross. in moscow stalin did not take the news about the second front not being open to very easily here you see churchill and stalin with the american diplomat avril harriman between them and stalin's foreign secretary molotov on the other side. act while i was in moscow churchill had to encounter several feasts banquets, uh with and his cohort. and one of churchill's aids said nothing. nothing can be imagined more awful than a kremlin banquet. but this aid said it has to be endured and what he was talking
about were the pretty savage amounts of alcohol that they were expected to consume and that these banquets would go on until three o'clock in the morning. despite stalin's and all annoyance churchill did manage to make him understand that the second front could not happen. he said in 1942, hopefully 1943 in the meantime. he did promise that the british and the americans would scale up their bombing campaign of occupied europe this bombing campaign is still controversial. uh, whether or not it was decisive in the war is a question that goes back and forth. is interesting that one person at least did say that it opened up what he called a fourth front
during the war and that was hitler's armist minister albert speer. he called the bombing campaign decisive in the defeat of nazi, germany. churchill at the time did not have any qualms about the bombing campaign. neither did the raf bomber command, uh general sir arthur harris. he even argued that bombing could win the war? in his memoirs churchill avoided debate about the strategic bombing campaign, and he certainly distancing himself from it after the war was over. it must be said the treatment of the veterans of bomber command by the british government was pretty shabby after 1945 and that was even though over 55,000 died in the fighting. churchill by 1942 realized that
the weight of the war the dominating forces in the war with soon be the british. i'm sorry would soon be the the americans along with the soviets and this meant that it was important that he that the british win a decisive victory on their own before that could happen. the problem was the seesaw struggle in north africa seem to be leading nowhere and in the summer of 1942 churchill went out to north africa on yet another trip where he picked these two men. um harold alexander to command the british forces in the middle east and bernard montgomery or monty as he was soon known command the 8th army. monty gave churchill the victory he needed at this little railroad depot called el alamein
in egypt. in this battle, which really started in late, october and lasted until early november 1942. was said to have been a world war one battle fought with world war two weapons, which is one reason that it lasted so long. in the end the british did win this battle and in ended once and for all rommel's plans to take the suez canal and the middle east oil fields. churchill later said that before alamein we never had a victory after alamein. we never had a defeat that's not entirely true. but el alamein was one of the turning points of the second world war and is justly famous for that reason a few days later. british and american forces
landed on the other side of north africa in morocco and algeria in operation torch it was believed hoped anyway that they would meet up with montgomery's eighth army coming from egypt and they would drive the axis forces out of north africa before the end of 1942. and while they did get into well into libya before the end of the year, it would not need to be until may before that happened in the meantime churchill and roosevelt met once again, excuse me this time at casablanca. um, and it was here that two crucial decisions were taken by these two men and their chiefs of staff as you can see standing behind them one was that they could not launch an invasion of europe in 1943.
so the second front would be delayed yet another year. this allowed churchill to push what was called the mediterranean strategy the invasion of italy. the other decision that was taken was fdrs sudden announcement that the anglo-americans would not accept anything short, but unconditional surrender from the access powers churchill never let on that. he didn't know about this decision. before it was made before it was announced but it is evident from his later writings that he thought it was a mistake the other problem of these men had to deal with especially after they took the decision to invade italy. was that fighting on all these fronts had created a shipping stranglehold. and the shipping strangle hold was affecting the war efforts
across europe and in asia and the pacific. we tend to overlook the fact that the british were fighting the japanese in southeast asia in burma. they were still looking at the gates of india and late 1942 japanese were this part of the of the war? received little attention at the time as it has since the british soldiers fighting in burma called himself the forgotten army the 14th. army called selfie forgotten army when it came to getting supplies from britain itself. they were never higher than fourth on the list behind the defense needs of britain itself behind the war in north africa and the mediterranean and behind supplies sent to the soviet union. i bring this up because it helps to explain one of the most
tragic incidents of the war and that was a terrible famine that occurred in the indian state of bengal in 1943-44. official estimates say that up to 1.5 million people died during this famine. unofficial estimates. put the number at twice as high recent commentators have accused churchill specifically in the british in general of committing genocide what these critics overlook are two or three very important factors and that is whether it's self. which brought on the famine. a shortage of shipping the allies simply did not have enough ships to supply every part of the world. and thirdly when food shortage just like this had happened in that part of the world
previously the british had turned to burma where they could usually get alternative supplies of food. that was impossible and 1943-44 because the japanese occupied burma could more have been done to alleviate this this terrible famine. yes. um, but the fact was that starvation was in many parts of the world. if not outright famine in places like italy. and the soviet union and it goes up a far too far to say the churchill of intentionally want to see the deaths of so many of any people in this incident. while this crisis was unfolding churchill himself was on the road again this time he traveled with to meet with fdr and stalin
at tehran in iran by the time of the tehran conference. it was obvious that britain was ever increasingly becoming a subsidiary member of what was then called the big three you can get an idea of this in look on churchill's face himself. nevertheless, it's true that until the early months of 1944. the war in the west the war wage by the anglo-americans in that struggle the the number of forces the numbers were overwhelmingly british and british empire forces, not american that didn't change until the early months of 1944, but nevertheless the the writing was on the wall and it certainly was by the time that it came to planning finally for the opening of the second front the invasion of europe.
operation overlord the invasion of the normandy it is uh, no doubt that the man who deserves the lion's share credit for the success of d-day was dwight eisenhower. this invasion was an extraordinary feat the largest invasion in human history still to this day that meant playing and executing that in operation was going to take a lot of work. it meant that it was going to require the combining of the military forces of several nations. and turning this polyglot force into a united fighting force was very much eisenhower's achievement getting these egos to work together was well, it was a feat in itself. we again americans i'm speaking as american we tend to
overemphasize the american role in the invasion, but if you look at a map of the invasion, you'll see that of the five invasion beaches to war american but two were british and one was canadian. it's also worth noting that four-fifths of the naval vessels that took part in the d-day operation were british. churchill by the way want to take part in the d-day landings, he was so insistent that it took the intervention of george the sixth before he went back down nevertheless. he did manage to reach the invasion beaches like this one here at sword. uh about a week or so later to see what was going on. and to see that this victory of this the civilized by this poster was finally on the horizon.
these forces american british canadian and others we're now fighting their way across france. um and through the summer and out of 1944 it seemed as if the war in your might even possibly end by christmas. that was not to be just a week after the d-day landings hitler launched the first of his so-called wonder weapons. this is the v1. the pilot was planes that were dropped on. uh, dutch cities on especially on london these were followed by the v2 rockets. the v1s the strategy for defeated v1s worked with the
v2s. they since they were rockets there was no defense against them and for the british people this was a stunning reverse. they thinking that the war was so close to being over and then suddenly being under attack again from the skies and there were a number of suicides in in london by people who had just couldn't take it anymore one woman wrote in her diary. the war has lasted too long for me. it's notable that churchill did not deliver any major speeches during the v1 and v2 attacks. i think he might have realized that rhetoric was not going to work this time that the war had gone on too long. even with these attacks the british american forces work their way across europe the worst setbacks notably the attempt by british forces and
american paratroopers to take the dutch city of barnum. the battle of the bulge mainly involving american forces that some british forces were also involved but by by late winter the allies in the west were ready to cross the rhine and churchill made sure that he was going to be in on this operation as you'll see from this newsroom. and then with that characteristic love of seeing things for himself mr. churchill landed on the sea. with general eisenhower he watches monty's crusaders storm. berlin woods, perhaps suggest you that captured out imagination most was the report of his cruising up and down the rhine. it used to be hitler's river. it's a wonderful clip i think in liberating occupied europe all of the allied forces eventually
encountered the system of concentration camps and death camps for which none of them were prepared despite stories that got out of occupied europe. i don't think anyone quite imagined what they were going to run across again. i i think i spoke about this this morning there. is this ongoing controversy about whether or not the allies could have done more. i don't know that there's more i can say about that in many cases involves a lot of retrospective second guessing but liberation of camps like major camps like this one at bergen belson proved to the men who are there that they have seen hell and it is said commentary that even today there are people who question these photographs and the newsreels that we're taking at
the time churchill and fdr also have gotten a lot of second-guessing about the last of their conferences with stalin and yalta in february 1945. it's been a claimed that both men were at the best naive and at most and worst. they actively conspired in stalin's takeover of eastern europe what these critics forget. is that by february of 1945 the red army deep into eastern europe. and to get the red army out of eastern europe would have required a third world war. when the second world war had not even finished. and that brings up a second point and that is at the time one of fdr's main aims at this conference was to ensure that the soviets would enter the war against japan once hitler was
defeated something that stalin could be very evasive about so it it again is one of those controversies at the end of the war that i think has probably a fairly, uh, well in retrospect in retrospective views of it have unfairly attacked both churchill and fdr. the war against hitler did end with the berlin with berlin falling to the red army and the allies in the west meeting the red army on the elb river. churchill in one of the anglo-americans to take berlin, uh, but eisenhower whitely as it turned out believed that the nazis would make the price of taking berlin bloody and they did by one estimate the red army
lost over 360,000 soldiers in this last last battle of the war in europe. the defeat of fascism in may 1945 was perhaps another of those high points in churchill's life. there's nothing preordained about it. but it it gave the people as you can see in this photograph a celebration that none of them could ever forget churchill. here's the shows with earnest bevin and clement atley looking down at the crowds. said to the crowds on this churchill speaking said this is your victory. the throng the throngs of the people shut it back. no, it's yours. in many ways they were right. with the end of the war in
europe the allied leaders met for the last time just outside of berlin at potsdam fdr had died in april. the new president was harry truman interestingly. churchill did not come over to the united states for fdr's funeral there have been a lot of questions about why he didn't do so he certainly regretted it because it would have been an opportunity for him to meet the new american president and possibly to clear up a number of misunderstandings when the war in your in japan and did in september truman suddenly cut off all lend lease aid to the british which was devastating to them. they were not prepared for it. it also would have been an opportunity for truman and churchill to talk about the atomic bomb during the war early in the war the british were actually ahead of the americans
in the theoretical part of building the bomb and it was decided that they would jointly work on the bomb, but churchill initially rejected this option when the british finally did get back into the bomb project the manhattan project the americans were now the dominating force in that program. so the british very much had to take a back seat. churchill and fdr had an agreement to share the atomic secrets that came out of the manhattan project, but this the document was never official and it mysteriously disappeared for a time only to reappear some years later in the archives. so after the war the us congress passed the mcmahon act that forbid forbade the sharing of any atomic secrets with any other nation and this required the british to launch their own
atomic bomb program in the late 1940s. to stay as they said at the top table of world powers. so it's a huge missed opportunity for churchill in the middle of the potsdam conference the british held a general election. there was a fear that there would be a repeat of 1918 the churchill would try to maintain his coalition in office and so both labor and conservatives deliver demanded a general election. everyone assumed the churchill was would handling when the election but he made a number of mistakes during the election campaign for one thing. he would not commit to the famous beverage report and the creation of a welfare state labor did. he also accused his labor opponents with whom he had only recently been in government that they would have to adopt gestapo tactics to to implement the welfare state.
which really struck people the wrong way. churchill wrote later on that the night before the election he woke up with a sudden start and realized that he had lost. and it did he had and not just by a few votes labor won by a landslide. and that meant that clement athlete would be the new prime minister clement atley would be the prime minister who was see through the last few weeks of the war against japan when the war against japan ended and they were celebrations in london as there had been in may. atlee and the government were again on a balcony to take the cheers of the audience, but the audience also demanded in its words we want churchill. so churchill was admired. he had won the war for them, but
they did not believe he was going to win the peace and that largely explains election defeat for churchill that many americans still have a hard time wrapping their heads around. now out of office with aptly at potsdam instead churchill was leader of the opposition. and with the dropping of the atomic bomb the ending of a war britain faced a new future this cartoon again by david low, i think sums up many feelings about churchill as a party leader. he could be very disagreeable as a statesman. he had been in the words of david lowe here leader of humanity after the war churchill embarked on his war memoirs. he would be reelected in 1951 to to again be prime minister in
between he warned the west of the coming cold war in his famous speech at fulton, missouri in which he used the image of the iron curtain to sending across europe. the speech was not well received time. there are many critics of it in both the united states and britain. they felt that this was just churchill warmonger again, once again a dictator came to his aid and that was stalin with his policies such as closing berlin to the western allies and imposing communist governments all across eastern central and eastern europe. churchill as parting leader could sometimes be an absent party leader and a lot of the duties fell to anthony eden his long-suffering air appearance. we finally did become prime
minister again in 1951. he found a very changed world when he came to washington to meet with harry truman and had several proposals put for to put in front of the american president instead of addressing them immediately. truman said that's very interesting mr. prime minister would be glad to look at them in other words. this was not the relationship that he had had with franklin roosevelt in 19401 to 1945. not because of truman but because the world had changed britain was no longer the power had been at the start of the second world war and this became in ever more increasingly evidence as when he met truman successor dwight eisenhower when he became president in 1953. churchill continuous prime minister until 1955 the night
before he resigned the new queen queen elizabeth came to but came to downing street for a banquet with churchill and his wife clementine. anthony eden succeeded him sadly for eden. he probably assumed office too late. and was filled by the sue was crisis which unfortunately falls be out outside the realms of this talk churchill continued as a member of parliament until 1964. although he was all but absent most of the time. and he died on the 20th of january 1965 when he died in many ways. his funeral was said to be the closing of the leadership book on world war two it certainly was a closing of an age an agent
and in a country it already moved on the britain 1965 that saul churchill's funeral was also the beatles the the britain of the beatles the rolling stones. churchill's legacy, however was far from over and there's one more story that i'd like to add to this talk about him. two years after churchill lost in 1945 election in 1947. a dinner party was being held at the family home chartwell. and at the very last minute a one of the guests telephone to say that he could not come. it was too late to change the table arrangements and that meant that there was going to be an empty chair at the table during the dinner one of churchill's daughters turned to
him and said papa who would you like to have a city in that chair? she assumed that it was going to be one of the famous figures of history julius caesar. perhaps napoleon. but without hesitating churchill said my father, of course. and that led to one of the most revealing articles ever written by any political leader at any time. the article was not published until year after churchill died. it's called the dream. in the story a churchill is in his artist studio, which was on the grounds of chartwell was not in the the house itself. where he was painting? likeness of his father someone had an admirer had sent churchill a copy of the portrait of lord randolph that was made
at the height of the home rule crisis in ireland in the 1880s. it had been damaged and churchill wants to see if he could paint a copy of it in the story churchill is painting making the copy when as he puts it he got a strange sensation. and looking over at an easy chair. he saw his father sitting there. he says papa. and the apparition looks up. looks over at churchill and easel and he says winston. are you doing? and he says to the apparition. i'm painting this likeness of you. the ghost looks over again and says it's not what you do for a living is it? and he just know it's just a hobby. and the ghosts responds probably just as well. it looks around the ghost does and he says what year is it?
1947 churchill thousand 52 years since laura randall's death in the ghost asks winston what's happened since then? is there still a monarch? yes, churchill tells them. the ghost is pleased. is there still racing at epsom? yes, winston chosen the ghost is pleased. but then churchill tells them that women had the vote which leaves lord randolph's ghost amazed. tells ford randolph that ireland has become all but independent. that the empire is fast fading away including burma the land that would randolph had taken control of during his brief stint as india secretary in the 1880s. churchill also says that there is a socialist government which amazes lord randolph because he can't understand how socialists could be loyal to the king.
but churchill assures him that these men are very loyal and very hardworking for the country. the key the apparition listens, well churchill recounts, all that's happened in politics and churchill says well papa as you taught me trust the people. and that the ghost got indignant he says politics with you ever he tells winston a boy like you. bottom of his class at arrow barely got through sandhurst. i would never talk politics with a boy like you. there's a stun silence. and churchill looks over again and starts to tell lord randolph about the children. that he has had. but he has a wife. the ghost is pleased. he's also pleased to know that this our studio is not with the list.
because never asked about his wife. he never asks about. churchill's, brother gradually, they start to talk about politics again. and churchill tells him about all the wars. they've taken place since his father's death. and as they continue to talk the ghost in spite of himself becomes more amazed at churchill's knowledge at how well he can put things. that he's no longer the writer of stilted letters as he had been as a child. finally the ghost despite himself. looks at churchill and he says churchill he says winston the story you've told me is amazing out of none of believed it if not come from you. right after a pause he says you could have done quite a bit to help matters. you could have gone into politics. but then he pauses again the
ghost does. he looks at church when he says. but you're too old for that now. and that churchill looked over again? as the ghost strikes a match to let a cigarette. and disappeared the ghost was gone. and churchill rounded off the article with an attempt at wit that he couldn't carry on the rest of the day. because the ashes of the cigar had fallen into his paints. it's an amazing story. it's the revealing story. but after all those years after all the accolades after being prime minister when his father had not after leading his country through a world war. after receiving the nobel prize for literature.
none of that seemed to matter. his own heart he still wanted most. the recognition from his father fortunately for us. fortunately for us. he had the wit to go on. and for that we should all be grateful. thank you very much. wow, what a story to end on. thank you so much. kevin. wonderful. wonderful. all right, so we have time for a q&a now again, please feel free to put your questions in the q&a box the bottom of your screen and let's dive right in we have someone who's who asks had chamberlain lived. do you think he would have eventually undercut churchill's leadership? well, that was what he thought was going to happen when he
resigned he and most conservative mps thought that they would get over this crisis. and you know, they're not an election or anything like that and that once that ended they could somehow convince labor and liberal mps that challenge you should again become prime minister. they would just go back to the situation before but i say chamberlain had answer and i regret say i don't know what time the cancer but it was very fast acting and he died in november. and churchill gave the funeral eulogy chamberlain's a funeral and it was quite a moving speech, but he said later on he said when someone asked him how he could how he could do he said well that was that wasn't bad a hard at all. you know. i admired a lot of neville's characteristics. he said but i pray god that i never have to deliver a eulogy for stanley baldwin.
so he really? was angry it with baldwin had done or it failed to do? excellent. we have another question about chamberlain. well, it says does chamberlain's dismissive remarkable not intervening to prevent hitler's advanced and check oslovakia reflect in isolationist attitude of the general british population with respect to fight him. he hitler and a church will have to overcome a population favor in isolism or was this not an issue by the time he became prime minister, right? i'm sorry for interrupting. i'm a little reluctant to use that term isolationism regarding the british. although they long held through the idea of what they called splendid isolation that as a an island. they did not have to become concerned with what was on in europe. there was a strong feeling in in britain that they wanted to avoid ward all costs. i didn't have time to go into this and i wished i had time to
show it but there are a number of documents of newsreels from the 30s that show a for isolationism. um now the government didn't force the newsreels to do this they did other own court because that's what the public wanted to see. and it was only after a munich that you really start to see this this swing. away from a piecement but you know in 1933 the student organization the oxford union held a debate and stunned their elders by announcing that they would fight for neither king or country. so in essence, yeah, it was very deep and it took a long time to overcome that. interesting. we have another question even grand teen churchill's unequaled rhetoric. would it have been would it have meant anything if the vermont
had been able cross the channel? sure, it would have meant the occupation of british isles, you know, church always determined to carry on the war and and he said in that speech in in that speech that. that if the nazis occupied britain were a large part of it as he put it that the war would carry on that the the world navy would go to canada to carry on the war and as he put it in god's good time. the new world will come to the rescue of the old but i don't think he ever would have surrendered he for one thing he would have never been allowed to carry on in office. the nazis would have put up a a collaborationist in charge as they had with batan and france. interesting you talked a little bit about churchill's reflection on world war two does he write did he write anything about any changes that he would have made
looking back on his leadership? well, the the second world war memoirs are are interesting read because they're there they are written with him to use a quote from analysis of the books. he's fighting and writing the war historian named david reynolds wrote a very good book about this called in command of history and what he shows in the book is that churchill was writing with an eye to justifying his own actions in the war but also in in with an eye to britain's place in the world in the 1940s when they were being written. so for example, he was very careful about criticizing eisenhower. and the americans in general and there of course, there were things that he couldn't write about and unfortunately again, i didn't get a chance to talk about this today, but churchill was deeply involved with the intelligence that was gleaned from bletchley park the signals
intelligence. uh, and he couldn't write about that that wasn't revealed until sometimes 1970s, i think. so the the memoirs are a bit of adjustification and and they they have very much colored the way we look at the war. he does downplay the soviet contribution to the war. i think stalingrad gets maybe a page. so and but that was the cold war coming. um, so i think it's more sense of omission than anything else that you criticize the books about. yeah, excellent. another participant asks if you can expand on your comment regarding the shabby treatment of bobber bomber command. oh what an empath that was that well of all of the major commanders in britain after the war they all got titles of some sort or another the one exception was harris.
by the end of the war there were a lot of just giving it's about the bombing campaign. uh churchill was shown some footage of the fire bombing of dresden and afterwards he savage so he was having this about it by then. but of course he wasn't having misgivings in 1940 41 42 43. 44 for that matter so and there's no statute put up in honor of the member of the men who fought for bomber command until a few years ago. so they're largely overlooked when people i read churchill's speech when he talked about the few. there were has the feet of field of human conflict and has so much been owed by so many so few. people think he's talking about the fighter pilots in the battle britain. he's not he was talking talking about the men of bomber command.
so i think he could have done more to defend them and he didn't. excellent someone asked if you could talk a little bit more about clementine and her role in his personal and political life and influence during this time. well, i mean she was as foremost champion. yeah, and and especially times when he was out of favor. outpower and this is especially true during the first world war when he was forced out of government and went to fight on the western front. she was the one who had lunches with ask with who was still prime minister with lloyd george with others trying to convince them that they needed churchill back in office lloyd george recognized that ask with in her
estimation deserted deserted churchill. and so neither one of them had any more feelings about him by the end of the war and it was like george to say who brought him back. she could be very critical as far as their marriages concerned. it's interesting that they often took separate vacations. and and as as mary other youngest daughter said there was some neglect of the children for him during the second world war. she was her own own woman. she organized relief for soviet union. she was in the song that you when ve day occurred, so she she had a lot for him. i i think his life would have been very different without her and he knew that he knew that.
speaking of time and the precious commodity that time is someone asked how did churchill have any time to write it seems like he was constantly moving and working. you know, i'd love to know that myself. he had a very interesting work schedule which the historian william manchester outlined in his second the second volume of his three volume biography of churchill. he calls it a day at chartwell and talks about churchill would get up at eight in the morning. he would have a small breakfast the first of two baths and he would do a lot of his work in bed with secretary seated there. he would dictate a lot so he didn't write stuff and so he dictated it. he would take a nap he would do some work on a wall. he was building. this is the 1930s have dinner and then it was after dinner. that really has a lot of his work got done he would he would dictate articles books whatever
to raft of secretaries who were not paying very well, but who all said that they wouldn't have given trade places for anyone in the world to work for it. but yeah, i mean, it's simply stunningly the the amount he put out. i don't know how he did it. absolutely. i'd love to know i just from another participant asks did churchill think that this diminishment of power of the british empire after world war two was solely the result of the war or for other reasons. as you write it all about this. no, i think he saw what was coming when he came to washington out of power. he traveled out to fulton, missouri with with truman he was a they've traveled by train. it wasn't a very it was a long trip and one of the truman's aids were counted a story that
churchill said that if he could be born today that is in the 1940s, he would be born in american because america was the future britain had its day. so he fully recognized that and actually it wasn't the second reward was the first world war. that destroyed britain's financial status as the leading power and much else besides. so it was it was the there was the whole course of the early 20th century. and and i don't think anyone person could have changed that. absolutely. all right. we we received this question a few times, but i'm there curious if you have any resources or books or or readings that you think are really pertinent to churchill's life or do a really excellent job of portraying his life. oh gosh. i mean there are so many, you know, he is up there with abraham lincoln and and jesus for having books written about
and on all sorts of issues. so if you're talking about general biographies, the most recent one is by andrew roberts. which is certainly comprehensive. my favorite is an earlier one, which is just as comprehensive and just as big it's a real door stopper like robert's book by roy jenkins and the advantage there is what jenkins was himself a member of parliament and in government and so he could bring to the biography and understanding of what that was like for churchill in a way. i don't think any of the biographer could if you want a really entertaining book about churchill you cannot do any better than one he wrote himself and that's called my early life. i think in this country. it's also called a roving commission and it is it takes churchill from today. he was well and from the first day memory he had up till the time. he entered parliament in 1901 and is simply a joy to read it's
it's, you know, it's well written because written by him. and yeah, it's just a joy for books about the war itself. oh gosh, you know you can go through a whole library list of them. so. i'm hesitant to advice. just one over another. absolutely. all right. well, i think that's about all time we have today. thank you so much the greek prie minister -- [laughter] thank you so much for joining us tonight. this has been a real treasure. i'm so grateful to be able to participate with you before the
society, and i give thanks for all of us. welcome and thanks. >> thank you very much. >> the origins of the speech the iron curtain address really go back to a decision by westminster college president frank mcclure who is casting around for whom to invite to deliver the john finley green lecture. and he hits on the novel idea of perhaps invite ising winston churchill to come to fulton, missouri, to deliver this address at westminster college. to get churchill here, of course, is a significant task. he manages to do so really courtesy of the good offices of westminster alum major general harry vaughn who happens to be military aide to president truman. vaughn persuades truman to add a handwritten postscript on the invitation, and mcclure sends in this to churchill. the words that truman inscribes
are this is a wonderful school in my home state, hope you can do it. i'll introduce you. best regards, harry truman. >> it is this letter that brings churchill across the atlantic ocean to the heartland of the united states, convinced that he has obtained the world's attention. ♪ ♪ >> fulton's biggest day in history, as the daily sun gazette put it, had finally arrived. march 5, 1946, was somewhat overcast as crowds lined the streets in anticipation of churchill's motorcade. about 25,000 people were on hand to welcome the dignitaries when they arrived just after noon from jefferson city. there were marching bands, flags and balloons. president harry truman and winston churchill sat up on the back of the open limousine. between them, the president of the college, dr. frank mcclure, sat down lower on the seat. churchill smiled at the crowd giving his v for victory sign and waving his cigar as the car weaved along the route.
at last the motorcade entered the grounds of westminster college. the gymnasium was packed with invited guests and dignitaries. loud speakers outside the auditorium delivered the speech to an overflow crowd. a special section near the stage was reserved for the mothers of local men who had died in the war. the atmosphere was one of anticipation and uncertainty as churchilled had kept the content of his speech close to the vest. in the buildup to this moment, churchill held court with the u.s. press corps on the train trip to missouri. i think no commenting is a splendid expression, he told reporters who asked what he would say in fulton. i'm using it again and again. throughout his life churchilled had a craved the -- churchilled had craved the world stage ors and here he was once again drawn to the fire of controversy that his words were sure to bring. this was the moment he'd waited for to voice his ominous warning about the threat of communism in
europe. churchill had always possessed an uncanny premonition of history. his rich oratory often inspired a broad range of reactions. his moment in fulton would be no different. everyone anticipated controversy. churchill did not disappoint. >> -- in the baltic to -- in the adriatic an iron curtain has descended across the curtain. behind that line lies all the capitals of the asian states of central and eastern europe. warsaw, berlin, prague, vienna, budapest, belgrade, bucharest, all these famous cities and the populations around them lie in what i must call the soviet sphere. and all our countries in one
form or another not only to soviet influence, to a very high and -- [inaudible] increasing control from moscow. an a attempt is being made by the russians in berlin to build up a quasi-communist party in their zone of occupied germany by by showing special favors to groups of left-wing german leaders. at the end of the fighting last june, the american and british armies withdrew westward in accordance with an earlier agreement to a depth at some points of 150 miles upon a front of nearly 400 miles in order to allow our russian allies to occupy this vast expanse of territory which western democracies had conquered. if now the soviet government tries to build up a
pro-communist germany in their area, this will cause new and serious difficulties in the american and british zones and will give the defeated germans the power of putting themselves up -- [inaudible] between the josephs and the western dem -- soviets and the western democracies. whatever conclusions may be drawn from these facts, and facts they are, this is certainly not the liberated europe we sought to build up, nor is it one which contains the essentials of permanent peace. on the other hand, ladies and gentlemen, i repulse the idea that a new war is inevitable, still more that it is imminent. it is because i am sure that our fortunes are still in our hands, in our own hands and that we hold the power to save the
future that i speak out now that i have the occasion and the opportunity to do so. >> churchill walked away certain that he had stirred a hornets' nest of controversy. he knew that his stirred anti-soviet remarks would make a splash and would later remark that perhaps the speech had started some thinking that would make history. churchill brushed aside criticism that labeled him a warmonger, but he did believe the soviets sought the fruits of war and the indefinite expansion of their power and doctrines t. only proper response was to hold fast. i am convinced that there is nothing they admire so much as strength. predictably, the world's reaction was outrage, and his stance against moscow was thought to be dead wrong. president truman, who had personally invited and introduced churchill, insisted that he had no idea what was in the speech ahead of time although many historians now believe truman was aware of what churchill had written. the chicago sun times called the
speech poisonous. ing one new york paper described the speech as an ideological declaration of war against russia while many in congress called it shocking. on the trip back to london, crowds gathered outside his hotel chanting, winnie, winnie, go away. united nations is here to stay. a british foreign office report on the speech found churchill's conclusions were supported in military departments but condemned by congress, the media and the public. nevertheless, it stated the speech gave the sharpest jolt to american thinking since any utterance since the end of the
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