Sunday, December 12, 2010

Sunday's Quote: Churchill

A recent interview with John Fisher Burns, London bureau chief for The New York Times and two-time recipient of the Pulitzer Prize, got me to thinking about the British as military protagonists.  Paraphrasing Burns, much of the world has considered the United States, however begrudgingly, as "keepers of the peace" for generations.  And while this is true, at least some of that inspiration can be attributed to one of Britain's all-time greats:

"Churchill considered Nazism vile and barbaric, a rejection of civilization in every way, despite his respect for the German race.  He was particularly offended by its anti-Semitism, which made Nazism, in some ways, worse than communism. ...  

"Even after Hitler violated the Munich peace agreement of 1938 and conquered all of Czechoslovakia in March 1939, Chamberlain and Foreign Secretary Lord Halifax adamantly opposed a pact with Soviet Russia.  They fundamentally misunderstood Hitler, had too much sympathy for Germany and too much contempt for Soviet Russia, and feared war too much to adjust policy.  They were not as intellectually imaginative, strategically discerning, or obsessively determined to face threats as Churchill.  But Churchill’s standing in the Conservative Party and the nation at large was very low in the mid- to late 1930s, and his warnings went unheeded.

"Churchill was clearly the indispensable man of the moment in 1940, whom destiny summoned to change the course of history.  His overwhelming love of country and civilization, grave sense of obligation to protect and improve on all the good the ages had produced, romantic view of the world, and keen understanding of how history had reached a vital point, made him realize why he and Britain had to battle relentlessly, regardless of the odds.  His firm conviction that individuals can overcome great adversity, his belief that great leaders can redirect global forces, and his uplifting oratorical abilities, allowed Churchill to shape the thoughts and feelings of his countrymen and save his country and civilization."
-- from "Being Winston Churchill" by Michael Makovsky; December 8, 2010

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