I have read William Manchester's previous two books about Winston Churchill and thought they were quite wonderful. When Manchester died in 2004, I wondered how far along he was with his third and final volume about Winston. Writer Paul Reid took Manchester's volume of work and has just completed the final work. It's very long -- 1,053 pages and small type and very, very few chapters -- but well done. It certainly captures Churchill's determination, his vivid imagination, his humor and great vision as the greatest allied leader of the Second World War -- and, perhaps, the greatest leader of the 20th Century.
I knew that Churchill had been defeated as Prime Minister soon after his brilliant leadership of the second world war, but I was not sure why. This book goes into detail to describe the post-war platform of Churchill's opposition -- the Labor Party. The British economy was in terrible condition, and the Labor Party promised that government would solve everyone's problems. They proposed nationalizing key industries and paying large bonuses to returning soldiers, sailors and airmen. Four to five years later, the economy had not improved, and Churchill was returned to the office of Prime Minister.
The book impressed on me how accurately Churchill understood the Soviet Union's objective of conquering as much of Europe as they could. He was far ahead of President Roosevelt and other leaders at the time in predicting their aims. When Churchill turned 80 on November 30, 1954, Clement Atlee, who was the leader of Britain's opposition party, praised Churchill for his wartime speeches and leadership. Churchill replied as follows, and I quote:
I was very glad that Mr. Atlee described my speeches in the war as expressing the will not only of Parliament but the whole nation. Their will was resolute and remorseless, and as it proved unconquerable, it fell to me to express it - and if I found the right words, you must remember that I have always earned my living by my pen and by my tongue. It was a nation and race dwelling around the globe that had the lion heart. I had the luck to be called upon to give the ROAR. I also hope that I sometime suggested to the Lion, the right places to use his CLAWS.
In his final address to the House of Commons, Churchill ended his remarks with these words:
The day may dawn when fair play, love for fellow man, respect for justice and freedom will enable tormented generations to march forth secure and triumphant from the hideous epoch in which we have to dwell. Meanwhile, never flinch, never weary, never despair.
On the 25th anniversary of the Battle of Britain, the Dean and Chapter of Westminster Abbey, at the request of the Queen and Parliament, placed a 67" x 76" poster-sized polished green marble slab in the floor of that thousand-year-old monument to English history. All who enter cannot help but see it just a few feet inside the great west doors. Engraved are the words:
"Remember Winston Churchill"
This wonderful literary work will certainly help us do all that! I'm Bill Marriott and thanks for helping me keep Marriott on the Move.
This post first appeared on MarriottOnTheMove.com.