For Christmas 2019 my daughter-in-law gave me Andrew Roberts’ biography of Winston Churchill. This is the letter I wrote to thank her.
March 7, 2020
I just finished Andrew Roberts’ Churchill and I want to say again, thanks!
It was quite a few years ago that I first realized how indebted we are to “the Greatest Generation,” and I have since then had a heightened interest in the history of the 50-year period prior to my birth in 1949. One of my regrets is that I did not quiz my parents more about their experiences.
But now I realize for the first time the extent to which we owe our freedom and prosperity to one man.
Roberts concludes by saying (p 975) that if Hitler had delayed the Anschluss [the annexation of Austria] and Czech crises for a few years, Churchill’s moment would have passed. Halifax would have become Prime Minister, and he would have sought, quite reasonably, to discover Hitler’s terms of peace. Those terms might not have been very onerous, since all Hitler needed at that moment was a single front. Churchill saw that if the Soviets were alone, they would more likely face defeat; whereupon there would be nothing to prevent Hitler from disavowing the settlement with England, who then would in turn also be alone. Then it would have been too late for the US to re-arm.
Churchill maintained that it was the British people who had the lion heart, and that he merely “had the luck to be called upon to give the roar.” Roberts denies that: “[I]t was much more the case that Churchill had the lion heart and also gave the roar, and in so doing taught the British people to rediscover the latent lionheartedness in themselves.” (p 980.)
Whether one believes in Providence, as I do, we can only regard these things with gratitude and awe.
By the way, thanks, too, for the WhatsApp call the other day for Leona to chat with us. So great to see her walking and flourishing as she is clearly doing in every way. Thanks for thinking of us.