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Short History of Sir Winston Churchill #7

Glorious Twilight


SHORT HISTORY OF THE LIFE OF WINSTON CHURCHILL #7

by Paul Johnson


GLORIOUS TWILIGHT


     Clementine Churchill's belief that the 1945 defeat might
prove a blessing was abundantly justified, in many different
ways. First, it spared her husband the agony of presiding over a
dramatic but inevitable contraction of Britain's global power.
The country emerged from six years of total war exhausted,
impoverished, and emotionally numb. Clement Attlee's Labour
government had no inhibitions about giving India its
independence. As Churchill had predicted, the vast country split
into Hindu and Moslem halves, accompanied by terrible slaughter.
But the disintegration he feared did not take place. Indeed, the
emergence of India as a great modern economic power, which he
believed would take place under British tutelage, eventually
began under Indian leadership a generation after his death. An
India becoming rich, which Gandhi was sure would destroy her
culture and soul, was to Churchill a welcome prospect, a final
justification of British rule. So in this respect he was
ultimately proved right, and Gandhi wrong. But he was glad he was
spared the duty of setting India free. As usual, however, having
fought the legislation through all its stages, he accepted the
verdict of Parliament. As he said to Nehru, the new Indian prime
minister, "It is now your task to lead to prosperity the India I
loved and served." 
     He was also spared the pain of presiding over Israel's
birth. A fervent Zionist he remained. Ben-Gurion and Weizmann,
the founding fathers, were friends. But he could not bear the
savage terrorist campaign waged by Irgun and the Stern Gang and
against British troops, which preceded Israel's formation. "I try
to put everything concerning Palestine out of my mind," he said
sadly.

     As he saw it, his main global task during his period of
opposition was twofold. 

     First to arouse the world, and especially the United States,
to the dangers presented by the power of Stalin's So viet Union.
In America he was universally popular. On March 6, 1946, invited
by President Truman, who became a firm friend and a warm admirer,
to make a major speech at Westminster College in Fulton,
Missouri, his home state, Churchill responded with a call to
vigilance in response to the Soviet peril. "An iron curtain has
descended across the Continent," he said. Whether he invented the
term "iron curtain" is a matter of dispute. He certainly
popularized it, as well as "cold war"--"A cold war against Russia
has replaced the hot war against Germany," as he put it. 

     But Churchill equally saw his second task was to promote
dialogue across the cold war iron curtain. He wanted summits, as
always. A favorite saying of his was "Jaw jaw is better than
war-war." He much resented the accusation that he was a man of
war, still more a warmonger. In 1941 he allowed himself to be
photographed holding a Thompson submachine gun, part of a
shipment from America. It was often used against him to
illustrate the image of "Gangster Churchill" harped on by Hitler
and occasionally by his Labour enemies. But it was a splendid
photo, and Churchill loved it. When he made his wartime voyages
across the Atlantic by liner, he insisted the lifeboat to which
he was assigned be provided with "tommy guns." "I dread capture
more than death," he said, "and I will go down fighting."

     All the same, he was anxious to lose his reputation for
bellicosity. That was why he welcomed the emergence of Ernest
Bevin as a tough, resolute, and, if necessary, fierce foreign
secretary in 1945, one quite capable of standing up to the
Russians and giving them, to use his terminology, "what for." He
also applauded Attlee for his firm handling of Soviet forward
moves, especially during the Berlin blockade. He disliked
belittling remarks about Attlee (except when he made them
himself). Once, at Chartwell, Sir John Rodgers referred to Attlee
as "silly old Attlee." Churchill exploded:

     Mr Attlee is Prime Minister of England. Mr Attlee was Deputy
     Prime Minister during the War, and played a great part in
     winning the War. Mr Attlee is a great patriot. Don't you
     dare call him "silly old Attlee" at Chartwell or you won't
     be invited again.

     Churchill considered it fortunate that the war in Korea came
while Attlee and Labour were still in power. He told a group of
Tory MPs early in 1951, "We had no alternative but to fight, but
if I had been Prime Minister, they would have called me a
warmonger. As it is, I have not been called upon to take so
invidious a step as to send our young men to fight on the other
side of the globe. The Old Man has been good to me." Sir Reginald
Manningham-Buller, MP, was puzzled. "What old man, sir?"
Churchill chuckled. "Why, Sir Reginald. Almighty God, the Ruler
of the Universe!"

     It is likely that the 1945 election result was also a
blessing simply in relieving Churchill's workload. If he had
carried on as prime minister without a break, he might not have
lived long. That was the medical view. As it was, while attending
the House of Commons often and making some memorable speeches, he
was able to hand over the main business of the Opposition to
younger men: Eden, R. A. Butler, Oliver Lyttelton, and Harold
Macmillan. He enjoyed many breaks. He took his painting more and
more seriously. After his defeat, Field Marshal Alexander placed
at his disposal a superb villa his army had commanded overlooking
Lake Como, and Churchill set to, to paint the glorious scenery
there. The news of his skill as a landscape painter was
spreading. The rich began to collect his work. His canvases
fetched high prices in the auction rooms. His excellent book
"Painting as a Pastime" circulated widely and won the approval of
the president of the Royal Academy, Sir Alfred Munnings, who
wanted anyone of talent to take up painting and thought Churchill
a shining example of how high an amateur could rise with proper
encouragement and enthusiasm. He contrived to get Churchill
elected an Honorary Member of the Royal Academy Extraordinary.
Nothing in Churchill's life gave him greater pleasure. He sent
his pictures to the summer exhibition and always, if he could,
attended the annual banquet, often speaking there. He and
Munnings had a lot in common, especially love of life and color
and detestation of "modern art." Munnings related: "Mr. Churchill
said to me, 'Alf, if you were walking down Piccadilly, and you
saw Picasso walking in front of you, what would you do?' 'Kick
his arse, Mr. Churchill.' 'Quite right, Alf.'"

     In addition, Churchill took up racing. Clemmie disapproved:
"A rich man's sport," she said. "Before he bought the horse (I
can't think why) he had hardly been on a racecourse in his life."
Actually, the idea came from his son-in-law Christopher Soames,
who had married his daughter Mary and who loved racehorses. The
old idolization of his father stirred in Churchill's veins: "I
can revive my father's racing colours." He did, and set up a
small stud near Newchapel Green, convenient for Lingfield races
and not far from Chartwell. He acquired (among others) a gray
colt called Colonist 11, which won thirteen races for him,
including some big ones, and proved a popular bet among
working-class punters before going out to stud. Churchill was
elected to the jockey Club in 1950 and loved that, too. Moreover,
owning racehorses, far from ruining him, actually made him quite
a bit of money.
     But the chief activity of the postwar Churchill was writing.
This is the main reason Clementine was right to say the 1945
defeat was a blessing in disguise. He had always believed-he said
so explicitly in May 1938-"Words are the only things that last
for ever." Between 1941 and 1945 he had performed great deeds.
Now he needed to write the words to ensure that the deeds were
correctly described and so made immortal. After the 1945
landslide, he buckled down to the immense and daunting task of
writing his war memoirs immediately. The work was pressed forward
with all deliberate speed and with all the resources of intellect
and energy. Despite its immense length-over 2 million words-the
great majority of the book was done by the time he returned to
power at the end of 1951. It is a disturbing thought that if he
had remained in office it might never have been done at all. If,
by carrying on with his overwhelming efforts as premier,
especially in the disheartening conditions of the postwar world,
he had shortened his life, it would certainly not have been done.
The world would have lost a masterpiece, and our view of
Churchill might now be distinctly different.

     The work was a team effort. Chartwell became a writing
factory, with ghostly co-writers, research assistants, historical
consultants, and military experts flitting in and out, and with
secretaries and typists pounding away by day and taking dictation
by night. Churchill called his creative formula "the three
Ds-documents, dictation and drafts." The book was a documentary
history as well as a personal memoir. He had from an early age
always hoarded papers (as did George Washington), and Chartwell
had been refashioned by him partly to house this archive
efficiently. What he learned from writing The World Crisis was
the need to make the earliest possible use of official papers,
and if possible to get physical possession of them as well as the
legal right to use them. From the start in World War II, he
applied this lesson assiduously. It is likely that many of his
wartime writings-memos, orders, assessments, and strategic
directiveswere written by him with a view to future use in his
memoirs. It was one reason he always gave or confirmed his orders
in writing. Before he left Downing Street in summer 1945 he and
the then cabinet secretary, Sir Edward Bridges, made what has
been called "a remarkable bargain." Churchill asked for no
financial, honorific, or other reward for his unique wartime
services. What he asked for, and got, was agreement that a vast
quantity of the wartime official papers be classified as his
personal property. Moreover, he was allowed to remove them to his
personal archive at Chartwell. The only qualification was that
their publication had to be approved by the government of the
day. This bargain meant that Churchill was able to document his
account in full from the start. He was right ahead of the field,
by miles. There was virtually no competition during the seven
years it took him to write and publish the work, especially from
the very top. Hitler, Mussolini, and Roosevelt were dead (so were
Chamberlain and Baldwin, of course). Stalin wrote no memoirs,
thinking-the fool!-that Soviet official history, supervised by
him, would do instead. Churchill published well before the
various generals, admirals, air marshals, and politicians who had
also participated could get their word in. He also benefited from
exclusivity. The British documents to which Churchill alone had
full access were closed to everyone else except certain authors
of official histories on specific and narrow subjects. In 1958
legislation permitted access, subject to the "fifty year rule,"
which meant any particular document could not be seen by the
public for half a century. In 1967 the period was reduced to
thirty years, but by then Churchill was dead, having got his word
in first.
     In effect, the period of revisionism did not start until the
decade after Churchill's death. By then many of the verdicts he
sought to impose had become deeply embedded in the received
version of history, taught in schools and universities, and the
heroic epic of Churchill, largely written or inspired by himself,
had passed into the public historical memory. Was it truthful? A
large proportion of it is documentation, especially the wartime
minutes and telegrams. Churchill dictated long passages on key
episodes of particular importance to him, which he recalled
vividly. There were also extensive drafts, corrected by
Churchill, which were written by "the Syndicate," the team of
research assistants under the leadership of Bill Deakin, an
academic and the only professional historian on the team, Henry
Pownall, and Gordon Allen. Experts and participants - service
chiefs, industrialists, and scientists - were summoned to help
with special passages. All these people served to correct
Churchill's memory of events when necessary and to balance his
exuberance. But his memory was superlative at this stage of his
life and remarkably free from any grudges, let alone malice. The
production of the work has been compared to results achieved by a
big scientific research group directed by a genius who gets the
credit. Asked if Churchill really wrote the book himself, Denis
Kelly, office manager of the Syndicate, replied that was like
asking a master chef, "Did you cook the whole banquet with your
own hands?" A careful study of both the work and the way it was
put together may reveal manipulations, omissions, and
suppressions (for obvious reasons, little is said of Enigma and
successful code breaking such as Ultra). But the impression that
emerges is that Churchill was a historian of passion, romantic
and often inspired to special insights and near poetry, and a
writer of dynamic power and energy, as well as a recording angel
of striking ruthlessness. By giving his version of the greatest
of all wars, and his own role in it, he knew he was fighting for
his ultimate place in history. What was at stake was his status
as a hero. So he fought hard and took no prisoners. On the whole
he won the war of words, as he had earlier won the war of deeds.
War Memoirs was immensely successful, not least because so much
in it was new to the reader, and especially fascinating to those
who had lived through the years he described. Indeed it was one
of the most popular and highly rewarded books ever published. The
original deal of May 1947 covering five volumes brought Churchill
$2.23 million, the equivalent of about $50 million today. But he
also got huge sums from the New York Times and Time Life for
serial rights. In 1953 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for
Literature, only the second historian to be so honored (the first
was Theodor Mommsen, who wrote on ancient Rome). At the time of
this prize giving, the Daily Telegraph of London, which had
serialized the latest volume, stated that volumes one to five had
already sold 6 million copies in English and had been serialized
in fifty newspapers in forty countries. No book of comparable
size-nor many of any size-has so quickly achieved such
circulation. The British and American publishers made fortunes
from the work, as did Churchill's agent, Emery Reeves. The
Churchill family benefited bountifully not only from the work's
earnings but also by the bargain over the papers, which were
donated to the Chartwell Trust and sold to Lord Camrose of the
Daily Telegraph. This incorporated a clever legal device to avoid
the punitive taxation which would have made the memoirs pointless
financially.
     Churchill survived the war by twenty years, and spent most
of the first decade in active politics. Should he have retired?
He thought the people wanted him. They said so, according to the
polls. He had always bowed to the popular will when it expressed
the national interest. He had said, in 1944, that an electoral
defeat might be coming and must be respected: "What is good
enough for the people is good enough for me." After resigning the
premiership, he moved from Downing Street to Claridge's, until
his house was ready, and was observed waiting outside the hotel
for his car and singing an old popular song from his youth:
"North Pole, South Pole, now I'm up the Pole, since I got the
sack, from the Hotel Metropole." At his farewell dinner party at
Chequers, where a rehoboam of champagne was drunk, he made some
remarks about his future conduct: "I will never give way to
self-pity. The new government has a clear mandate which the
opposition had no right to attack in principle. The new
government will have the most difficult task of any in modern
times, and it is the duty of everyone to support them in matters
of national interest."
     Churchill applied these rules to his own conduct as leader
of the Opposition. Labour's immense program was vigorously
contested, but Churchill never threatened to destroy it if he
returned to power. His chief contribution, he felt, was to voice
the British view all over the world. So memorable speeches were
made before immense audiences. At Zurich, he promoted European
unity under Franco-German leadership, a prophetic notion. He
stressed the importance of the "spiritual" element in such
leadership, an aspect of unity which, alas, has been forgotten. A
parliamentarian to the very roots of his political personality,
he also stressed the importance of the Strasbourg parliament as
opposed to the Brussels bureaucracy. Indeed, on August 11, 1950,
he addressed a crowd of over twenty thousand in the open at Place
Kleber, Strasbourg. The reception was overwhelming: nothing like
it had been seen in the city ever before, or since. But alas
here, too, Churchill's wisdom has been ignored and bureaucracy
has triumphed in every corner of the European community.
One reason Churchill hung on was that he loved the House of
Commons so much. His speeches were still events, eagerly awaited.
But there were also unpredictable "outbursts of charm," as the
par liamentary diarist "Chips" Channon put it. A sector of
far-left Labour MPs disliked him and often subjected him to
abuse. Once, when he was leaving the chamber, there were shouts
of "Rat!" "Leaving the sinking ship!" "Don't come back!"
Churchill paused, turned round, then blew kisses at his
assailants. This brought shouts of laughter from all parts of the
House. Churchill did not win the 1950 election, but he returned
greatly strengthened and full of mischievous glee. When Hugh
Gaitskell, then the new chancellor of the exchequer, a "prissy
Wykehamist" in Churchill's view, who stood on his dignity a
little too often, was making a solemn economic statement,
Churchill began to search his pockets for something. First his
trousers. Then his jacket. Then his top pocket. Then all his
waistcoat pockets. This extensive search gradually attracted the
attention of the House. Eventually Gaitskell, aware he had lost
his audience, snapped at Churchill in irritation, "Can I help
you?" Churchill replied sweetly, "I am only looking for a
jujube." Again, there was a roar of laughter from all parties.
At the end of 1951 there was another election, and this time
Churchill was returned to office with a majority of seventeen. He
quickly formed a government, taking over the defense portfolio
himself for a time. Other wartime figures made an appearance:
Ismay, Cherwell, the Earl of Woolton, Lord Leathers, Alexander.
But increasingly, the main work was done by professional
politicians like Eden, Butler, and Macmillan. Churchill was keen
to introduce new young talent, employing the graceful manner he
brought to even the routine jobs of the prime minister, such as
the filling of junior offices. Lord Carrington, a young peer with
a good war record in the Guards, was out shooting on his
Buckinghamshire estate when a message came to phone Number Ten.
On his return he found Churchill on the line. "Been out shooting
I hear. Game good?" "Excellent." "I am glad to hear it. Now I
want to ask you: would you care to join my shoot?" That was how
Carrington became undersecretary for agriculture, the first step
in a career which ended as a distinguished foreign secretary.
Churchill felt he had no mandate to reverse Labour's
nationalization measures, nor to "tame" the unions, nor to
abolish the National Health Service, the creation of his old
enemy Aneurin Bevan (indeed the two of them were sometimes seen
sharing a whiskey and jokes: they were "incapable of resisting
each other's charm"). Labour's work was left virtually
untouched-Evelyn Waugh complained in his Diaries, "The clock has
not been put back one single second." There were even complaints
that Churchill was slow to end rationing and other wartime
egalitarian restrictions which Labour had prolonged. The country
had to wait till Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s for the deadly
burden of Attlee's "Socialism and Water" to be drained away and
replaced by privatization and the profit motive.
     Churchill reserved his energy for foreign affairs. While
unable to bring about a summit with Russia, he kept the "special
relationship" with America in constant repair. He met President
Eisen hower in Bermuda and paid an official visit to Washington
in June 1954. The young vice president, Richard Nixon, left a
vivid verbatim account of his conversation on that occasion
covering the French predicament in Vietnam, the war against
Communist guerrillas in Malaya, colonialism, imperialism, nuclear
weapons, who was running Russia, and many other matters. "He
enjoyed himself thoroughly," Nixon wrote, "and was one of those
rare great leaders who relished small talk as much as
world-shaking issues." Assigned the prestigious Lincoln Bedroom
in the White House, where the bed was hard, he crept out in the
middle of the night to the so-called Queen's Bedroom, which was
empty and where he knew from experience that the bed was
luxurious. He told Mrs. Nixon that he had his first whiskey of
the day at 8:30 in the morning, but deplored the habit of John
Foster Dulles of drinking highballs during dinner: "For the
evening is Champagne Time." He joked about Dulles: "The only bull
I know who carries his china shop around with him." He said,
"That man makes a beautiful declension: 'Dull, Duller, Dulles.'"

     In 1953, after long resisting, Churchill allowed the queen
to make him a Knight of the Garter. This was a sign he was
thinking of retiring, for he had always declined honors which
involved a change of name: he valued being "Mr. Churchill." There
was a stroke later that year. Recovered, he found reasons for
hanging on. He thought Eden "not up to" being prime minister
physically and emotionally, but he also felt "he deserves his
turn. Who knows? All may be well." In fact, Eden's brief turn
ended in the fatal invasion of Egypt and the equally disastrous
withdrawal. Churchill commented, "I would have been afraid to go
in. But being in, I would have been even more afraid to go out."
Churchill, aged seventy-nine, handed over in April 1955. His last
speech had been on March 1, a virtuoso effort he prepared
carefully and "dictated every word himself." He said:
Which way shall we turn to save our lives and the future of the
world? It does not matter so much to old people; they are going
to die soon anyway; but I find it poignant to look at youth in
all its activity and ardour and, most of all, to watch little
children playing their merry games, and wonder what would
lie before them if God wearied of mankind.
     However, he added, he was not despondent:

     The day may dawn when fair play, love for one's fellow men,
     respect for justice and freedom, will enable tormented
     generations to march forth serene and triumphant from the
     hideous epoch in which we have to dwell. Meanwhile, never
     flinch, never weary, never despair.

     The last ten years of Churchill's life were an age of dying
embers, with occasional flickers of flame and fiery glows. He
finished his "History of the English-Speaking Peoples." He
painted:

     "I love the bright colours. I feel sorry for the dull
     browns." He thought the best thing about heaven would be the
     infinitely brilliant color scheme. But he also saw the
     afterlife as "some kind of velvety cool blackness." He then
     paused. "Perhaps I may be reborn as a Chinese coolie. You
     know, those were the people employed in South Africa whom I
     referred to in my first ministerial speech in the Commons. I
     said that to call them slaves would be to be guilty of a
     terminological inexactitude. Oh, how glorious English words
     are! However, if I am reborn a coolie, I shall lodge a
     strong protest at the Bar of Heaven."

     Much of his time was spent in the south of France, at the
villa of Emery Reeves, whose pretty wife fussed over him
enjoyably. There were many other houses open to him there,
notably Beaverbrook's La Capponcina, which was put at his
disposal six months of the year. He made the acquaintance of
Aristotle Onassis, the Greek shipowner, and went for eight
cruises in all on his capacious and luxurious yacht, the
Christina. Churchill was particularly fond of it because it was a
converted destroyer with huge, fast engines. For a time he was
still adventurous. There is a vignette of him insisting on
descending to a Mediterranean beach by a rocky cliff, and then
being unable to climb up it again. He had to be hauled up (all
five foot seven of him, and 154 pounds) in a bosun's chair,
pulled by a gang of fellow guests which included the ravishing
Lady Diana Cooper and the ballet star Margot Fonteyn.

     In his eighties Churchill was often forgetful, deaf, and
lost in thought. The writer James Cameron, who had dinner d trots
with Churchill and Beaverbrook at La Capponcina, describes a
silent meal. Suddenly Churchill asked, "Ever been to Moscow,
Max?"--"Moscow" pronounced to rhyme with "cow." "Yes, Sir
Winstonyou sent me there, remember?" Churchill went back into
silence. At the end of the evening, saying good-bye, Cameron in
his nervousness grasped Churchill's hand too roughly. The old man
reacted with fury, blue eyes blazing: "!?! you!"
     Churchill often stayed at the Hotel de Paris in Monte Carlo,
in a penthouse flat prepared for him. But he liked to dine
downstairs with Mrs. Reeves, known as "Rhinestone Wendy." Evelyn
Waugh, also staying there, wrote to Ian Fleming's wife, Ann:
We sometimes see Sir Winston (at a respectful distance) gorging
vast quantities of rich food. His face is elephant grey and quite
expressionless. His moll sits by him coaxing him and he sometimes
turns a pink little eye towards her without turning his head.
He had a bad fall at the hotel, and that was the beginning of the
end. He had been reelected to the Commons in 1959, though he
never spoke thereafter, and paid his last visit to the place he
loved on July 2'7,1964. He celebrated his ninetieth birthday in
November and died the following January, the twenty-fourth. His
final days were painless and without incident. His last words
were: "I am bored with it all" But then he added, looking at the
faces around his bedside, "The journey has been enjoyable and
well worth making-once!"

EPILOGUE

On January 2'7, 1965, Churchill's coffin was taken from his
house in Hyde Park Gate to Westminster Hall, where it lay in
state. Over three hundred thousand people filed slowly past the
catafalque. At 9:45 on January 30 the coffin was taken from
Westminster to St. Paul's on a gray gun carriage last used at the
funeral of Queen Victoria. The state funeral ordered by
Parliament was the first for a politician since Gladstone's. But
in its somber magnificence its only precedent was the burial of
the Duke of Wellington in 1852. From the funeral, attended by the
queen, five other monarchs, and fifteen heads of state, the
coffin went across the Thames by boat, then from Waterloo Station
by train to Long Hanborough, the nearest station to Bladon,
parish church of Blenheim Palace. Churchill was buried in the
churchyard next to his father and mother and his brother, Jack,
less than a mile from the room in the palace where he was born.
In his ninety years, Churchill had spent fifty-five years as a
member of Parliament, thirty-one years as a minister, and nearly
nine years as prime minister. He had been present at or fought in
fifteen battles, and had been awarded fourteen campaign medals,
some with multiple clasps. He had been a prominent figure in the
First World War, and a dominant one in the Second. He had
published nearly 1o million words, more than most professional
writers in their lifetime, and painted over five hundred
canvases, more than most professional painters. He had
reconstructed a stately home and created a splendid garden with
its three lakes, which he had caused to be dug himself. He had
built a cottage and a garden wall. He was a fellow of the Royal
Society, an Elder Brother of Trinity House, a Lord Warden of the
Cinque Ports, a Royal Academician, a university chancellor, a
Nobel Prizeman, a Knight of the Garter, a Companion of Honour,
and a member of the Order of Merit. Scores of towns made him an
honorary citizen, dozens of universities awarded him honorary
degrees, and thirteen countries gave him medals. He hunted big
game and won a score of races. How many bottles of champagne he
consumed is not recorded, but it may be close to twenty thousand.
He had a large and much-loved family, and countless friends.
So Winston Churchill led a full life, and few people are ever
likely to equal it - its amplitude, variety, and success on so
many fronts. But all can learn from it, especially in five ways.

The first lesson is: 

always aim high. As a child Churchill received no positive
encouragement from his father and little from his mother. He was
aware of failure at school. But he still aimed high. He conquered
his aversion to math, at least enough to pass. He reinforced
success in what he could do: write a good English sentence.
Conscious of his ignorance, he set himself to master English
history and to familiarize himself with great chunks of
literature. Once his own master, he played polo to win
the top award in the world. He got himself into five wars in
quick succession and became both a veteran of military lore and
one of the world's most experienced (and highly paid) war
correspondents. Then he set his sights on the House of
Commons and stayed there (with one lapse) for over half a
century. He sought power and got it in growing amplitude. He
never cadged or demeaned himself to get office, but obtained it
on his own terms. He sought to be prime minister feeling only he
could achieve certain things. In 1940 he aimed not only high but
at the highest-to rescue a stricken country in danger of being
demoralized, to put it firmly on its feet again, and to carry it
to salvation and victory. He did not always meet his elevated
targets, but by aiming high he always achieved something
worthwhile.

Lesson number two is: 

there is no substitute for hard work. Churchill obscured this
moral by his (for him) efficient habit of spending a working
morning in bed, telephoning, dictating, and consulting. He also
manifestly enjoyed his leisure activities, for him another form
of hard work, to keep himself fit and rested and to enable
himself to do his job at the top of his form. The balance he
maintained between flat-out work and creative and restorative
leisure is worth study by anyone holding a top position. But he
never evaded hard work itself. taking important and dangerous
decisions, the hardest form of work there is, in the course of a
sixteen-hour day. Or working on a speech to bring it as near
perfection as possible. No one ever worked harder than Churchill
to make himself a master orator. Or forcing himself to travel
long distances, often in acute discomfort and danger, to meet the
top statesmen face-to-face where his persuasive charm could work
best. He worked hard at everything to the best of his ability:
Parliament, administration, geopolitics and geostrategy,
writing books, painting, creating an idyllic house and garden,
seeing things and if possible doing things for himself. Mistakes
he made, constantly, but there was never any thing shoddy or idle
about his work. He put tremendous energy into everything, and was
able to do this because (as he told me) he conserved and
husbanded his energy, too. There was an extraordinary paradox
about his white, apparently flabby body and the amount of muscle
power he put into life, always.

Third, and in its way most important:

Churchill never allowed mistakes, disaster-personal or
national-accidents, illnesses, unpopularity, and criticism to get
him down. His powers of recuperation, both in physical illness
and in psychological responses to abject failure, were
astounding. To be blamed for the dreadful failure and loss of
life in the Dardanelles was a terrible burden to carry. Churchill
responded by fighting on the western front, in great discomfort
and danger, and then by doing a magnificent job at the ministry
of munitions. He made a fool of himself over the abdication and
was howled down by a united House of Commons in one of the most
savage scenes of personal humiliation ever recorded. He scrambled
to his feet and worked his way back. He had courage, the most
important of all virtues, and its companion, fortitude. These
strengths are inborn but they can also be cultivated, and
Churchill worked on them all his life. In a sense his whole
career was an exercise in how courage can be displayed,
reinforced, guarded and doled out carefully, heightened and
concentrated, conveyed to others. Those uncertain of their
courage can look to Churchill for reassurance and inspiration.

Fourth, Churchill wasted an extraordinarily small amount of his
time and emotional energy on the meannesses of life:

recrimination, shifting the blame onto others, malice, revenge
seeking, dirty tricks, spreading rumors, harboring grudges,
waging vendettas. Having fought hard, he washed his hands and
went on to the next contest. It is one reason for his success.
There is nothing more draining and exhausting than hatred. And
malice is bad for the judgment. Churchill loved to forgive and
make up. His treatment of Baldwin and Chamberlain after he became
prime minister is an object lesson in sublime magnanimity.
Nothing gave him more pleasure than to replace enmity with
friendship, not least with the Germans.

Finally, the absence of hatred left plenty of room for joy in
Churchill's life:

His face could light up in the most extraordinarily attractive
way as it became suffused with pleasure at an unexpected and
welcome event. Witness that delightful moment at Number Ten when
Baldwin gave him the exchequer. Joy was a frequent visitor to
Churchill's psyche, banishing boredom, despair, discomfort, and
pain. He liked to share his joy, and give joy. It must never be
forgotten that Churchill was happy with people. He insisted that
the gates of Chartwell should always be left open so that the
people of Westerham were encouraged to come in and enjoy the
garden. He got on well with nearly everyone who served him or
worked with him, whatever their degree. Being more than half
American, he was never class-conscious. When an old man, his bow
to the young queen was a work of art: slow, dignified, humble,
and low. But he was bowing to tradition and history more than to
rank. He showed the people a love of jokes, and was to them a
source of many. No great leader was ever laughed at, or with,
more than Churchill. He loved to make jokes and contrived to
invent a large number in his long life. He collected and told
jokes, too. He liked to sing. Beaverbrook said: "He did not sing
in tune but he sang with energy and enthusiasm." He liked to sing
"Ta-ra-ra-Boom-de-ay," "Daisy, Daisy," and old Boer War songs.
His favorite was "Take a Pair of Sparkling Eyes" from Gilbert and
Sullivan's The Gondoliers, which Lady Moran, who had a fine
voice, would sing to him. He was emotional, and wept easily. But
his tears soon dried, as joy came flooding back. He drew his
strength from people, and imparted it to them in full measure.
Everyone who values freedom under law, and government by, for,
and from the people, can find comfort and reassurance in his life
story.
....................

NOTE:

There has through British history been some GIANTS, from
Caractacus and Boadicea in the first century AD; to King Arthur
and his round table, to King Alfred, to Wellington, to Drake, to
Nelson, and to the last but certainly not the lease, maybe the
greatest Briton of all.......Sir Winston Churchill.

Sir Winston will be the last great man to lead the British
Commonwealth and the United States of America, to victory in
world war. We have seen the last human man to be used by the
Eternal God in keeping the House of Israel and the House of Judah
from captivity to their enemies.

The next DELIVERER from World War THREE - the war that would
obliterate mankind from off the planet - will not be a human man,
but will be the LORD JESUS CHRIST, as He comes again, this time
in mighty POWER to destroy those who are destroying the earth,
and to establish the Kingdom of God on earth, ruling all nations
for a glorious 1,000 years.

So come Lord Jesus, come.

Keith Hunt



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