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  • Hitchens asked: Did Churchill purloin a Chamberlain speech for "We will fight them"?

    : CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS: DID CHURCHILL PURLOIN A CHAMBERLAIN SPEECH FOR “WE WILL FIGHT THEM….”

    I am lodestar. The rest of you are not. Thus the universe balances itself.
    It pleases me to flick a speck of dust off my coat sleeve. It pleases me to post this thread.
    Part of ……the way of lodestar

    As I never cease to remind people I’m currently retired and am reviewing my large collection of history books and magazines from A-Z.
    I’m still working my way through magazine titles starting with ‘A’ and at the rate I’m going, I’ll still be contributing to this forum about what I discover in 35 (earthly) years’ time!
    Oh joy! Oh bliss! You lucky, lucky people.

    Now to the substance of my post (lodestar nearly always has an introduction like the above to his posts - most intros are more interesting than many other people’s entire lives).

    The Apr 2002 issue of the Atlantic Monthly contained an essay by the late Christopher Hitchens about Churchill. The cover features a cartoon of the great man striding along, walking stick in hand with the headline: “Churchill Takes a Fall”
    The essay itself is titled “The Medals Of His Defeats”.
    It’s essentially a discussion of about a dozen books on Churchill and Chamberlain ranging from Churchill: A Life by Martin Gilbert (1991) and The Battle of Britain: The Myth and Reality by Richard Overy (2001) to Churchill: The End of Glory by John Charmley (1995)

    Now as some of will know, Hitchens was an intellectually brilliant, old time leftie/Trotskyite would you believe, who crossed over to the ‘Dark Side’ (as his critics would say) in the last decade of his life with his vigorous support for the Bush invasion and occupation of Iraq. He died last year.

    The essay is quite long but like all his writing, extremely readable.
    It is on the internet but I’ve no idea how to create and insert those ‘link’ things. This is despite the fact that that other all Aussie poster Clackers recently explained to me how a ‘URL’ works.
    Anyway, maybe someone can create the link?

    In the meantime and to further your education and knowledge, I’ll be presenting various aspects of the essay for discussion (a highlight of your 2012 year, I’m sure).

    Now to the hub of this post.

    Early in the essay Hitchens states:

    "Meanwhile, who made the following broadcast speech to the British people in 1940?

    "We are a solid and united nation which would rather go down to ruin than admit the domination of the Nazis ... If the enemy does try to invade this country we will fight him in the air and on the sea; we will fight him on the beaches with every weapon we have. He may manage here and there to make a breakthrough: if he does we will fight him on every road, in every village, and in every house, until he or we are utterly destroyed."

    That was Neville Chamberlain, who (albeit in his rather reedy tones) delivered the speech himself.”

    So if you close your eyes, imagine these exact words in Churchill’s voice (or the voice of his famous imitator Norman Shelley, who played Winnie-the-Pooh for the BBC’s Children’s Hour). See what I’m getting at? Very, very similar to “We will fight……etc etc.”

    Now there is an internet list from the English Parliament’s Hansard of Neville Chamberlains speeches but I couldn’t track it down there (I spent almost 2 minutes looking!). But Hitchens calls it a ‘broadcast speech’ so maybe there’s a list of Neville’s radio speeches (apart from the one declaring war) and attendant transcripts.

    If so, can it be checked and then big Winston charged with ripping ole Neville off?

    On the other hand it has been suggested by some historians that Churchill’s original inspiration for his speech came from his overhearing of French Premier George Clemenceau’s WWI ‘I wage war’ and ‘…fight in front of Paris, in Paris, behind Paris and from the colonies’ speeches.

    As the Historian David Stevenson says in With Our Backs To The Wall Victory and Defeat in 1918 (2011), Clemenceau was: “Admired by both Winston Churchill and Charles de Gaulle, and an exemplar to them in the later conflict, Clemenceau’s terse, stark speeches, delivered as a succession of epigrams, became emblems of defiance”

    Well whatever the case nothing can detract from the inspiration and sheer brilliance of Churchill’s words in those days.
    However I think we need to keep in mind he may well have been inspired by others himself.

    Regards lodestar

  • #2
    : CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS: DID CHURCHILL PURLOIN A CHAMBERLAIN SPEECH FOR “WE WILL FIGHT

    It's actually the other way around.

    Churchill made his speech about "fight them on the beaches" to the House of Commons on the 4th June 1940, while Chamberlain's radio broadcast took place on the 29th June 1940.
    Churchills speech;
    http://www.presentationmagazine.com/...aches-8003.htm

    Report on Chamberlains speech;
    http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/2532615

    ps: Churchill wasn't above nicking a good sound-bite if it could be useful, but not in this case.
    Last edited by redcoat; 21 Sep 12, 06:50.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by lodestar View Post
      : CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS: DID CHURCHILL PURLOIN A CHAMBERLAIN SPEECH FOR “WE WILL FIGHT THEM….”

      I am lodestar. The rest of you are not. Thus the universe balances itself.
      It pleases me to flick a speck of dust off my coat sleeve. It pleases me to post this thread.
      Part of ……the way of lodestar

      As I never cease to remind people I’m currently retired and am reviewing my large collection of history books and magazines from A-Z.
      I’m still working my way through magazine titles starting with ‘A’ and at the rate I’m going, I’ll still be contributing to this forum about what I discover in 35 (earthly) years’ time!
      Oh joy! Oh bliss! You lucky, lucky people.

      Now to the substance of my post (lodestar nearly always has an introduction like the above to his posts - most intros are more interesting than many other people’s entire lives).

      The Apr 2002 issue of the Atlantic Monthly contained an essay by the late Christopher Hitchens about Churchill. The cover features a cartoon of the great man striding along, walking stick in hand with the headline: “Churchill Takes a Fall”
      The essay itself is titled “The Medals Of His Defeats”.
      It’s essentially a discussion of about a dozen books on Churchill and Chamberlain ranging from Churchill: A Life by Martin Gilbert (1991) and The Battle of Britain: The Myth and Reality by Richard Overy (2001) to Churchill: The End of Glory by John Charmley (1995)

      Now as some of will know, Hitchens was an intellectually brilliant, old time leftie/Trotskyite would you believe, who crossed over to the ‘Dark Side’ (as his critics would say) in the last decade of his life with his vigorous support for the Bush invasion and occupation of Iraq. He died last year.

      The essay is quite long but like all his writing, extremely readable.
      It is on the internet but I’ve no idea how to create and insert those ‘link’ things. This is despite the fact that that other all Aussie poster Clackers recently explained to me how a ‘URL’ works.
      Anyway, maybe someone can create the link?

      In the meantime and to further your education and knowledge, I’ll be presenting various aspects of the essay for discussion (a highlight of your 2012 year, I’m sure).

      Now to the hub of this post.

      Early in the essay Hitchens states:

      "Meanwhile, who made the following broadcast speech to the British people in 1940?

      "We are a solid and united nation which would rather go down to ruin than admit the domination of the Nazis ... If the enemy does try to invade this country we will fight him in the air and on the sea; we will fight him on the beaches with every weapon we have. He may manage here and there to make a breakthrough: if he does we will fight him on every road, in every village, and in every house, until he or we are utterly destroyed."

      That was Neville Chamberlain, who (albeit in his rather reedy tones) delivered the speech himself.”

      So if you close your eyes, imagine these exact words in Churchill’s voice (or the voice of his famous imitator Norman Shelley, who played Winnie-the-Pooh for the BBC’s Children’s Hour). See what I’m getting at? Very, very similar to “We will fight……etc etc.”

      Now there is an internet list from the English Parliament’s Hansard of Neville Chamberlains speeches but I couldn’t track it down there (I spent almost 2 minutes looking!). But Hitchens calls it a ‘broadcast speech’ so maybe there’s a list of Neville’s radio speeches (apart from the one declaring war) and attendant transcripts.

      If so, can it be checked and then big Winston charged with ripping ole Neville off?

      On the other hand it has been suggested by some historians that Churchill’s original inspiration for his speech came from his overhearing of French Premier George Clemenceau’s WWI ‘I wage war’ and ‘…fight in front of Paris, in Paris, behind Paris and from the colonies’ speeches.

      As the Historian David Stevenson says in With Our Backs To The Wall Victory and Defeat in 1918 (2011), Clemenceau was: “Admired by both Winston Churchill and Charles de Gaulle, and an exemplar to them in the later conflict, Clemenceau’s terse, stark speeches, delivered as a succession of epigrams, became emblems of defiance”

      Well whatever the case nothing can detract from the inspiration and sheer brilliance of Churchill’s words in those days.
      However I think we need to keep in mind he may well have been inspired by others himself.

      Regards lodestar
      Well if he did ,he did but as far as history is concerned it was the right man,saying the right thing,at the right time.And it worked ,it did what it was intended to do,it gave the people that listened to him (and he had a huge audience) the spirit to fight on when things were at their lowest!! lcm1
      'By Horse by Tram'.


      I was in when they needed 'em,not feeded 'em.
      " Youuu 'Orrible Lot!"

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by redcoat View Post
        It's actually the other way around.

        Churchill made his speech about "fight them on the beaches" to the House of Commons on the 4th June 1940, while Chamberlain's radio broadcast took place on the 29th June 1940.
        That can't be, for that would mean Hitchens, and by extension Lodestar, are wrong. And a tolerant and benevolent universe would never allow that. History is, by Lodestardian decree, whatever he says it is. (Or isn't.)

        Humbly, much humbly,
        Dan.
        So long as men worship the Caesars and Napoleons, Caesars and Napoleons will duly rise and make them miserable.

        Aldous Huxley: Ends and Means (1937)

        Comment


        • #5
          lodestar cannot be wrong it is a cosmic certainty!!

          Originally posted by Dan M View Post
          That can't be, for that would mean Hitchens, and by extension Lodestar, are wrong. And a tolerant and benevolent universe would never allow that. History is, by Lodestardian decree, whatever he says it is. (Or isn't.)

          Humbly, much humbly,
          Dan.
          Well actually I was asking if it could be checked:

          "Now there is an internet list from the English Parliament’s Hansard of Neville Chamberlains speeches but I couldn’t track it down there (I spent almost 2 minutes looking!). But Hitchens calls it a ‘broadcast speech’ so maybe there’s a list of Neville’s radio speeches (apart from the one declaring war) and attendant transcripts.

          If so, can it be checked and then big Winston charged with ripping ole Neville off?"

          Hitchens article is not clear. That's why I asked.
          Sorry for the confusion.

          But it would be intersting to know to what extent Clemenceau’s WWI ‘I wage war’ and ‘…fight in front of Paris, in Paris, behind Paris and from the colonies’ speeches inspired Churchill, subconsiously even?

          Regards lodestar

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Dan M View Post
            That can't be, for that would mean Hitchens, and by extension Lodestar, are wrong. And a tolerant and benevolent universe would never allow that. History is, by Lodestardian decree, whatever he says it is. (Or isn't.)

            Humbly, much humbly,
            Dan.
            As the charector in one of Charles Dickens books said, "I'm Umble sir,ever so Umble" lcm1
            'By Horse by Tram'.


            I was in when they needed 'em,not feeded 'em.
            " Youuu 'Orrible Lot!"

            Comment


            • #7
              More Hitchens on Churchill

              The essay is not I believe deliberately provocative for the sake of it and there are not startlingly new revelations as such but Hitchens was able to put certain aspects of Churchill’s character and actions up for serious questioning.
              For example:


              "Churchill and his right-wing critics, from John Charmley to David Irving, have something in common. They unite around the two propositions that communism was to be opposed and British imperialism was to be upheld.

              For the first few decades of his political career Churchill was happy to be counted an extremist—if not, indeed, a fanatic—on both these counts. He helped to organize the brutal, abortive invasion of Lenin's Russia in 1918, and published at least one subsequent article blaming the Jews for Bolshevism.

              He also wrote and spoke until quite late in the day (though more as an anti-Communist than an anti-Semite) in favor of Mussolini, Franco, and even Hitler.

              His fundamentalism about India, and the racist language in which he opposed the smallest concession to the Indian independence movement, were among the many reasons for the wide distrust that hampered him in the 1930s, and for his exclusion from the Tory Cabinets of that decade.

              Thus we face an intriguing question when we ask ourselves how it was that he came to embrace a cause that not only transcended those two elemental commitments but eventually negated them."

              Now that's great writing!

              Regards lodestar

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by lodestar View Post
                The essay is not I believe deliberately provocative for the sake of it and there are not startlingly new revelations as such but Hitchens was able to put certain aspects of Churchill’s character and actions up for serious questioning.
                For example:


                "Churchill and his right-wing critics, from John Charmley to David Irving, have something in common. They unite around the two propositions that communism was to be opposed and British imperialism was to be upheld.

                For the first few decades of his political career Churchill was happy to be counted an extremist—if not, indeed, a fanatic—on both these counts. He helped to organize the brutal, abortive invasion of Lenin's Russia in 1918, and published at least one subsequent article blaming the Jews for Bolshevism.

                He also wrote and spoke until quite late in the day (though more as an anti-Communist than an anti-Semite) in favor of Mussolini, Franco, and even Hitler.

                His fundamentalism about India, and the racist language in which he opposed the smallest concession to the Indian independence movement, were among the many reasons for the wide distrust that hampered him in the 1930s, and for his exclusion from the Tory Cabinets of that decade.

                Thus we face an intriguing question when we ask ourselves how it was that he came to embrace a cause that not only transcended those two elemental commitments but eventually negated them."

                Now that's great writing!

                Regards lodestar
                If you need another shovel,don't come to me!! lcm1
                'By Horse by Tram'.


                I was in when they needed 'em,not feeded 'em.
                " Youuu 'Orrible Lot!"

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by lcm1 View Post
                  As the charector in one of Charles Dickens books said, "I'm Umble sir,ever so Umble" lcm1
                  Uriah Heep, or rather Uriah 'Eep (very 'eavy, very 'umble).

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by broderickwells View Post
                    Uriah Heep, or rather Uriah 'Eep (very 'eavy, very 'umble).
                    Thats him,thank you Bs: My Dad had a complete selection of Charles Dickens, he loved them.The only thing he read apart from the newspaper! lcm1
                    'By Horse by Tram'.


                    I was in when they needed 'em,not feeded 'em.
                    " Youuu 'Orrible Lot!"

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by lodestar View Post
                      .

                      For the first few decades of his political career Churchill was happy to be counted an extremist—if not, indeed, a fanatic—on both these counts. He helped to organize the brutal, abortive invasion of Lenin's Russia in 1918, and published at least one subsequent article blaming the Jews for Bolshevism.
                      The article he wrote in 1920 was because the 'Protocols Of The Elders Of Zion' had become well known in Britain, and Churchill was initially worried about the dangers of this 'conspiracy' to Britain. However when they were exposed as fake a few months later by the British intelligence services he distanced himself from the remarks he made in the article.



                      ]He also wrote and spoke [/B]until quite late in the day (though more as an anti-Communist than an anti-Semite) [B]in favor of Mussolini, Franco, and even Hitler.
                      While he did on occasion speak favorably of Mussolini and Franco, he was opposed to Hitler from the beginning. The so-called remarks praising Hitler that Churchill made were remarks that he made in his articles in order for him to appear to be being reasonable just before he put the boot into Hitler.

                      For example right wingers often note that even in 1937 Churchill said this about Hitler;
                      "If our country were defeated I hope we should find a champion as indomitable to restore our courage and lead us back to our place among the nations".

                      However if you read the full article you gets a completely different viewpoint on Churchills words.

                      " I find myself pilloried, by Dr. Goebbels's press as an enemy of Germany. That description is quite untrue. Before the war I proposed to Von Tirpitz a naval holiday. If this had been accepted, it would enormously have eased the European tension, and possibly have averted the catastrophe. At the moment of the Armistice, as is well known, I proposed filling a dozen great liners with food, and rushing them into hamburg as a gesture of humanity. As Secretary of State for War in 1919, I pressed upon the Supreme Council the need of lifting the blockade, and laid before them the reports from our generals of the Rhine which eventually procured that step. I took a great deal of personal responsibility in sending home, months before they would otherwise have been liberated, about one hundred thousand German prisoners, who were caged up in the Pas de Calais. I was vehemently opposed to the French invasion of the Ruhr. In order to prevent a repetition of it, I exerted myself in Mr. Baldwin's Cabinet to have the Treaty of Locarno made to cut both ways, so that Germany as well as France had British protection against aggression. Therefore no one has a right to describe me as the enemy of Germany except in wartime.

                      But my duty lies to my own country. As an independent Conservative member I felt bound to give the alarm when, five years ago, the vast secret process of German re-armament, contrary to the Treaty, began to be apparent. I also felt bound to point out to the Government in 1934 that Germany had already created a powerful military air force which would soon be stronger than the British Air Force. My only regret is that I was not believed. I can quite understand that this action of mine would not be popular in Germany. Indeed, it was not popular anywhere. I was told I was making ill will between the two countries. I am sure that if Herr Hitler had been in my position, and had believed what I believed, he would have acted in the same way. In times like these the safety of one's own country must count for more than saying smooth things about other countries. At any rate, I did not feel at all penitent when, six months later, I heard Mr. Baldwin admit that the Government had been wrong in their figures and information. And ever since ministers have been bewailing "the years that the locusts have eaten."

                      Similarly, for the last few months, in Parliament and in these letters, I drew attention to a serious danger to Anglo-German relations which arises out of the organization of German residents in Britain into a closely knit, strictly disciplined body. I wonder what Dr. Goebbels would think if we had fifteen or twenty thousand Englishmen in Berlin, all strong anti-Nazis, who, while they kept within the law, were none the less all bound together, attending meetings at frequent intervals, and putting pressure on any British refugees, if such there were, to toe the line of some British party or other. Moreover, this process of Nazi organization abroad is undoubtedly becoming an obstacle in the way of British and German cordiality. Sir Walter Citrine, at the Trade Union Congress, has protested in the name of British Labor against he persecution of German refugees in England by other German visitors to our shores.

                      We have always been an asylum for refugees. It was only the other day that I was reading how in 1709 we gave refuge and shelter to a very large number of Germans from the Palatinate, which had been overrun by Marshal Villars with fire and sword. We could never allow foreign visitors to pursue their national feuds in the bosom of our country, still less to be organized in such a way as to affect our military security. The Germans would not tolerate it for a moment in their country, nor should they take it amiss that we do not like it in ours. I see Herr Bohle has expressed a wish to talk this over with me. I should be delighted to do so in the most friendly manner, and do anything in the power of a private member to remove this new embarrassment to Anglo-German goodwill.

                      I have had from time to time conversations with eminent German supporters of the present regime. When they say, as they so often do, "Will not England grasp the extended friendly hand of Germany?" nearly everyone in England will reply, "Certainly, yes. We cannot pretend to like your new institutions, and we have long freed ourselves from racial and religious intolerance. We cannot say that we admire your treatment of the Jew or of the Protestants and Catholics of Germany. We even think our methods of dealing with Communism are better than yours. But after all, these matters, so long as they are confined inside Germany, are not our business. It is our duty and our sincere desire to live in a good and neighborly fashion with so great a nation united to us by many ties of history and of race. Indeed, we will grasp the outstretched German hand."

                      "But," we must ask, "what happens next? Are we expected to do anything special to prove our friendship, and if so, what?" We cannot be expected to help Germany financially while she is spending nearly a thousand millions sterling a year upon her tremendous rearmament. That would be unfair to our own people. We cannot hand over colonies irrespective of the wishes of their inhabitants and of a great many other considerations. We should be very wrong if we were to give Germany a guarantee that so long as she left Britain and France alone in the West, she could do what she likes to the peoples of the center and southeast of Europe. To give such an assurance at other people's expense would not only be callous and cynical, but it might actually lead to a war the end of which no man can foresee.

                      To hold these opinions is not to be hostile to the German Government, and still less to the Germans as a nation. To feel deep concern about the armed power of Germany is in no way derogatory to Germany. On the contrary, it is a tribute to the wonderful and terrible strength which Germany exerted in the Great War, when almost single-handed she fought nearly all the world and nearly beat them. Naturally, when a people who have shown such magnificent military qualities are arming night and day, its neighbors, who bear the scars of previous conflicts, must be anxious and ought to be vigilant. One may dislike Hitler's system and yet admire his patriotic achievement. If our country were defeated I hope we should find a champion as indomitable to restore our courage and lead us back to our place among the nations.

                      I have on more than one occasion made my appeal in public that the Fuhrer of Germany should now become the Hitler of peace. When a man is fighting in a desperate conflict he may have to grind his teeth and flash his eyes. Anger and hatred nerve the arm of strife. But success should bring a mellow, genial air and, by altering the mood to suit the new circumstances, preserve and consolidate in tolerance and goodwill what has been gained by conflict".

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by lodestar View Post
                        The essay is not I believe deliberately provocative for the sake of it
                        Hitchens spent his whole life being deliberately provocative just for the sake of it

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Hitchen's journey

                          Originally posted by redcoat View Post
                          Hitchens spent his whole life being deliberately provocative just for the sake of it
                          Indeed, especially in his glory days as an old (then new!) leftie.

                          But I did'nt get that impression with this essay. Written in 2002 before he became blatently supportive of the the American 'adventure' in Iraq.

                          Something which years ago he would have seen as postively Churchillian imperialism.

                          Regards lodestar

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Funny, I thought they'd both been nicking Lodestar's lines for decades.
                            Indyref2 - still, "Yes."

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Here is the link to the article in question.

                              http://www.theatlantic.com/past/docs...4/hitchens.htm

                              Just scroll down a little and there it is.
                              Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.

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