Thursday, November 30, 2006
Happy birthday, Sir Winston Churchill
Today, we say Happy Birthday to Sir Winston Churchill:
"He was born on November 30th, 1874. We remember him as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom during the Second World War. Churchill was one of the most important leaders in modern British and world history."
I enjoyed reading "The master statesman stood alone against fascism and renewed the world's faith in the superiority of democracy" By JOHN KEEGAN:
This is a summary of Churchill's WW 2 career:
"After Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party gained power in Germany in 1933, Churchill became a leading advocate of rearmament.
He was also a staunch critic of Neville Chamberlain and the Conservative government's appeasement policy. In 1939 Churchill controversially argued that Britain and France should form of a military alliance with the Soviet Union.
On the outbreak of the Second World War Churchill was appointed First Lord of the Admiralty and on 4th April 1940 became chairman of the Military Coordinating Committee.
Later that month the German Army invaded and occupied Norway. The loss of Norway was a considerable setback for Neville Chamberlain and his policies for dealing with Nazi Germany.
On 8th May the Labour Party demanded a debate on the Norwegian campaign and this turned into a vote of censure.
At the end of the debate 30 Conservatives voted against Chamberlain and a further 60 abstained.
Chamberlain now decided to resign and on 10th May, 1940, George VI appointed Churchill as prime minister.
Later that day the German Army began its Western Offensive and invaded the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg.
Two days later German forces entered France.
Churchill formed a coalition government and placed leaders of the Labour Party such as Clement Attlee, Ernest Bevin, Herbert Morrison, Stafford Cripps and Hugh Dalton in key positions. He also brought in another long-time opponent of Chamberlain, Anthony Eden, as his secretary of state for war. Later that year Eden replaced Lord Halifax as foreign secretary.
Churchill also developed a strong personal relationship with Franklin D. Roosevelt and this led to the sharing and trading of war supplies. The Lend Lease agreement of March 1941 allowed Britain to order war goods from the United States on credit. Although he provided strong leadership the war continued to go badly for Britain and after a series of military defeats Churchill had to face a motion of no confidence in Parliament. However, he maintained the support of most members of the House of Commons and won by 475 votes to 25.
Churchill continued to be criticized for meddling in military matters and tended to take too much notice of the views of his friends such as Frederick Lindemann rather than his military commanders.
In April 1941 he made the serious mistake of trying to save Greece by weakening his forces fighting the Desert War.
One of the major contributions made by Churchill to eventual victory was his ability to inspire the British people to greater effort by making public broadcasts on significant occasions. A brilliant orator he was a tireless source of strength to people experiencing the sufferings of the Blitz.
After Pearl Harbor Churchill worked closely with Franklin D. Roosevelt to ensure victory over Germany and Japan. He was also a loyal ally of the Soviet Union after Adolf Hitler launched Operation Barbarossa in June, 1941.
Churchill held important meetings with Franklin D. Roosevelt and Joseph Stalin at Teheran (November, 1943) and Yalta (February, 1945). Although Churchill's relationship with Stalin was always difficult he managed to successfully develop a united strategy against the Axis powers.
Despite intense pressure from Stalin to open a second-front by landing Allied troops in France in 1943, Churchill continued to argue that this should not happen until the defeat of Nazi Germany was guaranteed. The D-Day landings did not take place until June, 1944 and this delay enabled the Red Army to capture territory from Germany in Eastern Europe.
In public Churchill accepted plans for social reform drawn up by William Beveridge in 1944. However, he was unable to convince the electorate that he was as committed to these measures as much as Clement Attlee and the Labour Party. In the 1945 General Election Churchill's attempts to compare a future Labour government with Nazi Germany backfired and Attlee won a landslide victory.
Churchill became leader of the opposition and when visiting the United States in March 1946, he made his famous Iron Curtain speech at Fulton, Missouri. He suffered the first of several strokes in August 1946 but this information was kept from the general public and he continued to lead the Conservative Party. Churchill returned to power after the 1951 General Election.
After the publication of his six volume, The Second World War, Churchill was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. Churchill's health continued to deteriorate and in 1955 he reluctantly retired from politics. Winston Churchill died on 24th January, 1965."
Last, but not least, see USS WINSTON S. CHURCHILL DDG-81. This ship is the fourth US warship named after an Englishman and the 31st ARLEIGH BURKE class guided missile destroyer.
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