Skip to main content

tv   American History TV  CSPAN  October 30, 2016 11:00pm-11:47pm EDT

11:00 pm
when admiral cunningham took the prime minister to visit the submarine crews in june 1943, churchill made a delightful speech. he came away with tears running down his cheeks. churchill talked about walking in the valley of the shadow of death, and in that affect the morale of submarine crews that it did not affect day. that november during the conference, one day after lunch with the president, he asked his daughter sarah to arrange for cry to go to the pyramids to see if we could get close enough to take fdr there. when it was found possible to , my fatherlose pounded into the room and said that he must simply go to see this links on the impairments. churchill turned abruptly away and said, we will wait for you in the car.
11:01 pm
outside in the simmering sunshine, his eyes are bright with tears. i love that man. the end of that conference, he said we had turkey. he carved it like a skilled affectional. histears were flowing down cheeks. "home on theng range." he was seriously ill in marrakesh. pleasure andwith and hardly had he sat down when two large tears began to trickle down his cheeks. he mopped them clumsily with a handkerchief.
11:02 pm
my friend, the late kenneth rose, a very fine historian, told charles moore that when the guards chapel was hit and 121 people were killed on waterloo day in 1944, he saw the arc lights shining on the scene and illuminating winston churchill, who stood on the rubble, weeping. the freedom of the city of paris after the liberation in 1944, churchill was presented with an attractive inlaid box. on opening the casket, he found it contained not a scroll but the nazi flag that had flown over the town hall during the occupation. tears poured down his cheeks. he cried in april 1945 at fdr's memorial service and when he visited his grave after the war. on the fourth of may, there were -- the fourth of may 1945 -- there were celebratory drinks with the chief of staff.
11:03 pm
according to alan brooke's diary, there were tears in his eyes for all we had done. an appalling moment, because alan brooke failed to make a speech thanking churchill for everything he had done, and it was one of the great missed opportunities for those chiefs of staff to show their appreciation to the prime minister. later that month after the coalition government was broken up, churchill was at home for those who served there during the war. it was also written in a diary that at the familiar cabinet table, now draped as a buffet, he addressed this with tears streaming down his cheeks.
11:04 pm
he said that we all came together and stayed together as a united band of friends in a trying time and history would recognize this. the lights of history will shine on your helmet, he said. two months later, patrick and elizabeth dined with him when the results of the 1945 election came. just as he wept a lot before the war, he kept going after it. in may 1947, a french politician presented an award to winston churchill. this politician was an impeccable choice, having won the declaration himself during the defense, and churchill wept with emotion during his speech. he was particularly delighted that any holder that any holder or on scheme military have the right to be driven home without chance by the police. [laughter] mr. roberts: there is a photograph of churchill weeping on the seventh of may, 1948. and there was another moment of emotion during a conservative
11:05 pm
party meeting the same month. the council of europe in 1949 reports how he was acclaimed in the city by cheering crowds and he wept and spoke in french and gave wisdom and guidance to the council. upon returning to office in 1961, churchill learns that the canadian government had decided to rule and should no longer be played by the canadian air force and navy. he had the defense minister -- he almost decided that he would cancel his visit in january 1952 over the matter and was persuaded not to by someone else, who according to -- when he disembarked in ottawa,
11:06 pm
the world canadian air force had struck up a song, and churchill wept. from then on, nobody ever dared enter even the mildest criticism of that man of canada. it had the effect that you would, by now at this point in my speech, have expected. when i went alone to the prime minister's bedroom, he was sitting with tears in his eyes, looking straight in front of him and reading neither his official papers or his newspapers. i had not realized how much the king had meant to them, and i tried to cheer him up with how well he would get along with the new queen, but he said he did not know her and she was only a child. he recalled how he was in a
11:07 pm
flood of tears. he later broke down in tears when rehearsing his speech about the king, the one he was going to deliver to the house of commons. the following year on the death of the king's mother, queen mary dies at 10:20 and winston announces it in sobs at 10:45. the archbishop of canterbury remembers him being in tears. similarly, winston churchill is so used to cry when here at versailles approach, such as the ladies of ancient rome. on the 11th of july, 1955, the oxford historian visited. we talked about the sinking of the bismarck, he recalled. he spoke affectingly of how bad it was to wake up in the morning
11:08 pm
and hear the news of the great british ship, what was the name of that ship? guess, he said. tears in his eyes. in the 1950's, when sarah churchill reminded him how he had told her in 1922 that she needed to grow up, i looked up to him and found, to my surprise, his eyes bright with tears. in january 1958, -- whose photograph you saw earlier today, to console her on the death of her second husband and ended by shedding tears when discussing her first husband. at august, a friend died of esophagus cancer and winston wept, saying, poor, dear brendan. the following year, he wept when a friend took up a seat in the house of commons. there are reports that i have now confirmed that he wept from
11:09 pm
hearing the news of kennedy's assassination, and he certainly did on his own 90th birthday in 1964. an american journalist, charles frank, who went to london to cover churchill's funeral a few months later, wrote about how many recall churchill himself in tears, pride, humility, the stories and photos of churchill weeping were relished. and so they should be. they show an intensely emotional man, completely at odds with the stiff upper lip of the time. i would like to thank john for pointing out that churchill was recently diagnosed with a specific illness, pseudo-bulbar effect. however, as john points out, this condition could only have taken place after he spoke in 1953, when his specialist noticed an increase in
11:10 pm
emotionality. as we have seen, he was profoundly emotional throughout his life. he felt things with a profundity and lachrymosity again and again. if anyone can think of other moments when he cried, i would love to know them. i have been building up this file the last 20 years. in that letter to brown clayton, churchill told his mother, i think the keen sense of necessity was burning wrong and injustice would make me sister, but i really detect genuine emotion in myself. all this has been taken at face value, but considering the number of times that he cried, we can discard it. plenty of people get emotional at weddings and funerals, and churchill cried at those, but also at those, but also at resignations, movies, the blitz, the sinking of the french fleet,
11:11 pm
the holocaust, lunches with journalists, and noble dogs struggling through the snow. he had the moral courage to cry when his contemporaries were keeping stiff upper lips. there is no one else who comes near the lachrymosity among his contemporaries. because his emotions were fine and honorable ones, this is something we should applaud. the decision to fight on against the germans after dunkirk was as much an emotional decision as anything. it did not seem to have large rationalities or military decisions. we can be thankful that he wore his heart on his sleeve in the extraordinary way that he did. thank you very much. [applause]
11:12 pm
mr. roberts: david tells me we have got 15 minutes for a q&a. it does not necessarily have to be about this subject. you can ask whatever you would like. >> andrew, thank you for coming. a couple of questions, a pick up on the last point of the pbp. clearly, churchill was an emotional man, tearful, laughing, but by the time he had his first stroke in 1949 and then in 1953, the sense i get is that there were times when they were unprovoked. and you could understand circumstances of a funeral, where you start to tear up, but the notion that you would walk in the front door and just start tearing up, that is more a feature of pbp or pseudo-bulbar
11:13 pm
palsy. you could be emotional, but there are the times when it was unexpected. mr. roberts: i have not heard of him crying for no reason whatsoever. all the ones i have tracked down do have an actual stimulus to them, so if you can come up with an example of when he cries for the hell of it, i would be curious to know. of course, there could be a medical expression for what connects the synapses of emotion to the synapse of the actual tear ducts. as i say, i have ever only found outside stimulus. >> that was a wonderful disposition and something not
11:14 pm
often talked about. i was always told the atlantic charter was such an important moment for winston -- the rights of man and everything like that -- and the bats left their public aboard the great ship, but i know that churchill was greatly affected when six months later, the prince of wales was sunk in singapore and i was always told he was in floods of tears. mr. roberts: thank you. that is helpful. of course, if he cried over the sinking of the ship by bismarck, one can certainly understand. so many of the ships we fought the second world war with were ones that had been -- [indiscernible] he knew the ships and new the men in them extraordinarily well, so it makes sense if he
11:15 pm
cried when those capitals chips -- those capital ships were sunk in 1941. >> i actually did not really -- one of our great pleasures was the cinema. he definitely cried. he cried at all sorts of films. the one in particular we had many times was "city lights," and charlie chaplin was a great friend of his, too. i know he cried during that film. mr. roberts: thank you. anyone else? yes? >> thank you. i have a question about the occasion when winston churchill should have cried but maybe did not, and that was the death of his representative in washington
11:16 pm
during world war ii. i don't know how many people in the audience know about him, but he was churchill's representative on the joint chiefs of staff and died here in november 1944 and was given a funeral and is buried in arlington. he is the only member of another nation's military that was buried in arlington, i believe. churchill referred to him as dillydally. i've read about him. did churchill ever reevaluate his opinion? mr. roberts: interesting question. i think you cannot expect him to cry when everyone died. [laughter] mr. roberts: a little harsh on him to expect that, but you are quite right. the burial plot of that field marshal is one of the magnificent -- arlington
11:17 pm
cemetery is magnificent -- if any of you are going to visit, do go and see john dill's grave, because it has a full scale equestrian statue of the field marshal. and it is in such extraordinary detail that even on the medals on him, you can tell the individual medals, including the rosettes placed on certain medals to denote mentions and dispatches, and this is the most extraordinary kind of representation. yes, he did call him dillydally because he was not impressed with the way he chaired the chiefs of staff, and that was why in december 1941, he swapped him with -- or at least sent him off to america and brought in brooke, who he knew he would have lots of problems with and
11:18 pm
lots of arguments with, and boy, did he. there were occasions when brooke would sit in front of churchill in chief of staff meetings, breaking pencils and half, saying, no, i disagree with you, prime minister, snap. must be very offputting to have a poor, strong, angry man break pencils in your face. but he appreciated that it was very important to have somebody who would say no to him, unlike many politicians who surround themselves with yes-men. he surrounded himself with no-men, knowing he would have to in order to win arguments to get what needed to be done done. that shows you a tremendous amount of courage.
11:19 pm
>> a wonderful point how winston never said no to his commanders. for those of you have been to the ballroom, in the cabinet room down there, facing directly opposite where winston sat, were the seats of the three chiefs of staff, and there is something there that has never moved from queen victoria, that defeat is not an option in this house, and i think it sums up the position that the commanders could argue with him, but not over victory. mr. roberts: i like the way this is turning into a churchill family seminar. [laughter] [applause] mr. roberts: lord watson? >> [inaudible] i wanted to ask you to comment on something, which is a difficult subject.
11:20 pm
there have been reports that winston wept or damped his eyes when watching the film of the burning of dead bodies after the destruction of dresden. you are probably aware of this, of course. it was followed by churchill's note, in which he basically questions the policy of the destruction of the city at that time. of course, there is a tremendous pushback from marshall harris. i would be very interested to hear your comments about that. mr. roberts: the phrase you are referring to is "are we beasts?"
11:21 pm
of course, the bombing of dresden, which i go into immense detail in my book, is highlighted as the most outrageous act of the combined bomber offensive. i do not see it in that way at all. i think it was necessary both because the russians had asked us to do this to smash the railway lines connecting east and west, because they were moving men from the west who tried to shore up their position on the eastern front in germany. the large numbers who died there were largely the fault of those who, unbeknownst to the british and americans, built no deep air raid shelters in dresden, except for himself and his family, and many other factors that one can go into -- the creation of the way in which the firebombs killed some 20,000 people, which is nothing like, ladies and gentlemen, the 120,000 people that the former historian david irving states, let alone what he stated at the time of the bombing. there are operational regions
11:22 pm
for that, but did it affect winston churchill? yes, of course. there is something magnificent about that, to be able to cry over the enemy dead and wounded as well as your own. that shows universal sentiment that was mentioned yesterday, about the way in which he was able to say in his maiden speech about how if he were a bore, he would hopefully be fighting in the field, a controversial thing to say. it is not the kind of thing you usually hear during wars, but nonetheless, it shows that he had a capacity for largeness, for big statements, and that, i think, is the reason why i think
11:23 pm
he cried over the deaths in dresden. the question, "are we beasts?" is a good one to ask, but i do not believe that we were. i think all of those men were desperate to end the second world were as soon as possible, and churchill was being advised that the way to do this was to destroy german capacity to produce. when you look at the graph, and i have got one of these graphs in my book, it goes up and up until the firebombing at hamburg and other cities in 1943, and then it cuts off, and it does not go down -- as you would not expect it to -- but it loses that exponential kind of trajectory that it had up until that point. so i think churchill comes that will from that.
11:24 pm
one more question. whoever gets the microphone first, basically. >> thank you. you have an encyclopedic mind. can you think of other great leaders who would be noted for their lachrymosity? would there be a virtue in leadership today if we saw people who had more display of this kind of emotion? mr. roberts: i do think it would be probably helpful for your presidential election at the moment for the candidates to cry, rather than the rest of the nation. [laughter] [applause] mr. roberts: but with regard to
11:25 pm
famous leaders, bismarck is the one person who comes to mind. you never think of the iron chancellor as being a man who would be moved to tears, but he was a profoundly emotional man, and he cried a lot. otherwise, it is not a trait often found in great leaders. i thought that was the reason that it would be worthwhile to collect up these examples of it happening. thank you very much indeed for coming up with a few extra ones. ladies and gentlemen, thank you. [applause] david: thank you, andrew. brilliant as always. i think i can safely say that if the word lachrymosity was not in the vocabulary of anyone in this room today, it has now become a permanent addition to their arsenal of words. ladies and gentlemen, our second
11:26 pm
break of the morning. we will reconvene at 11:45 with our last speaker. thank you. >> ladies and gentlemen, it is my delight to introduce chris sterling. he was born in washington, d.c. but grew up in wisconsin, where he earned all of his degrees at the university of wisconsin, including his first degree in political science. so i'm happy to welcome him as a fellow political scientist. if you want to know about things as varied as transatlantic ocean liners, the history of commercial aviation, military
11:27 pm
communications -- including heliography -- and other things, i can recommend his more than two dozen books to you. for many years, he has had a great interest in winston churchill. as someone who enjoys all of churchill's books and all the books about churchill, i can recommend especially chris sterling's book reviews, which are wonderful for distinguishing between books that must be read and books that one ought not to read. he has been a working journalist, a professor, and then for a while on the dark side, even a dean at the george washington university. and in all these years, the churchill center endeavors to establish a permanent home in washington, was a great friend of this effort, which is now
11:28 pm
coming to fruition today. i'm delighted to introduce chris sterling to talk on churchill in washington. [applause] mr. sterling: thank you. i appreciate it. thank you, jim. i said to david last night, what had i done wrong? how had i made him unhappy? number one, to be the last speaker after an intense hour and a half, but worse, to follow andrew roberts, and lunch comes right after me. [laughter] mr. sterling: i mean, good gravy. that is pretty tight. let's see if i can do this. hooray. let me start with some numbers. what i am talking about are the
11:29 pm
many trips that churchill -- later sir winston -- came here to washington. they span a period of six decades. he came by lots of modes of transportation. you're looking at the queen mary on the bottom. and you're looking at a boeing 314 flying boat, which was the luxury way to get across the atlantic prior to the end of the war. they have virtually disappeared because we have plenty of landing spaces for land aircraft, which are easier to maintain. churchill took a round-trip on one of those boeing 314's when it was incredibly rare to fly one way across the atlantic, let alone both ways. over six decades, he came to the united states 16 times, not always to washington.
11:30 pm
he came to washington on all but three of those visits. for seven of his 13 trips here, he was serving as britain's prime minister. fully half of those 13 trips came after the well-known world war ii trip. i'm going to soft-pedal the world war ii period because it is so widely covered, people know it very well. i'm going to talk about the other trips. his very first one was in 1900. he was a young man, but thanks to the fact that he had good social connections, he met president mckinley. he was at this point 25, 26, and he got to meet the president. they started something that builds over time. but time is crucial.
11:31 pm
the next three decades, he does not come to washington. his next trip is in 1929, the longest gap in this world series. he comes in 1929. he had just left the chancellorship and beginning his wilderness years. he was traveling as a private citizen. he and randolph and his brother jack were on this wonderful trip around the country. he spent time in one of my favorite places, the canadian rockies, and down the west coast and hollywood and meeting all of the hollywood people, staying with william randolph hearst in that incredible place in california. he was here very briefly. in 1942, jumping ahead -- and i will come back -- he took that round-trip on the boeing 314.
11:32 pm
only in 1943 did he come twice in the same year. i am convinced that has to do with me. i was hatched in this town in april of 1943. sir winston came to check me in may and came back in august to make sure i was still here and all was well. sadly, i don't remember these. i wish i did, i was living in cleveland park just a few miles from the white house. i want to talk next about some of the -- we have used that slide. there we go. visits to congress and parliament specifically, the canadian parliament. on three of his trips, he addressed a joint session of congress. when addressing one is unusual. we heard about that first one, where he made the very famous statement that if his father had
11:33 pm
been american and his mother british, "i feel i might have got here on my own." the congressmen enjoyed that. during his longest trip to washington, he made a side trip up to ottawa. as has already been mentioned, he had this famous photograph taken. most of you have probably heard the story. it is not about washington. he had just addressed the canadian parliament. he comes into the anteroom, is briefly introduced to a very young photographer. you have heard this story -- i assume it is true -- somebody here may correct me -- that looking at churchill, it was not quite the right image. he reached forward and took the cigar out of churchill's mouth or hand and immediately flashed the picture. what you're looking at is
11:34 pm
churchill wondering who is this young whelp and why did he do what he did? the second photograph is the cover of the program for this conference, which the family did like better. he is smiling. this, of course, is the iconic picture that virtually everybody remembers and has seen before. congress, by the way, did not forget him after all of his visits. when he died in 1965, the congressman all stood up -- most of them -- and said something about sir winston. most of the remarks were eminently forgettable, which is probably why they were published in one of these hardcover black
11:35 pm
volumes that congress will issue for important people, almost always members when they die. now, what about the president? 10 other trips were, as he put it, were to parlay -- his words -- parlay with american presidents. the four with fdr are the best known, and they were the longest visits, and we could argue they are the most important because they help to define the direction of the war on the anglo american side. i want to look, as i said, at the postwar trips. he came to visit the relatively new president truman in 1946 on a trip that included the famous and controversial iron curtain speech that we have heard mentioned several times. the wonderful the long train trip out to jefferson, missouri, playing cards and drinking and talking. maybe getting some sleep, i am not sure, and then by car to fulton. i want to recommend, because i
11:36 pm
am guessing most of you have never been to fulton, it is a little out of the way. i strongly recommend you go. it is a wonderful visit. very peaceful, small-town, small campus, with that christopher wren church totally reconstructed, having been destroyed during the war. that is why you need to do two things if you go to fulton. upstairs, the christopher wren church redone. i was there luckily once when the organ was playing, and you could really imagine it in its original london location. then downstairs, the very spectacular churchill museum, dramatically redone five or six years ago. well worth seeing. he comes four times to see truman, three times to see eisenhower.
11:37 pm
in 1949, he and truman have a brief meeting in blair house. not because he is unimportant, although he is out of power, as he was in 1946, because the white house was being redone. truman lived in blair house for most of that period of time. in 1952, january of 1952, churchill now back in power focused on his attempts that were very strong, as we have heard several people say in his second period, focused on number one, the attempt to rebuild, strengthen the wartime special relationship, which of course had been fdr's and churchill's, not truman's, who was so out of the loop, he did not even know about the atomic bomb until after fdr died. finally in 1953, churchill
11:38 pm
posted a dinner, i believe, at the british embassy for the then-outgoing harry truman and his aides. that overlapped with his three trips to see eisenhower. the first also 1953, same trip. he sees eisenhower in new york. he begins to rekindle the wartime links, which may have been stronger in churchill's mind than they were in ike's. a little hard to tell, but if you follow events over the coming years, that seems to be the point. in 1954, on his second visit, and shortly before he left downing street, churchill tries to get ike to agree to set up a summit meeting with the soviets. there was a new team in the kremlin.
11:39 pm
eisenhower was not having any of it. part of that, i think, was john foster dulles. the wonderful quote by winston on dullas -- "dull, duller, dullest." he was totally unimpressed with john foster dulles and took a rather black and white view of the world. ike was not having the notion of a summit meeting. the american government was not convinced this was the time. the feeling was it might be perceived as a sign of weakness. and so, it was not time. this was perhaps the biggest sad moment -- that is understating it -- in churchill's professional life after the war, that he could not get that summit meeting.
11:40 pm
and that the summit meeting would take place after he has left downing street. his last visit to see ike is in 1959. churchill is, of course, retired. he visits with ike here and also at ike's farm up in gettysburg, and they overlook some of the famous battle scenes in the american civil war. that was an interesting trip. it was his 13th and last to washington, barring one thing. it was his first round-trip by jet airliner. in 1959, that was still relatively rare. the comet was britain's attempt to win a piece of the airlines. there i go on a different hobby of mine. [laughter]
11:41 pm
mr. sterling: that is one slide too soon. i hit a button. but i will leave it there, because it is a positive thought. in 1963, in a sense, he has one more trip. he cannot come himself. he is too weak. but randolph and his grandson winston come to washington to accept from president kennedy in the rose garden churchill's honorary american citizenship and even a passport. that is a very quick summation. very quick. i think we have time for some q&a. i realize we're holding you from lunch. we have taken away the slide so you do not get too carried away. where is our microphone? [applause]
11:42 pm
mr. sterling: sir, the microphone is behind you. >> a simple question -- you had 11 visits. 10 visits to presidents. will was the difference the visit with truman after he left the white house? mr. sterling: it was just as he was leaving. the real problem may be -- math has never been a strong point of mine. i may possibly have miscounted even with very small numbers. another question? go ahead. >> this december will be the
11:43 pm
75th anniversary of churchill's visit to the white house in 1941. of course, we all know the story of winston churchill before president roosevelt saying, you see mr. president, i have nothing to hide. can you comment on the significance of that meeting and possibly the circumstances of how it came about? we are led to believe that sir winston churchill invited himself and the rest being history. mr. sterling: i think that he invited himself is somewhat true. he came over roughly two weeks or three after pearl harbor. the white house and the american government and american military had their hands full with lots of things to do. they were not sure they wanted churchill on their lap. he came over. i think it was a very important meeting. it was the first serious wartime meeting when both countries were at war.
11:44 pm
it was the first -- i would argue -- first serious face-to-face attempt to develop war policy, and particularly the europe-first, germany-first. there was a great push, especially in american navy, admiral king, to go after the war in the pacific and the japanese as the real push. that europe was not that important. i think that particular meeting helped germany-first a lot. >> i have to say something about go blue. that is that churchill visited ann arbor in 1901 as part of that trip. twice, and in 1932. we had the opportunity of seeing him. i have what is an obvious question. you speak of his discussion in congress that had his father been american and his mother british, he might have gotten there on his own, but by american law, wasn't he also an
11:45 pm
american citizen because one of his parents was american? mr. sterling: i defer to legal minds to answer that. my understanding is -- and the rules have changed. you can now, for example, have dual citizenship, which was not possible that far back. my understanding was no. yes, his parentage was equally divided but that no, he did not officially hold that role. jenny did become an english citizen. i'm looking for confirmation. did the other jenny take british citizenship when she married randolph? [inaudible] mr. sterling: thank you very much. i appreciate it. [applause]
11:46 pm
quick sure watching american history tv, all weekend, every wiccan, on c-span3. -- every weekend, on c-span3. announcer: on october 11, 1966, president lyndon johnson signed the child nutrition act, expanding the school lunch program to include breakfast for low income schools. next on real america, from 1966, "it happens every noon," a 15 minute agricultural film which promotes the value of the school lunch program.

29 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on