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The Celtics are taking on the Cavaliers in game 3 tonight. See more. Call us for all your orders. We have a great variety! Give us a call. Go Celtics! We have everything you need for a great party! Facebook Twitter. Unbelievable food and service!!! The Great Man resented every click of the keys, and made his displeasure known to the typists. He hated any noise including ticking clocks, which he banned from his room that intruded upon his equilibrium, and his business with the box. So we had to see and understand what was in his mind, and he relied on us to do this. Nothing escaped his attention.
There was another, buff-colored box. Only Churchill had the key to that one. In the first days of the war, Polish intelligence officers had captured a German electromagnetic cipher machine; Polish mathematicians subsequently examined the machine and smuggled a replica to the British. But the Bletchley crowd decrypted enough messages often enough to give Churchill an over-the-shoulder look at German plans except U-boat plans, for which a slightly different and more complex encoding machine was used.
The Bletchley wizards tended to be young and bearded, with long hair, dirty fingernails, and disheveled clothing. The edict seems petty at first glance, but it precluded any subordinate from mucking up the works by misinterpreting and passing on down the line a prime ministerial command. When reading and signing his missives at his desk, he often wore special sleeves over the cuffs of his jacket in order to protect them from any graphite or ink that might conspire to besmirch his outerwear.
The sleeves, together with the occasional green eyeshade, lent to him the air of a plump typesetter. A perusal of the objects on his desk and side table, however—paperweights fashioned from gold medals, crystal inkstands with sterling lids, numerous bottles of pills and powders, and cut-crystal decanters of whisky—identified the owner as a Victorian gentleman of no small means.
There were snarls, and he was responsible for some of them. He had little understanding of organization. When a major issue arose, he gave it his full attention, ignoring his other responsibilities, which, because he had taken personal charge of everything affecting the strategic direction of the war, were many. He procrastinated. He was always late for trains, although as P. He avoided dull topics, and boring papers lay unread weekend after weekend, until, gritting his teeth, he waded through them.
They arrived at the appointed hour; Churchill did not. Aides were sent off to locate the prime minister. Some of his problems emanated from men he himself had selected. His staff believed that he was a poor judge of character and that he sometimes insisted upon unsuitable appointments. Men who had fought valiantly won his uncritical admiration. Of course, those who had stood with Churchill against Munich always found favor with him. In his eyes Anthony Eden, who had quit the Chamberlain government in protest, could do no wrong.
That was not a unanimous feeling; P. He liked things well done and well said. Perhaps because Churchill himself was so articulate, he sometimes misjudged those who were not. The Middle East commander Lieutenant General Sir Archibald Wavell, though a published poet and fluent in Russian, was shy and unforthcoming—attributes that to Churchill implied Wavell was almost dumb—and he remained tongue-tied when the P. His fellow generals thought Wavell a magnificent commander. He could out-argue anyone, even when he was wrong. Only later did it become clear that those who vehemently disagreed with him, and stated their case clearly, were those who won his respect.
He was hard on those he called on the carpet, but he was harder on himself. Idleness was the handmaiden to boredom, and boredom was an enemy to be vanquished. Such was the case one evening later in the war when Churchill, Colville, and several American guests viewed Citizen Kane. The P. Roosevelt sitting alone. Boredom, for the Old Man, was an assault on his equilibrium, inflicted in these cases by movies that failed to engage him but usually by a droning bureaucrat or a dinner guest in whom he had scant interest.
He would at first put on an air of civility in such circumstances, his doctor recalled. The balm might take the form of dictating a letter, singing off-key renditions of Gilbert and Sullivan, perhaps wielding his trowel to lay bricks in the gardens at Chartwell. Chartwell was soon closed for the duration of the war, the furniture draped in sheets. Most of the staff of gardeners, kitchen maids, the chauffeur, and housemaids were furloughed.
Only a caretaker remained. Painting had long afforded Churchill the happy combination of quietude and a focus for his restless mental energy, but during the war, he would unpack his easel, brushes, and oils only once: at Marrakech after the Casablanca Conference. Gambling had always been another option, but the war had put an end to those pleasures, at least in casinos.
He soon was gambling with his armies, tanks, and ships. Once years before, recalled Inspector Thompson, during a train journey in North Africa, Churchill then a cabinet member decided he wanted a bath. He ordered the train stopped. Then he ordered a tub he had spotted in the baggage car removed and set out in the sands.
He will move without notice. He is an animal. In war he is particularly feral. In relief of boredom, almost any action—short of the wicked—would do, with one prerequisite: it had to possess value, and Churchill was the arbiter of the value. There simply was none to be had by sitting through Citizen Kane or lingering in reception lines where strangers grabbed for his hand as if they owned it. No value accrued from entertaining humorless dinner guests. In the end, when boredom struck, his most reliable source of relief—the only source of relief he never tired of—was himself.
He was his own favorite audience. He surrounded himself with people who cared for him, people who hung on his every word. And why should they not; he was Winston Churchill. If he chose not to take an interest in someone, that person remained invisible. He once complained to Lord Moran of a loss of feeling in his shoulder, apparently caused by a pinched nerve.
Should he be concerned about this? Churchill asked. Samuel Johnson, who considered action the necessary prerequisite for a well-lived life. Churchill needed to complete the circuit between the goings-on in his mind and the external world. Once he generated an idea, he felt compelled to actualize it.
When he pledged that RAF bombs would consume Nazi Germany, he did so not simply to hear himself speak—that was a delightful collateral benefit—but because he intended to deliver on his promise. Descartes believed the wellspring of human essence could be expressed thus: Cogito, ergo sum. But Churchill was not a man of philosophical bent, and, like most Englishmen, he held continental rationalism in low regard.
Empiricism—Locke and Hume—was the English way. Churchill saw things more along the lines of I act, therefore I am. He loved to engage in scientific and technological speculation, intellectual realms where the imagination could soar and where ideas were tested, results obtained, and improvements made in the lives of people. In he published Thoughts and Adventures, a collection of essays in which he predicted the atomic bomb and atomic-powered electrification and the risks to humanity ; bioengineering of crops and animals and perhaps people ; and television which, when it became a reality, he detested.
On the day France fell, Churchill summoned Dr. The raids, infrequent and usually directed at northern ports, had begun the previous October. Churchill expected them to increase in frequency and deadliness now that Hitler had control of the airfields of the Low Countries and France. Backed by Churchill, Jones in the coming months figured out how to jam the German beams and delivered one of the most important victories of the war.
He knew the strengths and weaknesses of experts…. He knew how easy it is for the man at the summit to receive too rosy a picture from his Intelligence advisors…. But Franklin Roosevelt, Berlin argues, saw—and Churchill did not—that the past and all of its traditions could be jettisoned in order to produce a new political order from whole cloth. Where Roosevelt was an imaginative though cautious political visionary, Churchill was an imaginative and incautious preservationist.
After reading Plato and Aristotle as a young man, Churchill declared for agnosticism. Although he embraced the Greek philosophical antecedents of Christianity, he found no intellectual reward in theological exercises. He subscribed to the Christian values of mercy and forgiveness, but his beliefs were not dictated by doctrine, and certainly not by clerics. He had been informed by his experiences as a soldier and journalist, and he rejected the carrot and stick of heaven and hell.
The idea of an afterlife was not much more than an afterthought for Churchill, and one he considered equivalent to a belief in ghosts and goblins. Where others found only terror in the prospect of the negation of self, Churchill found sanguineness, and fodder for irreverent asides.
But then I shall require a still gayer palette than I get here. There will be a whole range of wonderful new colours which will delight the celestial eye. Everyone will have equal rights in Heaven… that will be the real welfare state…. Of course, I admit I may be wrong. It is conceivable that I might well be reborn as a Chinese coolie. In such case I should lodge a protest.
As for the act of dying, the transition from consciousness to nothingness or to some manner of somethingness, Churchill would have agreed with Dr. It matters not how a man dies, but how he lives. If there is anywhere else, I shall be on the lookout for you. He detested superstition. He thought much the same of churchgoing. When approached about this, he [Churchill] said he was not a pillar of the church but a buttress—he supported it from the outside. It was the first time in almost four years that Colville had seen him do so.
After the minister delivered his sermon, the Old Man walked up to the pulpit and delivered one himself. Churchill was deeply moved by the melodic grace of hymns, by the power of voices uplifted in song. He loved the rolling peal of village church bells calling the faithful to worship, but, writes the British historian Roy Jenkins, there is no record of Churchill ever having left Chartwell in response to the summons. A Bible rests to this day on his bedside table at Chartwell, a sight that moves many visitors to conclude he sought guidance in Scripture.
He did not. He considered the Anglican clergy to be a priggish and hypocritical lot. Why dine with those who would take moral umbrage to his ending an evening singing lustily and dancing about to Viennese waltzes while attired in an outrageous red dressing gown, a warmed snifter of brandy in one hand, and a cigar or rifle in the other? This, for Churchill, made them and their brand of Christianity suspect. Churchill squeezed the present for all it was worth. He believed meaning is found only in the present, for the past is gone and the future looms indeterminate if it arrives at all.
Yet for Churchill, if there were to be tomorrows, they would arrive on his terms. He was an optimist, not a determinist; the world was indeed often cruel, but it need not remain so. In his book Reade attributed to history a Darwinian, a survival of the fittest, continuum. He synthesized his Gibbon and Reade and concluded that the greatness and goodness of the past could be recaptured through the exercise of will. God would play no part in the saga, because God, if indeed there was a God, was unwilling or unable to intervene. Yet that paradigm left open the possibility that a force of evil—such as Hitler—might well impose his will on the future.
By doing so he intended to deny Hitler his supposed destiny. Churchill, not God, would safeguard the future of Europe and the British Empire, and he would do so by the vigorous exercise of his imagination and the imposition of his will by the only means he knew—action, action this day, action every day. He saw communism not as the atheistic negation of Christian ideals as did Franklin Roosevelt but as the twisted fulfillment of those ideals.
At dinner one evening later in the war he recited to his guests a Soviet creed:. Traditional religions at least held out the hope of mercy, love, and a forgiving deity. The most striking fact about the new religions is their similarity. They substitute the devil for God and hatred for love.
They are equipped with powerful agencies of destruction, and they do not lack their champions, their devotees, and even their martyrs. Chamberlain—and France—had blinded his eyes to the threat, with the result that Hitler and his apostles brought their gospel first to Poland, and now to Holland, Belgium, and France. Churchill intended that it not be brought to England. He believed in Virtue and Right, not as matters of dogma, but as objective realities.
Virtue was manifested in action. It took the form of the Aristotelian mean. Courage, the supreme virtue, could be found somewhere between cowardice and foolhardiness. In Victory: Magnanimity, Churchill chimed, never revenge fueled by hatred. This was a virtue first expressed by Aristotle and most recently ignored by Hitler in Poland and, a generation earlier, by the good Christians who drafted the Carthaginian terms Churchill believed of surrender imposed upon Germany and Austria after the Great War.
The argument put forth then that Germany had behaved like a mad dog since the Franco-Prussian War and deserved to wear the shortest possible leash was, for Churchill, flawed. It violated another of his maxims, In Peace: Goodwill. He believed that an economically healthy Germany was necessary for European stability.
Yet here now came the Hun again, waging a war that might soon result in the extermination of England. In fighting his battle to preserve liberty in England and restore it in Europe, there could be no middle path, no mean, and Churchill acknowledged none.
Hungry now? Call now to order!
Any weapon, especially one deployed often, accurately, and ruthlessly, was a fine weapon. His was a distinctly Old Testament approach to rendering justice. As much as he admired the merciful and demanded that generosity follow victory, In War, Fury formed his philosophy of battle. In his youthful readings of Aristotle and Plato he discovered the pre-Christian philosophical antecedents that the Catholic Church later appropriated and folded into its doctrine. He taught himself well and created a code he could live by. Churchill had as much difficulty riding smoothly in double harness as he did in keeping his car on the road, but in the end, he achieved his mean.
It was a moral journey of many twists and turns, of chutes and ladders. Images of him in his dressing gown, rifle at his shoulder, marching about late of an evening hardly conjure an image of the Aristotelian mean. For every diarist who notes his exuberance, fairness, geniality, or generosity, there is to be found another who alludes to his roughness, his sarcasm, his low moods, and his bellicosity—sometimes the same observer on the same day.
Endowed with a prodigious memory, Churchill seemed to remember every poem he had ever read, the lyrics of every song, and the chapter and verse of vast numbers of biblical passages, and he would recite them almost anywhere. He could endlessly quote Dr. He reserved a special affection for American writers, particularly Twain, Melville, and Emerson. As with the English canon, his knowledge was broad. When Roosevelt allowed that those were the only lines he knew, Churchill weighed in by reciting the entire poem, sixty lines.
Then, he began a long monologue on the strategic genius of Stonewall Jackson and Robert E. He continued on as the miles sped past, oblivious to the effect on his companions. Memorizing dates and place-names has always been the bane of schoolchildren. Yet for a few, Churchill assuredly among them, history is more than a time line, more than the sequencing and parsing of collective memory.
In those such as Churchill, history, by way of imagination and discipline, becomes part of personal memory, no less so than childhood recollections of the first swim in the ocean or the first day of school. Churchill did not simply observe the historical continuum; he made himself part of it. He may have been born a Victorian, but he had turned himself into a Classical man. He did not live in the past; the past lived on in him. He was probably the most amusing warlord in history.
His very appearance could endlessly entertain his family and staff. On June 16, Colville took urgent dispatches to the P. Sometimes he carried on anthropomorphic conversations with Nelson including an admonition to be more stouthearted after the cat flinched during an air raid. Anticipating the need to move with dispatch during air raids, Churchill designed a one-piece suit with many zippers, permitting him to don it quickly. He noticed an elderly MP leaning forward with an antique ear trumpet pressed to his ear, struggling to hear the report. Prime minister! Sometimes, when a recording of The Blue Danube was playing, he would waltz around the room alone, his right hand flat against his shirt and his left arm extended as though he were supporting the hand of a partner.
Clementine, if present, would likely not join her husband. She understood that he often played and worked simultaneously. While gliding around the room, he very often crafted phrases to deploy in upcoming speeches, and to interrupt him was out of the question. They bounded up the stairs, headed for his bedroom, where he was dictating his notes. As they waited outside, a secretary announced their presence to the Old Man. He would craft it, not in the calm of a study surrounded by reference books but while on the telephone, or prancing around the Great Hall at Chequers, or propped up in bed, or bowed over a map, waging war.
He composed every word of every speech; no committee of speechwriters toiled at No.
His bath was a favorite venue for speech preparation he was proud of being able to control the taps with his toes while he dictated. He tried them out over dinner with colleagues, with different adjectives, different emphasis, to measure their rhythms and to hear how they sounded.
He might pause to pluck a pinch of snuff from his gold snuffbox it had once belonged to Admiral Nelson , pop it into a nostril, and emit a sneeze with robust delight. He sometimes offered a pinch to his young, female typists, who politely declined. The creative process so absorbed him that he often became oblivious to events unfolding in the room, as on the day his cigar ash ignited his bed jacket.
May I put you out? The climax of his ruminations would come on the day of delivery. Always at least fifteen minutes late, he might still be in bed, dictating the final draft to a typist, or inking in changes, when he should have been on his way to Parliament. Anxious whips would be telephoning from the House, his staff would be begging him to hurry, his valet would be dressing him and flicking cigar ash from his shirt always a delicate task, for Churchill did not like to be touched. Meanwhile, messengers held the elevator, and his chauffeur, outside, gunned the engine.
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Finally he would totter out, still dressing, tucking his spectacles and cigar case and loose cigars and his little snuffbox into sundry jacket pockets, checking the numbered pages to be sure they were in the right order. Moments later, when he rose from the front bench to address the House, he would be greeted by a respectful hush from members and from the galleries, where journalists and foreign ambassadors leaned forward in anticipation. Thus, secret session or no, if Churchill wanted to say something, he said it. Only words can live forever, he liked to say; it would simply not do for his words to die on the floor of the House.
Churchill, like Samuel Johnson and Shakespeare, could string together phrases that resonated with Glasgow pub patrons, Welsh coal miners, and Cockney laundresses, as well as with the Harold Nicolsons and Lady Astors. At his dinner table or in the Commons during Questions, he sprayed the room with fusillades of bons mots. But his broadcasts and speeches were strategic assaults, not tactical, and were crafted with infinite care. His broadcasts sound so English, but in fact their structural foundations date to Cicero.
Gibbon, when read aloud, is a slow burn, more fuse than fireworks, yet the prose is perfectly balanced and perfectly ordered; each point meticulously advanced until in the climactic resolution only one inescapable conclusion can be reached. Then, beginning with his next breath, he re-armed his siege engine and prepared for the next shot. He did not so much speak to Englishmen as Franklin Roosevelt did to Americans in his homespun fireside chats , as for them. In doing so he represented their destiny and their role in the current struggle, which could only end in either national survival or national annihilation.
Hitler, an opportunist and nihilist romantic, told his people much the same. Churchill dictated all speeches, memos, and letters to his typists, usually young and female, who typed away while he paced about the room, fetched his thoughts, and put them into words.
Stop it! None of his staff recollect ever seeing Churchill put a finger to a typewriter keyboard. Nor did he ever write his own memos. I have never seen him put pen to paper. But once elected to the Commons, and forever after, he indulged his love of dictation. He disliked the taking of dictation by shorthand, which would have kept the stenographers in the chase and allowed them to type in peace outside his presence.
He believed shorthand only added one more step to the process of setting his thoughts down on paper. He allowed an exception to the ban when he was on the move—in a car, onboard a rolling ship, or strutting through the halls of Chequers or Parliament, conditions which even he understood were not conducive to wielding a typewriter. How unfortunate. Kinna survived the day and served Churchill for the rest of the war as a member of the team.
Woe unto the typist who had to ask the Great Man to repeat a phrase. His staff knew that to guess at what he said was far preferable to asking him to repeat it. The typists had to engage in a fair amount of guessing as Elizabeth Layton had learned because Churchill often mumbled and, to make matters worse, often while pacing about far across the room, his back to the typist. When he dictated while in bed, propped up on his pillows, words were lost as newspapers fluttered to the floor, or the telephone rang, or he summoned his valet to refresh his refreshment.
Typists earned about two pounds per week, about forty dollars a month, less than the wages of a corporal in the U. As well, they were expected to remain at their post even as German bombs fell into nearby courtyards. Churchill had been a professional writer before he became a statesman; he had supported his family with a tremendous stream of books and articles.
His love of the language was deep and abiding, he had mastered it as few men have, and he was quick to correct anyone who abused it, especially those who tried to camouflage sloppy thinking with the flapdoodle of verbose military jargon or bureaucratese. He believed, with F. Fowler, that big words should not be used when small words will do, and that English words were always preferable to foreign words.
John Martin believed that the P. He believed that all countries where English was spoken, including America, should merge. Here lay a profound contrast with the foreign policies of his predecessors at Downing Street. They had focused upon the Continent and the various combinations of the great powers there. The slaughter of the — war had appalled Britons, including Churchill, and had exhausted and disillusioned many, but not Churchill. Now, drawing fire from the terrible red glow across the Channel, he was exhilarated.
His first four hundred days in office—from early May to mid-June , a ghastly time for millions of Europeans—were, for him, the supreme chapter in his life. For most of the s, Churchill had been both. In , when all the odds were against Britain, a leader of sober judgment might well have concluded that we were finished.
And yet, despite the fact that Churchill was prone to sentimentality, was mercurial, and at times lacked strategic military sense, he had, through intuitive leaps and careful analysis during the s, arrived at an astonishingly accurate forecast of the calamity that had since befallen Europe and England. Other sober and equable men, who lacked his imagination and penetrating vision, had allowed Britain to stumble unprepared into this war. Yet Churchill likely did not suffer from mental illness. After he never again wrote of the black dog.
Churchill could indeed be moved to gloom and long silences by events great and small—a crushing naval loss, the death of a much-loved pet, the mention of the name of a long-dead comrade-in-arms. He was easily moved to tears. He became quite irritable over unnecessary delays or secretarial foul-ups or generals who proved unwilling or unable to fight. He just as readily could turn off his temper, and his worries. He did not exhibit what are now considered to be the symptoms of major adult depression: prolonged two weeks or more and regular at least yearly periods of loss of interest in work and family, lack of interest in socializing, difficulty in making decisions, sleep loss, feelings of low self-esteem, and feelings of being unloved or not worthy of being loved, sometimes accompanied by spells of inconsolability.
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Nor did he show symptoms associated with the mania end of the manic-depressive spectrum: decreased need for sleep, rapid speech, racing thoughts, euphoria or extreme optimism, increased sexual drive, spending sprees, and inability to concentrate. He worried, he fretted, he grew weary at times, but he never despaired. In fact, it is part of the contradictory nature of the man that he manifested various symptoms of depression—risk taking, excessive drinking, mood swings—not intermittently, but regularly, even daily, and for his whole life.
Throughout the war, Churchill, knowing that a dark and defeatist exterior inspired no confidence in those he needed by his side in order to win the war, did not indulge gloom but exorcised it. When visitors to Chequers or the underground No. If I had said anything else, they would have hurled me from office. Nothing diminished his love for his family. Nothing undercut his love of life. Churchill was never modest, yet he bridled at the suggestion that he had transformed Britons. He believed they had always been heroic.
That to me was an honor far beyond any dreams or ambitions I have ever nursed, and it was one that cannot be taken away. Destiny has put me here, now, for this purpose. Only his actions, freely taken, could do that. Destiny, like fate, is all things to all men. Here it may be seen as that dynamic force within Churchill that, in combination with his will, altered history during the summer of It would be a mistake to imagine Hitler in as a deranged Charlie Chaplinesque buffoon given to spewing spittle on the uniforms of dumbfounded Prussian subordinates during purple-faced tirades.
He had served five years with honor in the trenches during the Great War and been awarded the Iron Cross for bravery. He had been wounded three times—twice by shrapnel and once by gas, which temporarily blinded him. He had fought in twelve battles. His regiment—the 16th Bavarian Reserve—had suffered more than percent casualties military statisticians compute casualties based on the ratio of the original number of men in any unit to the number of replacements.
Germany, then, had not deserved victory. This time would be different. This time already was different. Hitler was winning. Adolf Hitler was now the greatest conqueror in German history, his destiny fulfilled, by the exercise of his will. The war, such as it was, was just about over. The British must surely sue for peace, and Hitler was prepared to offer generous terms, for he respected the English race.
Britain stood alone in twilight, awaiting the seemingly inevitable descent of darkness. This was the status of Churchill, of London, of Britain and the British Empire, on the longest day of that year. Churchill did not. The Channel was his moat, England his bailey; he intended to fight from his battlements until he could muster the men and arms necessary to strike out, across the Channel and into Europe, and finally someday, however long it took, across the Rhine and into Germany, to Berlin, where he would achieve his stated objective: final and absolute victory over Hitlerism.
Although he spoke no foreign tongues and had never been overseas, he possessed an intuitive gift for exploiting weaknesses in what Germans call das Ausland, that revealing Teutonic word that welds together all nations outside the Reich into a single collective noun. Again and again in the s, he had dared the allied governments of Britain and France to stand up to his acts of aggression.
In the meantime, his armed strength multiplied. Finally, at the end of the decade, after six years of preparation, he was ready. At dawn on Friday, September 1, , he sent fifty-six Wehrmacht divisions roaring eastward into Poland. Now London and Paris had no choice. They were bound to Warsaw by military alliances. They had to declare war, and, reluctantly, they did. Except for a token sortie in the direction of the Saar and its coal mines and steel furnaces—a meaningless gesture meant to encourage the Poles, yet one from which the Nazis fled—Allied troops remained where they were.
Then, in five weeks of blitzkrieg, or lightning warfare, the Nazi juggernaut crushed Poland, freeing the Wehrmacht to turn westward.
The moment had passed. French and British troops steeled themselves for the shock of a German offensive, but none came. They waited. And waited. By May of all had remained quiet on the Western Front for eight months. What fighting there was had been largely confined to the open seas, the realm of the Royal Navy, and the barren coast of Norway.
On land, the great armies squatted idly opposite one another week after week in an unnatural silence. Berliners called this extraordinary hush, unique in the history of modern warfare, der Sitzkrieg. In England and France, the public, feeling emotionally ruptured after bracing themselves for the worst, returned instead to the pleasures of peace.
But as the conflict entered its ninth sterile month, life was about to stir within in it. The greatest of all wars was about to erupt at last in a convulsion of violence, slaughter, and terror. Afterward everyone remembered the weather. Though March was its usual mottled mess, temperatures were exceptionally mild. Then, across the Continent, primroses were out, fruit trees were budding, crocuses teeming. Within a fortnight the season had acquired a radiant, crystalline tone. So pure was the air that vision seemed enhanced, objects being perceived with a cameo-like clarity as sharp and well defined as a fine etching.
Magnolias, snowdrops, and bright azaleas rioted in Kensington and Whitechapel alike. These were approaching their peak in late April and would soon to be joined by graceful white tulips, always the loveliest. In tiny Luxembourg, the beauty of the gladioli was unprecedented. It was that rarity, a genuine idyll, a blessed time of crystal-clear air, of radiant mornings, of gentle twilights, and of soft, balmy evenings, when a delicate, bluish moisture fell on orchards and gardens. In late April, whipped-cream clouds hung motionless overhead; then the sky cleared.
For six weeks not one drop of rain fell. Clothed in sunlight, their spirits soaring, people found pleasure in just lifting their faces to an immaculate heaven that seemed wider and higher and of a deeper blue than any before. Now their sons called it Hitlerwetter. General Heinz Guderian, the Nazi tank commander, was more specific. Paris was Paris in April! Paris was gai— a gaiety which, in retrospect, seems cruelly ironic. Immediately after the declaration of war, all theaters had closed, but now they reopened and were packed.
This year French fields had been plowed by troops. Some officers, among them Colonel Charles de Gaulle, were relieved when the generals were forced to back down. Although there were still fewer than four hundred thousand British soldiers on the Continent—only 18 percent of the Allied ground forces—their quality was high, in part because officers kept spirits up with programs of vigorous exercise. The French did not. As the war entered its third season, the armies of France were stagnating, even rotting. Every allowance must be made for the French, and the French soldier of must be regarded with great compassion.
With the exception of Serbia, no nation had suffered so terribly in the Great War. Because their fathers had been bled white, the World War II generation, unlike that of , simply wanted to be left alone. At the time, this atrophy of spirit was imperfectly understood. The eight-month lull at the front was seen variously. Since the expected curtain-raiser would have brought vast bloodshed, others were optimistic, including some who should have known better.
It was the sort of showy thing they liked to do. The arguments of the distinguished scholar Alfred Sauvy to the contrary, the French masses had accepted the war, however reluctantly. They believed France would win it. Sacrifice was not this time needed. The French government encouraged such lullabies. Factories that could have been converted to munitions manufacture were still turning out civilian goods. The Parisian firms of Lelong, Balenciaga, and Molyneux were exporting silks that Frenchmen would next see in German parachutes.
Food was unrationed; so was gasoline, despite the fact that every gallon had to be imported. Then, when he thinks we are weary, confused, and dissatisfied with our own inertia, he will finally take the offensive against us, possessing completely different cards in the psychological and material line from those he holds at present. The British, possessing on the whole a better record on European battlefields, ought to have been more realistic.
Instead, they were complacent. The Isle looked fine; ergo, the Isle was fine. Blacked out now, it loomed serenely on moonlit nights, invoking in some memories of the imperial capital before the arrival of electricity.
The Times, ever the vigilant recorder of multifarious ornithological sightings, reported the return of swallows, cuckoos, and even nightingales. Churchill tried to wake the nation. At any moment these neutral countries may be subjected to an avalanche of steel and fire, and the decision rests in the hands of a haunted, morbid being who, to their eternal shame, the German people have worshipped as a god. From Business: Yalla Hummus recipes are over 80 years old and have been passed down through the generations. All of our hummus is handcrafted with organic ingredients in small….
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