Winston Spencer Churchill

Discussion in 'General' started by spidge, Sep 23, 2005.

  1. spidge

    spidge RAAF RESEARCHER

    Bit hard to find a category to place Winston. He was involved in most of them.

    I have started off with a list of "Churchillisms" which always make me laugh and wish that I could have been right there when he spoke them.

    "A joke is a very serious thing."
    "Without victory there is no survival!"
    "Never give in. Never. Never. Never. Never."
    "Give us the tools and we will finish the job."
    "History will be kind to me for I intend to write it."
    "No folly is more costly than the folly of intolerant idealism."
    "The empires of the future are the empires of the mind."
    "I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat."
    "Short words are best and the old words when short are best of all."
    "I have taken more out of alcohol than alcohol has taken out of me."
    "Although prepared for martyrdom, I preferred that it be postponed."
    "There is nothing more exhilarating than to be shot at without result."
    "It's a good thing for an uneducated man to read books of quotations."
    "The greatest lesson in life is to know that even fools are right sometimes."
    "A fanatic is one who can't change his mind and won't change the subject."
    "Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm."
    "I like pigs. Dogs look up to us. Cats look down on us. Pigs treat us as equals."
    "The farther backwards you can look, the farther forward you are likely to see."
    "Ending a sentence with a preposition is something up with which we will not put."

    "Don't talk to me about Naval tradition. It's nothing but rum, sodomy, and the lash."

    "In war: resolution. In defeat: defiance. In victory: magnanimity. In peace: goodwill."

    "Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few."

    "There is no finer investment for any community than putting milk into babies."

    "True genius resides in the capacity for evaluation of uncertain, hazardous and conflicting information."

    "In wartime, truth is so precious that she should always be attended by a bodyguard of lies."

    "It is a mistake to look too far ahead. Only one link in the chain of destiny can be handled at a time"

    "My wife and I tried to breakfast together, but we had to stop or our marriage would have been wrecked."

    "If you go on with this nuclear arms race, all you are going to do is make the rubble bounce."

    "I always avoid prophesying beforehand, because it is a much better policy to prophesy after the event has already taken place."

    "Courage is the first of human qualities because it is the quality that guarantees all the others."

    "If we open a quarrel between the past and the present, we shall find that we have lost the future."

    "Danger - if you meet it promptly and without flinching - you will reduce the danger by half. Never run away from anything. Never!"

    "Where does the family start? It starts with a young man falling in love with a girl - no superior alternative has yet been found."

    "The Americans will always do the right thing... after they've exhausted all the alternatives."

    "I cannot forecast to you the action of Russia. It is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma."

    "MacDonald has the gift of compressing the largest amount of words into the smallest amount of thoughts."

    "Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened."

    "I am ready to meet my Maker. Whether my Maker is prepared for the great ordeal of meeting me is another matter."

    "The whole history of the world is summed up in the fact that, when nations are strong, they are not always just, and when they wish to be just, they are no longer strong."

    "The reserve of modern assertions is sometimes pushed to extremes, in which the fear of being contradicted leads the writer to strip himself of almost all sense and meaning."

    "Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duty, and so bear ourselves that, if the British Empire and its Commonwealth lasts for a thousand years, men will still say, 'This was their finest hour.' "

    "Vast and fearsome as the human scene has become, personal contact of the right people, in the right places, at the right time, may yet have a potent and valuable part to play in the cause of peace which is in our hearts."

    "Many forms of Government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the 'worst' form of Government except all those others that have been tried from time to time."

    "I gather, young man, that you wish to be a Member of Parliament. The first lesson that you must learn is, when I call for statistics about the rate of infant mortality, what I want is proof that fewer babies died when I was Prime Minister than when anyone else was Prime Minister. That is a political statistic."

    ".... You ask, What is our policy? I will say; "It is to wage war, by sea, land and air, with all our might and with all the strength that God can give us: to wage war against a monstrous tyranny, never surpassed in the dark lamentable catalogue of human crime. That is our policy." You ask, What is our aim? I can answer with one word: Victory - victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory however long and hard the road may be; for without victory there is no survival."

    "We shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end. We shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and the oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender."


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    While campaigning in 1900, young Churchill was approached by a man who exclaimed to him: 'Vote for you? Why, I'd rather vote for the Devil!'. 'I understand' said Churchill. 'But in case your friend is not running, may I count on your support?'

    Several months after Chamberlain returned from Munich, waving his famous piece of paper, in 1938, during a debate on Palestine, Malcolm MacDonald, was speaking whimsically about the land itself: 'Bethlehem, where the prince of peace was born...' he intoned, only to be interrupted by Churchill's voice: '"Bethlehem"? I thought Neville was born in Birmingham.'

    Churchill on Clement Atlee: ' A sheep in sheep's clothing.'

    Churchill on US Secretary of State John Foster Dulles: 'Dull, Duller, Dulles.'

    Churchill on the code breakers of Bletchley Park: 'They were the geese that laid the golden eggs and never cackled.'

    An exchange of Telegrams between Churchill and George Bernard Shaw: Shaw: 'Two tickets reserved for you, first night Pygmalion. Bring a friend, if you have one. Churchill: 'Cannot make first night. Will come to second night. If you have one.'

    Churchill proposing a toast to the Soviet leader at the Yalta conference in 1945: 'To Premier Stalin, whose foreign policy manifests a desire for peace.' Then in a whispered aside out of the interpreter's hearing: 'A piece of Poland, a piece of Hungary, a piece of Romania...'

    Nancy Astor to Churchill during one of their many arguments "If I were your wife I would put poison in your coffee.' Churchill: Nancy, if you were my wife I would drink it.'


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    When asked to name the chief qualification a politician should have. "It's the ability to foretell what will happen tomorrow, next month, and next year --- and to explain afterward why it didn't happen."

    All the great things are simple, and many can be expressed in a single word: freedom; justice; honor; duty; mercy; hope.

    If you will not fight when your victory will be sure and not too costly, you may come to the moment when you will have to fight with all the odds against you and only a precarious chance for survival. There may even be a worse case. You may have to fight when there is no hope of victory, because it is better to perish than to live as slaves

    The greatest lesson in life is to know that even fools are right sometimes.

    I am prepared to meet my Maker. Whether my Maker is prepared for the great ordeal of meeting me is another matter

    If you have an important point to make, don't try to be subtle or clever. Use a pile driver. Hit the point once. Then come back and hit it again. Then hit it a third time--a tremendous whack.

    If you're going through hell, keep going.

    A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.

    For myself, I am an optimist--it does not seem to be much use being anything else.

    When you have to kill a man it costs nothing to be polite.

    Character may be manifested in the great moments, but it is made in the small ones.

    I am always ready to learn, but I do not always like being taught.

    It is always wise to look ahead, but difficult to look farther than you can see.

    Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing has happened.

    He has all the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire.

    We shall draw from the heart of suffering itself the means of inspiration and survival.

    I cannot forecast to you the action of Russia. It is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma

    The water was not fit to drink. To make it palatable, we had to add whiskey. By diligent effort, I learned to like it.

    When the eagles are silent, the parrots begin to jabber.

    When I look back on all these worries, I remember the story of the old man who said on his deathbed that he had had a lot of trouble in his life, most of which had never happened.

    Kites rise highest against the wind -- not with it.

    Courage is rightly esteemed the first of human qualities because it is the quality which guarantees all others.

    If you have knowledge, let others light their candles with it.
     
    Roxy likes this.
  2. Kiwiwriter

    Kiwiwriter Very Senior Member

    I love Churchill. He had a lot of weaknesses and blind spots, and came up with some bizarre ideas (invading the Dodecanese for one), but I agree with the man who said that he "mobilized the English language and sent it into battle."

    No other leader in 1940 could have rallied Britain to fight on to victory like he could. Anyone else in power would have signed a peace treaty with Hitler, and the world would today be under Nazi rule.
     
  3. Gnomey

    Gnomey World Travelling Doctor

    Originally posted by Kiwiwriter@Sep 23 2005, 04:40 PM
    I love Churchill. He had a lot of weaknesses and blind spots, and came up with some bizarre ideas (invading the Dodecanese for one), but I agree with the man who said that he "mobilized the English language and sent it into battle."

    No other leader in 1940 could have rallied Britain to fight on to victory like he could. Anyone else in power would have signed a peace treaty with Hitler, and the world would today be under Nazi rule.
    [post=39363]Quoted post[/post]
    Agreed Kiwiwriter, thats why most of us Brits like him so much. I for one am no exception, he did have weaknesses but he was as you said the man who "mobilized the English language and sent it into battle."
     
  4. angie999

    angie999 Very Senior Member

    Probably fair to say that I detest Churchill, but on account of his politics in general, not WWII specifically.

    I do think that his role in 1940/41 in ensuring that the pro-peace settlement wing of the Tories were kept from power, assisted by the wartime coalition government, was crucial.
     
  5. adrian roberts

    adrian roberts Senior Member

    In 1940 Churchill was the right man in the right place at the right time. But as someone said on a similar thread on the Great War Forum, other than that he screwed up every job he was ever given.

    Like Hitler, he had a lot of bizarre ideas which could have lost us the war. The difference was that anyone who stood up to Hitler would find this was very bad for their career and probably for their health. Whereas Churchill had staff who were able to stand up to him: Alanbrooke in particular was prepared to have table-thumping rows with him to make him see sense.

    I'm trying not to fall into the English habit of knocking all our heroes, but it is possible to be objective.

    Adrian
     
  6. jimbotosome

    jimbotosome Discharged

    Churchill always seem walk to the beat of his own drum. If you want to piss people off, that's the best way to do it. I remember reading about where he was visiting an Arabian or African country where they didn't allow drinking. He told the emir (or leader) that it was his against religion not to "have a cigar and drink every day". To this the emir had to acquiesce. Anyone that bore the weight on his shoulders that Churchill did, should be allowed if not expected to imbibe a little. Churchill always behaved honorably abroad. If he was hated by countrymen and the House of Commons by his political enemies, I am sure they were more than deserving of the consternation he caused them, especially when you hear the rhetoric they so often slung at him. Any leader that appears in harms way as often as Churchill did (much to the dismay of those responsible for his safety like Monty and Ike) just to inspire those he sent into battle, that man is worthy of respect. There appears to be no guile or falseness in him, what he said was what he thought. At least that is the impression he gives me.
     
  7. Simon_Fielding

    Simon_Fielding Withnail67

    The quote about mobilising the language was (I believe) John F Kennedy who could turn a phrase himself and for all his faults probably saved the world from nuclear war in 1962.
     
  8. REK

    REK Senior Member

    He's reported to have once sent a pudding back to a chef, complaining that it "lacked a theme".

    Nothing to do with WWII I'm afraid (except that it's Churchill).
     
  9. canuck

    canuck Token Colonial Patron

    "Better to be hated than to be ignored" and Churchill is likely to be quoted for quite some time to come. Love him or hate him, he has carved his indelible place in history. Despite his failings he really was the right man at exactly the right time.
     
  10. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran Patron

    Churchill ?

    He was the man and, in my opinion, still is the man

    He was, as you must all know by now, an ex 4th QOH Colonel
    I dined with him when the war finished (Oh, alright, there were 300 odd others present)
    I joined the vigil outside his home as he lay dying
    I attended his funeral

    Pride of place in the miltary section of my bookshelves is Martin Gilbert's majestic "Churchill - A Life" and if you are not careful I shall be quoting from that large dollops of Churchilliana.

    I shall follow (nd hopefully contribute to) this thread with much interest :)

    Ron
     
  11. geoff501

    geoff501 Achtung Feind hört mit

    Frequently heard at dinner tables:

    "I dined with him when the war finished (Oh, alright, there were 300 odd others present)"

    (Churchill, on Goldstein).



    Ron,

    Have you been here, Bletchley Park:

    The Churchill Collection

    [​IMG]
    This truly fascinating collection of Churchill memorablia captures the spirit of the great man. Churchill had significant links with Bletchley Park and famously said of the workers at the Park 'The geese that laid the golden eggs - but never cackled'. This privately-owned collection has many rare and interesting pieces and is definitely not to be missed.
    Open every weekend and during the week on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday - 12pm- 4pm.
     
    Roxy likes this.
  12. Rav4

    Rav4 Senior Member

    Churchill was not without his faults, but we sure could do with another like him now with the spineless bunch we have.
     
  13. Fireman

    Fireman Discharged

    I may be biased but the English language, I believe, is the best in the world. It has the largest vocabulary and any situation can be met by any number of phrases or descriptions. Churchill along with a few others turned the language into an art form. A shame that the English spoken by him has almost vanished.
     
  14. REK

    REK Senior Member

    I have absolutely no idea whether this story is true but, if it isn't, it should be.

    During the years closely following the end of the war, the family were staying at Chartwell. Churchill was in bed - wide awake - having a very, very late lie-in while the rest of them were all up and about.

    Suddenly, his young grandson ran excitedly into his bedroom and asked: "Grandpa, is it true that you're the leading world figure of the twentieth century?"

    "Yes," replied the great man. "Now bugger off."
     
  15. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran Patron

    Ron,

    Have you been here, Bletchley Park:


    Geoff

    That's down on my little list of places to visit

    Thanks for the reminder.

    Ron
     
  16. spidge

    spidge RAAF RESEARCHER

    Reading this thread again I see I failed to put in one of my favourites:

    Winston Churchill to Lady Astor

    "Sir, you're drunk!" "Yes, Madam, I am. But in the morning, I will be sober and you will still be ugly."
     
  17. Alan Allport

    Alan Allport Senior Member

    Winston Churchill to Lady Astor

    "Sir, you're drunk!" "Yes, Madam, I am. But in the morning, I will be sober and you will still be ugly."

    The target of this quote is traditionally Bessie Braddock, MP, not Lady Astor - but in any case Churchill almost certainly didn't say it (apparently it was an old joke even then). As Simon Hoggart points out, "You could fill a book with what Winston Churchill didn't say. It would be almost as long as one made up of genuine quotes."

    See also: Misattributed WSC quotes.

    Best, Alan
     
  18. REK

    REK Senior Member

    True or not, the version that I was brought up on is subtly different (and I think I prefer it):

    "Sir, you're drunk!"

    "And you, Madam, are ugly. But in the morning, I will be sober."
     
  19. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran Patron

    It is well known that Winston was not averse to the occasional tipple.

    What is less well known is that he could, in the right company, tell a fairly blue joke.

    On the evening of our Regimental Reunion, after dinner and when the plates and the waiting staff had been cleared, he responded to the toast to the Guest of Honour by telling a couple of really blue jokes which, I am very sorry to say, I have forgotten over the past 65 years !

    Ron
     
  20. geoff501

    geoff501 Achtung Feind hört mit

    Reading this thread again I see I failed to put in one of my favourites:

    And mine....

    Young man (seeing Churchill leaving the bathroom without washing his hands): At Eton they taught us to wash our hands after using the toilet.
    Churchill: At Harrow they taught us not to piss on our hands.
     

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