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Thursday, 25 January 2018


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Ronald Pickup is always a good character actor. He can appear to be barely there in his assigned role only to emerge big throughout a film.

The defeat of Mr. Churchill by Labor party candidate Clement Atlee was something many "over here" were surprised about. It seemed odd that Atlee, who was credited for ushering in Britain's welfare state, an early step to Socialism, while at the same time two years later, was a major figure in the new Cold War against the arch Socialists, the USSR. Maybe back then the Labor party was somewhat different from today?

You must remember, Whiters, that conditions in industrial Britain in inter-war years were pretty grim and it was not difficult for the idea of socialism to spread. Also, there was a determination on the part of returning servicemen in 1945 that they wanted their share of victory which socialism seemed to offer them. As I indicated in my post, in an odd way I am rather proud of the British public that ignored the Churchillian glory and vote the way they wanted to vote. Something similar took place at our Brexit referendum!

As for Attlee, he was very much a middle-class man but a patriotic one who despite his age pushed hard to serve in the army during WWI - indeed, with delicious irony he actually served in Gallipoli, an operation that for which he much admired Churchill!

As you know, eventually the shine came off much of socialism and eventually 'that woman' came along to put an end to much of it.

Very interesting review Duffers, I will be looking out for that film when it appears at the local fleapit.

The point about the agony and greatness of Churchill's remarkable achievement in persuading a wavering nation to fight is well made; I was struck by it reading Max Hastings not long ago. It could be argued that Churchill's greatest achievement was not so much winning the war but in actually having a war at all.

the British army and navy beaten off with bloody noses

Duffers I am going to have to get you a readable analysis of the naval war in the Norway campaign.

Far from the Royal Navy getting a bloody nose it gave the German navy one and remained in command of the sea lanes in and approaching Norway. After the evacuation of troops it sensibly went back to its primary role in the Atlantic.

Able Seaman Duff reporting, Sir!

Begging your pardon, Sir, but if the British losing "one aircraft carrier, two cruisers, seven destroyers and a submarine but their much larger fleet could absorb the losses to a much greater degree than Germany" is not a bloody nose then what is?

And please note, "a bloody nose" not a major defeat!

The entire enterprise was a colossal Churchillian cock-up of the first order!

The rejection of Churchill after the war has always intrigued me. I read that he gave a typical response when told he was being considered for the Order of Merit - why should they give me the Order of Merit when they've just given me the Order of the Boot? I wonder whether the shameful way soldiers were treated after the First World War was a factor in the vote.

Mike, this topic deserves a far more analytical approach than I am capable of producing. Partly, we need to remember that Churchill was the aristocratic Tory toff of all Tory toffs! His actions and stance during the inter-war years made him the Class Enemy #1 for the Labour party and their followers who were, of course, mostly working men in peace and 'other ranks' in war. During the '30s the cult of socialism spread and intensified and in particular I think the men who returned from the war were absolutely determined that things must change. Poor old 'Winnie' never stood a chance! Even so, it stands as a monument to the independence of mind of huge numbers of the British population that wartime charisma was not allowed to blind them.

Maybe these will help?

one aircraft carrier, two cruisers, seven destroyers and a submarine

Duffers even if one considers the loss of the aircraft carrier as part of the Norway campaign and that is still a topic debated in naval circles the loss is more cuts and abrasions rather than a bloody nose.

The RN at the start of WW2 consisted of 15 battleships and battle cruisers, 7 aircraft carriers, 66 cruisers, 164 destroyers and 66 submarines all operational.

Depending on interpretation [and sailors love an argument] and disregarding the loss of HMS Glorious the Norway campaign resulted in the loss of the Cruiser "Curlew" and the destroyers "Acasta", "Afridi" and "Hardy".

Aye, aye, Skipper, I'll get back to swabbing the decks!

Actually, AussieD, I do recommend "Six Minutes in May" by Nicholas Shakespeare which covers the Norwegian campaign in some detail and also the incredible circs in which Churchill, despite his almighty cock-up, still managed to get the top job.

Thanks Duffers. I shall read and digest.

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