Churchill

Jul

24

1945

Mountbatten meets the US Chiefs and Churchill

Supreme Allied Commander South East Asia: Mountbatten conferrring with Lieutenant General J W Stilwell Commander-in-Chief US Forces in China, Burma and India.

The Prime Minister has never been so friendly to me in his life. He kept on telling me what a good job I had done, and how I had vindicated his judgement when he selected me for the job. He said: ‘When the war is over I am going to arrange a great ovation for you and for your battle-green jungle warriors. When we get back to London come and see me and we will talk about your future, as I have great plans in store.’ It was a mournful and eerie feeling to sit there talking plans with a man who seemed so confident that they would come off, and I felt equally confident that he would be out of office within 24 hours.

Jul

23

1945

Churchill entertains Truman and Stalin in Berlin

Winston Churchill, President Truman and Stalin at the Potsdam conference, 23 July 1945.

To lighten the proceedings we changed places from time to time, and the President sat opposite me. I had another very friendly talk with Stalin, who was in the best of tempers and seemed to have no inkling of the momentous information about the new bomb the President had given me. He spoke with enthusiasm about the Russian intervention against Japan, and seemed to expect a good many months of war, which Russia would wage on an ever—increasing scale, governed only by the Trans-Siberian Railway.

Jul

17

1940

The glorious ‘Few’ who are defending Britain

Spitfire pilots of No. 610 Squadron relaxing between sorties at 'A' Flight dispersal at Hawkinge, 29 July 1940.

It was impossible to look at those young men, who might within a matter of minutes be fighting and dying to save us, without mingled emotions of wonder, gratitude, and humility. The physical and mental strain of the long hours at dispersal, the constant flying at high altitudes (two or three sorties a day were normal, six or seven not uncommon), must have been prodigious.

And yet they were so cheerful, so confident, and so obviously dedicated. They were always thrilled to see Churchill, and they gave me a kindly welcome.

Jul

16

1945

Churchill meets Truman as Trinity is tested

Prime Minister Winston Churchill and US President Harry Truman shake hands on the steps of Truman's residence, "The White House", at Kaiser Strasse, Babelsberg, Germany, on 16 July 1945.

The ‘Big Three’, Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin had been the face of the Allies for the greater part of the war, meeting in several high profile conferences to decide the course of the war. Now President Truman replaced the recently deceased Roosevelt in the line up for the last conference.

Jul

16

1940

Hitler orders ‘Operation Sealion’ – invade Britain

Watching out for raiders over london.

They are certainly formidable obstructions to most of us especially in the hours of darkness when one is confronted by barriers in the most unexpected places. I am told that Winston is mainly responsible for them and takes the deepest interest in them. He appears to spend a lot of time inspecting our defences all over the country.

Jul

10

1940

Secret Churchill Memo – German invasion unlikely

Local Defence Volunteers soon to be renamed Home Guard

40 destroyers are now disposed between the Humber and Portsmouth, the bulk being in the narrowest waters. The greater part of these are at sea every night, and rest in the clay. They would therefore probably encounter the enemy vessels in transit during the night, but also could reach any landing point or points on the front mentioned in two or three hours. They could immediately break up the landing craft, interrupt the landing, and fire upon the landed troops

Jun

19

1940

Churchill’s speech is welcomed

The Ministry of information had the difficult task of keeping the public informed without causing unnecessary alarm.

On the other hand there was widespread comment on his delivery and his references to France have brought a recrudescence of anti-French feeling. The latency of anti-French feeling must never be forgotten. A few days ago sympathy swamped it but it found indirect expression in a common phrase ‘At last we have no Allies, now we fight alone’.

There has never been much sympathy with the French point of view but there are some indications that the present wave of anti-French feeling is bringing to the surface antagonism against ‘French politicians’.

Jun

18

1940

Churchill 'The battle of Britain is about to begin …'

Winston Churchill: appointed Prime Minister on 10th May 1940

Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, ‘This was their finest hour’

Jun

9

1940

Churchill prophetic as Germans reach the Seine

Erwin Rommel commanded 7th Panzer Division during the invasion of France. They were frequently far in advance of the rest of the German Army and earnt the nickname the "Ghost Division" because their exact location was often unknown.

The French Army put up a fierce resistance along the Seine and had some notable successes against the invading forces. Ultimately they had no answer to the German Blitzkrieg tactics which saw deep penetrating manoeuvres by the Panzers, which outflanked their defensive positions. Rommel was to lead his Division in a hundred kilometre drive forward in just two days.

Jun

4

1940

Churchill: ‘We shall never surrender’

German troops look out over the English channel with the wreckage of British equipment behind them

We shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and 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…