Churchill

Feb

10

1943

Churchill declares that the U-Boat war is top priority

A tanker explodes after being torpedoed by a U-boat in the Caribbean.

Even if the U-boats increase in number, there is no doubt that a superior proportionate increase in the naval and air escort will be a remedy. A ship not sunk is better than a new ship built. Therefore, in order to reduce the waste in the merchant shipping convoys, we have decided, by successive steps during the last six months, to throw the emphasis rather more on the production of escort vessels, even though it means some impingement on new building.

Feb

4

1943

Churchill reviews victorious Eighth Army parade

Winston Churchill greets an officer of 51st Highland Division during his visit to Tripoli to thank the 8th Army for its success in the North African campaign, 4 February 1943.

In days to come, when asked by those at home what part you played in this war, it will be with pride in your hearts that you can reply : I marched with the Eighth Arrny.’ He finished: ‘And, remember, you nightly pitch your moving tents a day’s march nearer home.’ There was hardly a dry eye : mine was not one of them.

Jan

24

1943

Roosevelt calls for ‘Unconditional Surrender’

President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Churchill at the Villa in Casablanca where the conference were held.

We had so much trouble getting those two French generals together that I thought to myself that this was as difficult as arranging the meeting of Grant and Lee – and then suddenly the Press Conference was on, and Winston and I had had no time to prepare for it, and the thought popped into my mind that they had called Grant “Old Unconditional Surrender”, and the next thing I knew I had said it.

Jan

14

1943

Churchill and Roosevelt meet at Casablanca

The Casablanca Conference 14-24 January 1943. The President of the United States Franklin D Roosevelt and Prime Minister Winston Churchill seated in the garden of the villa where the conference was held. Grouped behind them are British and American chiefs of staff.

Admiral King then did so, and it became clear at once that his idea was an ‘all-out’ war against Japan instead of holding operations. He then proposed that 30 per cent of the war effort should be directed to the Pacific and 70 per cent to the rest. We pointed out that this was hardly a scientific way of approaching war strategy!

Nov

16

1942

British celebrate the ‘end of the beginning’

Milk girls leave the diary in their horse-drawn carts, working the rounds of the milkmen who have joined the services. The carts are piled high with crates, full of bottles of milk.

Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. but it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning. Henceforth Hitler’s Nazis will meet equally well armed, and perhaps better armed troops. Hence forth they will have to face in many theatres of war that superiority in the air which they have so often used without mercy against others, of which they boasted all round the world, and which they intended to use as an instrument for convincing all other peoples that all resistance to them was hopeless….

Aug

7

1942

Churchill shakes things up in the desert

Winston Churchill, with Sir Alan Brooke, giving his famous V-for-Victory sign while being driven past a line of troops in Tel-el-Kebir, 9 August 1942. The vehicle is a Morris-Commercial 8cwt truck

After dinner PM, Smuts I had conference as to how the matter should be settled. Had some difficulty. PM rather in favour of Wilson. However Smuts assisted me and telegram now been sent off to Cabinet ordering Montgomery out to take command 8th Army. I hope we get Alexander and Montgomery out soon so that I may settle details of Corps Commanders and Chiefs of Staff with them.

Jul

21

1942

Churchill: “severe, ruthless bombing of Germany” needed

A bomber crew of No. 311 (Czechoslovak) Squadron RAF study a map, while sitting on 250-lb GP bombs which are about to be loaded into their Vickers Wellington Mark IC at East Wretham, Norfolk.

We must regard the Bomber offensive against Germany at least as a feature in breaking her war-will, second only to the largest military operations which can be conducted on the Continent until that war-will is broken. Renewed, intense efforts should be made by the Allies to develop during the winter and onwards ever-growing, ever more accurate and ever more far-ranging Bomber attacks on Germany.

Jul

20

1942

British and American military argue over strategy

General George C Marshall, Chief of Staff US Army.

At 12.30 we went round to 12 Downing Street to meet American Chiefs of Staff with PM! We had originally intended to meet them at 10 am ‘off the record’ for a private but PM very suspicious and had informed me at Chequers that Marshall trying to assume powers of C-in-C of American troops which was (constitutionally) President’s prerogative!

Jul

2

1942

Churchill wins Vote of Confidence in the Commons

A South African sapper laying a mine, Egypt, 2 July 1942.

At the same time, in spite of our losses in Asia, in spite of our defeats in Libya, in spite of the increased sinkings off the American coast, I affirm with confidence that the general strength and prospects of the United Nations have greatly improved since the turn of the year, when I last visited the President in the United States.

Mar

6

1942

Can Churchill survive defeats in the Far East ?

Winston Churchill with the Lord Privy Seal, Sir Stafford Cripps, and the Commander-in-Chief Home Fleet, Admiral Sir John Tovey, on the quarterdeck of HMS KING GEORGE V at Scapa Flow, 11 October 1942.

Although the British are keeping a stiff upper lip, the surrender of their troops at Singapore has shattered confidence to the core – even in themselves but, more particularly, in their leaders. They don’t intend to take it lying down and I am satisfied we will see the rebirth of greater determination.