The Corner

British War Stories, Cont’D

John Sparrow, academic, wit, friend of, among many other prominent Englishmen, A. J. P. Taylor (see Derb’s post below, from yesterday), and Warden of All Souls’ College, Oxford, once told me a story about meeting Churchill during the war.

Sparrow was among a group of soldiers chosen to lunch with the prime minister at a house in the south of England that Churchill was using for a few days-for much of the war, you’ll recall, Churchill remained in motion, traveling from place to place to avoid becoming a target for German agents, or, later in the war, German bombs. When Churchill received Sparrow’s group, he appeared grim. “Gentlemen,” the prime minister said, “I have received information that the Germans may attempt an invasion of our island this very day.” Churchill looked from face to face in silence. Then he smiled. “But come,” the prime minister said, “let us dine.” Throughout his meal with the soldiers, Churchill remained entertaining, garrulous, and utterly composed

Although famously cynical, Sparrow had never quite gotten over the casual courage Churchill displayed that day. “The intelligence Churchill had received was wrong, of course,” Sparrow said, “but I’ve never had any reason to doubt that he believed it at the time.”

Peter Robinson — Peter M. Robinson is a research fellow at the Hoover Institution.

Most Popular

Politics & Policy

Demagoguery Is Not Leadership

The government of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in New Zealand has, with the support of the opposition, decided to enact fundamental changes in the nation’s firearms laws less than a week after the massacre at two Christchurch mosques. This is the opposite of leadership. It is also an example of why ... Read More
White House

The Media’s Disgrace

There will soon enough be an effort to memory-hole it, but the media coverage of the Russia investigation was abysmal and self-discrediting — obsessive and hysterical, often suggesting that the smoking gun was right around the corner, sometimes supporting its hoped-for result with erroneous, too-good-to-check ... Read More
Politics & Policy

What Was Trump So Annoyed About?

One of the stranger arguments that I heard throughout the Mueller saga -- and am hearing today, now that it's turned out to be a dud -- is that Donald Trump's irritation with the process was unreasonable and counterproductive. This tweet, from CNN's Chris Cilizza, is a nice illustration of the genre: Donald ... Read More
White House

Our Long National Hysteria 

Our long national hysteria may not be over, but at least it should — by rights — be diminished. Robert Mueller delivered his long-awaited report on Friday, and Attorney General William Barr just released his summary of the findings. They completely vindicate President Trump regarding the allegation that ... Read More