quinta-feira, 28 de janeiro de 2010

Statistics at war

One of the first steps I took on taking charge of the Admiralty and becoming a member of the War Cabinet was to form a statistical department of my own. For thispurpose I relied on Professor Lindemann, my friend and confidant of so many years. Together we had formed our views and estimates about the hole story. I now installed him at the Admiralty with half a dozen statisticians and economists whom we could trust to pay no attention to anything but realities. This group of capable men, with access to all official information, was able , under Lindemann's guidance, to present me continually with tables and diagrams, illustrating the whole war so far as it came within our knowledge. They examined and analysed with relentless pertinacity all the departamental papers which were circulated to the War Cabinet, and also pursued all the inquiries which I wished to make myself.

At this time there was no general Government statistical organization. Each department presented its tale on its own figures and data. The Air Ministry counted one way, the War Office another. The Ministry of Supply and the Board of Trade, through meaning the same thing, talked different dialects. This led sometimes to misunderstandings and waste of time when some point or other came to crunch in the Cabinet (...).

Churchill, Winston S. The Second Wolrd War: The Gathering Storm. 1948. Página 420.

More about Lindemann here.

These habits

It is a curious fact about the British Islanders, who hate drill and have not been invaded for nearly a thousand years, that as danger comes nearer and grows they become progressively less nervous; when it is imminent they are fierce; when it is mortal they are fearless. These habits have led them into some very narrow scapes.

Churchill, Winston S. The Second Wolrd War: The Gathering Storm. 1948. Page 354.

France, USSR and the Pope

Pierre laval talking with Stalin:

Laval: Can't you do something to encourage religion and the Catholics in Russia? It would help me so much with the Pope.
Stalin: Oho! The Pope! How many divisions has he got?

Churchill, Winston S. The Second Wolrd War: The Gathering Storm. 1948. Page 121.

Peace and weapons

"(...) It is the greatest mistake to mix up disamament with peace. When you have peace you have disarmament (...)"

Winston Spencer Churchill, The Second World War. The gathering storm