sexta-feira, 22 de abril de 2011

Seven days in may

On this holiday, I begin to read the book "Seven Days in May", by Flecther Knebel and Charles W. Bailey II, from 1962. It's looking like a very good cold war book.

After finish the book, I pretend to see the movie, with Burt Lancaster, Kirk Douglas, Ava Gardner  and other stars.

terça-feira, 19 de abril de 2011

Ribbentrop Hotel

On 28 September 1941, the British mission arrived Moscow. "Their reception was bleak and discussions not at all friendly" Churchill says.
One incident preserved by General Ismay in an apocryphal and somewhat lively form may be allowed to lighten the narrative. His orderly, a Royal Marine, was shown the sights of Moscow by one of the Intourist guides. "This," said the Russian, "is the Eden Hotel, formely Ribbentrop Hotel. Here is Churchill Street, formely Hitler Street. Here is the Beaverbrook railway station, formely Goering railway station Will you have a cigarette, comrade?" The marine replied, "Thank you, comrade, formely bastard!" This tale, though jocular, illustrates none the less the strange atmosphere of the meetings.
W. S. C. The grand alliance. Page 416

segunda-feira, 18 de abril de 2011

Friend or foe?

After the Atlantic Charter, Churchill talks with the Soviet Ambassador. The mood was the letters exchanged by Churchill and Stalin about a second front on West, and outstanding requests made by Stalin on that moment.

The Soviet Ambassador, who was accompanied by Mr. Eden, stayed and talked with me for an hour and a half. He emphasised (sic) in bitter terms how for the last eleven weeks  Russia had been bearing the brunt of the German onslaught virtually alone. The Russian armies were now enduring a weight of attach never equaled before. He said that he did not wish to use dramatic language, but this might be a turning-point in history. If Soviet Russia were defeated how could we win the war? M. Maisky emphasized the extreme gravity of the crisis on the Russian front in poignant terms which commanded my sympathy. But when presently I sensed an underlying air of menace in his appeal I was angered. I said to the Ambassador, whom I had know for many years, "Remember that only four months ago we in this Island did not know whether you were not coming in against us on the German side. Indeed, we thought it quite likely that you would. Even then we felt sure we should win in the end. We never thought our survival was dependent on your action either way. Whatever happens, and whatever you do, you of all people have no right to make reproaches on us". As I warmed to the topic the Ambassador exclaimed, "More calm, please, my dear Mr. Churchill", but thereafter his tone perceptibly changed.
W. S. C. The grand alliance. pages 406-407.

Iceland (C)

On a letter to Lord Privy Seal, transcribed on The Grand Alliance, pages 397-398, Churchill makes a comment about Iceland, and remarks a careful procedure to cite this country.

The text:
[...] Franklin Junior is serving on one of them, and has been  appointed Liaison Officer to me during my day in Iceland (C)*, where there will be a joint review of British and American Forces.
The note:
* To avoid confusion with Ireland, I had directed that Iceland was always to be written by the British authorities as Iceland (C). This was a necessary precaution. 

Atlantic Charter (2)

The profound and far-reaching importance of this Joint Declaration was apparent. The fact alone of the United States, still technically neutral, joining with a belligerent Power in making such a declaration was astonishing. The inclusion in it of a reference to "the final destruction of the Nazi tyranny" (this was based on a phrase appearing in my original draft, amounted to a challenge which in ordinary times would have implied war-like action. Finally, not the least striking feature was the realism of the last paragraph, where there was a plain and bold intimation that after the war the United States would join with us in policing the world until the establishment of a better order.
W. S. C. The grand alliance.  Page 394.

domingo, 17 de abril de 2011

Atlantic Charter

On chapters XXIIV and XXIV of "The Grand Alliance", the Atlantic Charter is presented.

This meeting was of great importance for a narrower definition of relations between the United States of America and the British Empire, defining key points in the relation of these two great powers in a direct and personal way. So far, the relationship between Winston Churchill and Roosevelt were made ​​only by letters, where Churchill identified himself as "Former Naval Person".

The meeting venue has been set: Placentia Bay, Newfoundland. The battleship Prince of Wales was designated to lead the British delegation.

The meeting was held at sea in extreme secrecy. The President Rooselvet was formally resting on a cruise. On sea, he transfer to the cruiser Augusta, leaving his yacht.

USS McDougal (DD-358) alongside HMS Prince of Wales

On the second day, the Prince of Wales encountered heavy seas, remaining two options: slow down or dropping the destroyer escort. Admiral Pound gave the decision, entering in a high speed zone.

Without the escort, in a sea infested by U-Boats, the battleship had to perform several diversions, keeping a radio silence status.

This gave Mr. Churchill a lot of free time, something completely different in his routine.

For the first time for many months I could read a book for pleasure. Oliver Lyttelton, Minister of State in Cairo, had given me Captain Hornblower, R. N., [C. S. Forester], which I found vastly entertaining. When a chance came I sent him the message: "I find Hornblower admirable". This caused pertubation in the Middle East Headquarters, where it was imagined that "Hornblower" was the code-word for some special operations of which they had not been told.
W. S. C. The Grand Alliance. Page 382

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quarta-feira, 13 de abril de 2011

Tobruk: Australia

In the verge of operation "Crusader" and the defense of Tobruk, the Australian government called back his troops. After Mr. Fadden become first minister of Australia Dominion, preceded by Mr. Menzies, Churchill writes:
The new Government under hard pressure from its opponents, was much concerned about the position of the Australian division on Tobruk. They desired to collect their troops in the Middle East into one force in order to give them an opportunity for refreshment, restoration of discipline and re-equipment, and to satisfy public opinion in Australia. [...] They therefore demanded their immediate relief by other forces.
The Grand Alliance, page 367

It is know that the public opinion was saying that the British were deploying only Dominion's forces, saving their owns.

Several asks were made for changes on that demand, or, at least, a postponing till Crusader being launch. Always negative anwers. So, the relief of the Australian troops had begin.
On the night of October 25 [1941] the operations so greatly desired by both Australian parties was attempted under conditions of great danger, and not without appreciable loss [...]
The Grand Alliance, page 367

The fast minelayer H. M. S. Latonia was sunk and the destroyer Hero was damaged by air attack, and tens of Australians were missing or wounded.

We must be thankful these air attacks did not start in the earlier stages of the relief.
The Grand Alliance, page 367

quarta-feira, 6 de abril de 2011

Kemper Lecture - March 6, 2011

Quoting The Churchill Centre, and messagem from John David Olsen in ChurchillChat group.

Sir Max Hastings delivers the annual Kemper Lecture as part of the 2011 Churchill Weekend on the campus of Westminster College.

Sir Max is the author of 21 books, eight of them about the Second World War. His address is titled "Winston Churchill: The Indispensable Man."