Considering his failures as well as his successes, the book moves beyond the purely celebratory tone of much of the existing literature.
It offers new insight into how the speeches were written and delivered - and shows how Churchill's words were received at home, amongst allies and neutrals, and within enemy and occupied countries. This is the essential book on Churchill's war-time speeches. It presents us with a dramatically new take on the politics of the s - one that will change the way we think about Churchill's oratory forever.
His books include Lloyd George and Churchill: Rivals for Greatness , Churchill's Empire: He lives in Exeter with his wife and their two sons. Oxford University Press is a department of the University of Oxford. It furthers the University's objective of excellence in research, scholarship, and education by publishing worldwide. Having won over his audience in much the same way as he did the House of Commons, the prime minister then rounded on Chandler, though not by name. It was a pointed suggestion that in America one man, Franklin Roosevelt, already had that responsibility and it would be foolhardy to hand it over to anyone else.
The American newspaper columnist Drew Pearson later wrote: Churchill was decidedly more circumspect when it came to domestic British politics, in particular when the subject was post-war reconstruction. This forced Churchill to maintain a delicate balance in the House of Commons where Tory MPs still held a majority of seats, but where his administration depended on the participation of both Labour and the Liberals. Conveniently, for Churchill, he could argue that it was premature to talk of what would happen after victory.
The Roar of the Lion
To his mind, the important thing — indeed, the only thing — that mattered was winning the war. A post-war Britain could be detected just over the horizon, and the Beveridge Report laid out a blueprint for how that Britain could be a very different nation from the one that had emerged after the last world war. Before the year was out, a threatened Labour rebellion over demands to nationalise the coal industry forced him to intervene.
While making clear that he himself could support such a move, no government, he told the House of Commons, could take such a far-reaching step without first receiving a mandate from the people in a general election pp. That is just what happened in , sweeping both him and the Conservatives from power. And that is where the trouble lies with this book. Toye is surely right that Churchill did not command unanimous support during the war, a fact he demonstrates by lacing his book with contemporary reactions to the wartime speeches.
Along with the published diaries of politicians and other officials, he has again turned to two other underutilized sources. To that can be added the reports and, especially, the individual diaries collected by the sociological research organization, Mass-Observation MO.
It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning. After the broadcast, she turned to her niece and remarked: But the problems do not stop there. Instead of a random letter here, or a diary entry there, these censorship reports promise a broader, invaluable insight into the feelings of British servicemen and women and, perhaps, their relatives and friends.
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But Toye only refers to these summaries in this one instance. Public opinion surveys were conducted during the war by the Gallup organization and these, too, show widespread support for Churchill. That month, March , happened to be one of the worst of the war: British forces were reeling under hammer blows from the Japanese, including the loss of Singapore just weeks earlier; Axis forces threatened Egypt; and German U-boats were winning the Battle of the Atlantic.
What is astonishing is not the gap between these surveys of public opinion but that they were still so high despite this string of disasters. Toye admits as much when, at the end of his book, he quotes a December MO report. Which is rather stating the obvious. This leads back to the crucial year between May and May But oratorical skills are but one tool of leadership, and focusing on the impact of one speech or another without placing them in context is to miss the point.
Unlike Chamberlain, he made full use of the powers and prestige of his office as well as other media. Contrast that with the approach taken by Adolf Hitler, who was seldom heard or seen when the war started to go wrong for Germany. This is not to suggest, as have some, that an actor impersonating Churchill delivered the addresses on radio. Toye puts that fairytale to bed early on in his book p. Submit questions or comments online. Contact the Office of Privacy and Civil Liberties. Contact the Office of Inspector General. Contact the Employment Verification Office.
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The Roar of the Lion: The Untold Story of Churchill's World War II Speeches | Reviews in History
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