From Victor Davis Hanson:
Winston Churchill never once flinched in the face of the Third Reich.
Fifty years ago this Saturday, former British prime minister Winston Churchill died at age 90.
Churchill is remembered for his multiple nonstop careers as a statesman, cabinet minister, politician, journalist, Nobel laureate historian, and combat veteran. He began his career serving the British military as a Victorian-era mounted lancer and ended it as custodian of Britain’s nuclear deterrent.
But he is most renowned for an astounding five-year-tenure as Britain’s wartime prime minister from May 10, 1940, to June 26, 1945, when he was voted out of office not long after the surrender of Nazi Germany.
Churchill took over the day Hitler invaded Western Europe. Within six weeks, an isolated Great Britain was left alone facing the Third Reich. What is now the European Union was then either under Nazi occupation, allied with Germany, or ostensibly neutral while favoring Hitler.
The United States was not just neutral. It had no intention of entering another European war — at least not until after the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor a year and half later.
From August 1939 to June 1941, the Soviet Union was an accomplice of the Third Reich. Russian leader Joseph Stalin was supplying Hitler with critical resources to help finish off Great Britain, the last obstacle in Germany’s path of European domination.
Some of the British elite wished to cut a peace deal with Hitler to save their empire and keep Britain from being bombed or invaded. They understandably argued that Britain could hardly hold out when Poland, Denmark, Norway the Netherlands, Belgium, and France all had not. Yet Churchill voiced defiance and vowed to keep on fighting.
After the fall of France, Churchill readied Britain’s defenses against a Nazi bombing blitz, and then went on the offensive against Italy in the Mediterranean.
As much of London went up in flames, Churchill never flinched, despite the deaths of more than 40,000 British civilians.
Read more: VictorHanson.com