Lessons from History–Learn from The Master and War Time Prime Minister of Great Britain Winston Spencer Churchill

November 14, 2016

Lessons from History–Learn from The Master and War Time Prime Minister of Great Britain Winston Spencer Churchill

Thanks to looes74 for bringing this to my attention. Sir Winston is the Prime Minister of Great Britain of my generation. He inspired  his compatriots and others like me who have enjoyed reading his books. What is not known is that he is an artist. He is also known his stout defence of imperialism and the British Empire. Unfortunately he lost the Jewel in the Crown (India) to Gandhiji who he called  “half naked fakir.”–Din Merican

Image result for winston churchill on history quote

What Santayana wrote (in The Life of Reason, 1905) was: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

A search including key phrases (“remember the past”…”condemned to repeat it”) did not bring any results. So we are inclined to believe he never repeated Santayana in so many words.  Churchill worried not so much that those who forget the past are condemned to relive it, but that the loss of the past would mean “the most thoughtless of ages. Every day headlines and short views.” (House of Commons, 16 November 1948)

But perhaps his best remark on the subject was this:

“When the situation was manageable it was neglected, and now that it is thoroughly out of hand we apply too late the remedies which then might have effected a cure. There is nothing new in the story. It is as old as the sibylline books. It falls into that long, dismal catalogue of the fruitlessness of experience and the confirmed unteachability of mankind. Want of foresight, unwillingness to act when action would be simple and effective, lack of clear thinking, confusion of counsel until the emergency comes, until self-preservation strikes its jarring gong–these are the features which constitute the endless repetition of history.”

—House of Commons, 2 May 1935, after the Stresa Conference, in which Britain, France and Italy agreed—futilely—to maintain the independence of Austria. (My book* page 490).


5 thoughts on “Lessons from History–Learn from The Master and War Time Prime Minister of Great Britain Winston Spencer Churchill

  1. Though he was credited, rightly or wrongly, for saving Great Britain from a potentially greater Germany, he lose the election almost immediately after the War he was credited for winning.

    So may be he did not study enough of his own history?

    It cannot be that all those national leaders, past and present, all intelligent people, who brought disaster to their countries, do not know the paramount importance of the lessons that history teaches?

    My view is that when you study history, you are actually studying someone else’s history, never your own. And all national leaders are by nature borne or nurtured with gigantic ego, and therefore convince themselves that other people’s mistakes would never be made by them because they are smarter and or just a matter of bad luck.

  2. Yes all that is also true. But when it came to the crunch he wanted the Americans to fight the Germans in North Africa where Britain too had colonies. But the Americans were insistent that the Germans should be defeated in Germany. ” The rest is”, as we say when we are lazy to write more, history.

  3. Nov 8th proved Winston Churchill right when he said “America always does the right thing after exhausting all the other possibilities.”

  4. His mother was American. Maybe this had some influence on his
    Atlanticist romanticism and his “English-speaking peoples” stuff.

    A conservative and imperialist, but nevertheless a great man in his own
    right. Like Charles de Gaulle.

    It should not be forgotten that amongst the British ruling class of the 1930s,
    there was a lot of sympathy for Hitler and his Nazis. This included members of the British royal family (who were actually of German descent.
    Mountbatten changed his name because it sounded too German. It was
    originally “Battenberg”)

  5. Like I say, I am focusing more on Churchill’s tenacity and perseverence to strive for excellence. Many great leaders have setbacks

    1) LKY over massive failure in Malaysia GE and subsequent expulsion
    2) Churchill was defeated and humialiated even though he won the war.

    Such defeat can be very devastating. But what’s his response? Continue fighting!

    That’s my advice for Hillary! It’s not the end!

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