May 13: 1940: Introducing our new PM…

  • Moderator 2022 2021 '20 '19 '18 '17 '16 '15 '14 '13 '12

    May 13th1940: Churchill enters the Commons and makes his first speech as Prime Minister.
    Many blamed him for the fiasco that was the defence of Norway.(He had been First Lord of the Admiralty.) The Germans invaded the West three days ago and the British had had to pull out.
    His first speech was a great success. He said:"I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat…You ask what is our policy? I will say: it is to wage war, by sea, land and air, with all our might and with all the strength that God can give us; to wage war against a monstrous tyranny, never surpassed in the dark, lamentable catalogue of human crime. This is our policy.
    "You ask, what is our aim? I can answer in one word: Victory…

    He asked for a vote of confidence and got a unanimous one.
    Many thought he would not last; that it was all bombast.
    We know better. He was PM for VE Day in 1945, just not for VJ Day.

  • 2021 '20 '19 '18 '17 '16 '15 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    One of the ironic things about Churchill’s time in office during WWII is that he lost the PM job in 1945 for pretty much the same reason that he got it in 1940.  After the Norway fiasco, Chamberlain lost the confidence of the House of Commons and had to be replaced as PM, the House having finally come to the conclusion that he wasn’t by nature a war leader – a job for which Churchill semed better suited.  By the time of the July 1945 election, however, Germany had surrendered two months earlier and Japan was at the end of its tether.  British voters were already looking ahead to the post-war world, and they seem to have felt that Churchill, who was so closely associated with the war, was as unsuited to lead a peacetime government as Chamberlain had been to lead a wartime one.

  • Moderator 2022 2021 '20 '19 '18 '17 '16 '15 '14 '13 '12

    Exactly. Well put.
    He did return of course(in 51).
    I have just had a reminder of his life and political history, as we spent a few days in London and we visited The Churchill War Rooms.

  • 2021 '20 '19 '18 '17 '16 '15 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    @wittmann:

    I have just had a reminder of his life and political history, as we spent a few days in London and we visited The Churchill War Rooms.

    I’ve been there too.  (It was about fifteen years ago, so we didn’t exactly miss each other by a narrow margin.)  Another interesting place that I’ve seen which you may want to visit if ever you’re up in Scotland is the so-called Secret Bunker (http://www.secretbunker.co.uk/), which can be found easily by following the big roadside signs which advertise it.

  • Moderator 2022 2021 '20 '19 '18 '17 '16 '15 '14 '13 '12

    Wow. Thanks Marc.
    I have been looking for the Secret Bunker for as long as I remember.
    All I had to do was to go to Scotland and follow the signs!

    I am afraid I have never seen Scotland. My wife has as a child.
    If I do, it will be Edinburgh and Stirling for the castles.
    I am desperate to see Alnwick castle on the border.

  • 2021 '20 '19 '18 '17 '16 '15 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    @wittmann:

    I am afraid I have never seen Scotland.

    I’ve been to Scotland several times (some friends of mine live there) and on one occasion I managed to get all the way up to the Orkney Mainland to have a look at Scapa Flow.  Owing to lack of time, I wasn’t able to reach the Scapa Flow Visitor Centre and Museum at Lyness, but I did visit the Stromness Museum where I got to see some German-language plaques salvaged from the WWI German High Seas Fleet and part of one of the torpedoes which sank the Royal Oak in 1939.  Well worth the long train trip and the ferry ride across the Pentland Firth.


  • @wittmann:

    Wow. Thanks Marc.
    I have been looking for the Secret Bunker for as long as I remember.
    All I had to do was to go to Scotland and follow the signs!

    I am afraid I have never seen Scotland. My wife has as a child.
    If I do, it will be Edinburgh and Stirling for the castles.
    I am desperate to see Alnwick castle on the border.

    How far is Scotland for you?  Could you make it a day trip if you wanted?

  • Moderator 2022 2021 '20 '19 '18 '17 '16 '15 '14 '13 '12

    Hi BJCard. Not really a day trip.
    Edinburgh is probably 6 hours if I am lucky.
    With a 3 year old, impossible!
    I will go. There are certainly many Italian restaurants to choose from and Edinburgh is a young and lively city(again have a 3 year old, so back at the hotel for bed at 10 when on holiday). Would be more about the days and what castles or museums we can see.
    Another option I suppose, is to go with parents(as babysitters).


  • Fair enough wittman, did not realize it was such a drive!  I suppose English highways are not as high speed as those in the US or Germany?  Agreed with a small child, anything over a couple hours is rough…

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