CHURCHILL OUT OF HIBERNATION, WEEK 35
CLOSING THE RING ends on the eve of D-Day. Expectations are enormous. But what about the weather?
We have reached the penultimate volume (five) of Winston Churchill’s war memoirs in our ascent through his book-length works. How will it all turn out?
The twelve months encompassed by Closing The Ring, June 1943 through the first week of June 1944, were tumultuous ones for Churchill. With German U-boats increasingly neutralized, Allied ocean traffic was vouchsafed after years of catastrophic terror. Italy would soon be liberated, though at an awful human cost. The tensile ring of British, American and Russian military power had begun to close around Hitler’s armies. Yet Churchill was, at moments, inescapably shaken by the bloodshed. On a Sunday in June 1943, while watching at Chequers a film of recent British bombing raids on German towns, he sat up suddenly. “Are we beasts?” Churchill asked. “Are we taking this too far?”
Even as the Teheran Conference brought him together with Roosevelt and Stalin for the first time at the end of November 1943, Churchill was assailed by forebodings of doom. “He could not rid himself of that glimpse of impending catastrophe,” his personal physician, Sir Charles Wilson noted on November 29. “‘I believe man might destroy man and wipe out civilization,'”Wilson recorded Churchill suddenly exclaiming, his eyes popping. “‘Europe would be desolate and I may be held responsible…Do you think my strength will last out the war?'” asked Churchill suddenly. “‘I fancy sometimes that I am nearly spent.'”
Closing The Ring nevertheless closes with characteristic Churchillian optimism: “While I sat in my chair…the thrilling news of the capture of Rome arrived,” he concluded. “The immense cross-Channel enterprise for the liberation of France had begun…The Hitler tyranny was doomed. Here, then, we might pause in thankfulness and take hope, not only for victory on all fronts…but also for a safe future for tormented mankind.”
We wish you just that: Hope. Victory on all fronts. A safe future for tormented mankind.