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By BARRY GOUGH
Churchill began with an impassioned indictment of Admiralty management and the government. Carefully, precisely, he cited shipbuilding delays, the German threat to Britain’s maritime ascendancy, the lack of drive and conviction. Change was demanded. He wound up with one of the most remarkable reversals of his political career.
By BARRY GOUGH
The name of Admiral of the Fleet Lord Fisher, commonly known as “Jacky,” was on the lips of everyone who cared about the Royal Navy. Fisher’s resignation in May 1915, at a critical stage of the Dardanelles campaign, had led to Churchill’s removal as First Lord of the Admiralty. That post constituted the political head of naval administration, with a prominent position in Cabinet. It offered unbounded influence in all aspects of war direction. Fisher had been at that time First Sea Lord, the senior naval officer. Churchill brought the famous Admiral out of retirement in October 1914 to put zeal and drive into naval affairs. Fisher arrived at a time of misadventure.
By FRED GLUECKSTEIN
King George V succeeded to the throne upon the death of his father, Edward VII, in May 1910. In February that year, Winston Churchill became Home Secretary. To this day he remains the youngest such since Sir Robert Peel in 1822. Roy Jenkins described the Home Office as a “plank of wood” from which many other departments have since been carved. In 1910, however, the Home Office held vast authority over domestic affairs. Among these was the prison system, where Churchill supported reform and reduction of sentences.
By RON CYNEWULF ROBBINS & RICHARD M. LANGWORTH
There was no more enigmatic figure in Churchill’s life than Brendan Bracken, who cloaked his birth and upbringing with mystery while hinting broadly that he was the great man’s illegitimate son. It is well-authenticated that close friendship, not errant fatherhood, encompassed their relationship. But Churchill, with characteristic impishness, apparently never gave the direct lie to Bracken’s implied claim. This annoyed Churchill’s wife and peeved his son, Randolph, who spoke satirically of “my brother, the bastard.” To quell the noisome rumor Churchill quipped: “I have looked the matter up, but the dates don’t coincide.”
By PAUL H. COURTENAY
Winston Churchill had met Jan Christian Smuts when he returned from the Boer War in 1900. Elected to Parliament at the end of that year, he never again visited South Africa. Yet that country was to play an important part in his life for the next fifty years.
By RICHARD M. LANGWORTH
Anti-statist, anti-collectivist and anti-establishment, Belloc deplored the servitude of the industrial wage-earner and longed to reconcile his two great loves, “the soil of England and the Catholic faith.” His book championed “distributism,“ a combination of broad land distribution, corporate organization of society, workers’ control of the means of production, decentralization of power, and Jeffersonian democracy comprising a property-owning electorate. Like Churchill, Belloc had traveled in America; it is odd that he never seemed to suggest that the United States, with its class mobility and broad property ownership, came remarkably close to his vision.
By KLAUS LARRES
Among the important figures of the 20th century, Churchill and Einstein competed with each other for the distinction of being labeled “Person of the Century” by Time magazine. At first sight they seemed different in almost all respects. Yet to some extent they had similar personalities and over time their thinking developed in not entirely different ways. They also liked each other—from the time they first met in 1933 at Chartwell, Churchill’s country estate.
By FRED GLUECKSTEIN
Charlie Chaplin: “The charm of Churchill is in his tolerance and respect for other people’s opinions. He seems not to bear malice with those who disagree with him.” Though their political viewpoints differed, Chaplin and Churchill's friendship, begun in 1929, endured throughout the years.
By BRADLEY TOLPPANEN
Vigorous, handsome and colorful, Bernard M. Baruch was a wealthy American financier who advised nine U.S. presidents from Wilson to Johnson. From the mid-1920s he was Churchill’s oldest and closest American friend. Their long friendship, Baruch remarked, was “a source of inspiration and pleasure” which had “grown more rewarding with each passing year.”