In which Hindsight aids our Lady’s Recovery.
Today I’d like to try my hand at inspirational writing. I will use biography (not autobiography) as my starting point.
My husband is an Indiana Jones fanatic. A while ago he found this cable TV show called The Adventures of Indian Jones, which documents Indiana’s childhood and teenage years. The show was made in the early- to mid-nineties and is utterly stupid. However, when they put the episodes all together on DVD a few years ago, George Lucas and friends added a slew of documentaries on each disc. Jon and I love watching them. They cover a wide range of topics from Tolstoy to women’s suffrage, and spend a lot of time documenting the World Wars in particular. This is how I came across the detailed background story of Winston Churchill. If ever there was a man born at a specific time and a specific purpose, it was Churchill.
1941, after a speech. Churchill reminds me of a bulldog, in both looks and attitude.
Before WWI he served in the British Army in various colonial outposts, and then as a war correspondent. His political career began just before the outbreak of war. As a political leader, he made a horrible decision in the First World War, which resulted in heavy casualties and absolute failure. He resigned from his high position and volunteered for the army itself, becoming an officer and gaining what would later be crucial knowledge of war in the trenches.
His political career after the war had both its ups and its downs, and his position constantly vacillated between popularity and contempt from the British people. During the 20s and particularly the 30s, he gained the reputation of one who cries wolf. He predicted that the retaliation and control of Germany after WWI would result in only the bad, and then urged the British to begin rearming themselves when Hitler began doing so for Germany in 1932. But British Parliament had other plans, and hoped instead to sign a treaty with the Nazis instead of going to war. They just didn’t believe that it could happen again so soon. But somehow Churchill knew. Germany and Britain did end up signing an agreement, which Hitler promptly broke. The acting Prime Minister resigned in shame, and suddenly Churchill found himself as the new PM after being summoned to the palace. For Churchill, it basically amounted to a return from political exile.
He found himself in an unenviable position. All of Europe was being overrun by Nazi Germany, and France was just surrendering. Basically, Churchill knew that Britain couldn’t win, but in one of his landmark speeches, urged the British people not to bow before tyranny, but rather to die fighting. He offered a kind of beleaguered hope, not senseless or escapist, but the necessary kind that keeps men living. Despite his untenable position, Churchill kept doing what he could to win the war. He would go home to cry himself to sleep, and his health began to fail him, but he kept on his purpose. Let me make this clear: at this point there was no way that Britain could win. None. Germany was bombing London, and Britain had hardly enough resources to defend themselves, let alone fight back. Nonetheless, Churchill ordered a counter-attack. For a while, it was only the British bombs raining down on German land that stopped Hitler from absolute success.
Undoubtedly, Britain would have fallen if Hitler hadn’t gotten greedy and attacked Stalinist Russia during that winter. Churchill hated communism, but saw Hitler as the bigger threat. Fortunately, he had already been traveling constantly in an attempt to gain allies. Stalin and Roosevelt were both men that Churchill frequently hob-nobbed with—thus forming the great alliance that would break the Nazi party.
I admire Churchill so much for his resolute stance against what he considered to be the greatest evil the world had ever known. He knew that the fight was futile with the resources he had, but still thought it worthwhile to try. He would rather have war than dishonor and loss of freedom. I can only see that he was born in that time and place for a purpose. Churchill himself would later comment that he felt his whole life’s experiences had prepared him for his role as leader during WWII. He reminds me of Esther in the Bible, who saved the whole Jewish nation at her own peril. It says in Esther 4:14, “and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” Indeed, who knows whether any of us are come at such a time as this? What inherent royalty do we each hold inside us? What resolve, skill, or courage is to be our offering?